Records hold a very special place in the hearts of listeners, especially musicians. Whether it be through the distinct artwork, or a stand-out track, records have the unique ability to instantly take us back to the first time we heard them. We spoke to Ella Thompson about her experiences and thoughts on some of her favourite records and the influence they’ve had on her life as a musician and on her new album, Janus.
Did any albums influence the production or music of your new album Janus?
Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Music To Be Murdered By
James Blake – James Blake
The Shangri – Las – Leader Of The Pack
Mazzy Star – She Hangs Brightly
Feist – Metals
Chromatics – Kill For Love
Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood – Nancy & Lee
Bjork – Biophilia
What is your favourite album of all time?
I couldn’t possibly pick one. Falling in love with an album is like falling in love with a person. You might break up and find something new but they can never really be compared to each other. Although, Renée Geyer’s 1977 album Moving Along is definitely a masterpiece that I’ve listened to a lot.
What was the first album you bought with your own money?
Spice Girls – Spice
Which album has influenced your music style the most?
I feel like a mongrel of a handful of different albums that might not have that much to do with each other stylistically.
What has been the biggest surprise release of 2015?
Jessica Pratt’s new album On Your Own Love Again. I can’t get enough of this album.
What was playing on your family stereo growing up?
Deep Forest, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles…
Which album did you play to death as a teenager?
Donny Hathaway – Live at the Bitter End
If you record an album with any producer in the world, who would it be, and why?
Arthur Russell because he’s a genius! Sadly, that can never happen but I would like to imagine what it would be like to go out for lunch and just shoot the breeze.
What was your inspiration behind the artwork for Janus & who created the artwork?
I was really getting into Op Art of the 60’s by artists like Bridget Riley, minimalism and the idea of infinity amazing captured by Yayoi Zumsama. I was really lucky to work with Melbourne artist Jason Galea on this. His work is full of alternate worlds and mind matter.
What is your favourite track off Janus and why?
Hold Me Still. It was a last minute addition after all the others songs had been recorded and mixed. It was the only song on the album I wrote with someone else. Liam McGorry wrote this with me, he sent me an idea and then I finished the lyrics and everything on the same day. We didn’t think too much about it and I like the immediacy of the sound. It’s also fun to play live.
Did you have any other names on the table for your debut album, or was it always going to be called Janus?
It was nameless for a while. Originally I wanted to record a piano album, I wrote a song called Janus and that sort of started the idea that I wanted to record something on my own. I never ended up recording the song Janus but maybe on the next album. To me Janus is the idea of infinity, looking forward and back at the same time.
What was your most memorable moment while recording Janus?
Eating amazing udon noodle soup everyday with John Castle.