Newcomer Ellie Isherwood, or BYFYN as she is better known, is behind today’s track of the day ‘Hold Me Close’.
It is a mixture of slow synths, catchy beats and delicate vocals that make up BYFYN’s sound of atmospheric electronic pop. ‘Hold Me Close’ features on her debut EP ‘TENSION & RELEASE’ and is a perfect example of these very ingredients.
The Norfolk born singer and producer now lives in an artistic collective housed in a converted South East London pub, where she creates dreamy electronic music. GIGsoup had a chance to speak to her about her music, inspiration and process of making her debut EP.
Ok Ellie, so first things first, how did the name BYFYN come about?
BYFYN came from my friend Celia who told me that her Swedish friend used to read these children’s books who featured a main character called Biffin. I’d been searching for a name that sounded right for ages and when she said it, it just felt right. So I stole it from that and changed the spelling!
What is ‘TENSION & RELEASE’ about?
TENSION & RELEASE is about a number of things really! For a few years I have been struggling with anxiety and writing and singing is how I get rid of that tension. It can be really therapeutic for me, because in those moments I’m not thinking about anything else, I’m totally consumed in the music. I guess it’s also about learning to let go. I was worried about letting go of my music into the big wide world; especially with this EP because it was the first time i had ever really put anything out there that was a complete product of myself. It seemed really scary but I realised that not everyone was going to love it; as long as I was happy with it, it didn’t matter. I just had to put it out there!
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Tell us about your song writing process?
I don’t really have one way of writing songs. Usually I open up Ableton, play around with my synths until something makes me go, “ooh yeah that sounds good!” and then I record it, put some drums on it and then bass etc. When that is sounding good I get my microphone and just record whatever comes to mind at that moment. I make up lyrics on the spot usually, and then change and tweak them as I go along.
What do you like about making electronic music? You produced TENSION & RELEASE yourself, is that right?
I love that it means I can play everything myself! I did indeed. I guess it’s because I have really distinct ideas about how I want my music to sound in my head and I find it difficult to communicate to anyone else what that is. So I just it by myself instead!
How was the recording process?
Well at the time I wasn’t really thinking I was making an EP, I was just writing songs in my basement studio! I’d just moved into the Rising Sun, which is the converted pub where I live with a load of other great producers, and I was just making the most out of the situation!
Yeah that’s right, you are part of South East London based The Rising Sun Collective, what’s the story behind that? Tell us more about the collective?
So my friends and me were looking for a house after finishing uni and we came across this old pub called the Rising Sun. It was so perfect for us; it had loads of space and a massive empty basement. We’re a friendship group made up of producers, designers, photographers and videographers, so we decided to start the collective and simply named it after our pub. The collective is made up of loads of great artists, including A House In The Trees, Ramara, Xao, Parliament Of The Owls and Big Misty. We also have in house photographers and videographers Henry James Vinten and Geraint Morgan who document everything we do as a collective, make live visuals for our gigs and produce our music videos! It really is a dream set-up.
‘Hold Me Close’ is a beautiful, quite ghostly track that featured on your EP; can you tell us more about it?
So that track began its life in a jam session with Ramara a year or two ago. When I moved into the Rising Sun I pulled up the session and started making it into a proper track. The lyrics are about being in a relationship that makes you feel so good that you can’t believe it’s actually real!
What are you listening to at the moment? Is there any music in particular that you draw inspiration from?
I’m listening to Daniel Woolhouse’s new album “What’s That Sound?” It is packed with songs that you can’t help but sing along to at the top of your lungs; they are so catchy and have beautiful lyrics!! Grimes, Kate Bush and Animal Collective also really inspire me. I think the thing I love about all those three artists is the intricacy and daring nature of all of their music. They are never afraid to push the boundaries especially of “pop” music and I guess I’m striving to do the same!
2016 is coming to an end, what are your ambitions for 2017?
To finish my second EP. To play loads more gigs and perform at a festival in the summer!
Catch BYFYN playing at SJQ in Dalston on January 26, or The Miller in London Bridge on February 7.