Let’s talk about something really incredible. Because we are proud to announce the birth of something beautiful. And that something is our EP. Or to be more specific; EP’s. Plural.
Because next month, we will release the first one online. With five original, shiny and new Ellow-songs. In other words; newly recorded, but nonetheless shiny. We’ve learned a lot over the past year. We’ve both grown in our skills and knowledge, and been busy polishing the songs we brought you last year during our shows.
Also, we now own a grand total of three ukulele’s and three melodica’s, amongst two new microphones and an incredible pre-amp (more about this later on). You’ve seen what we can do with only our iPhone and greenscreen. And we all taught it ourselves. Pure DIY.
And now it’s time for some music-talk. Let me introduce to you: ‘To The Hell Below’.
Whac A Mole Blues
We start with ‘Whac A Mole Blues’, to set the mood just right. Although Rik started this song when he first got the Tenor Ukulele, this song is piano driven. There is no bass. The left hand of the piano plays the bass and the right a continuous high pitched melody. Enough to drive you crazy, or addicted, since that’s what this song is about (read the lyrics).
In The Netherlands, the arcade game ‘Whac A Mole’ isn’t generally known. We always have to describe it with a lot of hand-gestures before we get an ‘Aha!’. But everybody knows the dangers of an addiction to innocent games like Angry Birds or Farmville.
To The Hell Below
First, the title-song of our EP. This song captures the live feeling we wanted most. It starts with someone telling you a tale. Close by. Whispering. Like he’s on the bar stool next to you. He’s old and you can see he has had a long and interesting life. And that person… is you! Looking back to all the difficulties you’ ve faced, in some way the hell you went through. And the storyteller wants you to toast to it. Because that’s life. (read the lyrics)
And yes, we were toasting while recording this song. Toasting and drinking. As you can hear by the shouts at the end. That’s us. Times ten. Maarten Franken, our multi-instrumentalist.
While we had a multi-instrumentalist at our disposal, it was Rik who played every instrument you hear on this track. Yes, the bass, guitar, phillicorda, drums, beatring, it’s all Rik. By far the most interesting instrument is the upright bass. You’ve seen this beauty in our video of ‘Counting Stars’ and we need to thank Rene again for lending it to us.
The first song we wrote together. About ‘falling’ in every aspect of the word. We tried to set the stage in the first verse and how they got there in the second. It’s about falling in love with someone, falling out of love, literally falling off a building and not knowing a way out. A dark theme for a beautiful song. (read the lyrics)
It’s recorded with piano and bass, the instruments we started with as Ellow. We know this song so well and have tried so many things, but the thing that worked best for us was playing it together. It’s pretty much a one-taker as you hear it on the EP. If you listen closely, you can hear the click track from our headphones, both at the beginning and the end of the song.
We only added extra vocals, phillicorda and guitar to the original composition. Maarten created the second melody during our shows, you can hear it’s missing in our video of ‘Falling’, which is from the pre-Maarten period. But we decided that Eline needed to record it, to make the sound less edgy. We added the phillicorda in the last chorus and in the build-up to the chorus, to give the song more body.
Like ‘Falling’, we need to play the song together to capture it, like in the video. With the click track on repeat, we recorded it three times and choose the best. And no editing or extra instrument was needed. Even adding drums decreased the charm of the song. So we just added some snaps for the rhythm and a sixties-vibe.
On this song, you can hear Maarten sing. Him singing about forcing someone willingly to his knees is ironic and worthy of Ellow. (read the lyrics) But that wasn’t the deciding factor. It was his pronunciation and timing that we wanted. And making Rik add shouts, gave it the live-vibe we needed.
Little Things, is a little thing (we so funny). A little song written and recorded in the dead of night (around 2 o’clock), with only the Tenor Uke and Eline’s voice. It’s a reminder to keep the important things of life in mind. The little things that can make someone else happy. (read the lyrics)
Every song on this EP has its own vibe and sound. But the overall sound we wanted to portray was the live-feeling. Because we’re just us. The two of us, with our instruments. Giving you our songs. We tried to magnify this vibe by adding extra shouts (Whac A Mole Blues, To The Hell Below), playing it in one take (Falling, Jealousy), keeping the click track and Eline’s breathing (Falling) and keeping it small and simple (Little Things).
Overall, we think we delivered a nice little EP, completely mixed and mastered by ourselves. We’ve learned a lot and still have a lot to learn, but hopefully you’re as excited as we are. Because we’re proud. And we can’t wait to see you at the livingroomshows we’ve planned.
Yes, you will be able to buy our EP.
Not invited to a livingroomshow? Host your own! Why not? It’s an excellent reason to party! And toast. To The Hell Below…
And yes, we mentioned the plural of EP. Because in a few months. We will release the next one with another 5 songs (they’re nearly finished!). So stay tuned!