The lyrics of the incredible new song from Eliza And The Bear come straight from the heart and soul of this incredible band. ‘First Aid’ is a hint of the music to come from James Kellegher, Martin Dukelow, Chris Brand and Paul Kevin Jackson but it’s also a glimpse into exactly why the album means so much to the band. Read the lyrics, and then read them again.
I had the pleasure and honour to ask lead singer James some questions about the album and where he is personally after an impassioned post on the band’s Facebook page earlier this year. I’ve chatted with him before at Barn on the Farm Festival and also after the band’s gig at the Forum in Tunbridge Wells and he is one of the most approachable guys in music at the moment. I hope his answers make us, as music fans, understand how important it is to do everything we can to support live music in this country. It’s the soundtrack to our lives, let’s not live in silence!
“I’ve been driving but I’m running out of roadI’ve been climbing but I’m almost out of ropeCarrying the world now I can barely copeBody’s brokenWon’t you help me take the load I placed upon myself?So won’t you be my first aidWhile there’s still something to save?So won’t you be my first aid?I blame myself because never I open upI close the door on you it’s safer when it’s shutIt’s like I’m fast asleep could you come wake me upWould you lie next to me so I can feel your touchA bandage on my cutSo won’t you be my first aidWhile there’s still something to save?Won’t you be my first aidWhile there’s still something to save?Teach me to breathe all by myself(And nurse me back to health)Teach me to breathe all by myselfBreatheBreatheBreathe all by myselfBreatheBreatheBreatheI’ve been driving but I’m almost out of roadSo won’t you be my first aidWhile there’s still something to save?Won’t you be my first aidWhile there’s still something to save?And I know it’s all fateAnd we’re all destined to breakWon’t you be my first aidSo come on patch me upI need your loveI need you love, ehSo come on patch me upI need your loveI need you loveSo come on patch me upI need your loveI need you love, ehSo come on patch me upI need your loveI need you love”
EP: James, the new EATB album comes out in early October. ‘Group Therapy’, from the music that you’ve shared, will have a different vibe. How has the new sound evolved?
JK: The new sound evolved over a long period of time. We started to write for some other artists during our down time which really began to open our eyes to what we can do. The first album was written jamming in a practice room so was very much limited to 2 guitars a keyboard and bass and drums. The second album is more fluid, we didn’t restrict ourselves in anyway. Any idea was a good idea, nothing was too cheesy and nothing was shut down before it was tried.
EP: This release is not with your original label. Were there issues with the change in direction or was this a natural parting of the ways?
JK: This change partly inspired the sentiment of the album. We parted ways with the label and kinda felt like everything else went with it. We didn’t know if we’d ever play another show, our safety net, our life support was switched off. But then we began to breathe on our own, and we soon realised how fresh the air was.
The parting was a natural one, major labels are a numbers game and we weren’t winning the numbers game.
EP: The name of the release is a nod, I believe, to the therapeutic nature of it’s creation. You bravely made a statement regarding the anxiety and depression you felt after splitting from a large record label on the band’s FB page. It’s one of the bravest things I’ve read and I’m sure it helped lots of readers with its honesty. If it’s not rude to pry, are things looking better for you emotionally and mentally?
JK: Things are definitely better, but that’s because of being able to deal with it in a whole new way. I’m able to pick up the phone or text a mate and vent. But that’s not to say I don’t have bad days, We all do, and it’s not wrong to have them, you just learn to deal with them more efficiently than before.
EP: I don’t think the general public has any idea of the pressure involved in music, is there something you’d like to say about that?
JK: It can seem like it’s all glitz and glamour, but there is a hell of a lot of work that goes on everyday behind closed doors that people will never know about. It’s like writing an album, we wrote maybe 50 songs, only 10-12 will make it and the other 38-40 will be archived and never heard. It’s the songs that are never heard that can arguably be more influential to the final product than some songs that made the album. These are the mistakes, these are the lessons we learned along the way.
EP: Do you think that pressure is heightened by the immediacy of social media and the exposure you have to fans and non fans alike?
JK: A lot of people paint a picture of the perfect life online but I don’t buy any of that, I’m not one to scrutinise over an Instagram post or something like that. But I can see how social media can add huge amounts of pressure on people, purely through what they see in other peoples profiles.
EP: It’s important to not suffer in silence and I hugely applaud you for your statement. Have the series of intimate gigs you’ve recently played helped to allay fears that your music is not relevant ? The reaction I saw at BOTF and recently at the Forum in Tunbridge Wells was hugely positive.
JK: Every show we play reinforces to us that people care. It’s something that’s hard to replicate anywhere else, having a room of people appreciate you for what you do will always be humbling. And it definitely feels like group therapy.
EP: Going forward how can music fans help artists to cope with the pressure involved in making music?
JK: It’s a two way street, our music helps people, and those people help us. Keep listening to new bands, going to shows and supporting those that are out there making music. If it wasn’t for a number of people doing that for us, we wouldn’t be here today. All I can say is thank you, for everything.
EP: I can’t wait to hear the full album, James, what can you tell us about its content?
JK: Group Therapy is just that, it’s a therapy session. Rolling through the many emotions that we faced over the past few years during the turmoil and triumph of Eliza and the bear.
EP: You’ve recently elected to play more intimate gigs. Has this helped to perfect the way the new music plays live and how it fits in with older material ? Has the feedback helped?
JK: Yeah we felt it right to deliver our new songs in an intimate setting to the most dedicated of fans! And it also meant we got to play the new songs about 30 times in a month so now we definitely can’t f*ck em up. Haha.
EP: Before we wind up I’d like to thank you for your time, thank you for your music and ask if you have a message for fans, a message for anyone going through the pain that you have?
JK: Firstly, thank you. Thank you for restoring our faith and helping us complete this second album.
And secondly, pick up the phone. Send that message. Ask for help. Ask for a coffee. Reach out, even if you don’t want to talk about everything. A little human contact goes a long way.
EP: James, you’re an inspiration with your honesty regarding your struggles and I thank you again. Good luck with the album and I’m sure I speak for all music fans when I say we are here for you.
JK: Thank you Steve, thanks for all your support!