Anyone who’s been following the site for the past few years will be aware of Annabel (lee). I’ve been a huge fan of the LA-based duo comprised of Richard and Shelia Ellis ever since my ears met the dream-like melodies of “Believe,” a track from their criminally overlooked debut album By the Sea… and Other Solitary Places.
One the best releases of 2015 the pair’s gentle mixture of jazz, folk, classical, and ambient soundscapes offers the listener a unique and exciting new genre all of its own. It’s a sound that I could listen to forever.
The duo released their second album The Cleansing today and I was thrilled when the opportunity arose to put some questions to Richard and Shelia about their new LP, interest outside of music, desert island records and more.
Get the lowdown on Annabel (lee) below.
Q. How did you the two of you meet and how did Annabel (lee) start?
Richard: We met through our MySpace music pages back when Facebook was just a twinkle in the internet’s eye! Sheila was in New York, and I was in London. We discussed maybe collaborating on a couple of tracks, but once we started trading influences and talking more, we realized there was a deeper connection.
Q. So, I was a massive fan of your 2015 record. What are the main differences in your music since recording By The Sea… and Other Solitary Places?
Just the slight alteration of guitar/vocal, duet work, as opposed to an entire album being symphonic. We wanted to share a more intimate side, as it’s a vital part of us, equally as important. So we included a couple of tracks of that nature.
Q. You recently released a new track, “Far,” can you tell us a bit about the song.
Sheila: It’s about an alien love encounter. It seems impossible, but with love, ANYTHING is possible…’if you dare to dream’. The strange thereamin-like sound is, for me, the alien trying to communicate.
Q. Can you talk about the process of making The Cleansing?
Sheila: Songs came over time, at various points in our lives. We merged them all together but with a sequence of growth that occurs during a cleansing of the spirit, of the heart.
Q. What was your favourite moment in creating this new album?
Sheila: Knowing our label loved our works so much, they had trouble deciding which 8 songs to include (we went back and forth, numerous times) it was wonderful because they wanted them ALL, so we’ll have to pace it over time! We have so much material and are constantly creating. For them to actually get perturbed because it all couldn’t go ahead, well, that’s quite refreshing!
Richard: Same for me.
Q. Your music doesn’t fit into one genre. Is there anything musically that you’d like to do that’s very different from what you’ve been doing?
Sheila: Not at all! We’re doing exactly what we want…we just want MORE PEOPLE TO HEAR IT! lol
Q. Outside of music, what are your hobbies/interests?
Sheila: Reading poetry (Emily Dickinson is my favourite, Poe’s second), watching horror and foreign movies, plus great comedies on cable. People may find it surprising that we LOVE to laugh. We’re only serious when making music!
Richard: I’ve also been taking a lot of photographs since we moved to LA. I went to art college and have been hoping to get back into painting, but our place is just too small for that kind of mess. But I’ve been inspired by the light, architecture and colours of the West Coast to capture a mix of abstract and figurative images with my camera. Hoping to try and exhibit in the future. If anyone’s interested, you can check my Instagram: richard_e_further_out.
Q. What would be your desert island record?
Sheila: Debussy (my favourite classical composer)…duh, we’re on an island!
Richard: Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue
Are there any last words you’d like to leave with the Twistedsoul community?
Sheila: I love that you love us.
Richard: Stay twisted!
A huge thank you to Richard and Sheila. You can buy their amazing new album here.