Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
ET: We’re a four-piece rock band. What type of rock band we are varies day-to-day, but it’s usually a some blend of punk and hard rock.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
ET: Elephant Takedown started as a jam session between our bassist, Alex White, and lead guitarist, Phil Bartlett in January 2019. Simon Philpot was invited the following week as the drummer following an online advert.
We started out playing Shinedown, Black Stone Cherry, and Stone Sour songs, but covers really didn’t last long. It turns out we have quite a short attention span. This meant we had a lot of people come and go from the band throughout the year. The longest anyone stayed was about 4 months as we kept trying to find our sound. Then in December 2019, vocalist Ben Wilson joined as the vocalist, his personality fit perfectly. He came with both new material and having already learned some existing songs. We became a bit of a song writing powerhouse after that and lined up our first time in the studio for April 2020, only for the pandemic to come along and spoil it for everyone.
In April 2021 we finally managed to get into Headline Studios and record Forked Tongues & False Hopes, which we released with their sister label’s help in July. Since then we’ve finally started doing gigs and are writing the rest of an album.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
ET: Our musical influences are wildly varied. Phil in particular is inspired by rock and industrial bands like Black Sabbath, and Rob Zombie. Alex is more towards the progressive and djent side of things with bands like Periphery, Devin Townsend, and Enter Shikari. Simon is all out punk, Blink 182 being one of his favourite bands. And then Ben sits somewhere in the middle, perhaps inspired a little more by punk.
Our non-musical influences are often other humans, usually the weirder bits about them. On the surface our music is, again, somewhere between heavy punk and hard rock, but the stuff we write about is a bit different. There’s a little glimpse into how psychopathic, sociopathic, and paranoid humans can be in most of our lyrics, and it’s the mental imbalance that we really find interesting.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
ET: Our biggest dreams at the moment are to release a music video, release an album, and play a festival. They’re ambitious, but with some hard work, we think they’re achievable. Fame and fortune don’t really come into it.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
ET: Everyone’s taken a stab at lyrics; My Heroine was entirely written by Phil, Deceiver by Alex, and The Boatman by Ben, though most of the lyrics on our other songs are primarily Ben, with Alex’s help. In terms of the music, no one individual can claim credit for any one song. It’s always a joint effort because we don’t play anything that we can’t all enjoy. In terms of what they’re about, some of them are weird, but that kinda floats our boat. We’ve got a straight up and down breakup song, a song about eating people and hiding the body, a song that’s about both simulation theory and the idea that lizard men run the world. There’s nothing we won’t try to write about, especially where it concerns human paranoia and anxiety.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
ET: Mostly via Facebook and Instagram. When we released our EP, we worked with Headline Records to speak with radio stations; when we’re working with promoters like Thumping Gorilla, they’ll often give us a hand. We’ve just started working with a new PR company too, so we’ll see what that yields.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
ET: In this day and age, it’s the easiest way to get music out there. It’d be great to do physical releases, but it’s not as viable for us as we wish. It’s something that we’ll maybe do a limited run of when we release the album, but streaming is the way forward at the moment.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
Ben: Figure It Out by Royal Blood. It’s simple, catchy, and really fucking hard.
Phil: Reach Out, I’ll Be There, by Four Tops; no one has captured the feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression like that song to me and it has a great message. Or Brickhouse by The Commodores because it is “mighty mighty” and lets it all hang out. The bassline is awesome too.
Alex: Freak of the Week by Freak Kitchen. It’s heavy and high octane, and has a great humorous take on the human need for validation by any means necessary.
Simon: All Star by Smash Mouth because it’s awesome, and everyone knows it.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
ET: Probably the biggest pet peeve is bad levels at a gig. There’s nothing worse than not being able to hear one of the instruments or the vocals in the mix, and a band being so loud that it just becomes noise. Other peeves include: droopy microphones, and warm pints.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
ET: Probably putting out our EP, Forked Tongues & False Hopes. When we went into the studio, we had songs, but didn’t really know what we sounded like, if that makes sense. Headline Studios, in a very short space of time helped make us more cohesive, and now we have something out there that we can share, people can listen to, and that we can be proud of
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
ET: We’re currently working on an as yet untitled album. We’ve a few songs left to write, but we’re trying not to rush it. We want to be as proud of every song on the album as we are with the EP. Currently the dream is to be in the studio again around May/June this year.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
ET: Our four track EP, Forked Tongues & False Hopes, is out there available for all to hear. Our music is available on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, YouTube Music, essentially all of the major online retailers.
Elephant Takedown links:
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