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Interview – Elizabeth Morris of Allo Darlin’

 Before the release of their new album, Laurence Morgan and Roosa Päivänsalo posed some questions for Allo Darlin’s lead singer, Elizabeth Morris.

  1. Allo Darlin’s third album, “We Come From The Same Place”, is out now. How does it feel compared to releasing your debut album? Do you feel more secure about letting your music be heard by the world?

It feels very different. When you release your first album, you really feel like it’s your only chance, and if nobody likes it you will never have the opportunity to make another one. Luckily for us we did get that opportunity, and consequently I have felt a lot more relaxed about making this album and putting it out into the world. We are also all older now obviously, and that helps with confidence.


    2.   You’re now based in Florence, how has living there been so far? To what extent do you think the change of environment has affected your songwriting? 

I have loved the experience of living in Italy and learning a new language. The complete change of pace and lifestyle has been incredible after struggling in London for 8 years. It has made me very happy. A change is a powerful thing, I am not completely sure yet how it has affected my writing, but I do find it inspiring in all sorts of ways.


      3.You’ve said in interviews that you often find songwriting tricky. Do you do anything specific to find ways around songwriting, or do you just wait for an idea to manifest itself inside your head? 

It is difficult sometimes to write songs, like working out a puzzle. Sometimes it can be really frustrating, but this time around I found writing a joy and very easy, which was really the first time it had been like that. I generally need to work to some kind of deadline, and rather than wait for inspiration I am always thinking of what I could write about. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, sometimes one song will turn into another one. It is a pretty strange and fascinating process, it’s definitely not linear.


7180639616_37244f6f8d_h       4. Your music is widely praised, yet you’re often lumbered with adjectives like “twee” or “quaint”. Do you ever feel like some critics don’t take you as seriously as you’d like to be?

I’m sure they don’t, and sometimes that bothers us, Paul in particular maybe, but over time you begin to realise that it is pointless getting cross about it. I can see why, particularly with our first album, people would think that. I can’t force anyone to look beyond those stereotypes if they don’t want to. I appreciate it when people do however.


       5. On “Bright Eyes“, you once again sing a duet, a song type which is almost becoming a dying art form. Do you enjoy writing duets, and the possibilities they bring? 

I think it makes a nice break on an album, to hear a different voice from the one you’re used to. I guess that is why I really like them. I also really love Paul’s singing and wanted to give him a chance to show that off, so I wrote the song with him in mind. It’s a real thrill for me to hear him sing it every night.


6. It’s often been said that you manage to capture an instinctively live sound when recording your albums. Do you tend to focus on achieving a togetherness within the band, rather than trying to get your individual parts sounding perfect? 

Well that is the magic of recording, and really you need time and practise to achieve that. I’d say that in the band the approach varies. With the rhythm section the goal really is to achieve togetherness, Paul is a pretty big perfectionist so likes to get his part as good as he can make it. I’m kind of open to other people’s opinion, but I’d say I am a pretty big perfectionist too when it comes to my singing.

“It is a pretty strange and fascinating process, it’s definitely not linear.


Your bassist Bill Botting said that you were “adept” at “realising that beginnings and endings have a lot in common”. Which inspire you to write more?

Good question, I think both have inspired this album. I think beginnings have inspired more on this record though. It’s too easy to dwell on endings and the past.


8. You’re playing a few shows in the UK this year, including in Manchester and in Wakefield. Are there many differences to gigging in the UK, compared to somewhere like the USA? 

Yes, geographical at least. Playing in the UK is nice because the distances are so much smaller, and we have a lot more time. However the huge distances themselves are inspiring in the US, and part of the thrill is not knowing what the show will be like. Sometimes only 20 people will show up, sometimes 200. Seeing the landscape change here in the US is also exciting. But the UK is our home crowd and the best thing about travelling is going home.


9.You’ve said before that everything seems better in the past – do you feel that sense of nostalgia with your own music, and does it frustrate you in any way?

What I’ve said is that as a society we tend to think that everything is better in the past and of course that isn’t true. I am frustrated by this idea, which is reflected in the songs “History Lessons” and “Crickets In The Rain” on the album.


10. Will you continue to write while on tour, or will you be content in just playing music from the new album?

I don’t write songs on the road, but I try to keep a travel diary. We drive and manage ourselves so there isn’t any energy left over for songwriting. We are very content playing these new songs to people and being together again.