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Featured Song Of The Day: “Friends” By Eliza and The Bear.

July 8, 2013

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“When we wrote and recorded our first song we never expected to play a live show. Ever,” laughs Eliza and the Bear guitarist and vocalist James Kellegher. “It just wasn’t on our radar.”

When the band formed in late 2010 dreams of fame and fortune had long since passed for Kellegher, keyboard player Callie Noakes, guitarist Chris Ramsbottom, bassist Chris Brand and drummer Paul Kevin Jackson. Getting together in a practice room, having some laughs and writing great songs were the only real concerns for the five young men, nothing else was ever discussed.

“We were already past the stage of wanting to be famous rock stars,” James admits. “A lot of us had souring experiences from bands that cared about the wrong things, none of us wanted to deal with the pressure of trying to make it or build a huge fanbase. With Eliza we wanted to have fun, and that was it.”

In 2011 the band recorded ‘Trees’ in Paul’s front room, it was posted online and made available to any friends who were curious to hear what they had been doing behind closed doors. There was no promotion, no hype and no supporting dates. Yet despite the band’s distinctly casual approach, the reaction to the dreamy and euphoric slice of indie-rock was anything but. “Response was overwhelmingly positive,” James recalls. “We were getting reviews, being talked about and contacted by industry people, it blew our mind and definitely kick-started our ambition again.”

The band traded a living room in Essex for a recording studio in Devon and worked with Peter Miles (Dry the River, The King Blues, Canterbury) to develop their oxygenated brand of uplifting song. The band’s unburdened approach produced outstanding and anthemic results, typified by current free shareable download ‘Friends’.

“I write a lot about community, family and loyalty,” he continues. “That song is a reminder that you need to be good to people who are good to you.”

That theme is the dynamic that does, and will always, hold Eliza and the Bear together. “It’s so important for me to remember that I’m in a band with my best friends,” says James. “Doing this is supposed to be fun, it’s not a business where things get too important and friendship goes out of the window. Besides, things only really happened for us as musicians when we stopped trying to impress people and started looking out for each other; there are some people we’ve been trying to get the attention of for years and years, as soon we stopped trying so hard they started picking up the phone. There’s a lesson in that.”

Double A-side ‘The Southern Wild’ / ‘Upon the North’ was released by Generator in February 2013.

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