It has been nearly ten years since we first met Ela Stiles and it has been a pleasure witnessing her progression and journey as a musician. When we were introduced, Ela was a member of the band Songs. She subsequently formed Bushwalking with Karl Scluin and Nisa Venerosa and then started her namesake solo project. Her self-titled debut album was in 2014 on Bedroom Sucks Records. Paradise Daily have since released her two cassette EPs, Preparation and Black Metal, and her second LP, entitled Molten Metal LP. Ela’s style of pop music is unique, especially within the Australian underground music scene. Her fans (ourselves included) are eagerly awaiting this talented songwriter’s next release.
We are thrilled to have Ela Stiles perform at the GLOVV Single Launch on Friday. They will be joined by the incredible Papaphilia and Embedded Figures. We feel honoured to have these amazing musicians play one of our shows and very special to interview Ela.
When did you first start playing music? Did you play a musical instrument as a child?
I started playing in a band when I was 18 – Playing bass, but I had learned guitar as a teenager, my mum taught me, and flute as a child.
When we first met, you played bass in Songs. Then in Bushwalking, your band with Nisa and Karl, you were the singer and songwriter. It seems like a solo project was a natural progression from your past musical projects. Did you always plan to have a solo project? How did it come about?
Yep Songs was my first band, I was eighteen! I listened to pop music as a teenager and loved singing, I wanted to be like Kylie Minogue or Mariah Carey so I always wanted to make that kind of music, I’ve just taken a long time to build the production skills and the confidence to sing and perform in that way I think. I wanted to learn how to produce my own music and have complete control over it which isn’t something you can have in a band really, so making music solo was an obvious move.
My boyfriend’s dog Foot Foot because she is the sweetest, cutest, funniest black puppy with the softest ears and fur and the best personality of any dog I’ve met.
You have been involved in both the Sydney and Melbourne music scenes. Is there anything Melbourne can learn from the Sydney music community? What do you miss about playing music in Sydney or miss about Sydney in general?
Controversial! I love the Sydney and Melbourne music scenes, I’ve been involved in both for the last 10 years I guess.
I think its harder for people to make music in Sydney, there is a lack of venues, rehearsal spaces, etc and the underground scene is a lot smaller than in Melbourne it seems, but the cool thing about that is it means people will go to a variety of shows instead of just a punk show or just an electronic or experimental show or whatever and it also means that line ups are quite diverse a lot of the time which is great and interesting. Also it means people have had to think outside the box in terms of where to put shows on which makes for interesting spaces.
There seems to be more opportunities for musicians in Melbourne maybe, at least from what I’ve seen. More venues putting shows on almost every night, rehearsal and DIY spaces etc.
I miss my friends in Sydney for sure, but I also missed my friends in Melbourne when I lived in Sydney! I’ve been coming here a lot over the last 10 years so I have close friends here that I’m enjoying spending time with now that I live here. I went up to Sydney recently to play at Paradise Daily’s 3rd bday show in December and it was fun to play there as an out of towner.
Any advice for women/non-cis males who are interested in playing music? Words of wisdom for people who feel apprehensive about performing solo?
I wish someone had encouraged me to make music more as a teenager, I had no clue that I could be a producer myself or even record my own music. These days there are awesome projects like All Girl Electronic in Western Sydney teaching female, trans and non binary youth aged 15-25 electronic music production (something I would have loved to do when I was a teenager) and the Sound School workshops here in Melbourne so there are definitely more resources for learning music skills and gaining confidence to play solo or just start making music in general I think.
When you listen to music for the first time, what do you notice first?
At the moment I think I notice production a lot – I listen to a lot of top 40 music and I enjoy how hi fi and complex it is. Also vocals and vocal melodies cause thats what I’m interested in as a singer and to get inspiration for my own stuff.
Aquarius 16th of Feb
Do you have any suggestions on how the music community can be more inclusive? What makes you feel comfortable or uncomfortable when playing a show?
Having musicians, record labels, bookers, venue staff and organisers who genuinely think about and place importance on these things in the first place and actively work towards making things more inclusive and not as some token gesture. I’m a pretty shy person so I get nervous when I play in general but I’d like to play, and there should be, more shows like the one you’re putting on this Friday where I feel totally comfortable that it will be inclusive, friendly and inviting to everyone.
Awww, thank you Ela. We are really looking forward to Friday’s show and cannot wait to see your set!