Example: The Dark Side Of Money & Fame | E152 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Example: The Dark Side Of Money & Fame | E152".
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Early years (00:00)
No one signs a record deal and has a manager come up to you and go "There's a good chance you're going to be really famous." Here's a pamphlet on how to not be a ****. Put your hands together for Ex-Saulco! Money and fame can show you who you are. One of the things you said is the person I was when I was 27 was a ****** monster. When I became famous I just went a bit off the rails with drugs and alcohol. I think it was just this one weekend at Glastonbury where I just kind of disappeared for 48 hours. I was in an absolute state. What was the cost? Well it's just not nice to see your parents cry, you know? I look back as it being one of the worst weeks ever and then I met Erin. Just watching someone grow a baby and give birth is like one of the most sobering experiences ever. You tragically had a miscarriage in your second? I remember I was invited onto Lorraine and I was meant to go on and talk about a single on a tour. Just before I went on they went "We just found out you lost a second baby. Do you want to make the whole interview about that?" I got so many messages from guys afterwards just going "That's amazing you went on and spoke about that." I've realised those have been the first times I've spoken about things that I should have probably spoken about with friends or family a long time ago. If you were advising a younger Elliot, what would you say in terms of the components that make for a good life? I've often thought about this. So without further ado, I'm Stephen Bartlett and this is the diary of a CEO. I hope nobody's listening, but if you are then please keep this to yourself. One of the things I always try and do, again because I tend to believe that we are all a product of our like, of typically our significant childhood events, whatever they might be. When I look at your story I was hazarding a guess as well. I was saying well this was obviously quite a key moment. This is the key moment. But in your own words, what were those catalyst key moments from your childhood that ultimately shaped you to become who you are today? Oh wow. I think in terms of work ethic, it's definitely from my mum and dad. I was very aware as a kid, you know, even before as a teenager, how much time and effort my mum and dad put into work. Like they're both working class and they both came from very humble beginnings. But I think the main thing I was aware of is that my dad was always away working as a kid. I was also aware that a lot of my friends parents weren't together. You know, a lot of them were raised by just single mums. But then I also saw how much effort my mum put in. She didn't have a day job, but I could see how hard my mum worked, especially with my dad being away. So I think the work ethic thing has helped me a great deal in terms of where I've got to. Not so much anymore, but partly trying to impress them or, you know, feeling like I lived up to their standards, maybe in my early 20s, mid 20s. Apart from, you know, like my parents influence as a kid, I think mainly, I'd say that, you know, the culture at school in terms of music culture, London, I grew up in Fulham. I went to school in Wandsworth, and even it was a really nice school in terms of it was a modern school as a technology college. I said majority of kids I went to school with all lived on council estates, and I didn't. But I spent a lot of time down there. So I think that was really good in helping me not only understand the different cultures and therefore as a result where the music cultures came from, just like how other people live and how other people, you know, what people have to go up, go through, you know, like, some of my best friends, their mums would have five jobs, and they'd be living in two bedroom council flats with like seven siblings. So I think that even though I didn't live that life, it was quite opening to see that. Did you enjoy school? Love school. Loved, I love drama, loves maths. I was really good at maths, but not very good at English, which is weird because I used the English language. I manipulate English language for financial gain, really. But yeah, I wasn't very good at English and wasn't very good at science because I wasn't interested in them. I wasn't really interested in religious studies because I always found it was occasionally to the different, you know, religions, whether it's Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, it'd be like little squabbles in the playground. So I kind of didn't like that religion could segregate people. So, but everything else I was interested in, geography, maths, drama, art, music, I excelled at and loved because, you know, I loved going to school. My mom was always like, you were an absolute nerd when it comes to school. You like, you couldn't wait to get there and you couldn't wait to tell me about everything you'd learnt that day and you couldn't wait to get there the next day. And when it was coming to the end of school holidays, you couldn't wait to get back to school. So I think I enjoyed structure and I enjoyed either the attention from being a class clown, a playground, you know, playtime because I wasn't very good at sport. I was good at running in a straight line or swimming in a straight line, but I wasn't good at team sports. So I think I really felt like that school was good for not only my brain, which was always a bit hyperactive, but also I got this outlet of doing, making people laugh by doing impressions. Why did you care about that? Making people laugh? Because I just think I felt like, I don't know, I've always enjoyed being an attention seeker. My mom said that when I was very young, like five, six years old, she felt like I was a misbehaving a lot at school and she made a decision to put me on stage in the local drama group. I definitely think my mom spotted something in me, which was like, this kid needs to perform and he needs attention and that's his outlet and that sort of levels him out a bit. I'm surprised to hear that you were so keen to get back to school because I also read that you were at some point bullied by the other kids. Yeah, I was. But I think because my mom and dad did such a good job and sort of, I don't, I can't, I can't even remember any specific lessons, but I just know that my mom always made me feel loved and understood, you know? So if I was, if I'd go home and just be like, yeah, they took the piss out of my teeth again today, or they took piss out of my ears again today or whatever, she'd just be like, son, we are all built differently. Like we all, you know, she'd be like, your dad had funny ears when I met him and he's the most beautiful man in the world. So I was like, I'm saying, you know, just little lessons like that. So I just think there was so much love at home that whatever hit me on the outside world, whether that was down the local park, you know, little kids in gangs or at school, I just felt like I was mentally prepared for it. And then I think that kind of helped. It gives you quite a thick skin in terms of when it comes to you get into the music business. It's like, you have to deal with so much disappointment. Like when I think that I've been doing this, I'd say, you know, I got my first record deal in 2006, but I was releasing music in 2004. I've played over a thousand gigs, you know, like most of my peer group have disappeared now from say 2010, 2011. When I think of like my peer group from around then, like chasing status and sub focus is still going. But most of the other artists that I came up with kind of disappeared or semi retired or kind of just sort of like doing their own thing on the peripheral now, whereas I'm still very much, my focus is, like I'm only competing myself. I used to worry so much about competing with them, you know? And you got a diagnosis at a fairly young age for having a spurgis?
Personal Struggles & Growth
Yeah. Well, yeah, but I've been I my mom was quite good and I think she I think whether it was I don't remember because I was so young, it would have been from her friends, you know, other moms down the park going, Elliot's a bit, you know, on the spectrum. And, you know, what's what's up with him? Because I was such a, I suppose, like hyperactive kid and I sort of seem to flip between different personalities all the time, but I also had these weird, you know, weird nervous twitches. I would, if I had a photographic memory for like even at a young age, I'll be like, just look at a list of, I know, like the American states and just memorize them within two or three reads or I'd get the Trivial Pursuit box out and memorize every single question in a box of Trivial Pursuit. Just so when we came to play with like neighbors or friends or family at a barbecue, I knew the answer to everything. I think my dad then clocked that I'd memorize them all. But instead of telling everyone that I'd memorize them all, he was like, yeah, my son's really, really sharp. He's really well. Things like that, you know. How does that sit with you now, that diagnosis? And do you still? Well, I just think there's no way of knowing who, what anyone is. I think everyone can be a little bit of everything. Everything. It's not clear cut to just go. This person is this diagnosis based on, you know, research by doctors and scientists. And other patients. It's very hard because I think every human being has a little bit of something. And you can't just say someone is 100% definitely got this. You know, that thing. So I prefer, I can see some things in my eldest already where he shows certain similarities to me as a kid. But then Erin says, no, I used to do that as a kid as well. And she's a bit mad like me as well. But I think weird is good. I definitely think weird is good. And I think it's special. And I think my mom's spotted that. So I'm kind of glad that I was never put into any special programs or put into a special school or extracurricular activities or even on light medication. I'm quite thankful for that because I've got friends my age who've been on med since they were kids and are still on some form now, you know, and they think they're bipolar or I suppose you call ADHD. And I'm like, there's actually a really close friend of mine who actually encouraged them to maybe have like six months off. And he's better for it now. And he doesn't take the meds anymore. He's like, you know, he's better at dealing with his, let's say his demons and his, you know, his thoughts maybe that used to haunt him and scare him. He stopped taking the meds and he doesn't take them anymore.
