In Conversation with…ELIZA AND THE BEAR

Eliza and the Bear are the perfect festival band, their songs are bursting with sonic colour, bright hues accentuate blossoming lyricism and sizzling indie inflections. Having just released their début EP ‘Light It Up’, the band are primed to head back on tour this Autumn for a full list of dates head here.

Eliza and the Bear headlined the second stage at Bingley Music Live last weekend. I caught up with singer and guitarist, James Kellegher and lead guitarist, Martin Dukelow before their set to talk about their upcoming tour, festival fashion, food and much more.

Charlotte, Bitter Sweet Symphonies: Hi, so this is your first time at Bingley festival. Welcome.

Both: Yes. Thank you.       

Do you get many people coming up to you asking are you that band that have that song on the Bulmers advert?


James: We get it on twitter and you can see it live because we open with it when we play and if there’s someone out there that doesn’t know who we are, they’ll kind of be like ‘I’ve heard this!’. You see all their faces going ‘Wait a minute!’. But I’ve never had someone personally say it.

My mum still does. I’ll be in my bedroom and my mum will call me down “James, you’re on Channel 4!”, I’m like “Yeah I get it”.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen it to be honest.

James: No? I’ve seen it like twice.

Martin: I’ve seen it once.

James: That’s only because my mum shows it me like all the time.

You’ve announced a huge autumn tour, which will see you travelling around the country for a couple of weeks. Has travelling always been in your nature? Have you always been seekers of adventure?

James: The bands that we were in when we were kids both toured. I don’t really know anyone else at that time, because we were like 15, 16 years old when we were jumping in a van, our parents were driving us to shows, so we’ve always travelled for shows and stuff like that.

Martin: It’s what we’ve always done, really.

James: It seems like a natural thing to do really. It can be like a pain in the arse.

Martin: Yeah it’s stressful but I think we enjoy it. We always spend the time to go out and check out what’s going on in the town.

James: Yeah there’s not many jobs that you get the opportunity to go and see new places and see new people, so you may as well make the most of it because it might not last forever, so you may as well kinda enjoy it while it lasts.

Where are you most looking forward to playing?

Martin: It’s gonna be London. I’m bias.

James: London’s gonna be cool.

Martin: Manchester.

James: Leeds is going to be cool because I really like the Cockpit.

Martin: Ruby Lounge is nice in Manchester. King Tuts – always get nice food in King Tuts. Mac and Cheese with bacon.

James: All of them really. London’s going to be really special because obviously it’s our home town, family and friends are gonna be there, so it’s going to be a lot of faces.

Martin: A lot of nerves.

You’re coming back to The Ruby Lounge in Manchester, last time you played you were on the Communion New Faces tour. How did that tour go?

Martin: It was cool.

James: So we’d already been on tour for 21 days solid before that, we jumped straight on to the Communion tour so we were all like a bit bleary eyed. I think the nature of the Communion tour was like a community, it was like a group of people doing it all together. So it was quite friendly, it was quite relaxed when we did it. It was a great tour and the turn outs were awesome.

Martin: All good shows.

James: We made loads of new friends from that Farewell JR, Luke Stial-Singh and we still see them at festivals.

Have you seen the new line up for the new tour?

Both: Yeah, it’s Amber Run, Pixel Fix.

Fyfe and Kimberly Anne.

Martin: Did we see her…did she support Saint Raymond in Glasgow?

James: Yes.

Martin: Thought so.

James: I feel a bit jealous, you know because it feels like our tour and it’s like a similar poster with different faces…

Martin: I know what you mean. I feel like we’re been cheated on. Oh well, we’ll see how they do [laughs].

If you could work with any artist at the moment who would that be and why?

James: I’d quite like to work with Disclosure.

Martin: That is a great shout. I was gonna say the fella, but I can’t remember his name, that produced Imagine Dragons and X Ambassadors.

James: Alex da Kid.

Martin: Alex da Kid!

James: That would be cool. He’s like Midus when it comes to music, everything he touches turns to gold.

Martin: Yeah we’re into a quite lot of new music at the moment, aren’t we?

James: Yeah Disclosure for me because I didn’t go to Reading, but you went to Reading [to Martin] and I saw their set at Reading on the line. It was an UNBELIEVEBALE set, even like a remix or something would be properly cool.

You recently released a new EP ‘Light It Up’. How does it differ from what you’ve put out previously?

Martin: Well it’s the first time we’ve put out an EP and i think it’s the first time you can actually hear a little bit of variety in a release.

James: Yeah they are like brand new songs. ‘Brother’s Boat’ we had been sitting on for two years, ‘It Gets Cold’ we’d be sitting on for a year and a half. This song literally didn’t exist before May this year and ‘Talk’ didn’t either.

Martin: I thought ‘Talk’ was the first time we’d actually looked at synths and keyboards in actual detail.

James: Yeah these are the first songs because they are so new that we started to push them forward in style and make them a decent representation of what the album’s going to be like because that’s the next thing that’s coming out.

Have you started working on the album?

James: It’s written. After the headline tour we go and record it, we have like a week off and then we got into make the album for 6/7 weeks.

Festivals are all about the music but also fashion is a big part of it too. What’s your favourite festival look?

James: Floral shirts

Martin: Some of the stuff I’ve worn over the festivals this summer…

James: Shiny red trainers. Martin will wear something first then everyone will slowly start wearing it.

Martin: Not in the crowd.

James: No [laughs]

Martin: In the band. Everyone else is like what is that kid wearing?! It depends on the weather and that is the thing with England, like I’ll wear a naughty little shirt and then it pisses down with rain.

James: When it’s hot – Vests, you can’t go wrong with vests.

Martin: My footwear today is actually a poor decision and I know they can’t see it, there’s a boot [ed.- he was wearing a stylish black suede boot].

James: You should always wear trainers.

How’s your Bingley Music Live experience been so far?

James: We’ve only been here for an hour and a half.

Martin: We’ve loaded in the equipment and eat food. The food was GREAT.

James: The food was top three catering this year.

Martin: Actually whoever made the coffee and walnut cupcakes, good shout, well done.

James: The shepherd’s pie was amazing.


A special thanks to Eliza and the Bear for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below:

Website . Facebook . Twitter

Charlotte Holroyd
Editor, Creator and Founder of Bitter Sweet Symphonies. A lover of music and cinema, who's constantly attending gigs and in search of a great experience.

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