Elder Island play Montreal this weekend

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Carving out a genre-defying space for themselves in our musical landscape, Elder Island captivate with shapeshifting songs wherein textures matter as much as melodies, and lyrics are littered with crypticism.

The British band are returning to Montreal on May 14 to play a show at Fairmount Theatre.


Transforming elements from genres as diverse as electronica, house, pop and neo-soul, the result is a web of sound that threads poetic lyricism and unfamiliar instruments over a backdrop of electronic elements and synth-heavy dance beats.

Elder Island are singer and cellist Katy, bassist and beat engineer Luke Thornton and guitarist and synth virtuoso David Havard. Though none of the three hail from Bristol, the trio met there during University and their respective studies in graphic design, fine-art and photography have doubtlessly provided the band with its diverse creative sustenance.

Formed eight years ago as an experiment-come-hobby, the city brought them together through house-shares and nights spent out dancing. Bristol’s genre-splicing music scene providing fertile ground for inspiration and opportunity. What began with casual jam sessions at home grew into something more serious when in 2014 an eponymously titled debut EP took off in an unexpected way. Where their debut EP had been an ambient soundscape of field recordings, loops and percussive elements, its follow-up, 2016’s Seeds In Sand was a more cohesive collection of five dance-influenced tracks. Upbeat tracks like Bamboo and Key One were huge hits with fans and marked the beginnings of the band’s now signature dance-inducing live shows.

Elder Island’s magic originates in part from their intriguing and protracted songwriting process. Every song starts as a jam session in their converted basement studio, drifting and finding its own direction as ideas and instruments are thrown into the mix. These sessional meanderings can last for several hours and, post-jam, the band begins the long task of sifting, stitching and blending together to create something cohesive that can then be cut to size. The band admit that this process can be arduous as the trio can tend towards being over-fastidious when it comes to finalising their creations but in many ways, this method proliferates their experimentation and creativity.

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