Your demons at a young age (10:39)
He's better for it. Have you ever had any of those demons, especially at a young age that you used to contend with? I think the main thing that, and I still contend with it now is sometimes I just have so many thoughts. And I'm not like a warrior. I've never been a warrior because I've always known how to compartmentalize stuff and I'm really good with admin. I'm really good at multitasking, but I've kind of been a gift and a curse. Like it's either been having a whole, say film script or scenario in my head going round and round that I can't seem to switch off. And that might be whilst I'm in a meeting. I'm not doing it now. It might be, you know, like when I say multitasking, I'm like, I can sometimes be in the studio writing a song, but have a shopping list in my head that I just can't seem to get rid of. Which is why yoga can be really good for me. And like, you know, breath work, like Wim Hof style, that really levels me out. But for instance, like I, when I'm freestyling, you know, and I don't mean like pre-written raps that people go out and perform in a rap battle. I mean, like just like freestyling, like rhyming. Sometimes I'll be at the gym and I'll be there for 45 minutes and the whole time I'm there, I'm freestyling in my head. And it could be about what that person is wearing, what exercise that person's doing, what music's playing. And it's kind of gifting a curse because it's great for, you know, when you're producing songs, just words being able to just fall out, flow out, but also just like not being able to switch off sometimes. So I'll be in a room having a conversation with someone and they're like, you're not listening, are you? And I'm like, I'm really sorry, but I've got a shopping list. A shopping list. You're like, okay, what are you getting later? And I'm just there like, Swiss cheese, light Swiss cheese. I've just got a very overactive brain. - You talked about failure a second ago.
Wanting to quit music (12:45)
You said, you know, going into the music industry, there's a lot, you've met with a lot of failure and ups and downs. After your first album, your first studio album, I was reading about your kind of, your feelings and sentiments towards it. It sounded like you were going to quit. - Yeah, I think you have to be prepared for disappointment in this industry, especially because I'm about to release my eighth album and I don't really have any expectations for it other than whoever hears it, I hope really enjoys it. Because I don't really know how many streams it's going to do or it's just, you have to be quite robust in the sense that you may put so much time and effort into a song and radio one or capital turn around and don't playlist it. Or you make a song and think this is going to perform really well on Spotify because it should get on the workout playlist and it'll get on the UK house playlist and maybe this could do well in Germany and like, not that I make music like that, but once the song's finished, you can't help but have expectations for it. And then to think that you might have spent, you know, I might have written it in four or five hours, but then spent six months perfecting the mix downs and adding instruments and so on, or adding another vocalist or feature to it. And then to think that that might come out and someone's, someone somewhere is like, nah, not actually into this. When I signed to Ministry of Sound, there was so much pressure, like, you know, constant meetings every week. I wouldn't go to them because after a while they get too intense. But it was like, well, radio one discussing this in playlist this week, we're hopefully going to go on the C list next week. And then two weeks later, we're hopefully move up to the B list. And then the aim is we can release, we're going to be on the A list and we should be getting 11 to 15 spins a week. And, you know, hopefully we'll go in straight into iTunes with pre-orders into the top 10 and we'll climb to number one and MTV are fully behind this. And you're going to do a live lounge next week and Capitol have just come on board with it. And it's all, you know, it's great when you're flying, you know, and obviously I was on number one singles and top tens. It's great. But you realize the pressure that artists are put under and managers and then the pressure that the record labels are putting on themselves, you know, to compete with, you know, because they've got to bring in X amount of revenue as you know, if you're in marketing or A&R, they're under pressure from your bosses. And then the artists are under pressure from the label and then the managers are under pressure from what the artist expects. And it's actually a losing formula.
Money and fame turning you into a monster (15:09)
Money and fame, they often say can show you who you are or it can bring out the best and worst in you. And one of the things you said is the person I was when I was 27 was a fucking monster compared to the person I was when I was 21. Yeah. What did you mean by fucking monster? I was just, um, obviously, so I hadn't tried Class A drugs until I was 23, which is mad because most of my friends and peer group in music and I grew up with it probably doing it at 14. And then I just think when I became famous and came into money, I just went a bit off the rails with drugs and alcohol. But I was also in a relationship where I was lying to my girlfriend and cheating on her. And I was just everywhere I was going, girls were throwing themselves at me and people wanted to party with me and people were doing everything they could to try and keep me awake all night with them. You know, whether it was girls or bad influences, other celebrities, you know, and then you get carried away. She like, Oh my God, I'm hanging out with such and such actor and such and such footballer and this model and this person and where we've got access to this bar and this club. And we've walked straight into this restaurant and got a table. So you just go off the rails a bit. And I feel like everybody kind of needs to when you get to that stage, every artist, actor that I've spoken to, whether they've chipped away at for years like I did, or just had this sudden overnight fame. I feel like you kind of need to get out of your system because it's kind of like, it's not, I'm not saying everyone has to, but nearly everybody I know, it's just like, Oh God, how amazing does this feel? Like, I'm getting free clothes and free trainers, and I've just been given this free car. I'm getting upgraded on this flight. And I've got this table, this restaurant that I couldn't get before. I've been invited to this premiere. I was just on that television show with that Hollywood actor. And then I'm in this person's house, you know, this person's given me free drugs and this girl wants to sleep with me and this guy, these girls want to freeze them. And then all this shit. So you're like, why would you not take it? Because you get to do something that, you know, it's like a one in a million thing. No one else gets to do this. And you don't, you don't go, I need to do this because no one else gets to do it. You're just like, this is, this is fun. This is mad. Like my life's mad right now. And I just defy anyone to not, to not do the same. I mean, I think, you know, sometimes like top level athletes, because they have to, their focus is being an athlete. So it's all about the body and their fitness. They can't do drugs and alcohol in the same way. So I think for a lot, that's why a lot of footballers just end up like, I'm going to have 15 cars or I'm going to get gambling addiction because it's like, everyone needs some kind of vice, I guess. I mean, all human beings needed some kind of vice anyway. I think, I think that's how we're built. We're not meant to just live squeaky clean, like constantly. Like I think life's boring, right? And it doesn't have to be sex or drugs and alcohol, but someone, you need something, you need something to obsess over that feels a little bit like naughty, a little bit edgy. What was the cost? Because I mean, all that sounds great, but there's got to be everything in life has