Most people are fully aware there is one undeniable truth in the media.
Bad news sells well.
So when Elisa Imperilee from Elisa and Srigala, Loyle Carner’s support act for his ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ tour, received a sexist comment on stage, it rushed to the headlines. BBC clocked on, as did numerous other music based outlets as Loyle Carner was outlined as a hero (and rightfully so) for removing the culprit from the venue.
But what about Elisa and Srigala? The reality is, hundreds of thousands will have seen that headline, but very few would have considered them as real, ‘making it’ musicians. But, I can tell you now, they are.
I sat down with the pair, and, after the lovely offer of a party ring, we got talking. Instantly, I could tell the pairing were naturally ready to talk music, and to talk about what makes them, them.
The pairing are so natural it’s uncanny. From meeting at playgroup when they were little they’ve spent all of their life as friends. Srigala was instantly took in by DJ’ing and creating beats, whilst for Elisa; it took a little more time for her to find her voice. The first time that they made music together was after a night out in Manchester. Srigala admits he was “fucked”, to say the least. But the liquid confidence rubbed off on Elisa. “I always had a weird thing about singing in front of people, everyone used to try and force me to sing.” Sigrala managed to convince her, and playing around with original material allowed Elisa to find her voice. “It was very out of character, but I did it and look at us now.”
Talking about their time on tour, Elisa put it best, “it’s like a crash course in performing.” Explaining, “It’s like a very intense artist training course.”
Srigala continued with his observations, “There’s just music everywhere, even in places you wouldn’t expect it.” A humble perspective from a duet expecting to have learnt so much technically on the tour, to actually be commenting on the scene they’ve witnessed around the UK.
Conversation naturally flowed into how Srigala does his bit to contribute to that scene.
“A lot of the influence is actually the sample, I’ll go record shopping and sometimes I’ll pick up something and be like ‘oh, that sounds cool. I used to pick up records and think, that covers wavey but I’ve noticed that doesn’t really work.
“You might just hear a good 5 seconds though, and that 5 seconds can grow in to a full length track from that original sample.”
Being a duet though, I expected the pairing to have times where they’d split things up, and where they’d pitch things separately, doing their own projects then introducing the other into it. “Because we’ve been friends for so long it always comes so naturally,” Elisa says, “when we make music it’s more like we’re just hanging out. I’ll make lunch and we’ll watch Bake Off.” Elisa then pointed out that Srigala was suffering serious heartache after losing Yan last week.
The secret I learn, is not to spend too much time on one thing. “What we do sometimes is work on different ideas for about 20 minutes, then we just stop the clock and see what we’ve got. Maybe do 4 in one day, then pick the strongest one, then work together on that.”
They’d been doing this an awful lot in the run up to the ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ tour though. They wanted to create songs that fit with the style of Loyle Carner, so in roughly 3 weeks, prior to the tour, smashed out almost half of what is now their set.
‘Make Mess’, one of those newer songs, had its beat made just 4 days before the pairing set off for the tour.
Though Elisa and Srigala do already have released tunes to listen to, having released their debut EP together, now is the time to clock on to the pairing and start your love for their melodic twist on modern rap. Elisa and Srigala accompany each other perfectly on ‘Washmyhands’, a personal favourite of mine.
It’s perfect to relax to and samples the perfection of Elisa’s vocal ability, as well as Srigala’s way with words, offering a relaxed alternative a loud and proud grime movement flourishing in their hometown, Brixton. Additionally, the chorus is catchy; it’s stuck in my head for days at a time post-listen. It’s definitely worth at least checking ‘WashMyHands’, if not the whole 1 O’Clock Club EP.
There’s plenty more to come after the tour from Elisa and Srigala too, with a backlog of songs thrust into the limelight through their recent travels, they have roughly “an album worth” of songs. The pairing are creating so much new stuff, they’re in need of spreadsheets to keep on top of things. Whilst Srigala tends to “jump the gun” and move from project to project, Elisa is quickly jotting it all down in excel to remember for later.
It’s even colour coded.
“Red needs work, yellow’s almost there, and green’s good to go.”
So where from here?
Elisa seemed to have it planned out, “I think what we’re looking to do now is have a break from performing, work on some new stuff and get it all recorded really nicely, release a music video and then have a headline show early in the year.”
Whatever’s ahead, Elisa and Srigala both have their eyes on the prize, and both seem incredibly passionate about what lies ahead.
On this tour they’ve experienced the bad, but mostly the good coming from the UK’s music scene, and you get the feeling, they can’t wait to be a big part of it.
Words by Alex Pearson