ELORA is a French band that have been around for a good few years, but didn’t really start getting much attention until they released their first EP “En Reve” in 2008. Five years later the band signed to German label Progressive Promotion Records, who released their debut album “Crash” in the summer of 2013. The album has been given a positive reception by the progressive rock community worldwide, and a direct result of that is that Elora has been booked for the 2014 edition of Baja Prog in Mexico, currently the largest ongoing progressive rock festival in the world.
The current line-up of Elora consist of:
– Jean-Vincent Fillipini – bass
– Lionel Giacobbé – guitars
– Patrice Cannone – keyboards
– Elodie Clairin – vocals
– Damien Dahan – vocals
– Julien Beaumont – drums
Lionel Giacobbe is answering on behalf of the band in this interview.
– Can you tell us about when and how the band was formed?
Following the break-up of a band Jean-Vincent, Lionel Gaccobe and Damien Dahan had been members of, Elora was formed on April 4th 2004 by them and Patrice Cannone, all of them still members of the band. There have been a few line-up alterations since, and the current incarnation of the band have Julien Beaumont and Elodie Clairin as additional members.
– Do you have any funny or interesting episodes related to the early days of the band?
The recruitment of our first drummer is a funny story. We were neighbors at the time, but had never actually met. One Friday this neighbor forgot to turn his alarm clock off and was gone the entire weekend. The alarm clock rang for two days, starting at 5 am. Rather angry I went to talk to him on the following Monday. After this conversation I see a drum set in his apartment. We start to talk about music, and he told me that he was a drummer. At this point in time we were looking for a drummer to get the Elora project started. He was invited to a trial and became our first drummer. He was a member for two years and he’s a very good friend of ours to this day.
– What inspired your choice of band name?
The formation of Elora took place a few weeks prior to the birth of our bassists daughter. Inspired by the movie “Willow” (with the princess Elora Danan) he wished to name his daughter Elora. Charmed by this poetic and original first name we decided to give the band the same name.
– What can you tell us about your EP “En Reve” from 2008 and events during the creation and promotion of it?
Our first EP was our first real studio experience . It took place in the “Sound Suite Studio with Terje Refnes producing. This 4 track CD is a mixture of pop, rock and progressive rock. We didn’t really focus on a defined style at that point in time. The most progressive oriented song of the four, as well as the band’s favorite, is Desert. This is the song that inspired the artistic direction we would move towards later on.
– What can you tell us about your debut album “Crash” from 2013 and events during the creation and promotion of it?
To enter the studio for our first album was a very exciting and stressful experience. We were back in the studio in October 2012, 16 intensive and extraordinary days. We were confident about the skills of Terje Refsnes who produced our EP in 2008. He had understood our sound very well and is like our seventh member. It all happened very quickly due to our trust of Terje sharing our vision. Inspired by and in cooperation with him we created different arrangements not originally planned during the recording sessions that gave our material a truly special style and sound compared to our initial EP. Our debut album is a much more mature production all around, some material more distinctly progressive oriented while other songs turned out with more of an emphasis of being catchy – in a good way. We finished the studio sessions delighted with the end result. We desired to sign to a label for our debut album, and Progressive Promotion Records quickly signaled their interest. They are in charge of sales as well as promotion in Europe, and we experience them as a dedicated and serious company.
– What are your ambitions at this stage of your career?
The band has climbed a step up with this album, from a few live gigs to major European prog festivals. Recently we were invited to perform at the largest prog festival on the planet, “BAJA Prog fest” in Mexico. It is an honor for us to be a part of this festival. What we desire now is to continue to play live and entertain our audience, and maybe to record a new album. Perhaps to be released in 2015?
– Are there any particular artists that the band as a whole or individual band members would cite as influential?
Our influences range from progressive rock to metal going through electronic and classical music, but mostly progressive rock bands. Some of the artists that have attracted our attention mostly are: The Gathering, Riverside, Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd. Many others could be added to this list of course. Even though our influences are sometimes heard I must say that Elora sounds like Elora first and foremost.
– What artists have your music been compared to?
Generally most listeners tell us that Elora sounds like Elora. We have established our own identity, even if our influences are heard here and there. One might say that it’s an oldies sound in a more contemporary style.
– What music do you enjoy listening to yourself?
All the musicians of the band listen to vastly different styles of music, which is probably what makes our sound make so unusual. Just now our ears are tuned in to Steven Wilson and Riverside, with a healthy dose of bands like Haken on the side.
– Any thoughts you’d like to share on the music scene where you’re based or the music scene in general?
I think the prog stage is blooming these days. The movement as such never disappeared of course, although it is still overlooked by the radio who focus on the mainstream music scene. Through the festival circuit we find an audience still eagerly interested in progressive music . While this situation may not seem relevant in the northern European countries it is a big problem in France. I think it is due to a lack of curiosity and musical culture in the French population. Whenever we say that we listen to or play progressive rock we are regarded as strange.
– Do you have anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Support the prog movement and go to see live music because without you playing music live will not have any reason. Live music is primarily a sharing experience, don’t forget that aspect of seeing a concert.
Oh, and if you have a few million dollars or Euros you’d like to give away, we just might be interested in receiving them.