Picture: Damsel Elysium by Lynn Hayleigh
Picture: Damsel Elysium by Lynn Hayleigh

Damsel Elysium

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Damsel Elysium is an experimental sound and visual artist. Described by Vogue as “London’s most stylish experimental sound artist”, making scores for Gucci, as well as featuring in the recent FKA Twigs Tiny Desk session – Damsel is an emerging avant-garde artist not to be ignored. Damsel utilises double bass, violin and original field recordings to explore alternative communication and connections with physical spaces and nature. Their aim is to establish an expressive world that speech or writing could never transmute. As a neurodivergent artist, it’s vital for them to create work that is accessible to all audiences and all senses. Combining experimental sound and sight, Elysium crafts worlds of their own, where they can be as fluid as their own feelings and skills are, creating a space for healing, and not worrying if this will be understood.

FACTS

1. The slower a tree grows the longer it’s most likely to live.

2. Moths used to use the moon and stars to navigate.

3. A normal ear can perceive sixty-six distinct intervals within the compass of an octave.

QUESTIONS

1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

Trees, trains and the unseen

2. How and when did you get into making music?

I’ve been making things since as young as I can remember, I started playing violin at the age of 6 and was always creating random little songs, hammering on the piano or recording my tiny voice on a little tape recorder given to me by my mum who is also a singer-songwriter. But I only got serious about it in the last three years, coming back to music after a long hiatus from my violin. I found magic in the double bass during the first lockdown, and have been trying to capture and record its beauty ever since.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

Listening to Pictures by Jon Hassell
Hounds of Love by Kate Bush
The Fifth Season by Lafawndah
Magdalene by FKA Twigs
Everything Youv’e Come to Expect by The Last Shadow Puppets

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

My home.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

Fine art or Astronomy

7. What was the last record/music you bought?

Cktrl – zero

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Lafawndah or Klein

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

Playing in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, despite the tech issues, it was otherworldly.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

I’m kind of a bit of a luddite. I prefer acoustic instruments and analog processes, even writing. I prefer paper and a pen or a typewriter, I prefer shooting photos through analog film so that I always feel present and connected to the moment. So technology is always the last part of my process and I usually use it to enhance what is already there.

11. How does one identify and connect with their own creative self in a society concerned with superficiality?

I think one should explore superficiality for a time being, and within that emptiness, one will urge to redirect and find the things that resonate. I find it happens quite naturally. There are of course many fears that appear when realising you’re no longer part of the majority. But society doesn’t know what it wants either so there’s no use worrying about what it wants from you.

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