Time for an Elephant Revival
Colorado’s indie-folk five piece Elephant Revival just started a northeast tour and the group will follow that up with a steady collection of dates across the county through the summer. This past November the quintet released an EP entitled It’s Alive and will follow up full release later this year. The acoustic group blends strong musicianship with majestic songwriting and the results have found them with an ever-expanding national audience.
The following conversation with Daniel Rodriguez, the group’s guitarist and a key vocalist in the band, touched on recording, songwriting, producing, and evolving.
I’ve certainly noticed the steady progression of Elephant Revival ever since I first heard your name. With that in mind, how has 2012 been treating you guys?
The past year involved a lot more flying than usual. We’re used to being ground level in a bus, but we flew quite a bit. We certainly got to know some of the country’s airports very well. Aside from that it was hugely creative for us. We recorded an album and we published our own song book.
In November you released a seven track EP entitled It’s Alive. What prompted you to release an EP instead of a full album like your last two?
We went back and forth between everyone in the band and our manager [John] Joy. We discussed putting out two separate EPs on two separate sides of vinyl, but then we were like, “No, let’s do a full length.” We just kept going back and forth. The seven song (well eight song once you realize the secret song) EP is just kind of how it came out and I think part of the thinking behind it was that we would reserve some of our material for a big full release. This EP is not our third full release. We saved a good batch of tunes for the one that we recorded in January. Not that the EP isn’t good, we’re hugely proud of the way that It’s Alive came out. Also worth noting is that the songbook completes the album. The songbook comes with a download card.
What brought upon the idea of a songbook? I know that there are songbooks out there, but what sparked the idea?
Songbooks are out there, so the idea is not original, but I will say our approach is original. It’s unlike any songbook you’ll find in a guitar center. It’s really visual. Each page has really unique and interesting art, it’s almost like the songs manifest themselves, there’s poems in the background. So it’s very visual and poetic. It’s unlike any other songbook that we know of. But I think we kind of just took it a step further than just putting a songbook on the shelf with white pages and tablature.
More of an artistic songbook, it appears. Jumping back to It’s Alive, was their any central message to the EP?
I don’t think there was a conscious theme going on but the album was produced by Sally Van Meter and we had a lot of pre-production rehearsals before we went in to record because that’s what you do when you go to record live. We were just going through tunes that each of us had written and it almost seemed like the cast of songs that we came up with sort of had a similar vibe, but most of the songs that Elephant Revival writes tend to have a similar theme of tradition, nature, and love – but it wasn’t a preplanned theme or anything like that.