The long awaited and very anticipated first music video by Montreal`s own Ella Grave Featuring LaKoche entitled "Golpe" is now in our lives.
MTL Blog: Wassssappp Ella? How you doing girl?
Ella: Heyyyy MTL Blog! I’m doing great thanks! Love the blog, super happy to be talking to you today! Thanks for having me!
MTL Blog: We’re hanging out right now to talk about your very first EP, your first Ella Grave solo project and your first video. Can you tell us a little bit about the project?
Ella: I spent the winter making beats and laying down vocals in my studio as I usually do, but this year what came out was solid enough to carry on my own. I had a very very difficult year emotionally and I put it all on the record. It was therapy at first, but in the process I realized I had found my formula. I had forged my sound. Really these tracks are the converging point of a decade of making beats with Logic and a year of deep personal loss and bereavement.
MTL Blog: And how did the video shoot come about?
Ella: Regimental Oneton and Mickey Boston asked me if they could come shoot their video for The Krylon off their Enter the 36 tentacles record at my crib. The crew they came with was absolutely amazing. I knew they had also worked with Monk.e and the K6A!?! crew, and those cats always put out super solid stuff. I had never experienced shooting a video with these kinds of resources. I worked up the courage to ask the director if he’d be interested in hearing my lead track and maybe making a video together. Turns out he loved the beat and was down to proceed. It’s one of those right place at the right time moments. I’m super grateful. The entire team was awesome. The man behind the video is Nestor Narvaez and the crew reps Concordia University TV. I have my home girl LaKoche featured on the track too, she’s of Uruguay origin and spits in Spanish. Which adds such a hot twist! Plus the female factor always helps. The Ghetto Blaster series had yet to feature a female artist. So we sat down, brainstormed and confessed our darkest fantasies haha, and then once we had a video shoot date, we just prepared as best we could, called in some favors, planned everything we could think of and just gave it our all with our hearts wideeee open. It was a leap of faith. And the best gamble ever! It just clicked. It’s a dream come true for both of us really.
MTL Blog: So how did it all start for you? Musically speaking!
Ella: A long long time ago I founded a Drum’n’Bass label called Metaphor Recordings with my boyfriend at the time and Dj Le Lutin from France. I thought that running a label would eventually take me to the stage; I was dying to take the mic. I would just itch all night watching the stage. I would cry at home just wanting it so bad. Even though the DNB djs at the time were all for it, I mean Sase One and Spinal would be like: do it, go! Sing! I was just too shy. It seemed like such a big impossible dream. I was so clumsy about it. It was such a big deal to me. It took years to get out there. Years to tame myself. My voice is like this wild thing that has a complete mind of its own! I basically learned how to make beats by myself so that I didn’t have to sing in front of someone. Montreal can be big and cold man. Haha. But that’s a good thing sometimes. I love this city with all my heart. Made me work my ass off. After I sold the label, I knew I needed some help getting over the hurdle. I needed a bridge. I needed some female support. So my girlfriends and I put this all girl hip hop collective together. Our concept was that I would rap in English, Dee from Atach Tatuq would rap in Italian, Rakine in French and LaKoche in Spanish, and man we thought we were the shit. The mtl rap scene has always been pretty cut throat, but this was early 2000’s. SERIOUS. The important thing is I didn’t give up, we got harshly criticized, but we were doing it, we were out there! We made a few fans even though the group didn’t last very long. LaKoche didn’t give up either. She’s actually on my EP now a decade later! She features on 2 tracks. It was kind of a reunion. We’ve been talking about making tunes again together for a long time! It’s really cool to be able to get her on here and have this thing come full circle for us.
After the all-girl hip hop group, I started working with Sase One and became part of the Hardsteppers. That was such a priceless learning experience. I was so impressed with them it was holding me back. I mean Regimental and Kali would just kill the mic and from where I was standing it seemed effortless. Again it took a while for me to relax, loosen up and really start to let the music through. You have to push everything aside, other people, your own insecurities, your clothes, your hair, your fatigue, your self-consciousness, your doubt, your respect, your skills, even technique. You have to just shut up and do it. That’s the key. That’s my sole piece of advice. Shut everything out and start where you are. You’ll get better. LaKoche had this saying back then where she’d be like “yo, that’s my shit from before, this my shit right now, and watch out for my next shit cause it’s gonna blow your mind!” lol Anyway, when Sase moved to BC in 2008, I was devastated. But life’s got a way of working its magic. When he played his goodbye set at piknik, they let Kali go up and emcee but the bouncer wouldn’t let me on the stage. I was so sad. At least that day, I just casually told DJ Wally, hey if you ever want me to sing over your set, I would really love to. Big big shoutout to my bro Wally! You pretty much saved my life then! Lol We started playing gigs as Wally and Mc Gen. Then that collaboration became our live step band called Risk. The Risk era was so soooo epic! With Plecko on the drums it was a whole other level. We played a lot of big raves and it was just madness. We played constantly. We practiced constantly. Those 3-4 years went by really fast! I didn’t even register how much progress I made. My voice had really evolved by then. It always does. Then, last year, I made a record with a friend for a project called Low-ki. And now, I’m on my own! With a little help from 3 close friends! S/O Pleckobwoy, Regimental Oneton and LaKoche.
Oh yeah and I also host the monthly graffiti battle that Mtl Blog and I LOVEEE called Beaux Dégâts for Under Pressure and the Fresh Paint Gallery and I’m the official emcee for the DNB Girls of Canada crew, thanks to my girl DJ Jams. Cause, well, I had to come back to drum’n’bass at one point! S/O to our DNB girls monthly L.O.U.D. podcast that comes out the 15th of every month, filthy dnb oh oui, hosted by moi, which you can always download via highonbeats.com on iTunes! And that’s not counting my full time day job! Lol
MTL Blog: So what’s next for you this back to school season?
Ella: We are gonna release all the tracks that make up the EP as singles, over the next few months, gradually. The first one called Golpe comes out September 17th. In spanish Golpe means a blow, a knock, a bump, a collision, even a heist. The track is all about getting a huge blow to the face, getting knocked down, hitting a bump in the road and swerving into a major ditch. It’s when your life becomes a heist. As if someone stole something really good away from you. You hold on. But you know it’s going to hurt. After the release I want to put a show together with a live drummer and with both guest emcees so we can start playing to showcase the EP. I also wanna keep making beats. That’s my salvation! This is usually the time when I start to compose again. LaKoche and I have been talking about me producing her EP next. It would be the 1st time I make beats for someone else’s project. I have a guest emcee feature in the works too with this amazing producer who’s a good friend of mine and with another female emcee from Montreal. I’m keeping it secret for now. Actually there’s 2. Ooh wait lemme tease you guys!! Here’s a hint: you need a knife and a fork to live on a stone. AHA! I just totally worked a riddle into this interview. Haha. See what I did there!!? Lol
MTL Blog: Anything else you wanna add baby?
Ella: Yes! I invite you to wholeheartedly support underground Montreal music in any way you can! Watch the Golpe video and share it! Cop the The Girlfriend Experience EP on iTunes or Beatport and get in on the underground bass movement! Add us on facebook! Follow MTLBlog! Get highonbeats.com. Love some Neon. Gros party grosse dent.
Click it all!! Join the Montreal Bass Fam!
S/O CREAMTEAM!!!!! S/O Lobelove!
Let’s go have a hamburger now.
The Girlfriend Experience EP
Drops September 17th, 2013 (with the accompanying acapella).
Planet Break Records.
Produced and recorded by Ella Grave.
Additional drumline by Pleckobwoy.
Mastered by Zimo.
Cover art photo by Christopher Occhicone.