We had a great chat with Cambridge based singer songwriter Elliot Porter who told us about his musical influences and plans for the near future.
Inspired by songwriters including Damien Rice, Glen Hansard and Neil Young, Elliot Porter self-produces, blending emotive and powerful chord arrangements with catchy tunes and strong vocals.
Hi Elliot, how are you? To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
What are the 5 albums that have influenced you the most?
Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?
At the moment I’m really enjoying Milk Carton Kids and Father John Misty. I love the complexity of Father John’s lyrics and the harmonies from Milk Carton Kids – Michigan is a particular favourite.
What would you say some of the challenges artists face today in the music industry?
Funding is difficult to keep consistent. It’s very expensive to keep your career running. Album costs, transport and promotion are quite costly. Without backing, it’s often quite a slow process for musicians I know. They have so much waiting to show the world, but often their biggest hurdle is finance in order to get it out there. I found crowdfunding has been a great way for me to do this.
Finding enough places to play where live music is nurtured and appreciated can also be difficult. Venues and promoters are often obsessed with numbers and money over the quality of the music. It takes a lot of trial and error to find the right people to work with, which is why I often promote and run my own shows!
Less people buying records. Record sales have given way to streaming in the main, and while this is a great way to get your music out there, it also discourages people from buying the whole record. I find I sell more EP’s on the live circuit than I do online. Online is great for a reference point and selling individual tracks.
Getting enough people to gigs! It’s increasingly hard to get people to come to gigs, which is why I prefer house gigs and things like Sofar sounds where the musicians go to the people. It just seems to work and I think it is the future.
Where do you gather songwriting inspiration?
I originally only wrote from personal experience which I think gives my music it’s honest qualities but now I also try and write from other people’s perspectives.
I love immersing myself in a local community, sitting in a coffee shop or a bar in a place I’m unfamiliar with and listening to people’s stories. Real people’s lives make for the best material in my opinion and I try and tap into that as much as possible. I’ll often go away for a few days and spend time somewhere unfamiliar as it helps free the mind away from the daily grind, when writing can be more difficult.
Most recently I’ve been trying writing lyrics first but that doesn’t often work so well for me.
It’s often quite unexpected and natural – that’s when the best songs are born!
Do you have any particular gigs or festivals that you dream about playing?
If you could perform alongside any other band or artist, who would it be?
Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
I’ve got a big gig in London on June 29th alongside Canadian artist Christina Martin on June 29th and a UK tour in October!
Follow Elliot Porter: