Interview: Céline & The Blue talk sound palettes, Ronnie Scott's, & change as inspiration
We caught up with Céline & The Blue, following the release of their new EP Within & Without...
This new EP, Within & Without, is a collection of songs telling a story and documenting the band's musical progress and identity, so how did you approach writing a biographical record?
Within & Without came to be through a very organic process. We looked at the songs in our repertoire and realised the great autobiographical potential they held at telling our band’s story. These six songs specifically have documented the very origin of our team, showcasing the doubts and thrills new musicians experience when they first dip into the music industry.
We really identify with the stereotypical idea that creatives practice a lot of self-evaluation to explore their musical identity. Within & Without encompasses that exploration as if it were a diary in which we see ourselves experimenting, developing and finding the best form of expression.
Your lead single on this EP is the groovy bopper ‘Safe’, in which you discuss self-doubt, self-control, and a desire for protection, how have your experiences shaped your musical journey?
Venturing into music as a career can be a true emotional rollercoaster. It’s scary to experiment, dip out of your comfort zone, investigate your potential and expose yourself to untamed waters. Safe describes our response to these scenarios. Fear really makes you want to feel in control, and some of us seek that power in anxiety. We have been anxious in our musical journey; trying to find our music and sound, comparing ourselves to other artists, looking for a balanced workflow, establishing roles, it’s a lot to take in.
At the beginning, negative feelings used to limit our journey, now we face them and attempt to understand what they’re trying to tell us. This approach has been incredibly useful to track our progress as artists and it’s just so refreshing to turn weakness in your favour.
How did Céline & The Blue formulate as a band and what do each of the members bring to the artistic process?
We knew we wanted to be a team ever since the very first performance together. When we met at university, we sensed a great harmony between us that has not left since. We have found a balanced process in which everyone has space to supply their artistic input efficiently. Creating Within & Without, Enea wrote the music, Céline came in for lyric and melody writing, then with Jay, Elliot and Myles joining, it was arrangement time! We have explored and expanded these roles for our future projects as change inspires creativity and keeps things exciting. The artistic process should be ever-changing!
Having debuted at Ronnie Scott’s, what was that first experience like and what aspects of live performance are you missing the most?
Ronnie Scott’s is exactly like people describe it: special. It’s our favourite gig yet and we have no idea how another live experience could ever top it. That night was magical, wrapped up in our jazz bubble, we shared music with great people, exchanged the purest energy, and put out lots of love for life in the room.
We think that night we were given the chance to preserve all the good vibes in preparation for the lockdown that came one month after that. It really left us infatuated with music and looking forward to sharing more of it through live performance in the future. We miss the anticipation, the nerves, the eye contact with the audience, the exchanges between us on stage: we cannot wait to feel everything again.
Being predominantly in the soul, jazz and funk realms, who inspires you and where do you take your influence from?
The best way to identify our influences is analysing our band driving playlist. Every time we are driving somewhere all together it’s probably because we’re on our way to record or perform. For those occasions we love a stimulating and carefully curated playlist to trigger creativity and inspiration.
The list includes Marie Dahlstrom, Anderson .Paak, Lianne La Havas, Hablot Brown, Leon Bridges, Sam Wills, Theo Katzman, Bruno Major, Eloise and so much more. On our Spotify artist page, you can find playlists of songs that have influenced the tracks from our EP, let us know which ones are your favourites!
You’ve previously mentioned utilising this quiet period for live music to focus on writing and recording, so what more can we expect from you in the near future?
We have written so many songs in the past year and have made some changes to our recording process with the aim of refining our sound palette and invigorating our musical identity. Many fresh tunes are in the making, perhaps including more electronic elements! Within & Without definitely was the stepping stone that got us wanting to progress and get out of our comfort zone to explore more skills. In our future projects, you can expect us to be more daring and free, we are thrilled and excited to share newer things with everyone!
Finally, what does the word ‘groove’ mean to you?
Groove is feeling to the fullest. You groove to embody emotion with every fibre of your being. It’s the best part about music.