Following a crowd-pleasing and absolutely storming set at the new Maid of Stone Festival in Mote Park, Maidstone, MetalTalk were fortunate enough to grab a few minutes with Elles Bailey to chat about matters such as touring, the success of the last album, the current single, what we can expect from the next album and more.
Interview – Elles Bailey – Maid Of Stone Festival
It seems as though Elles has been constantly on the road since the release of her last album, Shining In The Half Light, and yet somehow she’s managed to find the time to host a show on Planet Rock Radio, release a new single and start work on her next album as well as somehow managing to fit in family time to her exhaustive schedule.
“I do seem to have been on the road a lot,” Elles told Adrian Stonley, “but it’s starting to ease off now a bit. It doesn’t seem to be quite so much. I had some dates earlier in the year in Germany, which were great, and I’m looking forward to going back there in November. Now things are opening up a bit more I’m looking to some more European dates next year when the new album comes out.
“But I’m going to get a break in October and December, so that will be okay. I’ll go back to the joys of being a mum again.”
Elles says the new, as yet untitled album is progressing well. “The new album is coming along well,” she says. “I’ve already got about twenty or so songs ready, although I’m still continuing to write. You can never have too many songs, and if some of them don’t make this album, they won’t be thrown away and may be used in the future.
“At present, I feel that the material that I have already written would make for a good album. Well, actually an excellent album, but you can never have too many songs. You never know, but there may be songs still to be written that might make the album. I’m not going to rush it.
Obviously, I want the album to be the best possible music that I can put out, and as a songwriter and musician, I am still learning, which means, hopefully, that I can only continue to improve. Not saying that anything I’ve written in the past isn’t how I wanted them to be. But I am always looking to develop, learn from others and try and expand my songwriting and musical abilities.
“The last album [Shining In The Half Light] definitely opened doors for us and gave us some access to a wider rock audience. The album saw us writing in a wider context, and the airplay given by Planet Rock has been fantastic. They have been so totally supportive of my music.
“Though I have to admit that I was quite nervous when I went down to the signing tent earlier, and playing a rock festival, I didn’t expect anyone to come, but there was this queue there for me. I couldn’t believe it.”
Elles says there is a variation in the new album. “But there are also some familiar ideas. The album is very much developing a theme of things that are close to me, where we are at present as people, as a country.
“With the new album, there will be songs where I am writing what I see and feel. There is still plenty of injustice, and I will write about that as I did on the last album. But it could change as I am still writing, and it won’t be out until next year. So, we’ll have to see. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out yet. That said, there’s still going to be plenty of happy good time numbers as well.”
Despite being so busy, Elles and the band have found some studio time and released a new single, Devil Claims His Prize. “That’s a song that I’m pleased about how it’s come out,” she says. “Similarly to some other songs on the Shining In The Half Light album, this was written as how I felt about some people’s lust for greed and power.
“It’s about those people who, when they get to the top, will do anything not to lose their crowns. Perhaps it might be another anti-tory song [laughs], but it’s probably more political than that and not aimed at one particular area but rather at a certain type and group of people. But as a piece of music, I’m very proud of it. I think it came around at just the right time.”
Elles had just completed her Maid Of Stone performance. The set list had been changed and mixed up with the addition of another new song, Long Road Ahead. This is a cover of a Delaney and Bonnie song and is intended to be the next single.
“It was a great song to do,” Elles said. “I absolutely love Delaney and Bonnie and play them on my show whenever I can. They were so underrated, yet look at who they played with, the likes of Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers. They were fantastic songwriters, so having the opportunity to play one of their songs was perfect.
“I must admit it didn’t turn out quite as I was expecting, but it was still fun to do. It seemed to go down okay, and it’s nice to throw something in that’s a bit different for the band to play at times. It keeps them on their toes.”
With Delaney and Bonnie and their collaborations with other artists, you wonder if there is anyone Elles would particularly like to work with. “I would love to work with Bonnie Raitt,” she says. “I absolutely love her. I was on the bill with her at the Black Deer festival recently, and though I never got to speak to her at the time, I just think she is such a talented artist. There were times just listening to her that I was in tears. It was so beautiful” [Ed. So Bonnie, If you are reading this].
Elles show at Maid Of Stone was quite simply a stunning performance that not only won over a lot of new fans but proved that there was definitely a place for her variation of more American-driven bluesy rock on the bill.
“I guess I was a bit worried about playing a rock show,” Elles said, “when I’m known more for my blues and Americana. You know I’m that girl who plays Americana. We were a bit softer than some of the other bands playing today, but it seemed to go off okay.”
For the record, it went far better than just okay.
Maid Of Stone Festival 2023 was held over the weekend of 21-23 July 2023. MetalTalk’s Adrian Stonley, Paul Monkhouse and Robert Sutton were reporting from Mote Park.
All Photography: Robert Sutton
Early Bird tickets are available for next year’s festival held over 19-21 July 2024. Tickets are available from here.
All MetalTalk Maid Of Stone 2023 coverage is at https://www.metaltalk.net/tag/maid-of-stone-festival-2023