Tomorrow aka Sunday 22nd October is the big day of the Love Fuelled Hate anniversary #LoveStream and you're invited 🎉🥂🎂🎈🎁♥️
See you tomorrow!
Love Elle xx
Tomorrow aka Sunday 22nd October is the big day of the Love Fuelled Hate anniversary #LoveStream and you're invited 🎉🥂🎂🎈🎁♥️
See you tomorrow!
Love Elle xx
I opened my album with “Lately”, it’s the kind of song that represents the lust and infatuation that comes with the start of all the best love-stories. I wrote it with Charlie Elwess (we also wrote “Sick” and “WTF” together). Back in the day I studied music with Charlie, he was in a band called Arcady Bliss and I remember looking up to him because of the beautiful soul he had in his voice, the emotion in his lyrics and the voicing he used in his chords. I’m not sure he’ll appreciate me sharing this, but I just found an old EP of his online, these are the songs I watched him play at all the local venues in Guildford during the tail-end of my teenage years:
Charlie was one of the first people to hit me back when I started reaching out to friends and asking if they wanted to collaborate on songs for my album. Every session I had with him, we'd came up with something totally fresh - just think “Lately”, “Sick”, “WTF” - they couldn’t get much more different?! We allowed the sessions to be totally free and open to whatever creativity we were feeling that day. We started “Lately” with a beat and the "na na na na" chant, Charlie added the chords and it turned into a kind of old-skool soul vibe, inspired very loosely by Kanye + Jay Z’s “Otis”. We recorded most of it in Charlie’s home-studio but I recorded all the vocals at my house. “Lately” is probably one of the most fun songs off the album to play live, I tried to capture it in the recording by getting the amazing musicians from my live-show band to perform on it. I love how it turned out.
Check out this fun clip taken at my first ExXtravaganzZa featuring Robin Boot who starred in the "Lately" music video.
Back in 2016 I played one of my favourite shows ever at 229 Great Portland St. After my set comedian Robin Boot approached me and asked if he could impersonate me in a video…I was ALL OVER IT like honey on his chest. I mean..what an offer!
It was perfect timing because I was under pressure to create a music video for my soon to be released single “Lately” but was running low on inspiration. I’m in an industry which notoriously objectifies and sexualises women and in a weird way when you’re indoctrinated into these ways of thinking it’s not uncommon to start to objectify yourself and promote your sensuality in the belief that you’re gonna be more successful if you do. From my own experience, I remember at 18 years old asking the head at one of the biggest labels “Why do American female solo-acts come to the UK and get #1 hits, but British women can’t seem to get in the top 10?” (which was a problem at the time) and he seriously responded “because Americans can dance and they’re sexier”, a woman working in that label told my friend that at board-meetings the men would regularly highlight that music videos needed “more sexy naked women”. “Lately” is the type of song where a bedroom scene would almost be expected, but when Robin approached me with his idea, I was inspired to tell an alternative story and poke fun at the way my industry pressures women to hyper-sexualise themselves for publicity.
But let me keep it light! This video was hecka fun to produce. The first moment of tears-streaming-down-my-face laughter was trying to find matching outfits for a hench ex-Rugby athlete like Robin and a reasonably petite lady like myself - the highlight of all of this was receiving a photo of Robin in a thong and padded bra he’d just bought himself from ASDA (I’ll spare you the image). The shoot day itself was jokes and the team were amazing <3
I was so fkin furious when I wrote "Shoot". I've been alive long enough to learn not to be shocked when people act like total d*ckheads but I know I’ve still not learnt that lesson. This class A specimen was driving me up the wall, but I felt like I was watching the situation from outside of myself..that sounds weird, so let me explain:
Despite the fact this persons nasty behaviour was aimed directly at me, I wasn’t taking it personally or letting it affect my self-esteem (I’m just not built that way). What was upsetting me, was that this person was being downright cruel and if they were going to treat me like this they would definitely treat others this way. It felt like this old friends actions could one day irreparably hurt someone and what if they give up on what they love because of this sour prick? That wasn’t ok with me, I remember I was literally shaking with rage.
