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Q&A: Eli Greeneyes - An Anthem For The Cool Kids

Born out of Perth and based in Melbourne, Eli Greeneyes represents all of the best bits of the up-and-coming Aussie indie-pop scene. Capturing the essence of teenage angst and all things coming of age, Eli Greeneyes’ recent single, ‘21’, released late last year. Eli’s confessional new single draws on classic brit pop influences, with introspective, Coldplay like lyrics and a Jamiroquai style video clip, leopard print bucket hat included. We sat down with Eli to pull apart the inspiration behind ‘21’ and get the scope on all the things that make him tick as an artist.

Thanks for taking the time Eli, can you tell us about your new single 21? 21 is about changing and growing into yourself as an individual and young adult and being bloody terrified in the process. I also realised that I had been idling at 150 percent of my energy my whole life out of trauma and anxiety of things that happened to me as a child. I was just depressed and quite a careful almost jumpy kid…I wrote this one in about 15 minutes in its entirety and usually I would spend so long trying to perfect it all but now more often than not I just try get the feeling out and then trim a few bits and pieces and just leave it alone until I record it :)

Is this part of a broader body of work we can expect? Well, I mean it will be! At the moment I’m just releasing one track after another. I do have enough music for probably about three albums I reckon. Part of me right now, especially being new with this project, feels that I’ll probably want to just smash out a bunch of singles to show what I’m about and where this project is going ‘cause I grew up on greatest hits records and compilation CDs which is where I think the single mentality comes from. I also really love records, a body of work telling quite a big story about the artist and the person that makes the music and it is definitely something that I will be doing in the future and soon I’d say.

How does the song writing procedure work for you? The best ones almost feel like they just get dropped in my lap, like I’m just sitting here with a bucket and somebody just dropped me a whole song or at least the barebones of an idea and I just put it together. Those songs usually come out in around 15 minutes to half an hour. 21 in particular came out in like 10 to 15 minutes and those are the best ones for me, the ones that contain the most feeling while my fingers are just trying to keep up.

What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences? I really wouldn’t know because I’m influenced by so many different genres of music. From people who are in music, people who do art and all kinds of inspiring stuff really. For example, like, a painting will make me want to write a song, a conversation will make me want to write a particular idea, it’s just in anything. If I could put it in its simplest form it would be the drums of hip-hop, the vocal delivery of punk music, and the song writing of pop. obvious bands like OASIS and THE VERVE, RADIOHEAD, and artists like ALANIS MORRISETTE, AVRIL LAVIGNE even. Growing up with that LET GO record by AVRIL LAVIGNE was awesome! I actually started listening to those songs again recently, they’re full of DAMAGE!

Of your influences, who would you perform live with, and who would you like to write in the studio with. Do they differ, and why? I’m not really sure how to answer the “perform live” question, because there’s even some covers which I feel guilty about playing so I think we would have to write one together then perform it. My favourite artists' songs are just already so good, and I almost feel like it’d be like doing the Mona Lisa with highlighters or something if i were to sing certain songs of other artists. To write with I would say anyone who inspires me like Tom York, Kurt Cobain, Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher, Alanis Morrissette. I think out of all of those it would be the most fun to probably work with somebody like Avril Lavigne right now with where I’m at with my song writing. I feel like I would be able to write something awesome with her especially with her having such an impact on my song writing. I know she’s a lot bigger than me, but I can write songs man.

How did Eli Greeneyes get started? it’s funny, I started the Eli Greeneyes project right after I was thinking about quitting music which ultimately, I don’t think would have ever happened. I started writing this song called loser which was a quite aggressive like kind like this post punk kinda thing and in the chorus it says “I want you to write loser on my back, just so I can prove you wrong about that, look it’s Eli with the green eyes, look it’s Eli with the green eyes”. The name Eli Greeneyes came out and I began saying it more and more, I liked it so much and it felt so natural how it came out like I stumbled upon something great! So I just decided then and there that was gonna be the name of my next chapter in my life and in music!

What are your favourite instrument(s), and what is your specialty? My favourite instrument would be drums which is the one that I’m worst at to be honest ahahah! I don’t really have a specialty. I like playing guitars, I like playing keyboards and bass a lot also but the thing is I only use those things to put a song together. I don’t do it so that I can do Some crazy PRINCE solo or whatever! I grew up learning how to play everything because it was around me all the time and it was practical for me with song writing! I had family members who were in bands and they seemed to use the instruments to just put songs together. I guess it’s become more of a practical thing for me and as a result I’m kind of okay at each instrument but not incredible! I think that’s good because having limitations on certain parts of creating makes a clearer path to me at the moment!

Got any secret hobbies that we might be surprised by? I don’t know If you’d find it surprising but I do like to paint! just before I thought I was gonna give music a bit of a rest for a while I was painting most days and I was getting so into it. it was another creative outlet for me and also I kinda sucked at it so it became like this odd obsession that I was confined within my limits again.

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know? Donald Trump was president.

What changes do you want to see in the music industry in Australia? I think it’s already started happening but I would like to see a broader spectrum of world music being more accessible on radio and stuff like that i think! Australia is so many different people from different cultures, different walks of life and different parts of the world and I think showing that through music more in Australia would be amazing! The reason why I say I think it’s already started happening is because just recently I heard a song come on the radio by a band called King Stingray who kinda sound like the Stone Roses but they’ve got their own thing going on too! The lead dude is singing his lungs out like a champ and also singing in his indigenous language and it’s beautiful and interesting. The song is catchy as fuck as well! like as long as the music is good get around I reckon!

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