To make it in this world, you, usually, have to either be outside the box or be completely defined by it. In essence, you are either more of the same or very different. Percival Elliott have chosen the latter, using influences from Cupid to time-travel, to inspire their love songs. For this duo, you save your soul when you decide to be kind to it, which means expect full-on, Oprah level quotes in this interview.
Diandra: You call yourselves “Musical Surgeons”. How do you feel music heals people, and why do you think it makes approaching “hurt” easier?
Olly: Music is like surgery and the studio/stage is like an operating theatre; we get dressed up in our scrubs, prep our instruments, shrink ourselves (Like fantastic voyage) and dive into the subject headfirst and attempt to fix the heart.
Sam: We all hurt from time to time; I think music can either be like a game of operation or like a herbal tea, it can help us escape the norm and the pain. Music can transport us to better times, can help mend a broken heart, or inspire greatness. It is a powerful spell and we’re both lucky to have a boiling pot of inspiration and the instruments to cast it.
Diandra: You named your duo after Olly’s great-grandfather who believed in time-travel. How is he an influence in your sound?
Olly: Percival Elliott was my great grandfather and he was a legend in his own right. He owned a sweet factory from 1900-1920 and would travel across the country in his horse and cart selling sweets, toys and coffee beans. He loved old clocks and musical instruments. He would go missing for days, family folk law suggests he was a believer in time travel. That’s what my grandma remembers. In the 1920’s he moved to the south of the UK to set up one of the first ice cream emporiums in Brighton UK, in Weston Road.
Sam: Olly brought a dusty old doctors bag full of trinkets and inventions to the studio one day. I think it was then a given that we had to name ourselves in his honour. Maybe the man could see the future as his name and legacy does live on. I use one of his old teaspoons to stir my morning coffee, I swear that’s where my inspiration comes from.
Diandra: Your music seems to echo feelings of being kind when in love, and grasping the magic of being in a relationship. What is your advice for keeping kindness/ enchantment towards the ones/ things you love?
Olly: If you’re kind to love, then love is kind back. Be honest, work hard and true. Care for each other and accept that it’s okay to hurt sometimes. The sun will rise and tomorrow is a new day.
Sam: Give love time. Forgive one another. In the words of Bill and Ted… Be excellent to each other.
Diandra: When asked about your inspiration for “Forever”, you said, “We’ve all been shot by Cupid”. If there is one thing you can ask the Angel of Love about itself what would it be?
Olly: Is it lonely being Cupid?
Sam: Crossbow or traditional bow? How far do your arrows fly? Do you have different potencies of love/attraction?
You pride yourselves on being “genre-bending”, and never conforming to just one music- box. Do you feel that genres, as labels, help or hurt when defining music?
Olly: I expect we would fit into a box, maybe a misshaped chocolate box. We have such a diverse selection of inspiration, it’s hard for us to sit down and say we sound like this or that. Sam is a heavy metal fan with an interest in classical and Jazz. I love old 70’s singer song-writers. Somehow, we just meet in the middle.
Sam: Nobody likes to be labelled but sometimes you have to try on a pair of jeans to see if they fit. Everybody is different and no two bands is alike, that’s the beauty of life.
Diandra: Name one Father John Misty and Jeff Buckley song that you turn to when you have writer’s block?
Olly: FJM – ‘I love you Honeybear’. The production is timeless and the lyrics are stunning.
Buckley – ‘Mojo Pin’. Now that’s how you start an album. It set’s the pace, tone and soundscape for the rest of the record.
Sam: FJM – ‘I went to the store one day’. It’s the perfect Groundhog Day love story. How your life can be laid bare right in front of your eyes and how one person could charge the course of life.
Buckley – ‘Lover you should have come over’. Buckley paints masterpieces with words and music. I remember lying on my lounge floor, whiskey in hand, completely mesmerised by how perfect this track is and dumbfounded as to why I had never heard it before that day.
Diandra: What do you think is the hardest and best part about your creative process? What would you say you both bring to the process?
Olly: Sometimes it’s hard to get to meet up and jam, sometimes life gets in the way. Technology helps a lot. I am able to ping track ideas to Sam and he’s able to sculpt tracks from my clay.
Sam: I agree, time is an issue. It’s hard to knock heads in the small hours of the morning. You also never know when inspiration may strike. I have found about 1am is a good time to write. Tracking ideas on phone memos really does help capture the vibe of a track.
Diandra: You are all about inventiveness and imagination. With the release of Save Your Soul, what are the certain messages and visions you hope listeners imagine?
Olly: Save your soul is the story of discovery, a story of love, and the story of forgiveness. I hope the listeners discover something new about themselves in the process.
Sam: I’ve always loved the idea that lyrics can be perceived one way or another. I hope our songs are misheard or misinterpreted and that they take on a life of our own. Personally, I would sum up save your soul as an album full of tracks about love, drugs and cats.
Diandra: “Save Your Soul”, as a title, is inspired by how you feel humanity has lost its ability to follow its heart. How do you feel that is so, and how do you think music can redeem us?
Olly: I think we need to listen to our inner voice, not listen to our brains. There’s a reason why we go into fight or flight mode and we shouldn’t ignore our instincts.
Sam: The world is lost in a sea of Covfefe and button Bragging. If humanity is to survive this game of one-upping we’re going to have to put our faith in something we can’t see, taste, or physically feel. We need to band together and hold up the ship before she sinks.
Diandra: How does England’s Nature, from the city streets to the countryside, inspire you as artists? What is one lesson you have learned from watching nature?
Olly: You can’t beat a long walk followed by a traditional Sunday roast with a pint of London Pride. Switch off your phone and run through the woods; it certainly beats sitting at the traffic lights waiting for the green light. Don’t tame nature, don’t package it, embrace it and experience it. Look up from your phone and smile.
Sam: England is beautiful; I recently went fossil hunting with my partner in Lyme Regis. We are incredibly lucky that you can stumble on a piece of history that is 180 million years old and admire its perfection. My advice would be to embrace each day like the dawn chorus: sing loud and proud for everyone to hear.
DO YOU SEE THE OPRAH LEVELS OF QUOTING?! It seems with Percival Elliot their good humor also inspire good wisdom. They want to see life for what it’s worth, and have the heart strong enough to that takes a lot of work. Thus, it is a good thing they call music their job. For More Information On Percival Elliott Click Here.