This person was a music industry veteran and I was a newbie, I was no threat to them. We’d been friends but when I started to have moments of success, that’s when their vile behaviour started heading in my direction. My frustration was compounded by the fact that all the negativity they were spewing was self-destructive. Having once been friends it was immensely upsetting to watch how they could poison themselves out of pure jealousy, when we could and should have been celebrating each other together.
So during all of this I found myself so angry I was talking out loud. I’d be spitting lines and then repeating it by writing the stream of consciousness in a text message to my manager. We’re a tight-knit team and he was going through it as much as I was ‘cause if someone hurts me they hurt him and the same vice-versa. I recorded what I’d written in a voice memo and the next thing I knew I was sat at the piano sculpting it all into a song. I looked out the voice memos so you can hear them:
It all happened like lightening, from the moment inspiration struck to those voice memos and texts, then I got Logic X up (Apple music production software) started structuring the chords with a beat and before I knew it I had a fully produced song. When it came to adding it to the album very little was added production-wise from the demo I’d made on the night of all the rage, the main thing it needed was a decent mix which Joe Kearns took care of :)
Check out the original demo:
The released album track:
Photos from my personal stash.
A while back I was invited to a songwriting retreat by the good folks at "Pro7ect" in Brighton. In case you haven't heard of a "songwriting retreat" it's where songwriters live together for a few days and write music with each other..and generally have a good laugh and relax. I love collaborating and hanging out with strangers and creative people so I was in my element. Also we were all staying in a hotel I love in Brighton: Hotel Pelirocco. Lisa from the Pro7ect has written a guest post about a song we wrote together "The Hammer"...I paid her £2mil for her kind words 😉
- Elle xx
The incredibly talented Elle Exxe was the Pro7ect Guest Artist at our 2015 Songwriting & Production Retreat at Brighton’s Hotel Pelirocco. At Pro7ect events, teams of songwriters and musicians write and record a song in a day in the P7 Pop-Up studios...and this particular writing session was an incredible explosion of music, beats, lyrics and melodies.
The Guest Artist works with daily teams writing material specifically for them, and at this particular event Elle Exxe was looking for tracks for her upcoming album ‘Love Fuelled Hate’. The themes of Love and Hate were critical to her vision and she was looking for songs for the ‘Hate’ side of the album.
This particular day the writing team consisted of Ian Wallman (writer/producer/P7 House Producer), Christina Kowalchuk (topline writer/singer/songwriter), Elle Exxe and myself (Lisa Fitz- singer/songwriter/producer/P7 Creative Director).
We started the session by discussing different experiences we’d all had within the music industry. Unsurprisingly there were several Horror Stories told throughout the morning, which easily fuelled the flames of the song as it progressed.
Elle Exxe had a very clear musical vision for the song, and for her overall sound, so working with her in this collaborative environment was efficient and inspiring. Following Elle’s lead, the session flowed pretty smoothly once the idea of ‘The Hammer’ was discovered.
Ian Wallman (P7 Head Producer) and I worked on the track programming whilst Chris and Elle immersed themselves in the top-line lyrics and melody. Elle Exxe is not just an amazing singer and entertainer, but an accomplished musician. Inspired by the beats from the music bed Elle heard an descending bass line in her head. When she played it into the track it quickly became one of the stronger themes of the song, which in turn inspired the lyrics and informed other musical decisions on the session.
Once the “Stuck here with all this time on my hands...” melody and lyrics were written we decided that this would be the Chorus with the hook “Hammer will Drop” making a decisive statement to hang it all onto. We then focused on the lyrics and melody for the Verse, Pre Chorus, Bridge and Rap. It all came together really quickly after the hook was written. Elle wrote the rap in about 10 minutes and recorded it in one take with a couple of ad-libs and double tracking.