a cost. Well, the cost was I, you know, I broke a lovely girl's heart and, you know, took her a while to deal with that, I'm sure afterwards. And, you know, I probably upset quite a few people along the way. I know my parents weren't proud of me, even though I was doing really well career wise. There was like a moment when there was a bit of an intervention. You know, it was almost like, what have you become? You know, we're not proud of you. This is not cool. What caused that? I think it was just one weekend at Glastonbury where I just kind of went down with my band and crew and my girlfriend and my sister. And I just kind of just completely went off the radar, kind of disappeared for 48 hours. And then everyone was like, where is he? And obviously Glastonbury is a crazy place to get lost in any way. And then I just turned up 15 minutes before I went on stage. So I was still professional, but I was like, I was in an absolute state around like 2012, no, 2010 to 2012. Well, it wasn't great. When your family staged an intervention, what does that look like in like real terms? Is that like a phone call or is that? Well, no, it's like sort of catching me off guard and sitting me down in a room, you know, and showing me how disappointed they are. And how did you take that? Well, it's just not nice to see your parents cry, you know, it's quite, you know, it still took me a few years after that to get my act together. But yeah, I don't feel like there's any real shame in it looking back. Like, I'm not saying I'm proud of it, but I just feel like certain mistakes have to be made. It's like in the same way I don't really have any regrets about anything. I'm just like everything I've ever done in life, however bad it is, wherever I've hurt or whatever, I've learned from it and I've tried to make amends for it, you know. Is there in hindsight information that you didn't have that caused you to choose that path? Like, is there something you now know that is stopping you from repeating that cycle and just continuing to do that? Well, it's just like, I mean, my mum always said as a kid, she was like, I was a liar as a kid. But she said they were like, not really lies that really hurt anyone. She said, I just knew that you had this overly creative brain and this imagination. So you would just take situations and just exaggerate them. And she was like, and it kind of makes sense that you're a songwriter and you're a storyteller. And I get that. And looking back now, you never, there are certain times where I know it would really upset my parents and my mum in particular, because she was spending more time with me probably day to day. You know, like 10 like little white lies about scenarios that had happened just because I sort of enjoyed the fact maybe that I could attention seeking could manipulate a situation that I could take situation, my imagination run wild with it and create other scenarios. And I think that was something I don't do at all anymore. But like lying as a kid and then carrying that through, I didn't then obviously realize at school, you can't get away with certain things because, you know, the structure and there's teachers probably calm me down a bit then. And then I'd had like four serious girlfriends and I'd never once cheated on them. It just wasn't on my radar. Wasn't the way I've been brought up. But it's just like, I guess I've spoken to other guys about this and girls. It's like you have that first time you do it, feel bad. And then one becomes two and two becomes five and five becomes 10. And then it just kind of spirals out of control and you kind of just like numb your brain to it. And I just don't think there's no no one signs a record deal or gets into the music industry and has a record label or manager come up and go, by the way, there's a good chance you're going to be really successful and famous in the next year or two years. So read this book. Here's a pamphlet on how to not be a CUNT. People often say that if you are a late, late to lose your virginity, you when you get into your adulthood, you kind of make up for lost time. Well, that's what that was me. So all my friends are losing the virginity at 13 and 14 and I was 17 and a half. So I was probably one the last at my school. Maybe it's just a part of South London. But yes, I used to hear stories from other other guys at school about some of the stuff they were doing at 14. And that was just like, absolutely mind blowing. But I definitely feel that because I was a late bloomer, then by the time I was in my early to late 20s, I just went crazy with it because you're almost doing it for your younger self. You know? Yeah, yeah. That was what I suspected because I was reading through and I remember thinking, yeah, if you're a bit of a late bloomer and then you get it full on, you know, early 20s because you become this star and it's thrown at you. It's almost like a forbidden fruit in my head. Exactly. Because some guys at school, like, you know, the guys who developed a bit faster than the other guys, you know, they've got biceps and six packs at 13, 14. And they're exceptional at football regardless of what their academics like, or they're the fastest sprinter. And then they're really good looking. And then I went to school with guys who slept with like 15 girls by the time they were 16. So chances are they get to the mid to late 20s and they're not like, oh, I need to just go out there and go crazy because they've already done it. Whereas not only did I, I didn't feel like I needed to go crazy, but given the opportunity and you presented with like, you can like a kid in a sweet shop, you know? Exactly. And then like, really, you're just like, yeah, this isn't me. You know, it just becomes a bit boring and mundane after a while.
Hating yourself (23:50)
Was there a point where you felt that? Where you thought, I'm doing all this, but I hate myself. Was that 2000? Yeah. And then luckily I just, and then I met Aaron. What was so, but specifically, so was there, was there days where you were waking up thinking, what the fuck is my life? Yeah. Like, it's also, it's like you come on stage at a gig at 11pm in Manchester. I mean, there's this one week where it's just like, I look back as it being one of the worst weeks ever where I was just splitting up properly with my ex who I cheated on a lot, you know, moving out from hers. I was pretty lonely because I was living with my step granddad in like an ex council house in Fulham. And he was like 93 and the whole house was like, it smelled quite bad and it was falling apart. I mean, it's blessing me. It was in great shape and for 93. And, but obviously the house wasn't the cleanest, nicest place you could live. I didn't really have much cash, even though I was starting to become quite famous and successful. It was like, the money tends to come six months later. You know, you have a number one single or kickstarts with number three in the charts, your festival fees will go up tenfold, but probably not until the following summer. And so I was still living with him. So it was quite, it was quite embarrassed to bring friends or even girls back to this place. So I just moved, finally moved out from my ex, which has had to happen. It was a long time coming. And then I was like, I was doing a gig in Manchester, came on stage at 11. And then I had to be up at 4.30 AM the next day to shoot a music video because we had to catch a sunrise. And I was like, why can't we do sunset and pretend it's sunrise, you know, so I can actually go home and have a sleep. They were like, oh, the director can't work that late or something. And I remember looking, when I look back, I've never watched the music video since, it's a video called Two Lives. And the lyric is actually called, it's like two lives, I'm living two lives. Don't know which side of me is where the truth lies. That's the chorus. So it was a poignant moment recording a music video for a song on about three hours sleep. I looked awful in the video, like huge bags on the miles. And then went back from the video shoot to this house where my step-granddad was. And just sort of sat in bed feeling quite lonely.
