Clip from Grey's Anatomy featuring "Never Been In Love" by Elliphant
ABC Music Lounge Exclusive Interview with Elliphant
ABC ML: Why do you think some of the most innovative, exciting and iconic pop groups come from Sweden? What is it about the city?
Elliphant: I think the reason for all the creativity out of Sweden is a combination of many things. When Sweden still was a farmers land we had a very old unmarried dying queen, so we bought a king from France... He was very eccentric and loved culture such as music and art. He built opera houses and things with the tax money. Bernadotte, it's still a very powerful family in Sweden. This in combination with Sweden's lack of involvement in the big wars, our economy, that we travel a lot, and have long dark winters that we need to do something with, this in combination I believe is the reason. We speak very good English too, cause we have American television and we don't dub it to Swedish like they do in Germany and France, for example.
Number these classic Swedish pop groups in your preferred order: Abba, Roxette, Ace of Base
Ace of Base, Abba, Roxette
You’re a recent transplant to Los Angeles… What do you think of the city? How does it compare to Stockholm / Sweden?
You can't compare these two cities, they're so different. There is a lot of Swedish people here cause of the media and music scene.
I worked so much since I moved here so I haven't explored so much that I wish to do later. It's a great city for combination work/pleasure. You can surf & ski the same day if you plan your life. It's not like London or Paris where you just step out and you're in the pulse of the city. You need to look for your places and plan your life cause it's the ocean and the deserts that is the big treat I think. I wanna go to Redwood so bad! I wanna live there in the forest. Hate the traffic in LA though. In Stockholm no-one has a car it feels like.
We recently licensed “Never Been in Love” for use in our show Grey’s Anatomy - what do you think of the way music is used in TV shows, movies & commercials nowadays? What is it like seeing your music used in a way that may differ from what your vision of the song was?
If musicians couldn't sell their work to TV shows, movies & commercials these days I don't know how we could survive, the music is free today with the internet (which I love) but because of this we need new ways to bring money to our projects. It's a natural trade… I look at it as we work together to keep the art alive.
What movie / tv show best represents the life you have lived thus far, OR the life you WANT to live?
Apart from a song, what is “Save The Grey”? I saw it described as a “Conceptual Activism Project”… any more info you can share on that?
I've been thinking about the grey in a philosophical sense for a long time. I look at myself and my mind as a grey area; from there so much creativity is born… it's not always so pretty but it's perfect! And I WANT it to be like this. I DON'T want to eat any medicine to get rid of my demons, my fears and my sorrows (my diagnosis) is my spirit. It's old as a rock. My songs wanna talk about that. I sing for my grey minds. It is ok to be who you are. The structure of our society can tell you different, but our souls are older than that structure.
Then recently I realized that my heart animals that is in big danger in this world are all grey… The rhino, elephant, shark, wolf, and whale.
Before music, before anything at all I wanna work with animals and nature in my life. Through Elliphant I get a perfect opportunity to raise money for these animals and reach out to people with the massive message of save the grey STG…
“I’ve got four faces,” Elliphant declares. “One of them is the crazy club girl. Then, there’s my hip-hop side. I can also get all R&B on you. A lot of the time, I just feel like a hippie.”
“I want to be an artist that reflects reality in everything—good and bad,” she admits. “Life is always changing, and I want to be a reflection of what life is. You never have to choose black and white; you can stay in the grey zone. While you’re there, be experimental as long as you’re true to who you are. Music isn’t meant to be solid. It’s fluid. The music is a little more naked now. It really shows who I am.”
Elliphant examines love for the first time on the shimmering, yet sassy “Never Been In Love”. Once again, it’s balanced by her ability to assume multiple perspectives and view life from numerous angles. “I was alone in L.A. for a month,” she recalls. “I got so inspired by the idea of falling in love. I never wrote about love before. Now, I’m writing about it because I want to start exposing my system to the idea of being with someone. It’s a break from the fear and bullshit of what goes on in this world. If you open the doors to the mystery of this planet, you can experience so much.”
That vulnerability somewhat explains her own musical boundlessness – leading to collaborations with everybody from Skrillex to Bunji Garlin and Diplo. As she made waves overseas in 2012, well-known producer Dr. Luke also fell under her spell, signing her in collaboration with Record Company TEN to his own Kemosabe Records in the United States. 2014 saw her hit the road supporting Charli XCX on a nationwide tour that packed houses nightly, exposing her to a whole new audience along the way. Plus, Elliphant has won over top tastemakers including Pitchfork, FADER, and many more.