“It’s just stone cold, bare naked light, and it’s awful but brilliant,” Eleanor K describes from a bar of the extraordinary Edwardian hotel in London. Her evaluation of the solo artist experience is poignant and also describes an inner strength which has reached new levels with her latest track. The multi-faceted artist is in the Rosewood Hotel to film the new music for single ‘Cry in Givenchy’, the third solo effort to be released into the world. “It’s a bit of spoken word – I would never have done anything like that but [it’s] ironic and it’s also taking some influences from when I was growing up – like Jazzier stuff and those sort of sultry tones. I wanted to have a moment – an opportunity, to lean into that, to have that moment of confidence and slickness. Whilst it is tongue n’ cheek it’s also I’m getting to present that side of me, which I felt was essential as a bigger picture of a larger body of work. And there was a lot of doubt, you know. That’s why it took me a while – it took me a while to do it. Under the guise of, ‘no I’m just in a developmental stage.’ It took a lot of work to get to the point of trusting yourself but eventually you get there and it’s brilliant.”
The video for the latest track finds Eleanor venturing around various parts of the stunning hotel with the aesthetic underpinning the tone of the song. Golden shades of light flood the scenes with elegance and an air of ambience, whilst Eleanor’s outfit changes punctuates the song’s various layers. Discovering a renewed confidence unseen in previous videos for singles ‘All In’ and ‘The Panic’s Over’, the singer-songwriter is seen gliding effortlessly across marble floors and warm library rooms. “I like to create sort of an overarching visual and aesthetic to each song,” she notes. “ ‘All In’ – that was a more intimate track and was the first one that I came out with. It was a bit more alone and it was gentle, and that was sort of all associated in that regard. ‘The Panic’s Over’ was meant to be more frantic and that was home life as well. This one is confidence, growth and glamour so I’m in this space as well. I’m just trying to create and build this aesthetic presence within each song and make each one a journey.”
Eleanor K is best known for her notable membership within the band Crystal Fighters, an electronic pop outfit. It was around 2017 however that Eleanor found herself gravitating towards songwriting for a new solo path, as noted in her PR. The year 2017 however was a tough one for the singer, she notes. “I was actually really in a terrible place. I write very honestly so I guess it was an acknowledgement of the fact that I had no ability to even look after myself in any way, shape or form.” That journey of moving to solo was a daunting prospect, she tells me. “It does feel like starting again from scratch. So you sort of think like, ‘are only 3 people going to listen?’ And you know, I can confirm that at least five have, so. [Laughs] No it’s been really great and people have been really supportive – it’s gone better than I thought it could have gone actually and it keeps building. It feels like a nice steady build and I’m just going to continue to do it and I’m really excited.”
It was around the same time that the previous single ‘The Panic’s Over’ was born. “It’s been three years now when I started writing that, as I said I was still very much in the midst of touring and I was [still] living in LA. It’s the lyrics that came first – just that little guitar line but because I was in such a disarray it took me so long to actually go back to it and finish it. It took me a while – that’s why it was such a big moment when I finally finished it. It was more than just finishing a song for me personally, it was like, ‘oh wow, I’ve actually managed to finish this thought that I had and this desire that I had.’ It’s completed and I feel like I am in a different space.” This personal progression is portrayed as a notable change in aesthetic across videos for the tracks, with ‘The Panic’s Over’ using quite muted tones of blue and grey with a slight spark of colour for the flowers. Meanwhile ‘Cry in Givenchy’ takes a warmer, more confident palette for the visuals and a change of location from private home life to a public hotel space. It notes the change of mindset for Eleanor across the tracks and demonstrates the state of the world also – from home to becoming free.
Bringing this sense of contrast and change of mindset, Eleanor notes that the new album aims to reflect this honesty. “The album I’ve been writing while touring for years. There are some parts and some little bits and segments that I’ve written whilst in a very different place – in a very different frame of mind. They’ve been brought forward to some of the songs within the album as well. I wanted to be able to really capture a lot of the darkness at that point because what’s the point in even experiencing it if you can’t make something good out of it; make a song, be creative. I don’t want my album to be all sweetness and light because that hasn’t been what I’ve experienced constantly. I wanted to show that journey in a way.” This journey was also personified within the video for ‘The Panic’s Over’, held within a house plant. “I guess there’s so many times in life where – I’m just going to use this as just relationships but it’s broader than relationships. But the principle is that you can go from one relationship into another, and see the same patterns and you think, ‘oh it’s with that person, why do I keep going to these people?’ But actually you’re probably bringing that pattern yourself. You know, it’s not all you but you’re bringing a lot of that to the table, that’s why you’re seeing it over and over again projected onto other people. So that plant, it doesn’t have a personality – it’s me projecting all my issues onto an obsolete object basically. Creating something beautiful and then my own inner workings of my mind destroying it. But it’s a plant, you can’t really blame a plant because it’s just there – emanating C02, doing what it does.”
“I think just like they say that happiness is never a constant state, neither is not feeling totally panicked – it’s coming and going but at least the panic is over sometimes. Which is more than what I can say historically because the panic was just a constant state that I was living in, twenty-four-seven. Whereas now it’s like, ‘OK the panic is momentarily over, thank you so much.’ The panic is momentarily over throughout the day, several times a day, and that’s a nice relief.” Eleanor also mentions her Dad as a major influence in finding peace in herself when creating the material, and also as a valuable contributor to her album. Penned for release in 2022, ‘Everytime’s The Last Time’ is as much personal as it is an evolution of self. “I had a studio in LA and he would sometimes come and visit me – he’s always been really, really supportive. I would show him around the studio and I was like, ‘you know what? I want to keep doing this to people I meet if I ever find the nearest studio setting.’ I’m like, ‘can I just record you? Just do it.’ They’re like, ‘what are you talking about? No.’ and I’m like, ‘anything, I just want anything,’ because I love making things and I love that. I asked and I was like, ‘Dad, can you tell me your rules to life?’ and he just started listing all of his viewpoints on life that he sort of echoed throughout my childhood. And I found it really beautiful because he’s such a balanced, peaceful, and lovely man. It was that alongside the journey of it I embedded it in, and it was just something nice – I wanted it to be a little Beatles-esque. And yeah, I felt really good about that.”
This feeling of mindfulness and balance has found its core in latest single ‘Cry in Givenchy’ but also signifies a change of tides for Eleanor as a solo artist coming out of the pandemic. “It’s this sort of magnifying glass on yourself isn’t it because you’ve got zero distractions. Yeah you’ve baked a few banana loaves – absolutely, but there are only so many loaves that you can bake, OK. So it’s forced me just out of my comfort zone because I think that travelling around and doing shows are filling a part of you, and you kind of sustain yourself on that. There was nothing to sustain yourself other than on the loaf. So it’s then it’s really just like, ‘OK well I have to do this, I have to do this. This is what I want to do – I want to make things.’ ” Speaking further about pandemic home life, Eleanor notes. “It gave me structure and routine, and [with] stability I think you’re able to be quite productive. It’s not just this emotionally volatile, ‘I’m a creative spirit,’ going around destroying things left, right and center. I know I still have that – it’s still there but we’re doing it in a structured way, OK. We’ll do the breakdown at a breakfast. Then we’ll carry on from there.”