LA bases singer/songwriter Elle Belle a.k.a Chris Pappas is a force to be reckoned with. He grew up in rural New Hampshire where he started the band The Everyday Visuals. The band had moved to Boston where they gained quite the following. He departed from the band then moved to Los Angeles in 2010 where he met Pierre de Reeder, bassist for the venerable L.A. band Rilo Kiley. Pappas released a solo record under the name Miracle Parade on Pierre’s newly founded label Little Record Company. While recording the second record he suffered a creative breakdown, leading him to abandon the record and create Elle Belle.
Along with creating his own music, Pappas’ has written music for NASA, composing the soundtracks for the Juno and Rosetta mission official docu-series. He also composed an award-winning musical (“Pope! An Epic Musical”). Now he is set to release his upcoming album Post Everything out on 11/13. We got the pleasure to chat with Elle Belle about the upcoming release and so much more so be sure to check it out below!
Hey! Appreciate you taking the time to chat. For those who may not know who you are give us a little background on yourself.
I’m Christopher and I’m a musician that releases music under the name Elle Belle. I’m irrationally scared of being abducted by aliens even though I don’t believe aliens have visited the earth. I grew up in the woods of New Hampshire and I loved it, but now I live in L.A. I hate seafood and I think everyone who likes it should know that, to me, it smells like you’re eating a dive bar’s bathroom. You’re all gross.
We’re in some weird times, how has quarantine been treating you? What are some things that have been keeping you sane?
I’ve actually started playing Dungeons and Dragons. That’s not a joke. I’m obsessed. It’s really been something to take my mind off of the rapid decay of our democracy and existential panic thereof that I’ve been experiencing. If anyone wants to play, just shoot me an email.
Have you been making any music in this quarantine? If so has the process been any different?
Yeah, I’ve been demoing some new songs. My buddy Jack Lawless – who is an amazing person/drummer – just got a new recording set up so I’ve been sending tracks to him and he’s been nailing the drum parts and sending em back to me. I can do just about everything in my home studio – except drums. It’s been a lot of fun sending shit over to him and seeing what he comes back with.
Your newly released single “Everyone Knows (But They Won’t Tell You)” is stellar, how did that song come to be? What’s the story behind it?
Well, first I hated my mediocre existence for most of my life. That was the main step. Then I wrote a song about it.
How would you describe your music in three words?
FREE PRIME RIB
You’re set to release your third album Post Everything in November, how does that feel? excited , nervous?
On to my next album.
What’s the story behind the new album? How did the name come to be?
I wrote and recorded most of the record in the spring/summer of 2019. I had this realization that there was nowhere left for us to go. The world seemed like a joke that I wasn’t in on. It was beyond irony, satire, everything. We were post everything. Then the pandemic came and I was like “Ohhhhh THAT’S the hard reset.” It seemed nature wanted to turn the power off and back on again for society. We needed a reboot.
What’s the process like writing for a musical versus writing your own songs? Is it any
I find it pretty different. Musical writing tends to be more structured insofar that it usually presupposes a moment. “This scene is about THIS.” and so I will need to write something FOR that moment. In my own work I tend to write when/what I feel, so I have no idea what the song will be about when I set off to write it.
Which song or project of yours are you most proud of?
I cannot for the LIFE of me figure out why my song WKND wasn’t playing in EVERY Uber by the end of 2018. I was pretty proud when I conducted a 20-piece orchestra I had put together to play 3 new original works. Yesterday, I accidentally knocked over my new mic and caught it with my foot before it hit the floor. Praise be to little victories.
Is there a moment or memory in your life that you always want to hold onto? Or a
moment that has taught you a lot?
One time I was at SXSW with my friend Dave Godowsky. We were chatting outside and I was sweating like a monster. It was so fucking hot and I was in direct sunlight. After a bit he couldn’t help but see how out of sorts I was, so he takes me by the shoulders and moves me about 3 feet to my left into ample shade that I had been standing next to the whole time. Dude, look for the shade – it’s right there next to you.
What music have you been jamming to lately? Favorite artists?
I’ve been absolutely obsessed with the Ethiopiques Anthology records. They have been on heavy spin for the last few years. Guided by Voices has been another band that’s been a mainstay. More recently my bestie Misty Boyce (who also played on Post Everything) just put out the best record of her career and I’ve been jealous-listening to that.
Lastly, once this whole quarantine is over, what is one thing you can’t wait to go out and do again? (Thanks again for your time!)
Play shows. No question. Also, I’m gonna open a kissing booth near House of Pies in Los Feliz. I know people will wanna get back to normal.
Be sure to check out Elle Belle’s new single as well and preorder his new album!
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