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Interview: Elan Tamara

Elan Tamara’s second EP Shadows, the first release on Kwes’s Bokkle label, is out now. We had a chat about upcoming material, her writing processes, unusual instruments, and a bunch more…

Oh Drat: I guess you’re a multi instrumentalist, with piano, guitar, bass, saxophone, and of course the Balinese gamelan as well… anything else up your sleeve?!

Elan Tamara: No, no, I’m kind of mainly piano, I’m not really that good at anything else! (laughs)

OD: Ha, fair enough! Do you enjoy the feeling of learning a new instrument more than the ever-decreasing circles of refinement with just one instrument, or..?

ET: I do quite like learning new instruments, but I mean, I never really thoroughly learn them – I think the only thing I really focused on was mainly piano. Obviously I’m quite focused on the gamelan as well, but other stuff I really just learned because before I had a band and stuff if I wanted to record stuff and get it to sound, you know, big in the recording, I had to pick up other instruments as well to fill out the sound… so it wasn’t so much a skill building thing as just getting the basics so that I could realise the sound I wanted.

before I had a band and stuff if I wanted to record stuff and get it to sound, you know, big in the recording, I had to pick up other instruments as well to fill out the sound

OD: Oh okay – on Shadows it does sound like the piano is at the centre of the writing process, do you ever focus on other instruments when writing to get different inspirations?

ET: Yeah, I mean it is nice thinking about another instrument. I’ve only ever written one song on guitar… I’ve written a song on the autoharp actually, which is gonna be on my new EP.

OD: That sounds interesting!

ET: Yeah, I started on this zither I bought off eBay and then added the piano afterwards, so it is quite… it makes you come up with new things, when you try another instrument – or approach, if I try and approach the piano in a new way, that kinda thing.

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