Bound For Success is a brand new series that highlights emerging artists and brands in our world. Shortly after Amsterdam Dance Event last year we were pointed in the direction of Dutch house act Dirtcaps and Eleni Drake, a singer/songwriter who is destined for great things.
If you Google Eleni Drake you won’t find a Wikipedia page that lists her achievements or a Facebook page with thousands of likes. In fact, her biggest fan base comes on YouTube (over 15,000 subscribers). Drake, like artists like Niykee Heaton and Carly Rae Jepsen has begun her career by recording covers in her home with her guitar and piano. She lets her voice do the talking, covering tracks from the likes of Lana Del Rey and The 1975 with ease. With over 125,000 views on her Brooklyn Bridge cover, it’s no surprise that her voice caught the attention of Dutch electronic music act Dirtcaps.
Since embarking on their musical journey in 2008, Dirtcaps have conquered some of the biggest club brands in the game with their dashing live shows. Additionally, the Dutch duo played at the world’s biggest festivals (Tomorrowland and Mysteryland) and remixed and worked with a full range of electronic music superstars such as Hardwell and Laidback Luke.
In November 2016 ‘Foreign Tongues’ was released on KLASH, Dirtcaps own label that has close ties to Dutch label Armada. With Drake’s incredible vocals over the instrumental, the track immediately attracts your attention. The original is at home on the dance floor or the festival main stage but it’s the less profiled acoustic version that really plays to Drake’s strengths. With our minds blown, we reached out to Eleni and Max and Danny from Dirtcaps to find out more about the collaboration.
Max, Danny, when did you first come across Eleni? Had you heard her music before you met?
We got connected with Eleni through our manager, and I think we only needed to hear one track on her Soundcloud before we were sold. We did a session in London during our writing trip. The whole track is made in one session, which is quite unusual for us. You can safely say that the chemistry was on point.
Eleni, when were you approached about the project?
I was invited by Mark Vallance, a writer I’d been working with, to join him and the Dirtcaps on a session in London to write for them. We headed over to Tileyard studios at Kings Cross in London for the first session. I hadn’t done many collaborative writing sessions before so I was wondering what to expect but it was great; Max and Danny are lovely guys and really encouraging & enthusiastic.
Tell us about the first few hours in the studio, what exactly did you guys work on?
ED: Max and Danny played me a few tracks they had been working on and I picked out this one with chords that I connected with, and we started working on the melody and lyric – I had the idea for the lyric/storyline and the guys really loved it. It was very easy and we wrote Foreign Tongues in about two hours.
How did the acoustic version come about? Considering you made the song so quickly I’m guessing that wasn’t part of the original plan?
ED: Not at all. I never expected the guys to want me to sing the song as well as write it – but after the session, they said they loved my vocal so I ended up being the featured vocalist and I even came to Holland to perform live on the radio with an acoustic version.
Max, Danny, a lot of progressive tracks feature vocals. Do you think more artists should look at releasing acoustic versions of their releases?
DC: For us, a good song still needs to be a good song if you leave all the production work behind and strip it down to the basic chords on the piano/guitar, which you can regard as an acoustic version. Whether an artist should release the track is another thing entirely. That’s up to the artist himself/herself.
The title of this article is called ‘Bound For Success’. Have you got any tips on artists and brands we should be looking out for in 2017?
DC: You guys should definitely look out for Blanke, Late and Luca Rezza. Those are three really cool DJs/producers who are going to release on our label KLASH! We are really proud of their tracks and think it’s only the beginning! Brand-wise, we are really into brands that are old and have more of a retro kind of feel to them. Ellesse, Fila and Reebok are what we consider good examples.
You can listen to the acoustic version of Foreign Tongues below.