The importance of being Ernest

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Ernest by name, earnest in nature, singer/songwriter Ernest Ellis is grounded, ardent and extremely passionate about his music. A Sydney native, Ellis’ debut LP ‘Hunting’ is a stunning contribution to Australian music and features a melancholic sound that is lyrically profound and melodically salient. Influenced by Tom Waits and his ‘Raindogs’ album, Ellis in turn felt the need to create an longplayer that was completely whole.

“The most important thing was that I wanted to create an album that represented a sense of continuity, that felt like a record in the true sense of the word, tied together, thematically linked,” he says.

Despite being reserved about the admirable intensity and intelligence of his lyrics, Ellis says he goes through two frames of mind when writing and performing. “It’s a weird thing with lyrics for me. It’s difficult because I really feel that if you ask me 10 seconds after I’ve written something, I can give you a really strong response to it, but I feel like you kind of leave it behind once you’ve written it. That was a different person who wrote that then, compared to who I am now. When you’re in the moment and it comes from the subconscious and you’re not just trying to rhyme a line with a line – which is the worst form of writing – I think it really is hard to remember the person who wrote it…”

It’s difficult to name stand-out tracks on ‘Hunting’. From the intensity of opening song ‘Loveless’ to the acoustic ambience of closing track ‘Holiday,’ the album features soft acoustic guitars, energetic bass, melodic keys and bold drums, drawing influence from a variety of Ellis’ idols including Lou Reed, The Strokes, Radiohead and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. As for lyrical inspiration, firm nods go to George Orwell, Jack London and in particular, the beat poetry of Jack Kerouac .

“There’s this whole recycled feel to that culture,” tells Ellis. “Kerouac has this absolute frantic way of writing, it’s such a beautiful form and it’s so fleeting. It clearly flows from his subconscious. That thought process is not one that people write songs by now. It’s that beautiful form of writing where you aren’t trying to attract an audience; you’re just putting your mind onto the page. And it’s rare.”

?Hunting’ is out through Dew Process / Universal Music.