Introducing the electronic duo hailing from South London consisting of real-life couple Evi Dobner (vocals, keys) & Elijah Dobner (guitar, synths, sound engineering, vocals) known as AViEL whose songs I found to be absolutely beautiful and soon discovered why as they are a story of a true love between these two. I got a chance to sit down with one half of this up and coming duo and learn a bit more about them which you can read about further below:
MHB: Can you let me know a little about your background? How did the two of you meet and how did "AViEL" come to be?
Eli: Well, we started dating and playing in a band together a few years ago in Hungary (Central Europe) and had moderate success there. Later, we got married and moved to the UK together, but kept doing music. AViEL is our new creative outlet, and our first attempt at making music for an English speaking market. Everything - all instrumental layers and vocals - are created by us two.
MHB: Growing up did you both know you always wanted to be musicians or was there a specific moment or scenario that made you decide you wanted to make music as a career and, if so, what was it?
Eli: We went on very different trajectories. Both of us started with learning classical piano, but I quit after four years. I focused on drawing for awhile, then got back into music during my teens through learning guitar & a developing a passion for indie rock music, and I pretty much kept playing in bands ever since. I also do writing, film and photography. Evi learned classical piano for 9 years and planned to become a classical musician, but eventually quit to pursue a career in dance. She studied ballet, contemporary and folk, and returned to music when we started dating and I asked her to jam with me.
MHB: Can you tell me a little about the music scene where you are from? What do you like most about it? What would you say is one of the biggest challenges you face?
Eli: The hardest thing about being an indie musician in London is probably the over-saturation. London is bursting at the seams with creatives - making something truly unique and memorable is hard here, but at the same time, you are always inspired by the incredible people you meet. It's a mixed blessing. I think that the weakness of a lot of alt-pop is the lack of effort that goes into lyrics. The tunes are catchy, but there isn't much artistry put in the words accompanying it. Trying to have a more holistic view to quality is something we'd love to strive for.
MHB: Who have been some of your biggest musical influences and which artists would you say are currently influencing you and your music?
Eli: Well, there are just too many, but on the electronic scene, we love what Porter Robinson and Madeon are trying to do these days, Adventure and Worlds were brilliant albums. James Blake is also an influence as is Bon Iver, but we love the post-rock scene also. Sigur Rós is a big favorite, and we like a lot of folk-rock artists, such as Foy Vance, Blue Rose Code & Tom Crouch (ok, he's not really folk). On the lyricism front, Sleeping at Last, Jon Foreman and Leonard Cohen have definitely influenced us.
MHB: With all the "electronic duos" that are currently out today, what would you say makes your music unique & stand out?
Eli: We hope that there is a unity of music and thought that stands out. We try to cover aspects of life that pop (even alt-pop) doesn't look at very often. We also think there is a vulnerability to our music that can make it personal and approachable in a way that a lot of music on the radio isn't. We try to be very honest with what we create.
MHB: Can you tell me a little about your creative process and where you get the inspiration for your songwriting? Is it constantly changing?
Eli: Well, it's a bit of an inextricable mess. Evi or I come up with a basic musical idea, than I craft some lyrics around it, and then we basically play ping-pong with it until we've have a song. We're both instrumentalists and singers, so things tend to develop pretty organically. We're generally inspired by what we experience in our personal lives, plus whatever we read and listen to at the moment. Additionally, I travel quite often with film and photography projects, and seeing different people and cultures also inspires me.
MHB: Lets talk about your two singles "Limbs" and "Seeds"... how did they come together? What was the inspiration behind these songs?
Eli: Limbs is a love song I wrote to Evi, and the initial musical idea came from her. We've been together for several years now, and we really enjoy our love. We felt that there are a billion songs about falling in love and breaking up, but not many about doing life together, so we wrote one. Seeds is a bit more tricky. I don't really want to give too much of an explanation, because I think it's important for people to interpret it for themselves, but the finitude of human life is definitely part of it.
MHB: When you aren't in the studio or working on your music, what do you like to do for fun? How do you unwind from it all?
Eli: We love to travel whenever we can, but otherwise we're pretty introverted. We don't go clubbing but love concerts, and prefer late night hangs with close friends to huge parties. Oh, and we're both foodies.
MHB: Which current artists do you enjoy listening to and which of these would you say influence you & your music the most?
Eli: We've already mentioned Porter Robinson and Madeon. We also love Sigur Rós, Kyan, Sleeping at Last, Switchfoot, Blue Rose Code, Kevin Garrett, Foy Vance, Olly Peel, Tom Crouch, Dornik, Hiatus, Jose Gonzales, Tom Misch, Rogue Valley, Bon Iver, Jon Foreman, Lemaitre, Lowercase Noises, Frances, Brooke Fraser, The Civil Wars, Oh Wonder & FMLYBND to mention a few. We could go on, we listen to a ton of music...
MHB: What projects are you currently working on? Is there an album in the works? What can we expect to hear from you in the coming months?
Eli: We'd eventually like to knuckle down and make an album, but for now, our plan is to try to release a new song every month of 2017 to develop a body of work and a fanbase, so expect a song coming out in January. It's already written, we're just getting ready to record!
MHB: If you were stuck on an island with only one album forever, what would that album be for each one of you?
Eli: Maybe "Atlas: Year One" by Sleeping at Last, as it covers so much of the human experience so beautifully. Stunning achievement, that project.
Evi: Valtari from Sigur Rós. It's ethereal, introverted, has space, beautiful melodies and a bit of a classical edge... (It would most likely be classical music if I had to listen to it forever.) :)
MHB: Can you tell me one random fact about yourselves?
Eli: When we first moved to London 3 years ago, we've never even visited the city before. The first time we touched down we were coming here to live.
MHB: What does music mean to you?
Evi: It is part of us at such a visceral level, that I'm not sure how we could put words to it.
Eli: It's certainly one of the foremost pleasures in life. There is something pure about music - it's often feels like the heartbeat of life itself...
Check out their more recent release "Seed" below:
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