Ghostly layers of vocal harmonies and gently strummed acoustic guitars introduce Sink – the new single from Sydney-born Berlin-based artist Elkvilla.
Softly expanding soundscapes slowly unfurl; bathing the listener in their wistful tones.
I had a chat to Adam – the man behind Elkvilla – to find out more about his beginnings, the creative allure of winter and what’s coming up next…
Hey Adam! Can you tell me about how you first started making music?
I was the uncoordinated kid in school and was horrible at sports. Around the age of 13, a friend of mine started learning guitar and would play in the mornings before school started. I always wanted to learn, but at the time thought it was too late and expensive for me to learn. He was progressing fairly quickly though, so I thought maybe I’d take lessons too. I fell in love with the instrument and practiced for hours a day in the mornings, lunchtimes, between class and afternoons playing the same blink 182 and Led Zeppelin songs on repeat.
At the age of 16, I discovered you could record music on your computer and got super nerdy about it. I would use it to record instrumental ideas on my laptop in my bedroom. When I started studying music at university, it opened me to other opportunities such as producing and mixing music with other artists, and composing film music.
What’s behind the name Elkvilla?
It’s the name of a childhood toy of my girlfriends that we found in her grandparents attic when we moved to Berlin. It was given to her as a gift from a friend of her grandpas, and her grandpa – being very efficiently German – named it “Elch” because it’s an elk , and “Wille” after the name of his friend. I had no idea what to call my project and thought how they pronounced it sounded really cool but decided to change some of the spelling.
Your new single Sink is a beautifully ethereal track. What’s the story behind the song and how was it produced?
It began on piano with the chorus line that hit me after a down time everybody has every now and then – ‘I will row my boat in no direction now / for I don’t need no compass / I just need to sink in the sea’.
I then recorded and layered track by track and mixed it in my apartment. Recording everything by yourself can be exciting and rewarding, but things sometimes don’t always go to plan and it becomes rather frustrating and tedious towards the end. Because of this, I almost decided to give up on this track but I’m glad I didn’t as I have received some really kind messages from people about it, which really makes my day!
If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I feel really fortunate to be living in Berlin at the moment which is fairly central to everything. I would love to do a little tour, as its much easier to go to different cities or even countries in comparison to back home in Australia, where it takes hours and hours to reach only the next state.
There must be quite a contrast between Sydney and Berlin. Do you find your surroundings influence your music?
The biggest contrast would be the weather and how it interestingly enough plays such a big influence on people’s mood. During winter, it’s always dark so people tend to be pretty reserved, but when summer comes around everybody gets a lot more more lively and cheery.
When in Sydney, I’ve always been influenced by a lot of slow ambient music and had somewhat a romanticised idea of snowy winters which I never had chance to experience. We only have long 45 degree summers. Admittedly, now I’ve had about four winters here and its great for about a week and then its like – lets have a bit of sun again. I guess regardless of the country, I prefer writing and recording in winter, because I don’t deal well with heat!
What’s coming up next for you?
Yesterday I finished recording my next release and begin the mixing process this week, which I’m really excited to start.
Also in the past month I’ve just found some amazing musicians to help me with playing live shows in the coming months and I’m really excited to have other people on board helping me with the recording process for the newer songs.