Naked City Guide

Profiles

Elephant Music

*Musician*

Hails from: Elanora

Between Babar and breathtaking wild encounters, there’s something simultaneously familiar and rare about the elephant. Likewise, the musical stylings of Elephant are a curious but totally listenable blend of catchy pop melodies and lofi/experimental sounds. Elephant is James Locke, a QCA film graduate who spent most of his degree recording sound and collecting records. Call it fruitful procrastination because the one man band responsible for Sleeping Inside a Live Bear EP (2010) and Homebodies (2010) has already been snapped up by Isotope Records in Melbourne. While jetsetting on a round-the-world trip, Elephant talks to Naked about ashrams and 8-tracks at the breakfast table.

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Naked: What do you play?

Elephant: I primarily play acoustic guitar, though when recording I play whatever I can get my hands on – harmonica, xylophone, whatever’s lying around. I also use some technical equipment, like a delay and looper pedals and a sampler.

When we first got in touch, you were in a small village in India with no internet. What were you doing there, and where in the world are you headed next?

I was in a small town called Chitrakoot, not really doing anything, as it was so incredibly hot and the power would cut out every half hour. I did a lot of people watching – Chitrakoot is a crazy little place of ashrams and holy men. Every few days it seems there was another religious festival, and the small town would fill with pilgrims and elephants and snake charmers from miles around. I think it’s my favorite place I have ever been, actually, everyone should go. Now I’m in Delhi, and will soon head North into the Himalayas. I feel like I’m bragging a bit here.

So what happened when Elephant came face to face with an elephant? Was there a connection?

I don’t know if I had much of an effect on him, but he definitely had an effect on me. I got out of his way!

On ‘Porridge’ (a track from your latest album Homebodies) we can hear lots of breakfast-y sounds, and we hear you record your stuff at home in Elanora.

I bought the 8-track just before I started Homebodies and loved it. I like to make music where I feel most relaxed – sometimes the lounge room, sometimes sitting outside. The sounds in ‘Porridge’ were just me and my girlfriend as we made breakfast. I didn’t mind having people chatting or birds singing or whatever in the background. I like those sounds because you can hear where it was made.

Are you pulling a George Harrison and picking up some new ideas for music on your travels? 

In a way, yeah, though I’m not trying to have a spiritual journey or anything. It’s just nice to be somewhere completely different and meet new people, which is important to open me up a bit and keep creative. I’ve been dragging around my guitar and 8-track too, so I can make music on the road. Hopefully by the time I come back I’ll have some new songs to work with.

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Listen/download on Bandcamp

Support Elephant on Triple J Unearthed