The consummate Pro... once we started tracking the main vocals in the afternoon session Elle Exxe nailed the vocals very quickly. She made it look so easy. Ian then spent the afternoon mixing the song for the evening playback and we received some really good feedback from the rest of the songwriters on the event.
Elle then took the session stems into post-production with her band and producer. She added keyboard, guitar parts, drums and re-recorded some of the vocals and mixed and mastered the track to blend with the rest of the album.
I feel very proud to have been a part of the creative process with such an authentic and original artist and to have had the opportunity to work with such a brilliant team of songwriters and music producers.
Our next P7 songwriting retreat is from 19th – 23rd Feb 2017 with Headline Producers including Talvin Singh, Iain Archer & Matty Benbrook. Invitation by application to: www.pro7ect.com
In September 2015 while I was working on “Love Fuelled Hate” I turned to my friend AA and told him:
“I met this lady on the tube today, she told me she'd been to L.A. She was at a party with friends when she fell for a guy. They spent days getting high, making love and became totally infatuated with each other and completely inseparable.”
AA “Wait she told you this on the tube?”
Me “Yes, I know, it’s weird but she was actually really sweet, just listen…”
AA “OK go on..”
Me “So..she was only ever meant to be in L.A. for a few weeks. And when it came to their last night together they made the most of it. But unbeknownst to her while she was sleeping he got up, took her passport and hid it.”
AA “What the fk?”
Me “Yeh, not cool. So when she got to the airport and realised her passport was missing she had no choice but to call him and ask him to come and pick her up…obviously this must have been his plan all along cause he was there within minutes, collected her, drove her out into the desert and proposed to her!”
AA “Wow that’s crazy”
Me “I know right?! What’s crazier is they pretty much got married the SAME DAY at that Kill Bill church! She said they invited 13 friends who were all super eclectic amazing artists, drag queens, actors, rock stars, a homeless friend they’d met days before and all sorts…she said I’d know some of them but she didn’t want to drop names?! “
Me “Anyway, she worshiped films by John Waters and the priest apparently was just like him. The wedding was electric and the party afterwards was wild, she said it would have been the best night of her life. But it took a nose dive. When she was walking past the toilets her new-husband practically fell out the door with lipstick covering his neck and someone clawing after him”
AA “What?! How does that even happen?!”
Me “yeh…I know. She said she ran away and drank herself into oblivion.”
AA “Where did she go though?”
Me “Well..she eventually had to go to the apartment they’d been staying in together to get her stuff. She said for a while she was sucked back in, she said he was so charming, but one night she couldn’t sleep so she got up and was pacing the apartment. A car drove by, the lights shone in the bathroom window and in that moment she saw her passport hidden amongst his things. She said it was like something spiritual shone a light on the truth that she’d been hiding from and finally she could see everything, and she packed up, left and got sober.”
Coming up with the song-list and order for the album was the toughest part of creating "Love Fuelled Hate". I wasn't just looking for my best songs, I was looking for songs that stuck to the storyline. I had pages and pages of lyrics, I remember sitting in my old bedroom in my parents house trying to order the songs in an A4 folder as if I was trying to read a story and on the side I had a bullet-point list of the film-script I was creating alongside it. I was so anal about it all, I must have listened and read the lyrics for 5 hours. I really wanted the "love" side to be 22mins 22 seconds and the "hate" side to be 22mins 22 secs but in the end I decided there were more important factors than numerology.
The benefit of not having a label was that I didn't have anyone else interfering, but it was also a curse because I had to be objective about something that was so deeply personal to me plus I had to self-fund it all take full responsibility for every decision. If this thing turned out to be crap I'd only have myself to blame. I wasn't overly concerned with whether the album would be popular, but I put myself underimmense pressure to make something I'd be proud of in years to come. It was definitely something I hoped future fans might choose to go back and listen to and fall in love with down the line. Something "of it's time" yet "timeless". Something fully considered. A "work of art" maybe even a "masterpiece" that may not be understood right now but might one day. I wanted to be able to reject any criticism in the knowledge that I'd done the best I could at that point in my life, and I know I achieved that.
