This is Blue Chips
: a new monthly series dedicated to targeting artists we think offer some of the most sought after new music out there. After all, we're always scouting, our eyes and ears constantly perked as we sift through the hordes of talent, identifying and bringing the most exciting musical "recruits" to the platform. Every freakin' day is like an indie rock combine in our inbox.
For our inaugural profile we sat down at the piano with Ben Elkins, leader of lo-fi Nashville party outfit, ELEL
. The band first caught our attention in January with "40 Watt", via a Mike Birbiglia hosted, KEXP podcast. The song was instantly lovable; a big old blasting beat, some sugary sweet instrumentation, and a fresh vocal hook that will follow you around for days.
"It's a really intimate song, lyrically", Elkins tells us. He and his then girlfriend, now wife, were at a financially challenging time in their lives. But they were young, they loved music, and they wanted to dance. "The idea of making your own dance party and not paying for a club. Just doing your own thing in your own living room. Turning the light off and on to make it disco-ish... that's kind of what the vibe [of the song] is."
Baeble Blue Chips: ELEL - Part 1
It turns out that's not Elkins' wife's only influence on the band. That's her providing the other end of the song's duet. And that band name of theirs? "She has introduced me to all kinds of things that have been hugely influential," Elkins explains. "She's pretty much what inspired this music so I thought I should name the band after her". Oh, in the event you're confused, "ELEL is one word, all caps." Got it?
Since the release of the single, the band have been picked up by Mom + Pop Records and recently released a debut EP for the esteemed label. It's a collection that doesn't resemble anything you would traditionally expect to hear out of a band that calls Nashville home -- though plenty of influences are certainly plucked from the local vine. "The roots of our music are in Southern music... soul music, old R&B, jazz, even country music. I like to think about great old country songs when I'm working on a melody, for instance. Sometimes that really works".
Baeble Blue Chips: ELEL - Part 2
Actually, the whole thing really works. If you can get out to an ELEL show, do it. It'll absolutely be worth your time. "I just hope, if people come to an ELEL show, they leave happy. It's a real joy to all be in a room together, as an audience and a band. It's an amazing thing that we get to be a part of".