The Student Pocket Guide | Ellie Gouldding Interview
by Nathan Wadlow
After a turbulent period since her emphatic breakthrough in 2010, Ellie Goulding has returned to the big stage with new album, ‘Halcyon’. It is an ethereal showcase of her undoubtedly gifted and distinctive talent, which sees her music take a slight change of course to the darker sounds and influences of electronic music. With her debut album ‘Lights’ having sold 1.5 million copies, as well as 5 million single sales worldwide, the pressure could hardly have been greater for Ellie to produce the problematic second record. Three years, and two high profile break-ups later, she has yet again received the acclaims of critics across the globe, with what appears to be a collection of her best music yet. We recently caught up with her, to hear things from her point of view…
I am sure you are aware that the reception surrounding Halcyon has been amazing. Have you had a chance to get your head around it all?
I’m just really glad. The nicest thing people have said is that I’ve grown as an artist and taken a step up, which is obviously way better than taking a step down! It’s been wicked, so cool. I have had the most incredible reaction to the point where it makes me really emotional.
Was there any inspiration behind Halcyon being a type of seabird when you were choosing the album title?
Well, I wrote so much of it by the sea and spent a lot of time there by myself, you know, really taking it in. A lot of the songs have an ocean theme because of that. I think I’ve always just been fascinated by the sea and the idea of there being this underworld. Halcyon has a darker; it explores the idea of paradise but also the opposite side of that.
Would you say this record is more important to you than your first?
I don’t know… I felt like it was the first time that I had a really strong vision. These are songs that for the past few years whilst I’ve been doing all this crazy stuff have been coming into my head, and now to actually hear them become a cohesive piece of work, is an amazing feeling.
Could you tell us about your new single, ‘Figure 8’?
It’s just about how awful unrequited love is, and the whole agony of someone not loving you back.
Would you say it’s one of your most obvious steps away from your previous music, in terms of the newfound electronic feel?
I guess so, but my last single is also very electronic. They both have a lot of electronic elements to them but also have a very different sound.
Your touring schedule for 2013 is quite hectic! Some might say you’ll be needing a lot of stamina…
Haha, yeah! I’m kinda used to it now though, not as in “Oh yeah, I’ve done it all before”, but I really have been doing it a lot and found myself getting used to things and certain routines. I’ll be alright!
A lot of British artists enjoy the whole romanticism of touring The States. Do you feel the same?
I did a huge tour of America for about six weeks and it was really hard; I found that very difficult. I was playing smaller venues and it was probably the longest I had been away from home before. The second one was much easier. Once you’ve done it, it gets easier and it is exciting touring The States. You visit some really, really cool places, meet random people and the whole thing is quite exotic. I do like coming home though, I don’t spend that much time at home.
I saw quite a funny Daily Mail headline quote from yourself, vaguely related to being on the road…
Oh God! There’ve been many!
It was, Ellie Goulding: “I’ve had my fair share of underwear thrown at me”…
Ah, of course there would be that headline! The thing is I said it in such jest as well. But yeah, I guess I have!
I really like the music videos from this album. They have a mysterious, arty feel to them, especially Figure 8. Do you have an input with the direction of your videos?
Yeah, I love the Figure 8 video! My friend who is a professional Freerunner is in it, he’s so cool! I never used to have much of an input, mainly because I was never that bothered, but now I guess I’m very bothered!
A running theme in this edition of the magazine is guilty pleasures… What are yours?
Chocolate, sweets and Geordie Shore. Those are the three that spring to mind!
Interview by Nathan Wadlow