Ernest Ellis’ music is what it is – and what you take from it.
‘It’s something I really love and I feel bound too – I wouldn’t know what to do without it. Kings Canyon is a true indicator of where I’m at and where we’re at.’
Only three times in my life has a song been as affecting. The first was I'll be your lover from Paul Kelly – that man is inspirational. Then as a teenager there was Sebastian Tellier’s la Ritournelle and more recently, Nick Cave’s Into My Arms.
Whether it’s my infatuation with the track, or it’s vast, overwhelming sound I can’t help but ask Ellis the meaning behind Great Sky.
I’m a little unnerved as he chuckles down the line,
'You write songs and you forget who that person was that wrote it – you write it at a certain place in time and the lyric comes about real quick, a song like that comes out of nowhere… your mind works in different ways.’
I can see his point. Talking about the mechanics of a song, or even art takes away from it’s charm to begin with, the way it means something different for every person – and besides, he can’t remember the reasons behind it’s conception to begin with.
Maybe that’s a good thing.
If you’re wondering why this song, or this album means so much to me – I’m not sure. But I’ll tell you this, it’s real and as Ellis relates, that’s something that can’t be taken for granted these days,
'To be honest with you there’s no great music without pain, there’s no great art without it and I hate this whole thing ‘ oh yeah we’re just guys playing with our guitars, having a good time.’– It’s fucking bullshit, they’re not real artists…
You look at the National, Lou Reed or Iggy Pop and there’s pain burning in their faces, that’s the reason they write good records there’s no pretension and that’s what makes people as a listener feel a deep connect to those songs.’
It’s safe to say this is something I agree with, especially if you remember my rant about cookie-cutter musicians and the line ‘Lady Gaga is merely a reincarnation of Madonna with the added interest of raw meat.’ It's all the same.
‘You hear Fleet Foxes, or Bon Iver and there’s so much emotion in that and reality – they’re real people singing those tunes, then there are people who find another idea that other people have made and it becomes homogenised…
A lot of the time it’s about what other people want – that’s not what it should be about, you’ve got to make music that’s honest to yourself otherwise it’s an amalgam of other things, its not real.'
More than anything, real emotions make real music. And as a record, Kings Canyon reaches highs, lows, all that in between. Songs like Sons and Daugters and Great Sky are a little more upbeat whereas there’s great depth and depression to Blackhole and Oceans….
‘We wanted to put songs on there that flowed thematically and sonically. They say art imitates life and if you’re a proper songwriter, or artist its impossible not to be influenced by what happens around you – you take that everywhere you go...
It was a tough period in a lot of ways but at the same time we feel that the record has a lot of optimism in a way, it was a cathartic process… the record goes from a really elated to really depressed sound and lyric – I’m proud of the fact that it’s honest.’
The best things are natural, unforced – left as they are and to be honest Kings Canyon is the kind of music I live for as a journalist because there’s something to talk about – it’s thought provoking.
Kings Canyon is released tomorrow, you know what I think - Itunes & JB.