Editor’s note: This Q&A has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Between working on her new album Early Reflections SMPLR, which comes out Friday, and embarking on her first tour of North America, indie singer-songwriter Eliot Sumner has had a busy year. The Italy native released two well-received EPs in 2014, which allowed her the opportunity to begin a 15-stop tour in both the U.S. and Canada. Before her performance at Holy Mountain on Wednesday, The Daily Texan spoke with Sumner about her musical influences, solo career and North American tour.
Daily Texan: When you started your career, you chose to start with a band rather than explore a solo career. What about a band appealed to you?
Eliot Sumner: It’s just more fun to be in a band. I really like to be part of a group. Right now, I’m not necessarily on my own. But I always wanted to be in a band as a young kid.
DT: Did it scare you at all to go solo?
ES: Not really. I’ve never been alone through this whole process. The group I work with now is very much a band, and I’m just kind of the face of it. We recorded the album all together, and it’s our record. I do more of the songwriting, then we all get together and do the pre-production, work out arrangements and such. Everyone has a huge influence and impact on the songs, and everyone brings a bit of their personality into the record, which is great.
DT: When you’re going through that songwriting process, does it take you a while to pin down overall themes and other important elements?
ES: I’ve actually been trying to make this record for quite a while now, and I never found the sound I wanted to create. When I met with Duncan Mills (the producer of the album), he introduced me to sub-culture and some sub-genres, and I found inspiration in krautrock music and psychedelic — groups like Neu!, Tangerine Dream and Joy Division.
DT: How important are some of those influences on your music?
ES: Important but not everything. In the end, we try to be as creative as possible. It’s those magic moments that happen in the studio, where something will happen that just sticks. When you have a good record, it’s not because you’re forcing anything, it’s just things that happen. It’s the magic of it all.
DT: You’re touring in North America for the first time. Do you like it so far?
ES: We love it. It’s so great to be here, and every day has been a ton of fun. Fans seem to really like our music, they aren’t afraid to come up and tell us what they like. It’s quite refreshing, because that never happens in England. You never get compliments, but people in North America have been so friendly.
DT: You have put out a couple of EPs and you’ve finished your soon to be released first album. How do you see yourself improving?
ES: It’s great to tour and see people react to the songs, that way we sort of know what’s liked and disliked. About half of the album has been released already, so it’s great to play those songs for fans and they’ll start to recognize the songs.
DT: Why do you think someone should come to your show? What makes it worthwhile?
ES: We work very hard to make sure people have a good time, and we love playing live. It’s just a total different experiment. I really only judge bands when I see them perform live, because that’s their true sound, that’s what they enjoy. Hopefully we add an extra element that a fan might not hear on the album.
Where: Holy Mountain
When: Wednesday, 9:00 p.m.