Self medicating (26:07)
And then the next day doing like a magazine cover shoot, and then going straight to Radio One to record a live lounge. And then going out for dinner that night, you know, like for a PR press junket or something. And then the next day was like another TV show and another radio show. And then I called this girl to come around just because I'm literally just wanted to cuddle, you know, and then was up there till like 4am and then up at 8am and then sat in a taxi for like an hour and a half to go across to like hack me. I remember just getting to the end of the week, just going like, I can't do this. Can't do this. And I remember saying to my manager, I was just like, we need to start canceling this TV and radio. And he was just like, you know, he said, you can't cancel going on Graham Norton. You know, you can't cancel going on, maybe cancel, no offense, probably cancel going on Sunday brunch. Sorry, Sunday brunch. But you just got banned for Sunday brunch. And then you're almost like, when's my next day off? In eight days, you know, stuff like that. It was like, what we got this weekend again? Because I wouldn't look at the diary because it would scare me. It was like, you've got Ibiza rocks Friday. And then you've got global gathering Saturday. And then you've got something in Finland on Sunday. And then I said, I've got Monday off. No, no, no. Where you got Mallorca. And then you've got Ibiza again Tuesday. And then you get into each thing and you're just so completely knackered. I fucked that. You just like, okay, have a drink. You know, I'm drinking on the plane drinking. We got it. And then you can't remember the gigs. I remember like, you look at the photos and the videos and like the crowd rather than amazing time. Thank God that I can do this even when I'm at my lowest, when I've got no energy left, when I've had six, seven drinks. But I look back and that was one of the worst weeks ever. And then I think that was maybe like June 2011. album came out in July. And then I went to Australia in October that year to do my first ever Australian tour. And that's when I met Aaron. When you're like sort of self-medicating to kind of deal with the pace of life or whatever, it tends to be the case. I mean, just from sitting here speaking to musicians that you're not far, especially when you're like, you use the word lonely, like a lack of connection, you're not far away there from mental health issues like anxiety and depression and those kinds of things. Typically, when you find yourself without connection in your life, self-medicating, stressed by just looking at the thought of this hectic schedule, lack of sleep. I can't imagine the diet was phenomenal. No, it wasn't. I mean, like, I've always been into fitness and running and I would like, even when I was really, really knackered, like I've got my apartment still in full on right next to Craven Cottage. And it's actually that that was a big help because that whole period is like waking up every day. The river gave me so much calm. Like, Were you anxious? Yeah, but you just get up and sit on the balcony and have like, I make fried eggs on toast or beans on toast and just look across the river. And I live in the part of the river where there's no buildings opposite. It's like the Barnes Wetlands Center. So you feel like you're in the countryside. So that's a great escapism straight away from London in general. So I feel like when I bought that, you know, subconsciously, I was probably thinking about this peace and tranquility escape from whenever I'm home. I close the door to my apartment. I've got the river there. But it was I think I was quite smart in that I whenever I could, I would go for a swim or I'd go for a run. Because I remember my dad used to say to me when he was, so when my mom was pregnant with me, my dad was working, as I said, two hours up in Birmingham, so driving four hours a day. Because it was the only job he could get at the time. He was working for a computer services company, Nick Storff, Siemens. And he had alopecia as well from stress. His dad was dying. He was pregnant with my mom and he was training for the marathon. And I think that, you know, stress related alopecia is quite clear why he lost his hair given everything, the aforementioned things. And, but I think running is what saved him from a very young age, like that time alone. And like whenever I go for a run to this day, I don't listen to music. Most people go for to listen to music for fitness, whatever is my brain escapism. And it's either swimming, yoga or running. It's the only time when I can not think about anything else. And whenever I was anxious or stressed about things, those are the things that saved me. I actually think that living by the river, and even if I did it twice a week during those stressful times, just being able to get up and just go for a four mile jog. I don't know where my head would have been like if I hadn't got that. Like I've been able to go out and do that and run by specifically by the river, not through a city with traffic lights and cars. Like on straight onto the tow path over Hammersmith Bridge, along the river by fields over Putney Ridge back through Bishops Park, pretty much the area I grew up in. And then also I got to the stage where I was like, I was calling girls up to come over and it was like, who's going to give the best cuddle and who's going to stroke me to sleep? Like that's where, again, not didn't mean I make a conscious decision, but looking back now, I'd be like, I don't just want to have like meaningless sex, I just want to actually be held. You know, bear in mind, my mum, dad and sister lived on the other side of the world by this point, they'd moved to Australia, you know, didn't have a girlfriend, like I had my mates, you know, in my band who would in a way traveling with a band back then. So I travel with a DJ now, but back then I traveled drums, guitar, bass, and then five or six crews, kind of like a little family on the road. So that was probably better than if I'd been with just a DJ, that would have been quite lonely. But yeah, I kind of feel like my, it was an intelligent, emotionally intelligent part of me I wasn't actually in tune with, was inviting girls over who were going to give me the best cuddle and stroke me to sleep. So I just felt, you know, from then that sort of fetal position and felt loved or felt safe, you know what I mean? - Did you know you were lonely? Like at the time? - No, I didn't at all, that's what I'm saying. - But in hindsight? - Yeah, there's so many things about that whole period where I was so ambitious and I was so resilient and I was also, despite what I was putting into my body, all things considered pretty healthy, or I certainly had endurance in terms of what I was capable of, mental endurance and physical endurance. So yeah, so I wasn't healthy. I mean, I just had endurance and I had stamina. And that was probably from, you know, starting the whole drugs and alcohol thing way later than most other people, you know, like say 23, 24. Had I started that at 18, like most of my friends probably would have burnt out way sooner, but I was in, you know, when I wasn't on tour and I wasn't doing promotions, I was at a gym nearly every day and I'd go to the gym and then for a run. So I was in pretty good shape to be able to do all these things. And also performing for 90 minutes on stage can be like playing a football match. And you know, sometimes you plan five football matches a week and I would always have a good physio after I got back, you know, so every three or four days I'd have a full body massage, needles, cupping, so on, just to, and then I would, whenever I could, I would spend a whole day, two, three days. I know it doesn't sound that much, but just complete detox. What was it that made you go from being someone who was dishonest in your relationships and would cheat on your partner to being honest and committed?
What made you get out of that reckless phase? (33:42)
Was there a catalyst event? Was it Erin? Was it? I just think when I met Erin, we just sort of fell so head over heels with each other within pretty much the first night. And then she dropped me off at the airport and she was almost a bit tearful. She was like, I don't think I'm ever going to see you again. I bet you've got a girlfriend in every city. I was like, not at all. No, I was like, I've got a few in London, but no, I was like, you think too highly of me. I haven't got a girlfriend every city. And then she called her mum and her mum was like, I bet he's got a girlfriend every city. She was like, no, no. She goes, honestly, I think we're going to get married after we spent the night together. But that was my sort of moment. I was just like, reset, go back to who you've always known you were meant to be, you know, be the person that your mum and dad raised, which is to be honest and faithful. And you were honest with her from the jump? We basically, it was weird because we got to know each other a lot over FaceTime. And then she'd come to London for two weeks and go back to Sydney. And then I'd go to Australia maybe for a week. And then we'd speak on the phone for three weeks. And then she'd come to London again for maybe a month. And then I'd go spend Christmas in Australia, do some festivals, but also see my mum and dad, my sister, and spend time I lived with her and Bondi. But because that time becomes so precious, you tell each other absolutely everything. So I think we'd been together six months, and we knew everything about each other in terms of exes, worst fears, you know, biggest achievements, biggest wants, desires, everything sexually, all the partners we've been with, like, you just, it was almost like speed dating crash course of like, you know, when you when people are together, generally, they'll be intimate with each other, or they'll just laugh and giggle and go out for dinner, you meet each other's friends and so on. When you're chatting over FaceTime, it tends to be more like an interview. You know, so you end up oversharing. What has Erin taught you about love? There'll be a lot of people that are listening to your story, and they'll think maybe I'm in the reckless phase where I'm, I'm sampling all the forbidden fruit.
Advice for someone in a reckless phase (35:50)
And then it seems quite clear from your story that you met this person. And as you said, you kind of both changed each other. But what what what advice can you impart on someone who's in that reckless phase? And I think if people in a reckless phase, you either you're like, I need to do this now. And I don't know how long you're going to do that for. But people with your smart, you can work it out. I've got guys I know now who are like, they that because that, you know, they they work in high intensity, high pressured worlds of like, finance, and hedge funds. And I know a lot of guys who want to settle down, but also on the side want to continue having these other experiences with women. And I think they feel that they have a right to do that. Now. I'm not sure if that's because of the mentality of a lot of people that work in that world with, you know, like, boys club sort of thing. And that's, that's, you know, that's just how it is. I feel like some of them, you know, like, there's a lot of guys who, like seem to be happily married with kids, my age, bit older, and seem to have all these other girlfriends and flings and bits on the side. If you'd met Aaron at another phase in your life, though, do you think it would have worked out? I met we met like perfect time. That's she's just got up with someone like timing is a key factor. She'd been single for maybe seven weeks. And I'd been single for maybe three months. If you'd met her at say 20. I don't know five. I don't think so if I'd have been a matter of two or three years earlier wouldn't have worked. We met exactly right. It was almost like the stars aligned the universe decided that we were going to collide at that moment. You mentioned she was a Gemini. And then you just mentioned the universe decided are you at all? spiritual? I wasn't.
