Elephant: “If you can achieve that, you’re immortal as a band”

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After their successful debut album (Big Thing) last year, Elephant is already releasing its follow-up Shooting For The Moon, next September. Following an energetic Frequenzy Session at studio Mojo Dojo, we catch up with the four band members to discuss the upcoming album, their growth as a band, and the weekly ‘therapy sessions’ they have.

“Actually, we see Shooting For The Moon as the ‘other side’ of Big Thing, a ‘delayed double album’,” drummer Kaj van Driel begins discussing Elephant’s second record. “Some of the songs were written during the same period. But now, we have thought them through even better and have been less sloppy in terms of production. This results in a sound that’s more nuanced than Big Thing, which had more of a rock vibe. Now that we know each other better and understand everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, we are more in sync.”

“Yeah, it’s actually like a sort of therapeutic support group now,” bassist Michael chimes in with a laugh. “Every week we rehearse in a tiki bar-like space within a warehouse, nestled among my stepfather’s Chinese cabbage greenhouses – just outside Rotterdam.” Before we start, we first discuss all our frustrations. Or we talk about news items that caught our attention,” Michael explains. “And sometimes, the news can make you cynical,” guitarist and vocalist Frank continues. “We try to write that off by emphasizing the beautiful aspects of life instead of creating angry lyrics. This way, we put things into perspective and provide ourselves with musical antidotes to the negativity in this world. Even though it may be the case that with a relatively young audience, it might ‘work’ better to criticize politics and the world itself harshly, that’s not where our strength lies. And if you start doing something that is not your strength, there will always be others who do it much better. So we continue to make the music we’re good at.”

And so, the Rotterdam musicians tackle everything in a positive manner, whatever challenges they may face, both in their personal lives and within the music scene. Despite their successful debut album and an increasingly busy schedule, the four band members are still unable to make a living solely from being musicians. However, the necessary side jobs do not deter the band from continuing to think ahead as Elephant. “We’re already busy working on material for our third album,” Michael dryly remarks. “While we have a club tour scheduled now, next year we want to plan a packed festival summer and spend even more time in the studio,” guitarist and vocalist Bas adds.

“Actually, the highest attainable in music is to touch people and provide them comfort.”

When asked about their ultimate goal, for the band members domestic and international festivals like Lowlands and Sónar come to mind first, but Bas passionately explains, “Actually, the highest attainable in music is to touch people and provide them comfort. Sometimes, after our shows, we have conversations with people who come alive again during difficult periods when they listen to our music. In terms of meaning, the highest achievable is being able to continue doing that.” “Absolutely true!” confirms Michael, before concluding, “That Lowlands-show is over after forty-five minutes. But people can still find solace in the music of artists who are no longer with us. If you can achieve that, you are immortal as a band!”

Wanna see Elephant live? Check out their tour schedule for this summer (& beyond) here.

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