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The Elephant Trees bring their Depressed Kids Disco Party to Notts

19 August 19 interview: Will Ryan

Manchester two-piece The Elephant Trees are bringing their self-described combination of gnarly rock and slick pop to Nottingham with the exotically titled Depressed Kids Disco Party later this year…

A group based in the LGBT scene and with lyrics and shows heavily focused on mental health issues, The Elephant Trees are quickly growing within a niche that draws from themes running through the veins of society today. Their energetic song Idiot has just been released on Spotify - a track that revels in dynamic contrast. Outspoken guitar choruses bracket emotionally charged lyrics, hiding sadness in the jovial self-deprecating chanting of ‘Idiot!’ We caught up with lead singer Martha Phillips for a chat about what the band is all about…

Where did your tour name Depressed Kids Disco Party come from and what does it mean?
It started off as a joke to be honest. Pretty much everyone in the band is dealing with some sort of mental health issue. But we found that the common thing for all of us as a band is that as soon as we’re making music; it is sort of a release, like medicine to us. So our show is a kind of safe environment for anyone having difficulties. It’s for anyone that struggles with anything.

So what specifically makes people in the crowd feel safe at your shows?
It is something that I talk about in between our songs and it’s very explicit in the lyrics.

How would you describe your association with the LGBTQ+ community?
Both me and our bassist Alex were at the forefront of leading the image of the band. Without putting any labels on myself, I am openly queer. We don’t go straight into the labels but we are part of the LGBT community ourselves and we want to make it a safe space for anyone else that is too. And also an introduction to anyone that has no idea what this section or this community is.

Does your music fully represent mental health and LGBT issues? Is it main focus?
Well yeah it does, we talk about that stuff openly. But I’d just say we talk about anything we have to deal with. We have songs about the 9-5, and ones just about anything we’re struggling with that makes life harder.

Who would you describe as your biggest influence, both musically and non-musically?
I think Florence and the Machine, maybe not musically, but in the way that she presents herself. If I’m answering a question or if I’m in a public space or anything like that I always picture her. I think she holds herself with grace and dignity and I would like to as well. Musically I think something we all share in is the band 21 Pilots. I think we all draw from their sound in different ways. But I also draw from their perspective of mashing genres - it’s important to not box yourself in.

Things are starting to take off, so what are your long term plans?
World domination. To be fair it’s not domination; I’m just so passionate about this idea of people having a safe space to come to where they can just relax and be themselves, because life is so difficult. I want it to be a place that people can come together, and that’s through the music. But I also want people to interact with each other. It started off as us all playing music, then we saw the benefits in a cathartic sense. We want to share that with people. It was only recently that we realised we could help other people with that.

You are informally invited to the Depressed Kids Disco Party at The Angel Microbrewery on Friday 22 November.

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