Getting back to the song-list. I had to decide which songs were gonna make the cut before I got in the studio because I couldn't afford studio-time for songs that weren't going to be used. "You Said You Loved Me" was a song that was really close to making the cut but didn't quite make it. You can hear a sneak-preview of it in an interlude at the end of Track 9 "Lie To Me" before Track 10 "Hammer". I think the reason for it getting cut was mainly because it was so unfinished compared to the other demos I had. But check out this never-before-heard unreleased recording (note, this is an unfinished rough demo):
I might not have had a label, but thankfully I had a manager that really cared. I called him at 10pm after finishing the song-listing and invited him to my cold-empty house to listen to the whole album (excluding the yet to be recorded interludes intros/outros). I hadn't played the album to anyone and was super anxious and I had to verbalise what was gonna happen in each interlude. He was able to take everything I said and help me to formalise a plan for what needed to be recorded to connect the songs before taking it to Joe Kearns to get mixed. Thankfully he loved it. Here's a video of our 3 hour meeting condensed! Love you Umong <3
I wrote "I Do" for the love-side of my "Love Fuelled Hate" album on a cold Winter's day in Rob Davis's old home-studio in Surrey. Rob's famous for having been in a 1970s glam-rock band called Mud (hits include "Tiger Feet" and "Lonely This Christmas") and also wrote major hits like "Can't Get You Out of My Head" - Kylie, "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)" - Spiller, "Toca's Miracle" - Fragma. I kept my awe under-wraps but I was totally mind-blown to be working with such a songwriting icon.
The original demo Rob Davis and I made.
We started with an eerie yet angelic cathedral-choir and delayed guitar loop that Rob had already been playing with. The idea of marriage was at the top of my mind with my brother and best friend both due to have weddings that year so when I heard Rob's loop I couldn't help but imagine what it'd feel like to be stood behind the door of my own wedding one day.
Keeping a level of sonic-synergy across the album was really important to me. Once I finalised the song-list some of the tracks needed further production to reach that sonic-synergy goal. With "I Do" I really wanted to capture my emotion in it's raw state and strip the song back but also keep it creative, electronic and experimental. I headed into the studio with my album producer Ross O'Reilly and we started from scratch. I got in the vocal booth and sang completely a'cappella (no click/metronome, no chords, no instrumentation whatsoever). My vocal swayed in and out of time and it felt really natural and intimate. I'm obsessed with vocoders and in love with vocoder-based songs like Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek" and Bon Iver's "Woods", so we ended up taking the vocal and played it through a keyboard and Pro-Tools plugins..I think we used a combination of Razor, Melodyne and Little Altar Boy. Ross and I chatted about adding other instrumentation but in the end anything extra would take away from the natural energy we'd captured and take away from the honest intimacy of the song.
Listen to some of the influences including Bon Iver, Imogen Heap and Broken Social Scene below. And of course the song itself "I Do".
Buy my album "Love Fuelled Hate" featuring "I Do" below.
If you've already got it, why not buy it for a friend?
I directed, edited and produced my “Lost in L.A.” music video and even did a little of the motion-graphics. People often think my videos are high-budget and presume I don't have much involvement - but that's just an illusion I like to create. There were so many mad stories leading up to the shoot and following it, I don't think I'll have time to share them all here but let me start with the first step.
The first step was buying all the props including:
to name a few.
