Babylon Radio catches up with Leitrim native Elga Fox before Friday’s upcoming night in East Side Tavern. Nominated for PureM’s Best Irish Solo Act, and with the eminent release of the music video for Despite It All it’s been an exciting 2018 so far. The flame-haired actress/singer/Jack-of-all-trades speaks candidly to us about the evolution of Elga Fox, her influences and the best music venues in Dublin.
Here we go.. So. Elga Fox. How’re you getting on?
Elga: Not too bad, lovely to meet ya!
You too! So, in recognition that the upcoming night in East Side Tavern is a celebration of diversity, pretty amazing to have someone from Leitrim performing.
E: *laughs* it’s pretty diverse alright!
We’re looking forward to your new song, Dynamite, what should we be expecting?
E: A lot of my other songs are sort of angry love songs with a codependent addiction theme running through. Dynamite’s more about where I’m at at the moment in my life just about ready for the real thing, and it’s sort of an invitation to open up and experience real love.
What’s the story behind the character Elga Fox, she’s obviously changing in a way.
E: Yeah, she’s evolving! I’ve come a long way actually, I would’ve struggled a lot with my confidence, but the music has really given me a confidence boost, and I suppose I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself as well to build myself up.
Who would be your biggest influence, be it singing, acting or otherwise?
E: I’m listening to a lot of soul music at the moment, Randy Crawford, Stevie Wonder, I’m obsessed with the old music, I was very influenced by Van Morrison as a teenager, I listened to a lot of Bob Dylan as well, but now at the moment I’m listening to soul music. I get obsessed with certain genres, so I might go through a phase of just being obsessed with 80’s music, and then I might move on to something else, so I’m kinda influenced by a lot of different music but I wouldn’t have one main influence, I kinda move from different ones.
And would you have any other influences in your life?
E: With the acting, I’m off the drink 11 months and I find that’s really helping me actually. With my vocals, people are saying my voice has gotten stronger, and I know that’s just because I am looking after myself a little bit better, and it’s quite hard to manage drinking when you’re a performer, so I just decided to knock it on the head because it’s very hard to have just that one or two and leave it at that.
That’s really helped me to get some focus and I find alcohol can dampen that creative side to yourself. My songs are slow though, they’re slow burners, I don’t like to force it but sometimes you do need a little push to get them finished.
So, when it comes to playing gigs, you’re nothing if not consistent. What’s on your bucket list would you say?
E: Oh, the Olympia theatre! Just now came into me head there now that you’ve asked me that! I saw Laura Marley, I’d be influenced by her as well, her sound. And she had the band with her as well but sometimes she was playing on her own with the guitar, and it just really worked, it was beautiful so that would be a dream!
A: What would you say is your favourite place you’ve played?
E: So far there’s a lovely place I’ve played, I’ve been doing over the years, kinda started out there with a guy called Jerry Fitzpatrick, he runs a night once a month in a pub called Uncle Toms Cabin in Dundrum, and it’s called the Cabin Sessions. Everyone in the pub comes for the music, and the pub’s packed and everyone just really listens. I just find that it’s quite overwhelming actually but I really love playing that night and I did it there recently about a couple of weeks ago. it was just great because I’ve come so far, and the first time I played it I would’ve been just starting out and maybe been not so confident, and just getting a hang of the guitar, but when I go back they can kinda gauge how I’ve been progressing so it’s like going back to your family, “I’ve tried this new songs lads what do ye think?!” There’s a lovely warm feeling there.
A: What would your top recommendation for a newcomer in Dublin be to catch a gig?
E: If you were performing yourself a good open mic would be The Bleedin’ Horse on a Sunday night, Whelans is great, the Olympia Theatre if they’re doing music, East Side Tavern, there’s so many good venues. There’s some great trad music going on about the city as well, I think Devitts pub do trad music and O’Donoghues on Baggot Street, so if you were coming to Ireland and you just want authentic trad music.
A: Yeah I think that’s what a lot of people that come want, yeah!
E: Yeah and I am influenced by Irish music as well, like listening to Christy Moore, I always go back to him.. He’s a bit of a legend! The last time I played the Cabin sessions actually I was sweating like a pig and I was like “I feel like Christy Moore”.
Now, If we were trying to catch you anywhere that isn’t on stage, where would it be?
E: I’ve done a lot of YouTube videos, they’re pure silly but they were great craic. It was for the Facts YouTube video channel, but that’s gone now, there’s a new one called the Try channel which I haven’t been on yet, but there’s loads of videos there. Some of them gone viral, just me trying drinks or food or silliness but people love it so it seems to be the way things are going, so I did that for a while, made some really good friends through that channel, and good connections.
Suppose it helped with your confidence as well? Cause you’re in front of a camera yourself.
E: It did yeah! You’re just being yourself and the more you are yourself, the more people receive it because they don’t want fakeness. I suppose there’s so much of that, so when you’re really authentic, people are drawn to that. It’s lovely because you can be yourself.
Catch Elga Fox perform alongside Key, Keeley and The Stoles playing East Side Tavern this Friday at 8pm.