elliphant interview
photo: Florian Dezfoulian / press

Elliphant

With a profound yet easy-going take on life and music, Swedish artist Elliphant is as world-wise as she is brimming with youthful wit. An enduring artist and new mother, she brings new single “Time Machine,” which aims to celebrate the nostalgia of life-long friendships, with its anthemic presence establishing that we don’t need much more than a good conversation with an old friend to feel young at heart.

Taken from her forthcoming full-length album – produced by famed record engineer Mark Rankin (Adele, Florence & the Machine) – the track follows similarly nostalgic offering “Had Enough,” which contemplates growing up and maturity through the lens of a wild youth making their transition into adulthood by learning to admit when they’ve had enough.

Elliphant delves into her evolution as an artist, reveals her motivation to keep changing, explains her hope of encouraging people to embrace imperfections through her music, and much more.

What was the inspiration/message behind “Time Machine”? What was the process behind it?
This was a track inspired by my crew of best friends – we’ve all been friends for 22 years now. My experience hanging out with them always feels like no time has passed. It doesn’t matter if we grow older, change jobs, get in and out of relationships, have children. When are we together, it feels like we’ve time-traveled back by 22 years. Lyrically, it’s the simplest track off my upcoming album, it’s very much about “through your eyes I’m always young.” It’s an ode to having these witnesses to your life who grow alongside you.

Whether your previous track “Had Enough,” or now on “Time Machine,” your songwriting seems to be very introspective, drawing from your personal experiences. How often do you take inspirations from external sources – stories you hear, your surroundings, etc.?
So far, I don’t think I don’t have any songs that haven’t been drawn from my personal experience. I come from a family who struggles with addiction and substance abuse so I do tend to talk about that quite a lot in music, but most of the songs are just about experiences and things that have happened to me. I think this comes from not being a professional songwriter. A lot of people do ask if I want to write for other artists, something that isn’t personal. But I don’t think I’m ready for that just yet. At the moment, I’d say my music is written for me, it’s like therapy for me. I write about something, then I’m able to move on from that feeling or thought.

As someone who came into music with no professional training to now on the precipice of your full-length record, how do you believe you’ve evolved as an artist? And going forward, how do you hope to evolve?
First off, I wasn’t good at English at the beginning so I remember made up a lot of words and did a lot of rhyming in my music. I just wanted it to be funny, though there was actual depth in my lyricism. I feel like now I’m just taking things a bit more seriously in terms of my songwriting. I can’t tell if that’s an evolution or a step back though; my mother would always tell me “don’t expect to get better or wiser just because you get older,” I think sometimes life is just about getting back the purity and innocence you had as a child. So, who knows maybe I’m just devolving instead of evolving?

I think being a creator is a never-ending journey. So, in terms of going forward, I want to keep changing. When you think you’ve got me figured out, I will change.

If listeners could take away one message from your music what would you want that to be?
Something broken doesn’t have to be ugly. In my music, I always come back to the themes of change I mentioned and how it’s something we have always lived with. But in today’s world, people resist change because they see it as a breakdown of the current state of existence. But there is beauty in that breakdown. Perfection is boring, so my hope is that music allows people to embrace their own imperfections.

What keeps you motivated to keep changing? When does the moment strike you?
It strikes me naturally. If you let things change, they will. I create music with other people and inspired by the world around me. When these elements change, so will my music.

Are there any particular genres that you haven’t experimented with that you’d love to try?
I’ve done everything from EDM, hip-hop to pop and country, I’d love to do some hardcore metal or if someone could teach me opera. I want to exercise my voice and challenge myself.

What’s the best part of making music? What’s the most frustrating part of it?
When I write something from my heart and someone feels like they found a friend who understands them? Connect with people through my music- that’s the best part of the whole thing. The worst part is having to get used to things like TikTok to promote the music, having to show my face, and having success measured by the number of followers instead of focusing on making music that connects with people.

Finally, what’s been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
My first ever tour was my first time in America with Twin Shadow as well. A seven-week tour and I’d barely been on stage, barely knew how to sing or speak English but it was the craziest experience, and nothing has ever beaten that!