Single Premiere: Eleanor Dunlop – Rollin' On

Why does it sometimes take a long time for us to realise our love for something? – instant attraction doesn’t always end well. Think about the last album you listened to – the song you loved on first listen probably ended up being rather annoying to hear, and the song you listen to the least soon became your favourite – ok so maybe there is a perfectly obvious explanation why that happens, or the case might well be that you grow to appreciate a song’s complexity behind its unassuming facade, giving it this timeless appeal.

eleanor dunlop

From piano driven pop to a surfy rock single that’s determined to spark good times, timeless rock and roll is making a comeback with Eleanor Dunlop.

Eleanor Dunlop is that underestimated track .Upon first listen you can tell she is a seasoned musician, but it might take me some time to realise what is unique about her (although establishing a solo career in 2013, she is the vocalist and keys players for the alternative indie rock band Cameras). What’s refreshing about Eleanor is that the brooding and smoky timbre of her vocals gently lures you into this supposed bluesy reverie, but is driven by an old school approach to exploring elation; adult contemporary.

Eleanor Dunlop has taken a new direction from former dark pop balladry to crescendoing rock. As a musician’s roots never truly leaves them, it is great to hear Eleanor’s beautiful melodies have remained – despite the clear genre transition, her sound  remains honest and a fitting next chapter to her musical repertoire,

The Sydney-sider who performs with Alex O’Toole (drums), Simeon Bartholomew (bass/keys) and Chris Chidiac (guitars) in a live setting, is embracing this rock and roll vibe in her latest track, Rollin’ On.  Her first single Disguise received high recognition both nationally and internationally and became the opening title song for the ABC TV series Old School (with Bob Brown and Sam Neil).

Rollin’ On  is the first single off Eleanor’s second EP, expected to be released in 2015. According to Eleanor: “Rollin’ On is about not wanting a good thing to end. Similar to when you’re at a party or out with someone really great and you don’t ever want that moment to end. When I was writing it I was in need of some motivation and this song was a kind of kick up the butt for me. Dancing and moving helps motivate me so I was half writing half dancing – it got the song-writing ball rolling again for me.”

Rollin’ On is one of those songs that doesn’t seem to end, and you kind of don’t want it to end – driven by this inkling that change for the better is continually imminent and its breakthrough is a blessing. Rollin’ On has a surfy rock vibe with its immoveable yet easy going riff,  bluesy undertones and Eleanor’s smouldering vocals that channel this deep hunger for fortitude – think of fellow emerging Aussie artists like Sahara Beck and established ones like Courtney Barnett and Sarah Blasko. The change in chord progression between the verse and the pre chorus allows the track to explode and then continue to build up to the line  “lets keep the good times rollin’ on” – the track’s determination demonstrates the strength to fight for what it most desires.

Happy: What have you tried to achieve in your second EP compared to your first?

ED: I wanted to focus less on piano and explore more of a guitar sound. I own a Rickenbacker and have never properly used it. It seemed like such a waste of an awesome guitar to not put it to some good use. I also wanted these tracks to have a bit more of a cutting/edgier vibe than my last songs, but at the same time I was in a more positive place when I wrote them so they kind of came out slightly grittier but happier at the same time. I’m excited about these new tracks because they’re quite different from my last EP. My last record was much more reflective. This time around I just wanted to play around a bit more.

Happy:  How would you describe the vibe you try to radiate through your musical persona?

ED: I think I have a bit of a mixed bag vibe. It really depends on how I’m feeling at particular points of time. So for this record I was feeling more playful and experimental so I think that comes through more with the overall vibe. I also really find counterpoints in music and style fascinating. The artists I grew up admiring all had these quirks and idiosyncrasies that really make them who they are (Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Blondie). They used a lot of masculine and feminine qualities so I’ve always loved the idea of playing around with those types of ideas as well.

Happy: Who are your musical inspirations? I feel a bit of an old school vibe through Rollin’ On.

ED: I’m big on collaborating so the old school, surf rock vibe for Rollin’ On actually came about from the other musicians I worked with on the track, rather than my musical inspirations. My influences are quite varied. I was raised on a lot of classical music. My mum used to make me listen to ABC Classic FM on the radio every morning before school which rubbed off on me. I love film music as well, so I listen to a lot of Hans Zimmer and soundtracks. My pop influences include artists like The Police, Debbie Harry, Madonna, Gwen Stefani (No Doubt days), Arctic Monkeys, Fiona Apple, Grimes, Kate Bush, TLC and the Beastie Boys – I’m all over the shop!

Happy: What’s next for Eleanor Dunlop?

ED:  The EP is all completed. I felt I had a lot more creative control this time around which is both nerve wracking and exciting in terms of how it’s going to be received. The video for Rollin’ On will be coming out in January, which I had a lot of fun making and I will hopefully have some shows lined up around February time. I haven’t toured Australia or anywhere yet so I would love to take my new stuff out on the road.

Happy: What do you do if you aren’t playing or working on music?

ED: I’m pretty boring and normal, I don’t actually go out very much at all. I’m a big homebody. I do work at a sculpture studio/school part time during the week though but then the rest of the time I just stay at home catching up on movies, animal videos and hanging out with my boyfriend.

Happy: What makes you Happy?

ED: Any form of animal videos or gifs. I follow an account on Twitter called Baby Animals which is pretty much the only reason I’m on Twitter. Here’s one I prepared earlier.