ellis' new video reminds us of our teenage years
In 'Something Blue,' the Canadian musician takes a nostalgic trip to the mall and reflects on a relationship gone wrong.
In November 2018, Ellis self-released The Fuzz, a breathtakingly beautiful collection of alternative rock-inflected shoegaze songs that offer a window into some of her most intimate moments. There’s a sense of tragedy, but also something triumphant in her foggy frequencies, which capture the morose atmosphere of Grant Wood’s famed “American Gothic” painting. The Hamilton, Ontario-based artist, whose real name is Linnea Siggelkow (Ellis is an expansion of LS, her initials), says she had “no expectations” of how people might receive or respond to her deeply personal songs. “I just wanted to put them out,” she says. But the positive reaction was overwhelming. She’s been asked to mail autographs and in March, Fat Possum physically released the EP on vinyl, which Siggelkow never thought possible. “That it’s now pressed on a twelve-inch and is being distributed is amazing. I am so grateful that has happened,” she says.
With The Fuzz now in her rear view mirror, Siggelkow recently shared a new song titled “Something Blue.” “It feels like a natural extension,” she says of its relation to the EP, but adds, “It’s part of the next chapter of what I’m doing musically.” A minor shift can be heard in the guitars and synths, which contain glimpses of Berlin-era Bowie and Brooklyn indie (Wild Nothing, DIIV). Her voice too, is less fragile, with more open space to sound off between the reverb and distortion. Some of the catharsis that defined The Fuzz has also been stripped away, allowing droplets of dream-pop to enter the mix.
The music video for “Something Blue” premieres exclusively on i-D today. It was directed by Toronto artist Justin Singer (who has also made music videos for the Canadian rock band Chastity) and shot on location in Hamilton, ON. Watch it below and read i-D’s interview with Ellis.
What can you tell us about your latest single, “Something Blue”?
It’s a nostalgic song written in reflection of the first time I met somebody really significant in my life, thinking about all the things that went wrong after that first meeting. Sometimes I think back on things that should or could have happened differently. We [also] got a bit more experimental — there’s horns in it — trumpet and saxophone played by my friends Aaron and Connor. They’re pretty subtle, but they’re in there.
Is there any significance to the locations you chose to film at in the music video?
The locations are all in Hamilton and my two friends Jenny and Jasmine agreed to be in it with me. I wanted to keep it close to home and have my friends in it, and for it to have an intimate glimpse into the places that I go to day-to-day. There’s some shots from the mall food court in Downtown Hamilton and shots on what we call the mountain, it’s the top of this escarpment. It was important to keep it close to home and have that connection to my life. I wanted it to feel nostalgic, like being a teenager and hanging out with your friends. In the song I mention being seventeen, so going with that and the places where you hang with your friends when you’re seventeen.
The Fuzz is now six months old. What have been some of your favorite reactions to it?
Truthfully, when I decided to make the EP it was because I had these songs and I just wanted to put them out. I had no expectations of what would become of it, who would hear it, or how far it would reach. Pretty much every reaction has been really overwhelming because I didn’t see it coming. The fact that people are listening to it in other countries or cities where I’ve never been – it blows my mind. I had no idea this would ever happen, so I don’t even know if I can pinpoint one because it’s all been so surreal.
How about fans that take their fandom to the next level and reach out to you directly? Have you noticed any similarities among them?
I have been asked to mail autographs, which is something I never thought I’d ever do in my life. To be honest, the [types of] people who reach out is always surprising, there hasn’t been a lot of similarities. Sometimes it’s a middle-aged man. I was expecting it to be younger girls or people my age, but it’s been all over the place, which is even more cool because I would never have expected so many people from different walks of life could relate to the songs that I write. That means a lot to me.
One song that really stands out on The Fuzz is “What A Mess.” There is a line where you talk about taking scissors to your hair and making a mess. How literal are your songs?
Pretty literal. In that instance, when I start cutting my hair it’s usually a sign that things are not amazing. It’s a very impulsive thing I do when I’m feeling anxious, or whatever. I’ve been trying to tell myself not to do things like that. It’s a sort of self-destructive tendency I have that never goes well.
Your songs contain a lot of sad memories. Is that intentional?
I think when I intentionally start to write it’s usually in times of self-reflection. It’s a way for me to process my feelings, the places I’ve been in and what has come out of it and where I am emotionally in certain instances. It’s usually when I’m reflecting on a specific time or place, or a specific feeling or situation. I guess that’s why they are like that. It’s not intentionally sad or even that intentional, it’s just what comes out of these moments of self-reflection.
I believe The Fuzz refers to the mindset that you enter when you write. Is that true?
I wouldn’t say it’s a mindset I’m in when I write. It’s sort of this place I have felt stuck in for a chunk of my twenties. It’s a place of feeling a bit lost, stuck in the static, and not having clarity or your feet on the ground – not having stability and feeling just like you’re floating in the fuzz. I named the EP after that mental space. It’s not a space you necessarily want to be in.
Catch Ellis opening for Alvvays and The Courtneys in NYC this summer.