I Understand

Bath-time production anyone?!

Bath-time production anyone?!

"I Understand" was the final song I wrote for my album and the only one that was 100% written, produced and (mostly mixed) by me. It nearly didn't make it onto the album because I didn't believe in myself enough as a producer. I didn't think my work was good enough to stand up next to the songs that "real producers" had worked on (even though I produced 95% of Shoot and co-produced everything else). But in the end the song felt too important to leave out. It sums up everything on the album for me almost bringing it full-circle to love again.

People do awful things. Sometimes it can be so difficult to get your head around why someone would hurt another human-being. Sometimes the scars someone leaves can be so deep that they seem unforgivable. But spending energy on emotions like hatred just kills you from the inside out, and filling a heart with an obsession for revenge means losing precious time to help yourself and others. I've seen so many people destroyed by hate and their unwillingness to let it go. 

"I Understand" goes out to all those people who've been hurt and are still waiting for an apology they're never going to get. It's time to move on with your life. 

Writing I Understand

I started writing "I Understand" on the piano:

I didn't want a piano ballad on the album. I wanted to experiment and see if I could make something that was electronic but still emotive. I recorded a "guide" vocal in my home-made vocal booth (out of plastic tubes and moving-rugs), then I cut it up and sampled it with my AKAI MPK mini keyboard. I did it all on my laptop for a couple of days..even with it precariously balanced while I was in the bath at one point...girl's gotta work, but girl's gotta smell good too!

Writing "Home With You"

I was at my friend Ross's home-studio in Chorleywood (a gorgeous little village in the countryside). He was in the kitchen making lunch (aka toast and tea) and I was in the zone on his keyboard with my fingers locked into three chords like I was hypnotised. Ross stuck his head in to tell me he liked the sounds and within a couple of minutes we'd recorded the structure of the song on keys. In terms of production (sounds/instruments) we were inspired by one of my favourite songs "Paris" by Friendly Fires and "With Every Heartbeat" by Robyn. The song gradually gets quicker with every chorus..it's not noticeable, but it makes it adds to the energy. I recorded a rough vocal melody idea with the title "Home With You" in mind and then I left for the day. I should probably be too embarrassed to share this, but I found the original demo we recorded that day, and fk it! I wanna share it with you! Listen below:

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I've got more to say but I've got to run and get ready for an event I'm going to tonight (about the film Breathe), I'll write Part 2 tomorrow 💕


Elle xx

The Hammer - Pro7ect

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 PeliroccoLisa 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

Photo by Ian Wallman

Photo by Ian Wallman

  • Pro7ect 2015 – Day 3: Singstar Studio
  • Song title: The Hammer
  • Producer: Ian Wallman
  • Writers: Elle Exxe, Ian Wallman, Lisa Fitzgibbon, Christina Kowulchuk

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

Photo by Ian Wallman

Photo by Ian Wallman

A true story..

I actually sent this as a postcard to John Waters...he never replied. 😳

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?! “

AA laughed

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.”