Exclusive Interview with Naz and Ella for ATI Magazine.
Q1: If you had the opportunity to get an inspiring message across to a lot of people, what would your message be?
A1: Ella: Be yourself
A1: Naz: Agreed. Do what makes you happy and don’t be swayed by practicality.
Q2: How did you get started with your music? And if you weren’t an artist/musician what would you want to be doing?
Ella: We got started with our music at school, where we both met. We were in the same music class so we knew that we both played guitar. One day Naz asked if I’d like to join a band with her and two other girls and it went from there. When we all went off to university, we continued as a duo rather than a band and developed our sound to acoustic/ folk rather than rock.
Naz: As for what we’d be doing if we weren’t an artist/musician, I think we’d still WANT to be musicians deep down! But for me, I’d want to be working somewhere in the fashion industry.
Q3: What or who keeps you motivated and inspires you?
A3: Naz & Ella: We are motivated and inspired by hearing kind feedback at our gigs after we have performed. It’s really rewarding to learn there are people out there who were attentively listening and appreciating our music. We are also very motivated by encouragement from friends and family.
Q4: What is the most memorable experience of your life/career so far? And what have you learned from it?
A4: Ella: My most memorable experience is when I went traveling to Nepal where I volunteered at an orphanage for 2 months. It was a really rewarding and fascinating experience. The children at the orphanage were all very musical as well which made it even more enjoyable. It taught me that no matter how far away you go, how different the culture might be from your own, you can always connect with people through music.
Naz: My most memorable experience of my life so far is probably when I studied in California for a year. The classes I took and the people I met, really opened my eyes to a lot of things I wasn’t aware of. I’m generally quite a negative person, but this experience taught me how to be a little more positive.
Q5: Would you go back and change anything in your journey so far? (If no, why)
A5: Ella: No I don’t think I would change anything. I don’t believe there’s any point regretting or wishing to change things, it stops you from enjoying the here and now.
Naz: I’m the total opposite from Ella in this respect. I’m the kind of person who thinks about changing things in the past a little too often. Ella and I have actually spent more time apart than together since we became a duo, so I think I would’ve worked harder to get into a uni closer to her.
Q6: In the next two years what do you ASPIRE to have done?
A6: Ella: In 2 years time, we would like to have written and recorded our second EP and performed at some more high-profile venues and at a few well-known festivals.
Naz: And maybe even do a little tour around Europe!
Q7: How much of your life and background have influenced you to become a songwriter/musician?
A7: Ella: My parents aren’t all that musical but they were always encouraging. My mum encouraged me to learn piano before picking up the guitar, which was actually a really good decision. It gave me the foundations of music theory. I’ve always been obsessed with music, ever since I was a kid.
Naz: I’m not sure how much of my life and background have influenced me to become a songwriter/musician. I started writing songs when I was in primary school and my parents thought it was pretty random. My parents weren’t in a position to let me have singing or guitar lessons ‘til I was in my teens but they were always encouraging.
Q8: What lyrics mean the most to you and why (ones you have written and or ones you didn’t write)
A8: Ella: Blind Eye – I really like the lyrics to this song. We re-wrote it quite a few times as we really wanted to get it right. It’s about the struggles of being homeless and emphasizes anyone can find themselves homeless no matter what. We think it’s an issue that doesn’t get as much focus as it deserves. Of course, a song about homelessness isn’t going to get people off the streets, but it might make you stop and think. That’s what we want to do.
Naz: I love lyrics and it’s usually what I’m listening out for in songs – there’s so many that come to mind but I’ll pick the first one! “Regrets collect like old friends/ Here to relive your darkest moments” from Shake It Out by Florence + the Machine. I don’t think they mean the most to me, but they really speak to me. Unfortunately, I do think about things I regret all too frequently and there’s something really poetic and relatable I find when I read/hear these lyrics and actually the whole song.
Q9: If you could collaborate with anyone who would to it be and why?
A9: Ella: Skin from Skunk Anansie. I love Skunk Anansie and I think she is a very creative and versatile musician. She can pull off heavy rock, soul and acoustic and is always experimenting with their sound; something we would like to do.
Naz: If you’d asked me this the beginning of last year, I would’ve said Florence Welch. I love her creativity, her voice, lyrics, everything. BUT, I am obsessed with LP at the moment. Pretty much for the same reasons. I went to see her play in Camden recently and her performance blew me away. I’d collaborate with them both if I could.
Q10: What is the most inspiring message you have internalized in life so far?
A10: Ella: Life takes you by surprise and you never know what’s round the corner so pursue what makes you happy!
Q11: What is your motto in life/what do you live by?
A11: Naz & Ella: Don’t think we’re cool enough for an answer to this question! Haha.
Q12: What is currently on your playlist?
A12: Ella: Amy Winehouse, Staves, Unthanks, Skunk Anansie, Smiths, Pierces, L.E.J, Foo Fighters.
Naz: LP, Silversun pickups, CAT, The Kills, Florence + the Machine, Phantogram, Wolf Alice.
Q13: If you could have a song to be the soundtrack to your life what would it be and why?
A13: Ella: There is a light that never goes out??
Naz: If I could have a song to be the soundtrack to my life… I’m not sure what it would be! I think it would depend on how I’m feeling on a particular day.
Q14: What are your biggest dreams? and what are your biggest fears?
A14: Naz & Ella: My biggest dreams would be to play at some of the top festivals; Glastonbury, and Latitude in the UK. We’d also love to perform abroad at festivals such as Rock Wertcher in Belgium or Bilbao BBK in Spain. Performing at some of London’s top venues such as The Roundhouse and Union Chapel would be amazing!
Q15: What is next for you/your plans for the next year?
A15: Naz & Ella: Continue gigging our EP – we’re touring throughout the summer and have some interesting gigs coming up. Produce a music video, and then really get stuck into writing.
Q16: What would your advice to be to those out there who want to live out their dreams?
A16: Ella: Be persistent but remain patient. Keep going no matter how difficult and impossible it seems.
Q17: Lastly, for those who don’t know where can people follow your career?
A17: For those who don’t know, you can follow everything we get up to via our website www.nazandella.com – all our social media is linked there and we even have a blog! You can follow us on Twitter @NazandEllaMusic, our Facebook is /NazandEllaMusic, and we’re on YouTube as nazandella 🙂