Q&A: Eliot Sumner Talks Writing Solo Vs Collaborating & The Prospects Of An Australian Tour

British musician and super talented twenty-something, Eliot Sumner, has been making music since her early teens and continues to impress with a steady release of sonically dense, genre-defining music. Daughter of one of the UK’s most well-known rock stars, Eliot has achieved what very few do and successfully stood on her own two feet as an artist and forged her own path in music-making.

With a new EP just released we had a quick Q&A with the unique and astute Eliot Sumner.

Music Feeds: There are some complex themes throughout Information. From lost loves and failing relationships, through to a sense of recklessness and vulnerability. If you had to describe the tone of the album in three words what would they be?

Eliot Sumner: Urgent, motoric and desperate.

Your songs come from a very personal place – you’ve spoken previously about using music as an outlet for your emotions and a way of dealing with difficult experiences – does that make the writing process something very intense private for you?

Writing songs or even just prose makes things clearer for me.  If I am troubled by something I usually draft a letter that I’ll never send.  The more you write, the more easy it is to understand or forgive.  Those can be good moments to use in songwriting.

How do you compare that experience of writing on your own, to collaborating with other writers? Which do you prefer?

I love to write on my own because I can work at my own pace. Writing with friends can be fun though. I wrote a song called I Followed You Home with my friend Charlie (Fink).  We wrote most of it in the pub down the road from my home.

Watch: Eliot Sumner – I Followed You Home

You have described yourself as a nervous person, though you feel at home when you’re on stage. Is touring the easiest part for you compared to the writing and recording process?

Touring is the most enjoyable part of it for me. I am rarely stressed when i am touring. I love being with my band being in a new city everyday.  We make each other laugh and we are all very close.  Our dynamic as a band was put to the test when we survived a 7 week intensive tour across North America.

Having spent much of the year on tour, have you found that you’re inspired to write new music while on the road?

All of us are creative on the road.  We’ll play games like ‘thrash metal’ where we all have 20 minutes to make a thrash metal track on our laptops. I am ready to start writing music again.

You mentioned feeling a lack of connection with the music you made under your moniker I Blame Coco, and that you could easily distance yourself from the songs. Having now performed under your own name, could you see yourself ever using another name or working as part of another project in the future?

I do have another project where I use another alias.  I like to have as many projects as I can handle.  It keeps me inspired and busy.  Also having another alias gives you total freedom from expectation.

Watch: Eliot Sumner – Species

In your tour documentary for iD you touch on the idea of music as a form of distraction – people getting lost in a song to put off dealing with the things they should be doing. What’s your go-to “distraction” album to get lost in when you need to get out of your own head?

At the moment I am listening to Spaces by Nils Frahm.  It’s an emotional rollercoaster that subtly soundtracks the day. I also love the Ex Machina soundtrack by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow.

It’s been a busy year for you having recently released your EP as well as touring with Lykke Li – what’s your guilty pleasure to take time out while you’re on tour?

I play 8 Ball Pool on my phone constantly.  My Sim City is also looking pretty impressive and I watch Curb Your Enthusiasm religiously.  I used to read.

You’ve cited Nick Cave as one of the inspirations behind Information, are there any other Australian artists on your radar at the moment that you’ve been listening to?

I love all of Nick Cave’s other bands like Grinderman, The Birthday Party and The Boys Next Door.  I also love Tame Impala and Bee Gees.

Any plans for an Australian tour in the pipeline?


Eliot Sumner’s latest EP ‘Early Reflections SMPLR’ is out now, you can grab it here.

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