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Ellen and the Escapades

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Since picking up a couple of slots at Glastonbury's hallowed stages back in 2010, Ellen and the Escapades have honed their stunning folk-inspired sound and enchanted audiences nationwide. Last month saw the release of their debut album, All The Crooked Scenes, and we couldn't resist getting them into The Amazing Sessions studio. The video above is I'll Keep You Warm from said album. After the session we caught up with James from the band.

Hello Ellen and the Escapades! You've just finished your headline UK tour with Paper Aeroplanes - how was it for you?

Yeah it was great. Really good fun, and really cool to tour with such a great act. Couldn’t have asked for more on this tour.

Were there any particular highlights?

There were plenty of highlights. Most days really. Ha! Of course we enjoyed doing our Amazing Radio session. That was a good laugh. As far as favourite venues go, it always has to be The Brudenell in Leeds, but then that is pretty biased. Great venue though. The Cluny was a really cool place, and we have never played Newcastle before so that was an exciting one. The Thekla in Bristol is a boat! So that was certainly a different experience.

Back in 2010 you won the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition and performed on three of the festival's stages. What impact do you think this has had on your journey towards releasing your debut album All The Crooked Scenes?

It has helped massively. Playing to that many people at such an incredible festival, you’re bound to win at least a few over. Many people that have seen us throughout the summer at festivals have come to watch us at our gigs, so it’s a really great way to try and increase your fan base. It’s a great way to just get noticed really. You’re always looking for ways to step it up a notch, and Glastonbury definitely helped with that at the time.

Can you talk us through your single releases and how they came about - did you do it all yourselves? What would you do differently were you to do it all again?

We have never been afraid to do things on our own. At first it was just to try and get gigs. But once we got an idea of what we were doing it just became the right thing to do. All of our singles and even our album we have released through our own label. It’s necessary a lot of the time if you want to gain interest overall. It’s rare the big guns (like labels and publishers) get involved with artists unless you have proved yourself in many ways. I think we have now.

I don’t think we would do anything differently, taking the DIY approach means you learn a lot about the 'ins and outs' of the business end of music, and most of its invaluable information. The best advice I think we can give is to just crack on yourself, and make sure you aren't sat around waiting for something to happen.

With regards to the session itself, are the two tracks you performed for us - Without You and I'll Keep You Warm - particular favourites when playing live?

Yeah I think so. Without You is quite an old one for us now. It’s still a good little pop song. If any song gets people dancing it’s usually that one. I’ll Keep You Warm is a newer track. It’s got some excellent harmonies, and just the mood it creates tends to grab a lot of people. We thought they would be good choices as they are such a massive contrast to each other, which kind of represents our album. There is a lot going on on there, ha.

They both sound really great. What are the personal favourites from the album for each of you?

Its hard to pick favourites because its the reactions you get when playing the tracks live that often impact on your choice, and those reactions can change every time you play to a different audience, depending on what the atmosphere is like in the venue. Which is really nice because you end up truly appreciating every song you play instead of just a few. I guess 'Cast', the last track on the album is a stand out one for us at the moment though, but we have only just learnt to play it, after writing most of the parts in the studio, so its still really fresh for us.

So what's up next for the band? We've heard great things about Gary's buskers/acoustic night in your hometown of Leeds. So are you all involved in other music projects - or is it a Summer full of festivals for Ellen & The Escapades?

Gary likes to dip his fingers in many a pie, ha. (His night is worth checking out in Leeds, at a cool venue called Oporto). We all do other musical projects occasionally outside of the band, but EATE really does take up a lot of time at the moment, which is what we all want! It’s a fairly full on Summer, and it seems to get busier every week. We are really looking forward to getting in to festival season, it’s a whole other ball game, and lots of fun!

Lastly, are there bands or artists that we should check out?

Well check out Paper Aeroplanes, they are an excellent duo. Sam Airey from Leeds is also doing well at the moment and well worth a listen!

Check out more from the band at their profile.