INTERVIEW- ELLINGTON Chats About New Music and Dream Line-Ups

Photo - Anna-Lee

Today (16th of April), sees the release of the brand-new, debut EP from alternative artist Ellington. The self-titled EP is now available to stream via all major streaming platforms!

Ellington first became known as the official drummer for the incredible pop-rock group R5. He then went on to work with The Driver Era where he wrote, recorded, and toured with them. His time with these bands has allowed him to tour the world, play at the biggest festivals, release two full-length albums, be featured on Billboards 200 singles, and build a strong following. He now has over 1 million followers across his social media platforms – all loyal followers who are eager to follow him on his journey.

Now, he is venturing out on his own down a different route. The new EP will be his first solo project and he pulls influences from Alternative, Hip Hop, Motown and Jazz in order to create a whole new sound that is undeniably his.

We wanted to know more about this new era, and caught up with Ellington for a chat. Here, he talks about his new EP, what it’s like to be a solo artist, what his dream festival line-up is, and future plans he may have:

Hey there Ellington! Thank you very much for answering our questions. Hope you’re doing well.

I wanted to start by talking about your upcoming, self-titled EP. What can you tell us about it? How did it come about? 

It all started about two years ago when I first decided to venture into making my own music. It was always something I wanted to do in the back of my mind, then life presented me with a crossroads and the perfect opportunity to do so. At first it was daunting trying to find my sound but slowly I started putting the pieces together and now here we are with my debut EP releasing. It’s wild to see where I was a few years ago and that today this is the reality.

How would you describe the sound of the EP to your fans? What would you say your favourite track is and why? 

It’s always been impossible to pick a favorite track, even with other projects. When you spend time cultivating and writing a body of work they all have their special qualities. That being said, Sun to Rise! was the first song I had really finished for this EP and EMT was the first solid instance of a sound that I felt was perfectly me, so those two might be like the two kids where the parents say they don’t have a favorite but then give the oldest a wink or something? haha. In terms of sound I wanted to set up a flexible foundation so I could feel free to move in whatever sonic direction I wanted any given time. On this EP there’s bits of Alt R&B to Garage Rock, soulful to heavy, I love so many different types of music and I want to be able to fully flesh that out from the beginning of my solo career on. 

Your last single “Sun to Rise” sounds insane! We especially love the music video you dropped alongside it. Could you talk us through the process of creating that video? 

Yes, that one was a doozy. Pretty much for those who haven’t seen it, (go check it out on my YouTube) it’s entirely made out of flash photography and uses 6,201 photos, shot by my fiancé with her old DSLR from high school and a faulty external flash. It was quite the experience with long nights in spooky areas. We filmed in the old Griffith Park zoo in Los Angeles, which was closed in the 60’s and definitely felt something brush me that wasn’t actually there.. but that’s all I’ll say. Haha. 

For a few years you were the drummer of R5, and then went to write, record, and tour with The Driver Era. How has it been venturing down a solo path? What would you say the biggest challenge has been? 

Going solo has been a very different experience than being with my past projects. On one hand I love the freedom and the ability to do whatever I want when I want and on the other hand it can get stressful at times when you feel like everything is riding on you. Also, being independent you find yourself being not just a writer and performer but also the music video director, the editor, the manger, the producer, the social media person etc. which is something I definitely wasn’t taking into consideration when starting this new venture and even though it’s a lot of hard work its exhilarating and very much makes it clear that this is the right path for me. 

Could you tell us what the best advice you have been given since starting your music career? What would you say has been the worst advice? 

I can’t remember any specifics but at this point I think trusting your gut while being able to take critiques is really important. As an artist you do have the vision and it’s important to not let someone push you in a direction that isn’t best for you at the end of the day, but at the same time you can turn into your worst enemy If you don’t let those you trust give you a reality check now and then. It’s a balance that I felt was always necessary even back in the days when dealing with labels and managers etc that you can incorporate in all walks of life, especially creative. 

Your career as an artist has taken you down many different paths. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? What else would you like to achieve? 

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life can change quickly and drastically, so I really have no idea where I’ll be and I am open to whatever comes my way. But I definitely want to  get back on the road and I definitely want to play festivals around the world. Growing up in LA going to festivals has been something I’ve enjoyed since I was young and ever since I’ve started in music it’s been my dream to play the festivals I have attended. There’s something magical about having all of your favorite artists in one place, the experience is so special and I hope to be a part of it from now on. 

Of course, performing live has been quite the challenge for artists this past year. We want to know, if you were to perform at a festival, who else would you like to be on the line up?

Ok brace yourself.. Arcade Fire, Jame Blake, Radiohead (who I have actually have played a fest with in Japan, and I will gladly pick up that name I just dropped), SAULT, Run The Jewels, D’angelo, Gabriel Garcon-Montano, Kendrick, Death Grips, El Michaels Affair, Mf Doom (RIP), Steve Lacy, Tyler the Creator, Solange, The Strokes, Big Thief, JPEGMAFIA, Nick Hakim, Perfume Genius, BROCKHAMPTON, Emily King.. Phew.. 

Finally, of course you have your incredible EP coming, but are there any other future plans you can share with us? 

Now that things are beginning to open up I will be looking to play some shows or even go on tour so make sure to keep an eye out for when I come through your town! 

A live show with Ellington is something that you don’t want to miss! His new EP is also an absolute must listen to also so be sure to go check that out. So you don’t miss out on any future updates, be sure to follow Ellington on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

What did you think of the new EP? Let us know what your favourite track is over on our Twitter! – @AboutThe_Noise