WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Welcome to Witchpolice Radio. I'm here with a guest who is new to the podcast and relatively new to me as far as your solo music goes. But I get the impression you've been around for a while playing in various projects and making music in Winnipeg. So I think the best way to start this off, really, is if you want to introduce yourself and give a bit of background about what you do as an artist.
ELLIOT FEELING: Yeah, sure. Hi, I'm Elliot feeling. I have been playing music in Winnipeg for a couple of decades, I guess now, and really, I started in classical music. So I went to did my bachelor at the U of M and played in a band called the Lonely Vulcans.
WR: Yeah, that's awesome. I love that band.
ELLIOT FEELING: Yeah, they're really fun. And we actually got together the end of last year to do a sort of a reunion show. And we might be recording at some point again soon.
And I've played in a couple of other bands, like other people's bands, but I've sort of always had. Not always, but over the last, let's say, ten years or so, I've had this songwriting thing on the side.
And making this album was kind of my first step of doing my own music kind of as a thing for myself. So that's where I'm at right now, is that I'm releasing my first EP next month.
WR: Well, that's kind of an interesting place to be in that you've been doing this for as long as you have, and now finally this music is coming out. Have you always been writing? Like, has writing always been something you've done sort of just throughout the various projects you've been involved in, like writing for yourself?
ELLIOT FEELING: Yeah, I consider myself a very non prolific songwriter, and I think that that's how I've struggled with that identity a little bit, too, is like, am I really a songwriter if I am not really writing? Very much so, yeah, it's something that's definitely come and gone over time, and there's definitely been periods where it's like, oh, I was writing a lot of songs during this time, and I think especially during the pandemic, and a lot of my songs actually came out of both the feelings of isolation around the pandemic and then just having more time and just spending more time alone and more time at the piano just kind of naturally contributed to actually a few of the songs on the album.
WR: You mentioned right off the top that you have that classical background and listening to some of your stuff, it seems like there definitely are hints of that that come through in your songs now. How does that affect, I guess, before we even get into that, how do you define the kind of music you play? Because it's the question that everyone hates answering because there's so many different ways you can answer it. And a lot of people don't really have an easy Coles Notes version. But before we even get into that classical background and all that, what do you call it? How do you define what you mean?
ELLIOT FEELING: I always want other people to answer that question. I feel like in a few months I'm going to ask my friends, okay, how would you define my music?
And I feel a lot of the style of my new album really came from having it done at House of Wonder with Adam Fuhr, who turned my kind of, like, basic piano singer songwriter moments into these lush soundscapes that sound almost like. Yeah, almost like, I don't know, folk pop or something. I would consider it, like, singer songwriter as a genre, but it's much richer than that in the way that it comes out. Like the way that it sounds.
WR: Yeah. The House of Wonders thing is interesting, too, because I think that they do have that studio from all the different projects that have gone through there, there is a sound. There's something about that House of Wonders that I don't know what it is, but there is a vibe that kind of is present across all of the projects that have been released.
ELLIOT FEELING: Yeah, well, I really like what he has. I saw an ad that was up on Instagram and that says something about turning a good song into a good recording and about how he wants to be present for that process. And that was really appealing to me. As someone who had never put my own music into the studio before, I really wanted to have that sort of extra help and extra arranging, which he really provided really beautifully.
Again, a lot of that sound comes from him, and I would just consider myself kind of like piano singer songwriter. I don't know.
WR: Okay, well, so then, to go back to what I was going to ask as a piano singer songwriter, if that's what we're going to call it, how does that kind of more formal background translate to writing songs that are a lot more, maybe pop oriented or maybe more.
What's the word for it? Maybe less complex in the sense that you're playing something classical, there's a lot going on. Right. And whereas a folk song or a singer songwriter song, you can have a lot happening. But at the core of it, it's a fairly simple, structured piece of music.
ELLIOT FEELING: I am not sure how to answer that because I feel like I've had to try to let go of a lot of my classical background in order to be able to write. And in fact, a lot of my journey as a singer songwriter, like, I learned how to play guitar about ten years ago. Ish. That might be wrong.
15, not sure. And that was partially because it was like I found out playing guitar where I didn't really know what I was doing. It was like, oh, I only know six chords, and I don't have sort of the voice in my head of theory being like, well, this chord should go to this chord.
