El Hardwick is a London based musician and multidisciplinary artist whose work explores relationships between bodies and their surrounding environments, queer worldmaking practices, and how we can heal on a damaged planet. They recently released their debut album ‘8’ via 33-33, which envisions a sci-fi narrative at the intersection of climate crisis and digital justice. 8 is El Hardwick’s first release under their own name, following their previous work under the moniker Moonbow.
El now returns with new single ‘Body Memory’ – featuring highly acclaimed experimental cellist Mabe Fratti due out via Desire Lines (a multidisciplinary entity, created by El, that centers around queer community healing at the intersection of music, art and ecology). Both Mabe and El first began to collaborate in 2020, when El asked Mabe to contribute to Desire Lines Vol. 1 alongside the likes of Nailah Hunter, Arushi Jain, Dolphin Midwives, YaYa Bones and Kìzis.
1. Scientifically, roses don’t have thorns, they have prickles. Prickles
are an outgrowth of the epidermis of a stem, whereas thorns are entirely
2. I’m a Leo Sun, Sagittarius Moon and Scorpio Rising.
3. My cat’s name is Panini (he’s a Pisces Sun, Aquarius Moon and Leo
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Speculative fiction, ecology, healing, change, queer non-binary complex
messy ways of being.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I’ve always been very obsessed with music as a listener since childhood – going to gigs, sharing mixtapes, dancing and talking, talking, talking about it. But I didn’t know I really could make it until I was nineteen, when I taught myself to sing in the car to Kate Bush after passing my driving test. Around this time, I also began messing around with a friend’s synth and a mic run through a loop pedal, and this approach made a lot of sense to me. Since then, my music has always been based around synths and samples, and referenced back to splicing, sampling and looping my voice.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
Bjork – Vespertine
Cocteau Twins & Harold Budd – The Moon & The Melody
Alice Coltrane – Journey in Satchidananda
Laurel Halo – Quarantine
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Very good music and beautiful swimming lakes!
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
I love the community garden I volunteer at in South London.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I think everyday sounds can still be music, so I would listen to them – the wind, water, creatures. I also have my visual art practice and I’m currently studying horticulture.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Space 1.8 by Nala Sinephoro, and Classic Objects by Jenny Hval.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I think working with Beverly Glenn Copeland would be incredibly joyous. I also would love to write a film score someday – queer filmmakers, my DMs are open!
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Supporting Elysia Crampton and DJing in Block9 at Glastonbury Festival were two very special performances for me. As a spectator, I feel honoured that I got to see Kate Bush in my lifetime – it was more like a theatre show than a concert, and also an almost spiritual experience to be amongst so many die-hard fans. Also seeing Grouper play in a swimming pool at ATP Festival in 2011. I’m so excited by immersive gigs that experiment with the format of what a gig can be.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
More important than I wish it was – but I really find working with software a very instinctive and quite visual process, so it works well for me. The possibilities in Ableton Live are endless, so it’s never boring. But I’m very interested in creating something physically, with hardware, or my body, or organic sounds, and then later bringing them into Live to edit, produce, manipulate.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
My sister is wonderfully supportive. She always shares my music with her friends. She also works as a photographer and we made a photobook together in 2016 with our friend Chrissie whilst we were in the US for a Month.