The next task was to find people to be in the video. I went searching in Notting Hill and handpicked a few people I’d wanna party with. The absolute star of the shoot was Alfie - the man in the blue t-shirt with the serious moves! I found him dancing in Portobello Market with a dummy in his mouth and a sparkly boombox at his feet. I invited him to the shoot but never expected him to show up; but he did! There was another guy who was a no-show sadly - he was about 70, was sat on a low-rider bike and claimed to be the singer from a sample in a J-Lo song. But the most upsetting was that I saw this absolutely gorgeous old lady with pink hair and a seriously glamorous style of fashion - I fell in love but was so stunned I got shy and didn't approach her. I ended up leaving a note for her in the florist she regularly shopped at but it was all a little too late and I never saw her again.
On the day of the shoot we were a little short of people (there are always loads of cancellations when you're doing a low-budget shoot). It was a bit of a meat-fest so a couple of my male friends (let’s call them AA and AS) went to try and find some girls. They were walking the streets in Hackney and found a couple of cute ladies who agreed to get involved. Delighted AA and AS told them to get in the car and they’d drive to the shoot…the girls asked “Really can’t we just walk there?” AA and AS said “it’ll be quicker if we drive, but whatever you want?” so the girls got in the car but were obviously a bit skeptical. When they arrived the music was blaring, but the shoot was hidden behind a white screen. There was a mattress in plain view and lots of interesting characters sitting on the floor drinking alcohol. Apprehensive, the girls decided to have a smoke. But when my friend Andy walked outside in full white-makeup, wearing a white boiler-suit the girls apparently sprinted away in fear and never looked back. 😳😆
After the shoot everyone was smashed (except my manager who was assisting and driving). We loaded the van but were waiting for someone to come with the keys to lock up when out of the blue one of the crew yelled to us “someone just drove off with your van!”. We could see it pulling away in the distance so my manager started chasing it..he stopped for a second nearly giving up but I yelled "KEEP RUNNING" and I've never seen him move so fast! Comically every time he got close the van would slow down and then drive off again. In the end it turned out it was my friends playing a prank, but it’d be fair to say not everyone found it funny at the time 😂
The night ended with people making-out, wild dancing, friends going missing, lost house keys and a bouncer trying to beat one of my bandmates up. High-action, high-drama and and I can't lie it was probably one of the best nights of my life. The video summed it up perfectly.
Thanks to everyone who made it possible, especially Michael Hobdell.
"Lost in L.A." started everything off for me. I'd "moved" to London to chase my dream as a singer but couldn't afford to live anywhere and had been searching for a room for months. My friend Clare called me one day and asked if I wanted to go to Los Angeles with her, whilst I wasn't paying rent I'd saved up a bit of cash and could afford it so I immediately said "YES!".
When we landed in L.A. a man came up to us and asked "Do you know where the lost property is?" I said "No, do you know where the taxi rank is?" and then he asked where we were headed...at this point I realised he stank of alcohol, had a black eye and looked out of his mind on something. Trying to be "street-wise" I answered cautiously that we were going to Hollywood somewhere, he said "ME TOO! Let's get a cab together, it's this way". I looked at Clare expecting her to say "no"..but to my surprise she smiled and said "Yeah! Let's do it". So, we got to know each other in the queue and in the cab. It turned out this guy had come to Los Angeles on holiday, found a girl, spent every day in a hotel room getting messed-up with her and then when he went to leave she stole his phone and he didn't notice until he was getting on the plane. The way he told me the story was that he'd spent the week in his hotel room with this girl and they'd fallen madly in love and the fact that his phone was missing was a sign that he should never leave Los Angeles, so when he was sitting on his flight ready to go home - he changed his mind and decided to go back to Hollywood to find his girl. He borrowed the cab drivers phone and literally was talking to a lady at T-mobile saying "Please I can't remember my security information, but I fell in love with a girl, can you just tell me where the GPS of my phone is signalling?!". It's either insane or romantic..or maybe insanely romantic.
