Little Brother Eli are a 5 piece from Oxford, their sound has been described as 'bluesy rock with hip hop rhythms'. Formed in early 2013 they released their debut EP the same year, a follow up was released in May 2015 and band have just finished recording there first full length album. We managed to catch up with the group during a whistle stop appearance in Germany.
Contactmusic (CM): Is this your first time in Hamburg?
Alex Grew - vocals (AG): This is our first time in Hamburg and the first time in Germany for some of us! Unfortunately we haven't had chance to see much of Hamburg so far, and it's a flying visit as we have a festival back in England tomorrow. So far though we've sampled the Reeperbahn and already tucked into our first 'Wursts'.
CM: Although it's coming towards the end of the European festival season, I think it's fair to say Reeperbahn Festival is one of the more important ones with regards to the audience it attracts, record executives, talent scouts, promoters etc, a lot of business is done here. Did this have any bearing on you deciding to play here?
AG: Without a doubt, it was our manager, Ville, who first pitched the idea to us. A showcase slot had become available and Ville was really keen that we take part. It's a fantastic and unique opportunity for us to give a performance to the people who've already shown interest in us over here in Europe.
CM: I believe the band was originally formed by Josh and Alex how did you meet? How did Linus, Adam & Benji become involved?
AG: Josh and I were buds for years having played together in a band as teenagers. When we both headed off to University we continued writing music and were sending song ideas between Sheffield and London. When we thought we had a good thing going, Josh picked out these three guys [Linus, Adam & Benji], played them the songs and asked if they would like to get involved. Josh knew Linus through university and Benji from playing in other bands. Adam was a local addition having played for years in various musical projects.
CM: Obviously blues plays a big part in the ''Little Brother Eli'' sound, was this the kind of music did you all grow up listening to? Who do you blame for the Blues influence?
Joshua Rigal - Bass (JR): I think we all get it from different places. There was always music on in my house as a kid growing up, my Dad's tastes have certainly influenced my musical tastes, he was a big fan of Jeff Lynnes' ELO who have the ability to manifest blues in so many wonderful ways.
Benji got into blues relatively recently through listening to the more contemporary artists such as Jack White and The Black Keys. Linus really became associated with the genre as he sought to improve his playing, going along to blues jams and playing with experienced players in blues venues in London.
CM: How far down the road are Little Brother Eli as a band? Have things gone to plan? Was there a plan?
AG: We're two or three years into it now. We've learned a lot, probably the most useful being that you've got to work hard and have great songs. That's what we've really been focused on for the past 18 months, writing great songs and playing lots of shows. Going forward we will continue the hard work ethic and take advice from our manager on our next moves.
CM: You funded an EP through kickstarter, how did you find that process? Would you recommend it to anyone?
JR: It was a fantastic process, enlightening and rewarding. The first thing that anyone who's going to launch a crowd funding campaign needs to understand is that the money is going to come from people who already have an interest in you and your art. That's primarily, family, friends and fans. Anyone who thinks that by making a video and creating a target online is going to generate cash from random do-gooders is in for disappointment. We were realistic and found it incredibly rewarding, seeing how much people believed in what we were doing. Before people give their hard earned cash away, they really have to believe in what you are doing.
CM: The tracks from the last EP 'Dreams','Who Do You' and 'Hanging' sound heavier than what might be expected from Little Brother Eli, a mix of blues, rock and dare I say it rap! Is this down to the band maturing or is it a new direction you are going in?
AG: I don't think it's a new direction, more of a honing in on the bands true sound. The first EP was written before Little Brother Eli were properly formed, having played together for years now, I think the newer music is a natural evolution of our sound. Our sound have often been described as is eclectic which quite fair, as long as the way we write songs doesn't change and we stay together I think it will continue to be like that.
CM: Are you working on any more new material at the moment?
JR: We've just finished recording our debut album. Which is kind of why we're here at Reeperbahn. We've got to sell our product to potential investors!
CM: Collectively, what has been 'Little Brother Eli' greatest day ever, so far?
JR: Our E.P launch was pretty special. Seeing so many people turn up for a really cool night of music. We were supported by a bunch of really talented musicians and the whole thing was a storming success.
CM: How has this year been so far?
AG: It's been hard work, we've not stopped really. The transition between writing, rehearsing and playing shows has been pretty relentless, we've not slowed down, but that's how we like it. We've been working really hard to make some luck for ourselves. Luck is the culmination of preparation and opportunity. We fully believe in that.
CM: What can we expect from 'Little Brother Eli' in 2016?
JR: We'll have album release, lots of shows and hopefully a return to Europe.
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