Hackney proves muse for Elia Rulli after childhood on the road
- Credit: Archant
Hailing from Canada, Elia Rulli grew up as a baby on tour, spending his childhood years on the road with his musician parents as they travelled across Europe alongside the likes of Quincy Jones and Duke Ellington.
With a background like that, the 36-year-old never stood a chance of making a career in anything but music.
It did however mark a departure from his family’s jazz and Latin background when, around eight years ago, he suddenly crossed seas to move to Stoke Newington, where he formed an electronic-soul group under the moniker Elia and the Low Tears.
Their new EP, No Culture – featuring highlights like the moody, 80s vintage of The Reprieve and the bouncing, scuzzy synth pop of Violins – was recently re-released as a special edition. It appears to have come at the right time: last month the group were nominated for the Best Band category at the Unsigned Guide Awards and, following appearances on BBC 6 Music under the championship of Tom Robinson, momentum seems to be swinging in their favour.
For Rulli, these fortunes stem partly from the fact that inspiration is just around the corner.
“Hackney’s great,” he says. “Around here it’s reflected in the shops and restaurants as well as the people: the different cultures and ethos. Absolute diversity is one of the joys of life.
“There are so many artists and musicians around here and creative people, it’s really inspiring. Stoke Newington has such a villagey feel, so there’s a whole local community of artists that I know of, and I know that there are a lot more who I don’t know about; our paths haven’t crossed yet.” Citing heroes like Prince and Joni Mitchell, Rulli explains how a recent acoustic gig he played highlighted the appeal of simple, timeless song writing. “I listen to a lot of funk, a lot of electro and hip hop, but I also just like a good song, so with someone like Joni Mitchell, there are just timeless songs that will never go out of style because the music is so personal and so real and so good.
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“Because I feel like the crux of what I do is being a songwriter and a singer, it’s great to just strip it down and deliver the raw emotion of a song.”
With two more EPs – including a soundtrack record for upcoming film Kidnap Me – pencilled in before the end of the year, perhaps it won’t be too long before Rulli’s back on the European circuit once more.