This time, we get to know Eleanor Collides. It is the solo project of singer, songwriter and guitarist Nick Ranga. Named after Nick’s childhood imaginary friend, Eleanor Collides started life as a lockdown project in March of 2021 when a group of London based musicians got together to support each other in writing, recording and releasing music. Eleanor Collides, falls somewhere between Indie, Alternative Rock and Dream Pop. On this album Nick draws on a wide range of influences from the 90s alt-rock of Alice In Chains and Hole, British Indie bands such as Manic Street Preachers and Depeche Mode's moody synth pop.
The track "Lost In The City (feat. Pisgah)" is featured in the New Artist Spotlight Family of Playlists.
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1. Tell us a little about where you are from and what you are currently doing.
I grew up in Bradford in the north of England but I've lived in London for the past 10 years. I released my debut album in March so I'm busy trying to promote that. I also did a song writing challenge earlier this year to write 14 songs in the 28 days of February so I'm working on turning those songs from voice notes and notebook scribbles into demos. Album number two is in there somewhere!
2. What inspired you to start playing and making music?
I've played guitar since I was a teenager (I'm now approaching 40, so 20ish years). My dad was really into music and played guitar, he showed me a few simple things but I basically taught myself using a Beatles chord book. I think 'All Together Now' was the first song I learned.
I started writing songs in earnest 6 or 7 years ago. I had half-heartedly tried to write a song a couple of times in the past but given up because it sounded lame. I'm not sure what clicked but I managed to shut my inner critic up long enough to finish a song.
Recording and producing music is a relatively new endeavour for me. About a year ago during lockdown I decided it was time to record all these songs I'd written. I learned music production via a combination of YouTube tutorials and trial & error (lots of error!). I think I've come pretty far as I have since released an EP and an album which were both self-produced.
𝟯. Who are your biggest influences?
So many! I would have to say 90's indie and alternative rock is the biggest influence on my music. The Seattle grunge scene and alterative rock in general was a big influence on my musical tastes, I listened to bands like Nirvana, Hole, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Kyuss and R.E.M a lot growing up.
British Indie was, and still is, a huge influence as well. I was 10 when Britpop was a thing. Blur, Oasis, Suede and Pulp all had an influence. Manic Street Preachers are my favourite from this era and are probably my favourite ever band.
Guitar playing wise I need to mention Gary Clark Jr. I love playing bluesy minor pentatonic stuff and he was one of the main people I listened to while learning to play lead. I love how expressive his playing is.
4. What are your goals in the music industry?
Honestly I'm still figuring this out, I don't have any big goals to take over the world really. I think it's the writing and recording of music that most excites me. I enjoy performing it as well but that's not the main thing for me. I'm a natural introvert so I have a hard time with nerves when performing, but I do want to do more of it because I always enjoy it. I guess my main goal is to build up a fanbase of people who enjoy what I make.
5. Tell us about your creative process when you make new music.
For me it starts on guitar. Usually with chords or a riff. I try to use interesting chords and often find myself gravitating towards melancholy type sounds. I'm fascinated by stuff that is in-between major and minor sounds, I will often swap a standard major or minor chord for a 7th or 9th chord to get a more interesting sound. Recently I've been exploring the Dorian mode as it has that mysterious neither major or minor sound.
Lyrics wise I do a lot of stream-of-consciousness stuff and free writing, basically writing without thinking and seeing what comes out. Usually I can get some interesting lines from it. My approach is largely to create interesting spaces and atmospheres.
6. What is your all-time favorite song?
You're gonna make me choose? Wow. Okay, as I'm in an R.E.M kinda mood lets go with World Leader Pretend.
7. What is the best advice or council you have either given or received in terms of music?
I guess the most valuable thing I've learned from making and performing music is how to shut up my inner critic. If you let it this inner voice can hold you back from achieving great things. So my advice would be to be ok with making things that are lame, as you only get to the really good songs by making bad ones. One thing I kept telling myself during the February song writing challenge was 'It doesn't have to be good, it just has to be finished'
8. Proudest accomplishment?
Releasing my debut album has to be my proudest achievement. It's something I never thought I'd be able to do as I never really saw myself as a solo artist as such. I always wanted to be in a band but they never seemed to happen for one reason or another. For me to get to the stage where I'm confident enough to release music on my own makes me very proud.
9. What is something about you that might surprise someone who knows you the best?
Not sure this counts as everyone knows it now, but when I was 2 or 3 years old I had an imaginary friend called Eleanor. According to my mum I would have full-on conversations with her and everything! She is who my solo project is named after.
𝟭0. Tell us about your highest and lowest points in music so far.
I don't really have any especially low points. I haven't done much live performance so I don't have any stories of really bad gigs or anything like that. High points would have to be recording my first songs and listening back when they were finished, I remember that feeling of elation that I'd created something from nothing. Another high point was one of the first open mics I did, I played a song called 'Fragments and Shadows' which is a slow and emotional track about depression. As I was singing it I felt the audience go quiet and really pay attention to me which was a huge rush.
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