Spirituality and breath work (37:37)
And I am now. Did she have a role to play in that? Yeah, I guess so. Because, you know, I just, I used to just think I was in control of everything. And I know I was wanting to realize I don't believe in luck, you make your own luck, because I was kind of what my dad would instill in me. And I've never been religious. And I never used to believe in zodiacs. But then I did used to believe, you know, after I read some Stephen Hawking stuff, and then you start reading books on lateral thinking, and the laws of attraction and so on. He's sort of go, Oh, yeah, we are just atoms just bouncing off on one another, just like, because we've got brains, and we can make our own decisions. But that doesn't still mean that we aren't in control of the energy around us and the energy around other people and how we collide and then what things come out of that. So as soon as I got my head around that, and then Aaron started explaining the zodiac, and when you were born, and what time of day you were born, and, you know, the distance between planets and so on, and what moon it was that day. I guess I didn't have the patience for it before. And then like, she's like, actually, yeah. And that's why some people have certain traits and so on. I'm not like, I'm more into like, spirituality, since, you know, I'd start doing yoga, for instance, and meditation, you know, like two or three times a week, we'll do a sauna and ice bath, put the kids to bed, we do like 10 minutes sauna, two minutes ice, 10 minutes on two minutes ice, and then you just come out just feel like, you know, you feel so alive. And then the moment you kind of have kids, and you're like, Oh, my God, this is other human beings that we made. You do get in touch a lot more with your spiritual side, I think, because you just like, you know, you could like science and spirituality can go side by side. I think, you know, I think the spiritual awareness of oneself actually comes from having a great understanding of science and the way the universe works in general. What impact has that had on your life, yoga, breath work and all that stuff? I think the breath work's been incredible. Right. So if it doesn't involve like ice, or meditation, even I listened to, there's a guy on a back in Brisbane, he's got something called the breath collective, and he gets people in like groups of 20 around to his house clears out all the stuff so far away and the TV and they all sit on the floor, on the backs with eyes closed. And it's like, it's that Wim Hof style of, you know, like, short breath out, like deep breath in, short breath out, and then holding your breath, you know, in that moment, and you feel all the physical changes in your body, like, I'll do it a couple of nights a week. I did it last night, because I wanted to have a good night's sleep. There's a lot of stuff going on in my head. But like, it's hard if you did try to sell that to a younger me, I would have been like, you're having a fucking laugh, like you want me to spend 10 minutes of my day, breathing in and out in silence. Because I just didn't understand how to relax, and how to be at peace with myself, and how to actually deal with my inner thoughts and inner demons, you know? How much credit does Erin deserve for this? Um, a huge amount, really. She's just watching someone grow a baby and give birth and then breastfeed them for a year. It's like one of the most sobering experiences ever. You know, it's like, it just blows your mind. Like, I just think the moment the rush of adrenaline and dolphins, whatever that got when she gave birth to our first standing up, standing up, yeah, she'd been training a whole way through her pregnancy as well. Like she found a form of pregnancy HIIT training, which had been approved by her midwife and GP. Obviously not crazy jumping around, but you know, squats and lunges and so on and push ups, obviously not much ab work. But she's reading lots of research saying, you know, the healthier the mother is, you know, yeah, it's like if you eat nuts during pregnancy, child has no chance of having a nut allergy. Like if the mother eats enough nuts during it. Likewise, if she gets her heart rate up to a safe level, that baby would be born with a less likely to have a heart condition. And there's other research shows that if the mother does the X amount of training throughout, you know, it's even goes back to say the hunter gatherer sort of period where a female might have to be on the move constantly or on the run whilst holding a baby. And what that instills in the baby's genetic makeup when they're born. You know, I'd have to find the research papers, but there's stuff that she was reading about your baby have zero chance of asthma if you do X amount of exercise whilst you're growing that baby. And it can all be passed on. Like the science behind it's mental. It's like when a like your baby has a way higher chance of starting life with a better immune system just from breastfeeding alone. If you have mother can breastfeed because the baby's saliva passes information to the nipple and then the nipple tells the mother what to put more of into the milk. So it would be like if the baby's lacking in iron or zinc or some vitamins, his saliva from the baby's mouth will tell that to the nipple and then the mother will produce milk with more zinc, more magnesium, more vitamin D to give the baby. So which is why a lot of babies have better immune systems when they're breastfed and not bottle fed. So just, you know, like I'm formula. So crazy stuff like that. But then, yeah, just seeing my wife, like she had no gas, no epidural, no, no assistance, no, you know, drugs as it were to help her through pain relief. And she gave birth standing up and like the middle of that catch your baby. Who, who called it? You called it. No, she did. And then I was, and then she just sort of collapsed into my legs and we just sat there and then didn't even look at, see if it was a boy or a girl for like the first 10 minutes. We were just so in awe. It was like this whole, it's the most alive I've ever felt. It's mental. And like, cause apparently the, the tailbone actually blocks the baby's head from coming out. So human beings, women should give birth on all fours or standing up. They're not meant to give birth on their backs because where the tailbone curves under the baby's head's trunk. It's actually, women should be standing up so that tailbone's like disengaged and can basically just fall straight out. Mad, right? Yeah. Crazy. I bet you weren't expecting this today. No, I wasn't. But there you go. Every day's a school day. You, so you give birth to your first, and one of the things that I read about was you tragically had a miscarriage on your second. Yeah. The second one, I think we got so, I won't say cocky. So we're so excited. And the first one seems to go so well.
