“There will be a pristine wall of posters and someone will have to draw a penis somewhere”: Interview with Eliza And The Bear

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Since they entered the indie scene a few years ago, Eliza And The Bear have gone from strength to strength, and have hit 2016 running. With a long string of festival appearances under their belt and only a few months away from the 8th April release of their self-titled debut album, excitement about these guys is certainly growing.

Originally hailing from London, this indie five piece have been touring the country to meet their fans and dispel the myth of who, exactly, is Eliza. They recently brought their beautifully acoustic shows to Southampton on tour with Slow Lights, and Carly-May got a chance to sit down to chat with the band about touring, more cock art, and where Eliza is.

How’s it been? How are you guys?
Really good thank you; we had a day off yesterday so feel we’ve relaxed a little bit. Weirdly the middle of this tour is like the slog bit because we have 12 shows in 13 days, really full on tour, but considering every show so far has been virtually sold out it’s been really fun.

All the crowds have been going off every single night, it’s all been so busy, but yeah, it’s been great.

Does it ever get a bit repetitive, doing the same set each night?
Nah, although you’d think it would be! Like the set-up on the day can get a little monotonous and repetitive, but every show is different and has its own little bit of character, and every audience is different, little bits of banter with the crowd each night that makes it special. The other day we set off a fire alarm and the whole gig got shut down, so every gig is special in its own little way.

I guess all audiences respond differently?
Most nights they’re pretty engaged and up for it, but where we’ve done a varying amount of support tours, like Athlete two or three years ago, our audience is really varied in age, so it depends what ratio of old to young come. The young people are much more visibly getting into it but the older guys are at the back, having a beer. It goes short to taller!

It must be different headlining, because as a support not everyone is there to see you so you have to try harder to win them over.
Yeah, headlining makes things a little easier because they’re there to see us. But actually, I get more nervous because I think as a support, you have nothing to lose and have the challenge of going out and winning the crowd over. Headline show, people have come to see us and we have the responsibility of making the show good and not being absolutely terrible.

Yeah and with some shows even if you don’t really like the support, it hasn’t ruined the night if they’re not good.
And then someone pays to see you and we’re terrible, and they’re like, ‘not seeing them again!’.

Is it weird headlining; do you feel like ‘famous celebrities’, or does it just feel normal?
I don’t think we’ll ever feel like that because we have like a really cool relationship with the people that come and see us; we chat to them so we know 90% of our fans on a first name basis, so it doesn’t feel like that at all. We’re quite early on and just enjoying going around and meeting new people.

Big plans for after tour?
Festivals are a little bit too early to announce, but we’ve got a big festival season lined up, and we’ll also have a tour to go around the album in April. I think we’re going to do 4 or 5 shows and make them really special, try to save some money and do some really cool production.

Yeah, I think it’s nicer to be at a smaller, more intimate venue, with lots of stuff put in.
That’s what it’ll be like, it’s in an assembly hall, smaller than what we’ve played before, and they’re all just slightly smaller but the production will be really cool and a chance for us to play all of the tracks on the album and get people excited.

Completely unrelated, but I love your ‘No-one in this band is called Eliza’ shirt. I did actually Google ‘Eliza And The Bear band member names’!
That’s why we got it printed, every single interview is, “who’s Eliza?” or “where’s the Eliza?”.

Where did the name come from?
Book of poems – just really seemed to fit the songs at the time and it just stuck. I don’t think we expected to be playing to actual people, just our mums and dads. Weren’t really planning on it kicking off. Our label actually bought us a bear head – not an actual one! They didn’t chop it off, like fancy dress, a mask. We’ve worn it a couple of times but it’s too hot.

Especially here [Joiners], it gets so hot.
That’s what we should have named the tour, the sweaty hot – every show has been ridiculously hot. Literally, my bag stinks. It’s awful.

I don’t know why every interview I do in this room gets so low in quality, like with Ashestoangels half of the interview was why people draw penises on things, we got distracted by the art on the door.
The amount of cocks I’ve seen in dressing rooms… on the walls! On the walls.

I’ll never get bored of listening to a fart, or someone drawing a cheeky little cock. Look how well that one is drawn, he’s signed and dated it! That’s pride right there. Brilliant!

It’s such a guy thing.
It’s just stupidity, innit. There will be a pristine wall of posters and someone will have to draw a penis somewhere. They’re just funny!

Eliza And The Bear will be touring the UK throughout February. Their debut album is out 8th April and available for pre-order now.

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Third year PAIR student and live editor. Also the Wessex Scene's Head of Events. Fan of cats, gigs and a tea lover - find me rambling about politics and cats @_Carly_May on Twitter.

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