I was just kind of, like, making it up. And sometimes it's hard for the moment and try and create something beautiful. I'm looking over at my piano, which is over here, trying to be like, how did that happen? I don't actually know.
WR: No. Fair enough. Fair enough. Do you still write on piano, or is guitar kind of become the main instrument that you write on?
ELLIOT FEELING: It's kind of both. Yeah. And like I said, I'm not very prolific, so when I can get a song, it's always like, hallelujah, we did it. We got one. I'm finding for the more proficient, I definitely am more proficient on piano, because I've been doing it for most of my life, of course.
So I think that's part of the reason that I wanted my first EP to be on piano as well, is because it really is where I am. More confidence, like where I actually can shine a little more. So choosing the songs for the EP, it was kind of like, I think maybe not even consciously, but just kind of wanting to put the best part of myself forward. It's like, let's pick what I consider maybe my most polished or most presentable songs. And they all just happen to be on piano, I think, because that's where I am the most polished. So who knows where the next album.
WR: Now that you have this. This album that's coming out, I mean, at the time we're recording this, it's, I guess, a few weeks away from being released.
What's sort of the plan going forward? Are you fully launching into this now as a solo artist? And is this project kind of like in full go mode, or will people be waiting another ten years or 15 years before the next one?
ELLIOT FEELING: That's wonderful. And I have no idea. It's funny, I feel like I've never had a super clear understanding of my own goals, but I feel something. I was thinking about earlier today when I was thinking about doing this interview. I was thinking about the cycle of creating and how I think sometimes, or I know for myself, I've gotten stuck in the like, okay, I've created something. And especially in music, it's not like a painting where you create it and then you have to put it somewhere. You can create a song, and it can be an amazing song and no one can hear it, or you can have 40 people like it on Instagram, and that's it. It's very ephemeral in that way.
And I think that I've gotten stuck in that part of the cycle where it's like, okay, I've created something, now what do I do with it? So my feeling is that now that I've actually gone through the rest of the cycle, which is do the recording, and now all of this self promotion stuff, which is not the stuff that I'm very used to doing or very good at, it feels like once all of that is done and it's actually out in the world, then it'll be like, oh, okay, what's know? And then I'm looking forward to going back and doing some more songwriting in the. And, um.
Yeah, I'm not sure. That doesn't really answer your question, because I don't really know what the future of Elliot Feeling is going to be. I know that putting together a band for the show that I'm doing has just felt so good. It's felt so like, it's just been such a rewarding experience for me as someone who's never put together a band to play my own music before.
WR: That was sort of what my next question was going to be anyway, actually, how does this work live? So, yeah, who did you find, and how did you sort of determine what you wanted for a live band?
ELLIOT FEELING: Yeah, well, we're still putting it together, so one of the people I'm very excited to have in my band is Joanna Miller, and she's always been kind of like my favorite drummer in Winnipeg. She does the big Dave McLean blues jam at Times Change(d), so I've been watching her play for life, and she's just the coolest. And I just happened to ask her to do percussion for my album, and she said yes, which was amazing. And then she, you know, if I can make the gig, I'll do just. Yeah, that's just been such a treat to be able to have her on board.
Ryan Menard, who's also a longtime blues jam person, is the cornerstone of my band right now. He's the one who's been able to practice the most. Carey Buss, who is in the folk-rock scene. So he's just a super proficient musician. And I asked Natanielle Felicitas, who is a cellist with Cantor Dust and has played on everyone's records project, I think. Yeah, she's very cool, and she agreed to play with me.
Who am I forgetting? Yeah, see, I knew I needed to write all of these names down, and now I'm blanking on it. And then my friend Roger, who plays saxophone in a whole bunch of other bands, is going to jump on a few tracks.The band, it's coming together. It feels really good.
WR: How different are the songs when you have the full band, when you're working on them for this show, versus kind of how they were when you originally put them together?
ELLIOT FEELING: Oh, so different. I mean, I'm so used to just sitting at the piano and playing and singing by myself. And even in the process of recording, Adam had a nightmare with me because I just don't play in time.
I'm a pretty okay musician, but for some reason, it's like you're only playing with yourself. You only have to keep your own time. Yeah. So it's absolutely a challenge and a journey. And honestly, it's still ongoing, so I have no idea.
WR: How do people hear this band? I mean, it's going to be like you said from the time we're recording this, it's a few weeks away. What are the details of the release?
