Ell V Gore Talks New EP ‘Sex Static,’ Explains the Influence of No Wave + Strip Clubs
The press release for Toronto foursome Ell V Gore’s new EP, ‘Sex Static,’ alludes to bizarre sex parties and late-night debauchery, so naturally, we were intrigued. So much so that we emailed 24-year-old singer and mastermind Ell V to get the scoop on this bleakly sexy set of post-punk jams.
In his response (below), Gore discusses his love of No Wave music, the state of the Toronto music scene and the summer he spent DJing at a strip club. Also, drugs and alcohol. It all factors into the frenetic sounds splashed across Ell V Gore’s dark (but not overly dark) sonic canvass. But it’s best to let Ell explain.
How did “late-night bizarre sex parties” contribute to the music on ‘Sex Static,’ if at all?
Late night bizarre sex parties. [Laughs] That’s funny. I throw parties that are definitely sex driven, but I wouldn’t say a lot of f—ing actually goes down at them. That’s another place I’d gladly share with you some other time. I will tell you though that working at a strip club as the DJ for a whole summer definitely influenced my EP. I began writing it while working there. Not seeing sunlight for a period of time can make you come up with some pretty interesting stuff. I wonder if now that I enjoy the sunlight on a daily basis that my new record will be completely different?
I’d guess industrial punk rock is best experienced live. How does playing live compare with recording and trying to capture certain emotions and sounds? Was the latter difficult?
It was very easy for me to lay it down once I figured out exactly what I wanted to do. I like live shows being completely different than the record. In the studio, I get into a headspace where I’m constantly never satisfied with what comes out at the end of the day. Always adding more synth, pedals, noise, etc. That’s probably why it took me so long to put something out. Live I don’t give a s—. It needs to be stripped down, raw and in your face. No fancy stuff — just guitars, bass and drums.
What was the concept behind the video for ‘Lobotomy?’ Was the shoot in a location where you’ve actually thrown some of your parties?
Yes, the video was shot in a space my friends and I had for a brief period until we got evicted. I believe we shot that video in the morning after a huge party we had. There is nothing too interesting behind the video. I knew what I wanted it to look like in my head. Vague storyboard. Seedy but tasteful, crazy lights, transsexuals — all stuff that’s really fun and comfortable to me. We just gave the actors drugs and alcohol and filmed whatever they wanted to do, really. In the end I basically just wanted exposure for my beautiful friend Nancy Bocock, who is going to be a total slut star real soon. Look out.
For folks who aren’t all that familiar with the Toronto music scene, what local artists do you recommend checking out? Who has influenced your music?
Kontravoid, Cellphone, Hussy, Soupcans, Young Mother, Mexican Slang, Odonis Odonis, S.H.I.T., Tarantula X are all great bands, in my opinion. Keeping the Toronto scene weird and alive. Get into it. As for today, I rarely listen to music. I have the same five bands that I have loved and who have influenced me for years, but other than that I only listen to music to sleep to. I can’t sleep without it. Usually Phillip Glass, Steve Reich, sci-fi sound tracks, jazz FM or something minimal that will put me in a trance will do it.
Any specific direction you want the band to head musically or visually? How are you going to make that happen?
We are working on a new full-length album right now that’s a little different from the EP. Trying to incorporate more beauty and textures into my songwriting, but I don’t see too much change from us anytime soon. Although we have been a band for a couple years … only recently people started caring about us. So why change now?
What’s your opinion on the state of music now — not just in Toronto, but everywhere — and what’s coming down the pipeline?
I’ll pick Toronto again because that’s basically all I know when it comes to new music. I see it happening around me all day. I rarely dig into anything new anymore. It’s not that I don’t want to. Maybe I’m busy? Maybe I’m bored? I don’t know. But yeah the state the Toronto music scene is in right now is quite impressive. Hard to make a living out of it, but it’s very strong at the moment. The past couple years there has been more and more attention on the different scenes here. Everyone is eager to start a new band and it’s not all bullshit. We are defiantly raising our freak flag right now. It’s very sexy.
A few facts about you that people might find surprising?
I am a huge sports fan, and I love romantic comedies.
What would you like people to take away from your music, either from a live show, or from listing to one of your tracks?
A feeling of discomfort from people always excites me, but ultimately people can take it however they want. I don’t want people to take my music too seriously … even if it’s “dark” or whatever. I don’t find it dark at all and I’m not a scary person (although I get myself into questionable situations). I started listening to No Wave at a very young age, and I’m just trying to put my own spin on what I dig.
Anything else you want to get out there about you, your music or your personal beliefs?
Be as sexy and dangerous as you want, but please play safe with your drugs.