The miscarriage (44:27)
Everything from when she found out she was pregnant to giving birth, that you're not meant to tell people that early on, but then when she found out she was pregnant with the second one that we lost, it was only been five weeks and really meant to wait quite a bit longer and have your first scan and so on. We went around and told everyone, and then she lost it a few weeks later, just before, you know, like the safe date. So that was pretty, pretty tough. I remember I was invited onto Lorraine Kelly show, and I was meant to go on and talk about a single on a tour. And then they kind of blindsided me. And it was just before I went on, they went, we just found out you lost a second baby. Do you want to make the whole interview about that? And I was like, for what reason? They were just like, because we've never had a guy come on here and talk about it before. It's definitely not like a celebrity. And I was like, okay, cool. So the whole interview became about that. And it was actually, it was quite positive because I got so many messages from guys after it was just going, that's amazing. You went on and spoke about that because guys are just like, woman's just lost a baby. Guys just got to get on with it and deal with it by themselves. Just do everything they can to support the mother. What was it like for you? Well, it was really tough because you just don't know how to, you're like, Oh my God, this is actually something that was living inside of her that has now died. And I've just got to be there for her. And I'm just going to have to like, suck it up and get on with it. Cause no one ever really asked the dad, how you feeling? It's not in really in our, in our society. It's not normal. Everyone just goes, Oh my God, how is she? How were you feeling? Just like, just helpless really. It's awful. But yeah, Erin's dad was great. And my dad was great as well in terms of, uh, you know, how do you feel? How do you think you should feel? How do you want to feel? How do you, what do you think you need to do to get through this? Especially when you've already got a baby and then you're just like how beautiful that whole experience was. And you're like, Oh, could have another one. And then you start, is this going to happen with the next one? The next one? Yeah. Tough. Yeah. Men don't, I mean, all of the, even like men aren't really even taught how to deal with how they're feeling themselves. Right. Actually, you know, doing stuff like this and doing interviews with either magazines or television shows, I've realized there's been, sometimes it's been the first times I've spoken about things that I should have probably spoken about with friends or family a long time ago, you know, because we're just like, it's either the whole macho thing of you don't talk about that, you know, just get on with it. Like that's a woman's thing. You know, women discuss things like that. I'm not even talking about miscarriages. I'm talking about relationships or, you know, it's one of the most amazing things in my life that I get to do a podcast, which of course needs money to, to, to fuel. And I have a sponsor like Huel, who I genuinely believe is going to help every single person who starts their Huel journey change their life because this podcast, the central intention of this podcast is to help people live better lives. And we get to sit here and I get to promote to you a product, which has not only helped me change my life, but it's going to help millions of people and is helping millions of people live a nutritionally complete life. It does all of that in a small drink that tastes good. There are other products. There's foods, there's the hot and savory collection, many other things. But for me, this ready to drink is the absolute saviour of my diet throughout the week where I'm moving at such pace. If you haven't tried, Huel give it a try. And if you do tag me. When you look forward at your future, then, so you've got this eighth studio album coming out.
Your future (48:09)
What, what, what, what do you want the next five, 10 years to look like in terms of your career? I would love to accidentally somehow have a chart hit again, just to remember what it feels like. Interesting. Yeah. It's not key to me, but it'd be amazing to have like a number one album or a top 10 single, you know, probably be based on streams rather than sales in this day and age. But why some, some, just cause I want to remember how it feels. You've forgotten? Yeah. I've forgotten what it kind of feels like. It was 10 years ago. You know, I had, I'd like 22 top 40 singles. Um, I think seven top tens to number ones, but I haven't had anything for so long, but I'm still going like my, my tour sells out in a way that you would assume that I was still having hits, but then you realize that hits aren't that important. What's important for me is just making songs that go off when you perform live. So, you know, I did an hour on Saturday night. There were probably seven hits in there. The other, uh, nine songs weren't hits, but they still go off by their heads. People, majority of the crowd know them word for word, the energy is there, you know, the build, the drop. I did the last sold out tour in the UK of any artists before COVID, um, which was, uh, March, 2020. I played, uh, Kentish town forum sold out March the seventh. I was back in Australia by ninth. I think 10 days later, we went into lockdown in Brisbane and the rest of the UK and the world followed pretty much like April that year. So I played the last ever tour. And then I played the first festival anywhere in the world after COVID. I mean, COVID was, everyone was in lockdown in England, America, so on. I played up in Darwin in the Northern territory in Australia. I played 5,000 people. They'd had 23 COVID cases. So as long as you got the negative test, so I was at a festival in October, October, 2021, uh, no October, 2020, um, playing a game Darwin 5,000 people. And then I came back in just in my January, February to us. I did one of the first sold out tours after COVID. So I feel like live music and my performance is like my bread and butter. It's what I know best. That's what I do best, but it would be really nice to, you know, taste a little bit of success again with a, with a song that maybe like, cause it's still, don't forget this. I'm still in a situation where I've got 40 gigs of somewhere. Anyone who follows me on Instagram is like, wow, amazing. Having the best year forever, forever. But I still bum into people in the street and it's like taxi driver on the way here today. So like, example, yeah, there you go. What's she been doing? You don't release new music for years. It's like, well, release an album in June. I did release another album last year. And how does that feel? It's kind of just makes you just go shows, goes to show you that there's, there's some people think if you're not on Jonathan Ross or Graham Norton or on Capitol FM or on Radio One, and you're not playing Radio One's big weekend or doing Capitol Summertime Ball, then you've retired. And then there's another bunch of people who hear you in the clubs or listen to you on Spotify playlists and have no idea even what Radio One or Capitol FM is. And then there's your diehards who follow you and know every move you're doing from your Instagram. But you know, I don't tweet that much anymore because it becomes quite a toxic place. But you know, you meet people and they're just like, I didn't even know you were playing. Well, you know, you'll be like, oh, man, what you doing in Newcastle? You're like, I'm playing Newcastle Academy tonight. Like, but I was followed on Twitter. I've not seen anything on it. You know, because I used to be known for tweeting quite a lot back around 2011 and 12. I used to get into a lot of trouble and have arguments and such on there. But you realize that everyone has their way of discovering and digesting and discovering, you know, discovering music. In the same way we do with films and so on or how you read about some people just read BBC Sport. Some people just follow a Twitter account that updates you on the Premier League. And there's some people who only find out about music from Spotify. And there's some people who still only religiously listen to the Capital Breakfast Show every morning. And the thing that I find is I just have to know where my fans are and what they want. There's always gonna be that group of people though, that if you're not in the charts, they think that you've either retired or fallen for something.
People thinking you’re no longer making music (52:25)
Exactly. And they still think that's the case for me. So I'll be like, even when I got a taxi to Brixton in February, because I'd like to get black taxis mainly because one of my cousins, my cousins a black cab driver, you can't use Uber. I like the tube, but whilst I'm blonde, which is for the foreseeable future, the tube is not a safe place for me at the moment. It's a selfie central. And then obviously you have one or two and then that leads to 10 more and so many more. And I don't mind meeting the general public. I love it. But it also, it's nice to just sit on a tube and listen to music sometimes rather than having constant photos. But this guy was like, so what you doing? Are you guys, is there a gig planned? And I was like, yeah, it's my gig. He's like, oh, well I'm driving examples whose own gig. I was like, yeah, yeah. You're taking me to soundcheck now. He went, oh, cause someone you retired, you're like, my, my, our eldest used to come watch you. Does that piss you off a bit? Yeah. Cause I'm like, when they're like, my eldest used to watch you. I'm like, well, if you just followed me on Instagram, we can still keep up to date with my song releases and he can still come watch. Anyway, I ended up putting all three of his kids and their partners on the guest list. And then I got a DM, I think from one of his sons the next day, I think some was maybe 26. It was our last time of my life. So you've just realized that because you're not in capital FM anymore, that certain people it's like, I don't know, they could be a painter decorator. They could be an estate agent. They could be a, you know, a taxi driver, whatever, but everyone has their go-to places for music. And it might be like in your office where you work all day on it, they have radio one on. So whatever's on radio one may dictate which festivals they go to or who they go and see on tour. Cause it's advertised on there. It's like, you know, like playing at V festival playing at Queenfield's blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But if you're not, if other people only discover music from their spinning class and whatever music's playing. So people messaging go, Oh, your new single was on in my spinning class today. I didn't even realize you were still releasing music. And you almost want to go, well, I've released three albums since then and you know, 11 singles, but you can't, it is quite frustrating. - You kind of left the, when you were with those labels and you were charting all the time with these, with these, these like big global hits, you leave that game. And then was there a moment where it was difficult to deal with the, what you've described there, where it was most difficult to deal with it, where people are going, where are you? Like, where's, where's the music? Like, why aren't you charting? - Well, it is, you know, what also is really frustrating is like, so I've performed in 27 countries in Europe. I'd say about 10 of those countries I've, I've headlined festivals. So there was a period where I was really big in Finland, Hungary, Estonia, Czech, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania. I'll be doing one or two festivals in those countries every year for four or five years, headlining or second on the bill, really, really decent fees. And then I left Ministry of Sound 2013, signed to Sony. Didn't really have any, had no success at Sony. I had one top 10 single, album bombed. They spent a fortune on it. Didn't really know where to position me. And all of a sudden, all the gigs dried up in these countries as well. And we were going back to them like with Spotify numbers and, you know, saying, well, he's still got, you know, 4% of his fans are in Hungary, which is massive considering my fan base in the UK and Australia is my second biggest, like 4% in Hungary. And then it would be like, you know, 1% of his listeners are Poland. That's a pretty big listenership still. And then it was like 2.8% of his listenership in Colombia. And you go to these promoters and they're just really like, look, his last single, the 10% of his listeners came from your country. And they're almost like, yeah, but it's not on radio. And you're like, radio fucking dead, you know? Or, you know, I've been in done a chat show in Germany for a bit, so I'm not getting, I played the biggest festival in Germany is called Rock Amarin and Rock in Park. So that's like they're reading in Leeds. I played that festival three times. Unbelievable massive crowds. I knew the words word for word, like half my set. I had three top 10 singles in Germany. And then moment you're not on radio. They're like, no, I would like to book him. But this is until he gets back on to radio. And you're like, well, they know my other hits and like, and there's people streaming the new stuff. So this summer, we got we've got Benek Haseem in Spain. We've got a gig lined up in Portugal and I'm playing Amsterdam this Friday. But it's been really tough to actually go in and like almost having to present the figures. - I see this with artists that have that meteoric, I mean, I sat here with Craig David and he's an example of an artist at 18 years old.
