I recently had a conversation with Nabi from the band “Ellevator” after their headline set on the Hamilton stage at Supercrawl. We discussed the bands latest project currently in the works, what it’s like working with a big name producer and what her favourite experiences have been fronting a touring rock band are thus far. Nabi was very kind in allowing me to conduct my very first interview with her and I owe her a million thanks, so please after you read this go follow the band, buy their music and catch them at a show.
I’ve been following you and the band and have seen you doing some recording in a few different spaces. Where have you been?
We’re still in the process of recording, but so far we’ve recorded at Catherine North and Tape Studios here in Hamilton and at The Bathouse Studio which was awesome. I think we spent an equal amount of time at Catherine North and Bathouse, but it certainly felt longer at Bathouse because we were living there.
What was it like living in the studio?
It was great. It’s such a different experience than going in the studio after work or even going home and going back and forth, I enjoyed it a lot. Both the other studios were great places to work but I think I prefer being able to really get into that headspace by staying at the studio and being able to pop in and out.
I think it’s no secret that you’ve been working with Chris Walla, which is incredible. How did that come to be?
We’re very lucky to have a team behind us who asked us us to put together a list of all of our dream producers. The list could include people that we figured we had absolutely no chance of working with, and Chris Walla was one of them. Through our team, we put forward the question of whether he would want to work with us and sent him some demos and he actually responded. He was interested in the project, and came down to Hamilton for a weekend where we tried doing some pre-production, writing and some edits to our songs. It all went really well, he enjoyed himself and we enjoyed ourselves so we decided we would work together.
You’ve done some pretty extensive touring in the past few years with Ellevator, what’s your favourite show or experience on the road?
Can I have two?
You can have as many as you like.
I have two kind of opposite but equally powerful experiences. I can’t remember the exact dates but one of my favourite shows was at a venue that I think is closed down now, The Windsor Beer Exchange, and it might have been one of the last shows they had. It was this little bar on the last stop of a tour with Dear Rouge, that was very tightly packed and all the bands had to fit their gear on stage. We didn’t have anywhere to move the gear in between sets so it was all just getting layered on top of each other. We were the first band so we had very little space, and I ended up singing almost the entire set in the middle of the crowd just standing with a microphone. It wound up being so much fun and the crowd was really getting into the music. It was one of my more powerful performance experiences.
I think that a Dear Rouge crowd would be very receptive to a show like that, with the energy high and a singer in the crowd.
Absolutely! I think Dear Rouge is incredible and I think that they have a real way of helping people break that barrier between audience and performer, so it was really cool to rub shoulders with them on that tour and learn from them. Dani is for sure one of my role models, with her confident stage presence and how she interacts with an audience.
What’s your second experience?
The second one was similar in that I felt like I had a real connection with the audience but it was at The Imperial Bell in Quebec playing Festival d’êtê. We were opening up for the Franklin Electric, a French band whose fans are just in love with them and they’re doing so well. It’s amazing how strong Francophone culture is with music and art and I didn’t really realize that until we were there. I was nervous being the opening band because generally people don’t come to the show for you, they’re there for the next band and you’re being put in a kind of place of honour to ramp everyone up. I remember not expecting there to be much of an audience, but we took a peek out of the curtain about 15-20 minutes before we went on and it was already packed. It’s a huge old beautiful theatre with all the seats out, so it was really exciting to look out and see that everyone was there already. It felt like everyone had taken the night off to be there and appreciate the show. It was also a great experience for me to learn how to have a presence on a large stage in a large room, and since they had a wireless microphone I could use, I ended walking backstage and up this spiral staircase onto one of those old balconies they use for Operas, and sang from up there.
Unfortunately I can’t stay away from the gimmicks, and I’m also curious to know, what are your top 5 bands currently? Emphasis on the currently.
Gang of Youths
Lana Del Rey
Ellevator is a couple weeks away from a West Coast tour with Banners, and has a whole lot planned for the near future. Stayed tuned by following them on their socials and go check out their debut EP released through Arts and Crafts Records.
Written by Levi Kertesz @levikertesz
Photography by Stephanie Montani @stephmontaniphotography
Portrait taken at The Pale Blue Dot on James Street North in Hamilton, Ontario