ELLIOT FEELING: Sure. It's November 18 at X-Cuess, and we have Bicycle Face and Mulligrub opening up, which is very exciting, made up of dear friends.
[0ELLIOT FEELING: And they're really great bands. So, yeah, it's $15. It starts at 8:00 p.m.. And yeah, I'd love it if people could come. That would be so sweet.
WR: And is that the same day that the record comes out as well?
ELLIOT FEELING: Actually, so I'm releasing the single Friday, October 27, this Friday as we record, and then I'm going to release the album the week before. So The Submariner comes out November 10 on all of the streaming platforms.
WR: Are you putting out physical copies as well, or just streaming for this one?
ELLIOT FEELING: No, just streaming. But I am going to have some physical things because I like physical things. So I made a lyrics booklet that is. It's all collaged, actually.
WR: Oh, cool.
ELLIOT FEELING: Out of photos that I've taken, so those will be available, and I'm going to get some stickers as well.
ELLIOT FEELING: But, yeah, no physical things. No physical CDs.
WR: Is that just because this is your first kind of attempt at doing this and you want to see how it goes, or do you prefer the digital only format?
ELLIOT FEELING: I don't know. I know that I don't actually buy physical items like physical CDs and records.
And so, yeah, I'm not married to not doing it, and I know there's some beautiful albums that are coming out, and it would be very cool to have artwork on a record at some point, but I know that the timeline for getting vinyl pressed is very difficult to work with, and so it just seemed like, yeah, for this one, it would just keep it simpler to just do the digital online release, which, honestly, is enough work.
WR: Yeah, for sure. Well, because you're not just the creative person. You have to be doing all of the promotional stuff. Like you mentioned earlier, too. There's a whole other side of it that I think it's one of the good and bad things about the bar has been lowered where everyone can put out their own music, which is great, but then everyone also has to take on all these other roles that maybe 15 years ago wouldn't have been the case. But now it's kind of, you got to learn all of this stuff and do it all at once.
ELLIOT FEELING: Absolutely. Yeah. And it's not everybody's skill set, for sure. One day I'll be able to hire someone to do it for me, but at this point, I've given myself permission to not do all of this perfectly, which I think is very important in all of this work. It's Just enough. It's enough to just do it, do what you can, and the rest, it's just fine.
WR: Well, that maybe brings up another question. With everyone and their dog releasing albums online and the availability to do so, it's so convenient and not easy, but not as hard as it was. How do you get yourself heard out of all of this mess of everyone is releasing music 24/7 there's new albums coming out from everyone all around the world.
Do you have sort of a plan on how to get heard? I mean, obviously people know you, people you've played in bands with, people have seen your other projects, they've been listening to your music, your friends, your family, everything like that. Those people will for sure check it out. But how does one. I mean, I haven't been in a band in like 15 years, and I'm kind of glad because I see stuff like this and it's like, I don't know how I would do it either to get music out there.
ELLIOT FEELING: Yeah, no, I wish you could tell me.
WR: No one ever knows the answer to that.
ELLIOT FEELING: Yeah, I have no idea. And at the end of the day, I think it's like everything else. You never know who it's going to reach and maybe it'll end up on a playlist and someone will hear it and have a connection to it. I always feel like the personal, interpersonal connections I have in Winnipeg in particular, because Winnipeg is such a rich music scene. Those are so much more meaningful. Anyway, know, kind of just like picking up something online.
I'm very old school in that way. I'm very much like, yeah, I think that it's enough, at least at this point in my quote unquote career.
It feels like enough to just put something out and have even people that I know listen to it. Because after playing kind of open mics here and there and playing in other people's bands again, this is the first time that people are going to hear something that's like, oh, wow, Elliot did that. I created something whole for the first time. So it means a lot to me that it's people that I know. And who knows?
WR: Well, you're going to get the best feedback, probably from people you know anyway, right?
ELLIOT FEELING: Yeah, exactly.
WR: If people are hearing about you for the first time on this show, what's the best way for them to kind of follow what you're up to as far as potential upcoming shows or new music being released, things like that?
ELLIOT FEELING: Yeah, mostly Instagram. I also have started an email list for parents on Instagram because I know there's a few of them. So if people want to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so Elliot spelled E-L-L-I-O-T. That is basically those two ways. Yeah.
ELLIOT FEELING: I'm on Facebook, too, just newly, but I don't even know how to use Facebook.