Evolution As An Artist
Competing with a former version of yourself (56:56)
I think he had a number one album, something fucking staggering. - And he's only like a year older than me, but in my mind, Craig David was like five or six years old. He was in the charts at the same age as I was listening to him. So I was in clubs listening to garage music. And he was on Top of the Pops. Whereas I didn't have any success until eight years after that. So I was 26, 27. - Yeah. And there's a 22 year gap between when Craig David, I think, had his first one to his most recent album. Is that a thing of like, you basically start competing with a former version of your success? - You have to. I only compete with myself. But when I'm in the studio, I'm only competing myself. - But the former... - Yeah, I'm my former person, which is why I say to you, I'm over the moon that I've got my busiest summer in six years. I'm so in love with this album. I'm still playing this album, but even though it's been finished for months. But that's why I'm like, I'd love to just taste that chart success again, just once or twice. A, to shut up all the people who think I'm retired. And B, just to remember what it feels like. It's almost like a little validation that my career is going to continue for the next five, six, seven, eight years. As long as I stay fit and healthy and I keep producing music and people still want to come and... They choose one night a year, they go out to a gig. 10 of their mates get absolutely off their face and have the time of their life. I want them to pick me for that. Then I've got a career. I don't need anything else. I don't need radio. I don't even really need streaming. But it would just be nice to have that validation. And I shouldn't be sat here going, I need validation, but it would be really nice to feel that again. So every time I get in a taxi, it's like, oh, example, I heard you. I see you on Jonathan Ross the other day. I thought you'd given up, you know, as Australia, rather than just sitting there going, I've never stopped releasing music. I've never stopped touring, but I've been touring for 16 years. I've been releasing music for 16 years. But you know what I mean? Slightly frustrating. But... I think this about myself when you're talking about having this kind of chasing the former version of yourself. I worry about that sometimes. I think I always think, especially now that I'm on Dragonstone on the BBC, I think when I come off that, the cabbie who watches BBC One but doesn't have a clue about podcasting is going to happen. You have some people like, oh, you're the podcast guy. And it's like, oh, you're the dragon. It's an age thing for me. Someone's coming up to me in the street. I know exactly where they know me from by their demographic. And if a 56 year old male comes up to me, oh, you're on Dragonstone? He has no idea that I do anything else or that I'm, you know... So in saying that, right, so on my last tour, most nights I come out after our stage before I get on the tour bus and, you know, my tour manager will be out and he'll be like, look, you'll be out in about an hour if you want to wear it. I know it's cold. Put a hoodie on, you know, that is to make sure, you know, I say just go and give them a load of Monster Munch or whatever, you know, so he goes out with a big whatever's left on a rider, Monster Munch, maybe a couple of beers. He checks their age. And so you might have 200 people waiting after the gig. And then by the time I come out 11, 30, 12, they might only be 20. But I'll always say to him, where did you buy this ticket from and why did you buy this ticket? It just is a little bit of market research. And all the young kids are like, we saw advertising your Instagram. And pretty much anyone over 30, 40 years old, they saw a billboard on a bus stop or on a train station or their friend forwarded them a link from gigs and tours or bands in town on Facebook. So even though I'm not on bands in town, I don't go on Facebook much. I don't really decide when my posters are put up. That's like, you know, the touring company, the promotions company decide that. As long as these people know where to find me, that's great. And then they come to the gig and then maybe there's like four or five songs they haven't heard that I've released in the last two years. But chances are the two of them, they'll fall in love with and go back and continue to stream those songs or they add it to their playlist. There's a need to try to detach a little bit from the external validation driving your self opinion, I guess, because as much as it can be like a good driver of ambition and competition and having something to aim for is great. You don't want to be dragged like because I can see how an artist who is used to getting number ones all the time could get a number two and feel like shit because it's a number two. Whereas really, without all the number ones, the number two is unbelievable. Yeah, I was saying this earlier, these these here in my chart, top tens. Yeah, all of those, those are my three number twos. That was actually unorthodox with Wretch. Yeah, that was we'll be coming back with Calvin. And that was say nothing which came out just after that. And even looking back, it's just like, like to go from six to three, from two to one, it would have been nice if those last it was just one one one like the difference. Like the difference between that one and number one was about 267 downloads on iTunes and the difference between that one that was maybe like 400 and something. And it's like, I know it's nice to say it's amazing. So I've had two number one singles on a number one album. Out of everything I've done in my career, but it'd be extra nice to have four number ones. But that's exactly what I mean. But I don't know sleep over it. What can you tell me about this album? Can I want to like listen to something? I want to I need some kind of flavour of this this eighth album.
