Elodie Gervaise: “nothing like pressure to make you feel like you’re really alive”

French-Australian artist Elodie Gervaise has released her Syzygy EP into the world, signalling an energetic new direction.

Duality and juxtaposition are important to Elodie Gervaise. It goes beyond the cities she chooses to split her time between though – she’s an artist who is constantly tightroping the interplay between the new and old, the electric and acoustic, or the lighthearted and the devastating.

Her latest EP Syzygy plays into this theme, named for the ultra-rare alignment of the sun, moon, and earth at once. We spoke to Gervaise to find out how she finds her own alignment in her music, as well as what’s coming up next.

Elodie gervaise

HAPPY: Hi Elodie, thanks for chatting with us! Where are you joining us from today?

ELODIE: Thanks for having me. I’m currently waiting in line for burgers to devour on the beach with family on the sunshine coast. Lapping up the last few days of sun before I head back to Europe.

HAPPY: You recently recorded an amazing cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart at E-Do Studio. How was that experience?

ELODIE: It was a damn good time to be honest. Crafted with friends amongst a beautiful space with the knowledge of playing that night for my EP release meant for a dreamy day. Love a good live recording too – nothing like pressure to make you feel like you’re really alive.

HAPPY: We’re guessing you’re a pretty big Joy Division fan, would you say they’ve had an influence on your work?

ELODIE: I’m a fan of this song in particular because of its lyrics. Ian Curtis’ words really resonated at the time I was deciding on the cover and I just feel like they’re so painfully true. The darkness in the fact that it was released just after Curtis took his own life I also find pretty moving.

HAPPY: A big congrats on your most recent EP, Syzygy! You recorded it with producer Maria Korkeila and pianist Giovanni Di Giandomenico, what was the creative process like for the four tracks?

ELODIE: Thank you! Maria and I met when we were both wanting to expand our musical realms in complimentary ways. I was fascinated by experimental sounds and loved what she was sending, while she was looking for a singer to compliment them. It was a really fluid process of testing and returning until we were happy with the tracks.

Giovanni’s been playing live with me on the EP in improvisation, something that was spurred on by a set for Cashmere Radio amongst a brilliant trip to Berlin early last year. It’s a beautiful thing to watch him enhance already pretty layered songs with his synth melodies and it’s been a pleasure to play together since

HAPPY: How has moving from singing/playing in bands to working on a solo project changed your sound?

ELODIE: It turned things electronic which was a new world for me at the time. What it really meant was that I could perform and express emotions and depth within a set, alone onstage. I prefer to play with my band of babes but it’s nice to have the flexibility and something I’m grateful to have discovered in creating Syzygy.

HAPPY: I love the way you mix English and French language in your vocal melodies, it makes for a really immersive listening experience. When you write a song, do you switch between the two languages, or is that something that you experiment with later?

ELODIE: I switch between the two during the songwriting process. Some ideas seem to come out headier in one language or the other and it’s nice to have more words to play with

HAPPY: Speaking on the Syzygy EP, you noted that “connection is vital. It is what creates a sense of belonging, and according to this project, what matters most in life”. Could you explain this a little more for us?

ELODIE: After moving overseas and arriving solo to a new city I fully realised how deeply relationships determined my happiness. That’s what I’m speaking to there, it sounds simple I guess but that feeling of being truly seen by those around you just changes the game.

I’m the type of person that draws off and breathes heavily from my connections, both creatively and energetically. I think that’s where it starts to feel vital.

HAPPY: Is your synth-driven sound something you’re looking to continue pursuing in your upcoming material?

ELODIE: The tracks are forming in quite a different way this time. Half the songs on this next project I wrote on the synth, half on the guitar so I’m looking forward to seeing how they interplay. Going for brutal honesty, so whichever way the sounds lend themselves to that best.


Syzygy is out now. Stream or purchase the EP here.