Perth alternative pop artist Eli Greeneyes catches up with Brian Peel for a special THEAUSSIEWORD.COM interview.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
Nothing really interests me in terms of the “industry”, never has. I think we are pretty lucky with the internet these days to just make the art and put it up online from a bedroom independently, so we don’t have to deal with the politics side of the industry as much. But yeah, I get what you mean and I’m probably reading this too literally haha. Music has always been in my life from being taught how to sing Opera as a young child to listening to my parents’ diverse CD and tape collection (Prince, Aretha Franklin, George Michael, Nina Simone). I started writing music when I was 10 and yeah you could guess that it was trash ahaha, but who isn’t when they start you know? It’s about having an outlet and explaining things through that medium that are near impossible in normal conversation, figuring out who you are and where you fit in the world.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
I think at the very beginning of my creative journey I started writing music as a way of distracting myself from awful things that were happening in my childhood. So, in that way, as I grew older it became a compulsion because that’s how I dealt with literally EVERYTHING!
Now it’s becoming more and more clear through teaching music to kids, meeting people at pubs and having long DNM’s with my friends that there’s an overall angst in the world in this younger generation that I’m in. The number of times I find myself explaining to people that you can do what you want whether it’s painting, starting a business, writing music WHATEVER!! is insane.
It’s better to try shit out, fail and learn, then live in fear. At least that’s what I’ve experienced as a human that’s done both. As a child I picked flight and was affected hugely by my childhood. Through years of therapy and working on myself I’ve picked fight and I think that’s why I have enough confidence to do what I want and that’s important to me. It’s what I want to do regardless of if I succeed or not. I’m making myself content just by creating. I’ve watched that influence other people (not many, but enough) and I think that’s what gives me the most motivation now.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?
I hope to spread the message of identity and power. I hope to spread confidence and self-acceptance. If I do that on a large scale, I’ll be a happy lil ELI.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
Hiding myself away and working on an album for next year, I think. I want to have a little break before that though and just skate, paint, cook and write music. So yeah, don’t expect much till next year ahaha…. I need to recoup! I learnt so much from making this EP and I need to put that learning into action.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?
I was given flowers in a relationship which at first, I felt really weird about. It seemed like there was an underlying meaning, but I pushed it aside as me being problematically masculine. So, I enjoyed the beautiful gesture only to later find out there was an underlying meaning. The person I was with bought me flowers because they thought I would mirror their actions and spoil them more.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
At the moment, love is a huge topic in my creative journey. I’m experiencing it in all sorts of ways atm. love for the self, love for others. It’s funny knowing now that the same snowball effect with all the doom and gloom I was experiencing as a kid and teen, works the same way with positivity and things that make you tick. I’m enjoying writing positive, almost silver lining type narratives from bad situations that I’ve experienced. It makes me feel empowered.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
My music is quite straight and upfront atm. Sometimes with little to no metaphors. I like explaining things directly right now but that might change. No hidden meanings for now.
Success, what is the secret to it?
I think you have to change the meaning of success and mold it to you and your values. Not the traditional way that we’ve been told by most schools and some parents (MONEY=SUCCESS)
I was taught that money was basically the most important thing, and it wasn’t until recently that I started changing that idea to suit my values more. If I’m eating, living, fulfilled in my work and having fun I’m kinda already succeeding. Money is great when you have it but only if you are fulfilled with how you make it in my opinion.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
DM’s I have received on social media from super brave people opening up about how my music helped them through some of the toughest times in their life. It doesn’t matter how many there are, it matters how honest and open it makes people feel for me. Those people make a huge difference to how I feel about making art, it can help other people and not just me. That is and will always be the highlight. Songs like “People” and “Not Enough” which will be on this upcoming EP have been the best received in that way. I want to offer my outlooks with mental health, confidence and power so people feel less alone in their experience because that’s what music and art in general has done for me.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
Adele, Steve Lacy, The 1975, Molly Payton, Deb Never, Dijon.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
There will be next year for sure and I’m excited!!! I want to make a full record at some point. That’s the next challenge.
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself in a few years?
Content in my purpose, skating, Painting, cooking, drinking espresso martinis with friends and of course making music for more and more people.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
I am conflicted with the relationship between artist and labels at the moment. For the last few years there’s been a fast transition of making art and making it connect with people across social media like Instagram and Tik Tok. Which is awesome in one way (that the destiny is left in the artist’s hands which I am all for) and not in the other. A labels job these days is to tell artists to make content on platforms like Tik Tok so they can upload the song online and then still take a generous part of the pie. I know that’s not all labels and all cases, but it is a lot that’s for sure. Some labels should be saying exactly what they are these days…. And that’s basically a bank giving out loans for investment.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
Oh Pep, Lo, WAAX
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
Neither here nor there to be honest. I love making music as much as I love listening to it. And if people love what I make then that’s awesome and if they don’t then that’s fine. Social Media can stress artists out and I’ve definitely felt that way in the past but it’s important to be raw and real these days and I like that part. I want to get better at that part of it cause in person I don’t struggle with that at all.
How will you continue appealing to the international market?
I don’t really know how to answer that question. I feel like I’m a packet of pencils on amazon or something ahaha. I am moving overseas next year but the whole music career and personal life are all linked for me. I’m a person who just expresses themself through this medium and that’s it. The idea of appealing to people sounds contrived and exhausting to me. You’re always going to be liked and disliked by certain people and that’s fine by me. I’ll go where I’m celebrated and loved, not tolerated or appealing. Who knows where that will lead me.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
I love collaborating! And I would love to collaborate first with friends that I respect, as artists and people. I don’t really have a wish list, although Phoebe Bridgers or Adele would be un-REAL! Dead or alive I would have to say Prince. I wouldn’t collaborate, I’d just be a fly on the wall though.
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t follow my footsteps, create your own and be you. Don’t try to please or appeal to people, Set yourself free from that. Dig deep, try things that excite you. Oh, and try to not overthink…. that’s a hard one.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?
It’s not lost on me and thank you for listening. And I hope you’re well, speak soon.
Any last words?
Thanks for taking the time to interview me about life and music! I really appreciate it ❤.