That story came from the first 10 minutes in Los Angeles, but every single day some other madness happened and the trip was a bit of an awakening for me. I became open to everything. When I was flying into Los Angeles I'd connected to WiFi and contacted everyone I knew asking if they wanted to meet up or if they knew anyone that might want to collaborate with me. Ron Entwistle introduced me to Tony Maserati at Mirrorball Entertainment and within an hour of arriving I'd set-up cowrites with Jon Castelli (worked with Jason Derulo, Beyonce, Lady Gaga to name a few) and Kevin Hastings (shared the stage with people like Rihanna, Jay-Z and Eminem again to name a few!).
I wrote "Lost in L.A." with Jon Castelli and his friend Aaron Joseph. As I mentioned before on the "Lie To Me" blog, I don't really like talking about the meaning of my songs, but this song was clearly inspired by everything that happened on that trip. I loved working with Jon and Aaron on it and was so happy with how it turned out. Also - the little lesson of reaching out to people and learning to ask them if they wanted to collaborate was a life changer for me, I came back to the UK and did the same thing and started writing with loads of friends and other amazing writers and producers. "Lost in L.A." was the song I was sending to everyone at that stage and how I got people to understand my style. The whole "Love Fuelled Hate" album wouldn't have existed had I not learned how to put myself out there - I got my band, my manager and my first sync-deal from that song (it was on a Google advert).
The video was a whole other story, which I'll definitely tell you about tomorrow!
- Elle xx
I wanted the artwork to represent the album..and what better way than to create an image of me literally fuelling a hate-car with love?!
I met with my friend Colin J Smith (who directed my "Lately" music video) and we knocked ideas around and shared inspiration. I was keen to create something surreal and use a neon-rainbow as the colour palette. He introduced me to an amazing artist known as DelaDeso who combines photos and drawings with a colourful grimy style. We were totally on the same page.
The next task was to get some photos. We had an amazing shoot in a friends studio in Knebworth on probably the hottest day of the year (32degC!) and hired a petrol pump for the day (definitely going in my list of weirdest things I've ever rented).
We trawled through hundreds of pictures from the shoot and of gas-stations around Los Angeles (where the album is set), and landed on the two that you see on the cover. Colin and I spent hours at his studio drawing up the hate car and blending the two images and then handed it across to Digital Light for the finishing touches.
This month there'll be some guest posts from fans, friends and exxterminators to celebrate the anniversary of my album "Love Fuelled Hate". The following was written by my amazing manager Umong Shah about his favourite track on the album "White Lies".
- Elle xx
This month is really exciting, it marks the anniversary of an album that is very close to me. It's the first full length album that I've had the pleasure of working on really closely with Elle. Throughout the creation of the artwork, I could genuinely feel the creativity and passion oozing out. It was infectious.
I want to write about ‘White Lies’ if you follow Elle’s Snapchat and Instagram, you'll have noticed throughout the year that whenever the song is played live, I make a big deal out of it. There’s something about this song that speaks to me and puts me in a little trance. The song has a really strong pulse, set by the kick drum pattern that mimics a heart beat. During the verse I just want to sway side to side, listening to Elle tell a story about the collapse of a once loved relationship (or at least that's my interpretation of it).
As we enter into the chorus, you get some iconic metaphorical imagery within Elle’s lyrics, some of which are my favourite, as they paint such a strong visual when you hear them.
The chorus then kicks in with beautiful instrumentation and charismatic songwriting, which just makes me want to sing along out loud (and I do at gigs). The ‘breakdown’, is gorgeous. The gospel vocal backing with the big drum beat surges through, making you want to join it, with all your passion. When Elle plays this live the whole room gets involved, it's like you're transported out of a venue into Elle's world, you close your eyes, sing together and for that moment, there's unity, nothing matters, because it's just you (and the collective audience) and the song.
Watching this song live, takes my breath away. I think that it means so much to me because a lot of us have been in this position. I know I have. Where love breaks down, your insides hurt, and it's hard to communicate. But this song does it so well and lines like “landed safe upon my side” and “But I’mma be a better person than you ever could” show there's a light at the end of a dwindling relationship tunnel.