The new album (01:02:09)
There's I've never done drum and bass before. And there's two drum and bass tracks on it. Okay. I've I used to want to start emceeing like 15. It was mainly over UK garage or garage, garage. And 10 tracks in this album are garage. And then there's three drill tracks. We've probably the best spitting I've ever done. There's like, I'll play you a song afterwards. But there's a track. I'm just spitting straight for three minutes. We shot the first half of the video in a shipping container yard in Brisbane, which being Brisbane we got to use for free. So complete no regulations just like it might open the gate for you. We back at eight. Please go where you want just don't don't don't break a leg or anything done anything stupid. So we shot this video which I directed in a container yard and one of my mates is in construction. We shot the second half of the video on the roof of his new apartment block where I'm standing on top of the lift shaft and we've got drone footage going around me. Very cost effective video and it's basically just me rapping solidly for three minutes. And I think it's probably the best rapping spitting I've ever done. I based it all on Busta Rhymes that I used to you know from back when I was like 17. So I'm just hoping why no that when people hear this album they're gonna go fuck he sounds he sounds good he sounds comfortable he sounds the most confident best performances I've ever heard him do. I truly believe that and I can't wait for people to hear it because it's also like you associate drill music with gangs and life crime and selling drugs and I've basically just taken inspiration from the beats and just done Elliot you know I'm being true to myself I'm not that was just what I've always done it's just like I used to feel like as I was saying she's just off air before I used to feel like I was this uninvited guest to rap and hip-hop because I felt that you needed certain credentials you know to do it and then you slowly realize that no it's just like an art form as long as you're respectful of the culture it's just like what are you doing with that that music what story are you telling and you've always just got to tell your own story I guess. Having been through all of this Elliot if I may call you Elliot having been through the fame the you know the ups and downs of the music industry the you know the sex the drugs the rock and roll all of it and also the family the kids and all of that if you were advising a younger Elliot who might be listening to this and what actually matters in terms of the components that make for a good life what would you say now in hindsight having tasted it all?
What matters? (01:04:33)
Right now I mean like being a dad is so so important to me and so rewarding especially once the little one Enyo who's now four he was a bit later with the speech the fact he can now speak it's like my young my eldest Evander he was speaking like 18 months he was saying words and then our youngest didn't really start speaking so he was three but now it's not only just being able to communicate with them but then listen to them speak to each other there's bonkers stuff that comes out their mouth it's just like it's the most rewarding thing of the day but I'll spend most of the day just writing down quotes they've said and send them to my mum and dad or my sister or to Erin's family just like you won't believe and like the stuff that comes out their mouth that's that's like for me it's like I love cooking I love food I love fine dining I love eating out like food is so important to me training is so important to me sleep is important to me sex is important to me being a dad's important to me and if I'm being totally honest like I make music for a living but I could right now I love being on stage but if it was someone was like you've got another year now you're not going to write one song or do another gig I'd be totally happy with that as long as I had all the other things. Interesting. We have a we have a closing tradition on this podcast where the last guest writes the question for the next guest.
The last guest question (01:06:18)
Okay. And I read it now so I haven't seen this before. It says of all the achievements in your life which do you think made the biggest impact on another? On another? I'm gonna guess they mean also everything you've achieved another person. Yes of all the achievements in your life which do you think made the biggest impact on another person? That's interesting it's a really good question. Do you mean in your life which one do you think made the biggest impact on someone else? That is a really interesting question. Well do you know what I would say actually and I could probably apply this to a few I'll apply it to two people rather than just one person in particular is there's a guy three three three people in particular so there was a guy called David Stewart who was my guitarist for three and a half years very different to me he's like a private school educated kid but and and you know grew up in from in money if you like near near Westbourne Grove and we used to rib him quite a bit he was like six seven years younger than all of us but he was a great kid really good guitarist really good keyboard player great singer good looking he always wanted to make it as a solo artist and for whatever reason this was around the same time Ed Sheeran started blowing up where it's like you could be the best looking kid in the world but you know no offense Ed's a really good mate of mine but you know what I mean Ed's not a model he's not that Justin Timberlake cut but David Stewart fair play to him like we spent a lot of time writing songs together I would try and hone his lyrics he was amazing with melody and he's now officially the most successful songwriter in the world in terms of streams so he wrote the last three Jonas Brothers singles and he wrote Dynamite for BTS which is wow I think the third or fourth most streamed song of all time it was the most streamed song of the last year I'm not saying he owes that to me but what I'm saying is I know for a fact that his years on the road with me and the time me writing songs with him was instrumental in his drive and ambition and his craft I feel like he may have gone on to do this anyway but he you know he he definitely I feel like success he's more success and like I'm really proud of him like that he's now the most successful songwriter in the world you know and then there's like my guitarist who replaced him another guy called Kai Kai he's gone on to be very successful composer he went left me to go and play guitar with Dua Lipa for a few years when she was blown up and might drop my drummer he was playing with The Streets and Lily Allen and played with me for five years he went on to help put together Ed Sheeran's live show and create the technology behind his loop pedals oh yeah yeah and then my playback guy he's the guy who runs the laptops which run alongside the live musicians he's gone on to put together huge shows for Kygo in Las Vegas so I feel like nearly everybody who's worked alongside with me I've learned from them and then but they've I guess what I'm saying is I'm glad that they've all gone on to do huge things they haven't gone on to just be standard session musicians you know like my bass player Andy Shell-Drake's now a producer in his own right he produced all night so that song was just me and him you know so my biggest song I suppose from the second year of my career was down to him like everybody there's not one person I've worked with closely in a musical level you know in terms of what people regard as session musicians most session musicians just go on to play for other bands on the road for eternity you know earning three four hundred pounds a gig and they're playing into their 50s or 60s just getting by whereas all the guys who've been part of my band who basically my brothers on tour my family all been made incredible successes themselves that's dope and I mean that's that that says a lot about the environment that you guys have together when you're together and like yeah I'm quite proud of that you know yeah yeah because I didn't try I didn't intend to do that it's just obviously it was clearly a nice place to work and was inspirational and was very creative and and ambitious and they've parted company with me all on good terms and have gone I'm not just going to sit back I'm just going to go and do what Elliot's done in my own way and in David Stewart's case is like stratospheric you know like produced and wrote the biggest song in the world that year for a Korean pop band mental mad Elliot example thank you mate thanks for having me I've loved this yeah I mean these conversations all are also so unbelievably different but I think your honesty and like there's a real sort of overwhelming sense of inspiration I get from watching a man go on a journey and change in so many really fundamental ways in terms of their character their craft their art and even like their emotional awareness and their ability to like be in touch with their emotions tends to be the case that women can be the catalyst certainly for me it was you meet the right you're very easy to speak to though I must say you're you give me a real sense of safety and I can talk about whatever I want and there's no agenda which is really interesting yeah because you know it's funny because I write these questions down that I actually don't write any questions down but I write like bullet points things to remember and then I genuinely go in the direction that that I I'm interested in but so many things you talk about even from breathwork my my girlfriend is a breathwork practitioner so I'm doing breathwork all the time these days you know the Wim Hof thing we've just booked a retreat to do Wim Hof's ice thing so I had no idea about any of this yeah exactly so that's why like when you're saying it I find it really intriguing to like probe in around there yeah but it's all led by curiosity and there's so much in your story that is really really inspiring to me and I'm actually the most inspiring thing for me is what happens next so the most inspiring thing to me is seeing how your eighth album plays out how you continue to like move with the changing times and changing platforms and who that that creative and artist becomes but yeah thank you for your time today I love these conversations and it's been super energizing for me and that note will be for everybody that's listened so thank you quick one as you might know crafted are one of the sponsors of this podcast and crafted are a jewellery brand and they make really meaningful pieces of jewellery I think I've worn this piece for almost a year it hasn't broken hasn't changed colour because it's really really good quality and it costs roughly 50 quid I'm not the type of person that has Rolexes or jewellery that cost tens of thousands of pounds I want pieces that are reliable that look beautiful and that holds meaning and significance for me and that's exactly why I've worn crafted for so long and when we had the conversation about them sponsoring this podcast I was so unbelievably keen for them to do so check it out if you're a guy craftedlondon.com and yeah if you get any pieces of crafted tag me and let me know what you think so you so