State Facesstate.ie names its artists to look out for in the 12 months flowing from January each year, and accompanied by original photoshoots from our team of photographers.
Originally a duo of Carla Ryan and Ellen O’Mahony, Elkin have expanded into a four-piece and taken their folk pop template in bold new directions. Throw in the odd hip-hop collaboration and they’re a band constantly on the move.
We met in a local drama class when we were about 11 and then got closer when we sat together in Junior Cert science class, so we were good friends before we started singing together. When we were 15, we started writing and singing together and putting videos on YouTube.
We did, we bonded over folk/pop performers such as Gabrielle Aplin, a singer-songwriter from England. As we’ve grown up our music tastes have widened but we would still have pretty similar interests. We both love Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits as well as more current bands like Wolf Alice and Sylvan Esso.
Having Peter and Robert play bass and drums with us has really helped our sound develop. We’re moving into a more jazz/blues inspired pop sound and it is so much fun to play our new songs live with the guys. We’re also starting to gig with Gavin Dunne on electric guitar which really helps tie our sound together.
Ellen knows Matt and Dafe from Maynooth University. She first sang with them as a backing vocalist on ‘Everything You Say is a Poem’, and we also wrote a song with them called ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, which we performed at a Word Up Collective showcase gig in Bello Bar last February. Then last summer, the guys got in touch about writing a new song with them. Dafe sent the beat on to us and we loved the sound of it. We wrote our parts, went into the studio with the guys and had a great feeling about the project. It was so exciting hearing the final result on the radio and seeing how many people loved the song.
The highlight would probably have to be our ‘FarewELKIN (For Now)’ gig in The Cobblestone, Smithfield in August. Ellen is studying in England this year and we weren’t sure how many gigs we would get to play while she was away, so we put on our first headline gig at the end of the summer. We didn’t know how many people would turn up or how it would go, but it went better than we could have ever hoped. So many lovely people turned up to support us and they even sang along to our last song, I Got Love. It was an unforgettable night that encouraged us to keep working really hard with the band even with Ellen abroad.