Leeli releases her most personal work yet, after two years of cultural exploration, travel and writing. Leeli’s new single “Into the Dark” is an emotional reflective observation on addiction and losing loved ones. Tomatrax caught up with Leeli to talk about her music.
You’ve just released your latest single, what’s it like to have it out?
There was a bird in a cage flapping its wings and losing feathers fast, finally the door is open and that bird is flying free thats sort of how it feels.
This is your most personal work to date, is it hard to put out something so personal for everyone to hear?
My lyrics are always pretty personal but I’ve never done anything like this thats really to the point and so true to a recent event. In a way its really hard for people to hear, especially the family of the person the songs based upon.
The single comes after two years of cultural exploration and travel, what did you get up to during this time?
Some amazing Javanese musicians in Ubud Bali captured my heart so I decided to stay there and hang out for a bit. We played lots of gigs and learnt how to make instruments from Bamboo. I also played a music festival in west Java and the stage was floating on a river! I loved it! Indonesia has no rules, its so carefree.
Everyone just does what they love each individual is so creative. No ones worried about paying off a mortgage or organising a dinner party their more worried about making a sweet potato into a flute
You’ve begun a tour round Australia, how has that been going?
Its going really well! I’ve got this sweet Van that I’m going to drive up and down the East Coast of Australia.
It’s super nice meeting new people and taking the time to stop in all the little towns that have been cut off because of the new Freeway… I found some gold Op shopping near Grafton last weekend, haha I’m just spending my gig money on old peoples treasure whoops this is why I need a manager 😉
Where did the name Leeli come from?
L E E L I is actually just a jumble of letters from my first name. My and my friend Bekki sat down with a jug of beer at the Rose in Sydney and just scribbled for a few hours. Leeli was the most fun and new word alert Googleable.
What made you decide to use an alias rather than your name?
I didn’t have much choice really. My full name is Emma – louise Gash. I played under the name Emma louise for years, then one day my phone started ringing with all these random people going OMG love the new song just heard it on Triple j. For a few days I actually thought it was me and I had heaps of people rock up to a gig in Sydney thinking I was her. Emma Louise beat me to it! After her release of Jungle in 2011 I had to change my name. I played under Emmy Lou for a while but that was always hard to create a presence with.
And I’m keeping my last name for when I finaly start that punk rock girl band and call it Gash Thrash or something haha
You sought guitar lessons from the 16-year old boy you saw at the local talent quest, have you collaborated with him since?
Unfortunately, I never got the chance. Dan Morgan passed away in a car accident. But I named my guitar after him so I’ll never forget.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Only to criticise…. I’ll listen back to mixes of songs and voice memos when writing, but thats about it.
What music do you listen to?
Recently I’ve been in the car, I’ve only got the radio and three tapes. The Doors, Talking heads, and some random mix tape I made in school… I’ve also been getting into Angel Olsen and Jordie Lane
What do you have planned after your current tour?
I’ll just lay low. Look at my new material and decide what to do with it. I’ve had a few ideas like recording an EP with all the songs that didnt make the previous EP and doing them at home in the little studio I’ve been trying to setup!
I’ve also got a concept for an album but thats going to stay a secret.
Wednesday 23rd November – The Rails, Byron Bay NSW
Saturday 26th November – Rhythm Hut, Central Coast NSW
Wednesday 30th November – Newtown Social Club, Sydney NSW
Thursday 15th December – The Balcony, Byron Bay NSW
Check out Leeli’s Facebook page to find out more!