Growing up at the house of the Bergman family must have been an excited experience. Elliot and Natalie – who sould later become WILD BELLE – and there other two siblings were early introduced to good old-fashioned music of artists like BOB DYLAN or JONI MITCHELL. Especially the second one made Natelie pick up a guitar in her early days. Being influenced by music from their childhood on there might have been no alternate way for the two Bergmans. And after playing together for several years under the alias of WILD BELLE it looks like their debut album Isles arrived just at the right time to create a well deserved buzz. Being a wild mixture of indie, folk, soul and tropical beats this longplayer might definitely take these two musicians around the world. And it already does which makes NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION even prouder to caught up with Elliot and talked about the record and the special relationship with his sister.
First of all, please introduce yourself and WILD BELLE to our readers.
I’m Elliot Bergman. WILD BELLE is a band that my sister Natalie and I started about a year ago. It started when we decided to combine our efforts and start working on music together.
You are a brother-and-sister duo. How is hanging out, writing songs and touring with each other? Would you say that being siblings is a strength or is it sometimes a burden?
It is a huge source of strength. Working with family is a tremendous advantage. We have such a deep shared vocabulary of musical ideas and references as well as visual references and aesthetics. It’s hard to imagine collaborating in this way with somebody that wasn’t a part of your family in some way.
Currently you are on European tour. How do you like it? What has been your most memorable moment and you favorite city during the last weeks?
This tour has been amazing. It’s always great to play in new places for new people, and it’s really nice to see that these songs are starting to make it into peoples’ ears and lives around Germany, France and the UK. We’ve toured so much in the past year without the record out, and now it’s nice to hear the audience singing along. We had a great show in Dublin, and it was the first time we had been there. All of the shows have been great though, and the concert in Berlin was a really fun vibe.
WILD BELLE: “You always want to retain a warmth in the recording”
Who influenced you most – as musicians as well as as persons?
I think our mother has had a pretty strong influence on the both of us. She was a person that had so much discipline and so much creative output. She was a great writer, painter and musician. We used one of her paintings from the 70s for our album cover.
If you should explain the music you’re playing with WILD BELLE in a short story. What would be the plot of it? Probably some summer-time beach-feelings?
It would have to be an island hopping love story…love gone wrong, but there’s still hope and there’s a party on the beach that starts after midnight.
How do you manage to create a unique sound with WILD BELLE? What’s your secret?
We try to have fun in the studio and we are always looking for sounds that surprise us. It’s fun to try to create a hybrid of organic and electronic sounds. You always want to retain a warmth in the recording and have it feel human, but also incorporate some modern sounds. We like working with drum machines and sythesizers too. It’s always a search for the magic button.
Your debut-album is titled “Isles” – what’s the story behind the album?
We felt like each song was it’s own island of sound. They all are related to each other, but some of the sounds get twisted as they get further away from the source, A lot of our favorite musics are hybrids. Afrobeat, Tropicalia, and early reggae and rocksteady are all musics that are mixing up various sounds and sources in ways that changed the world.
You are on the road pretty much. Which place would you call your home and where do you feel homelike?
We are from Chicago, but have lived in New York for the past few years. Now the road is starting to feel like home. People keep asking me if I’m from LA, so maybe that’s a sign…
What can people expect from WILD BELLE within the next months? And where would you like to see yourself in 5-10 years?
We are going to be touring all over the place. Lots of festivals in the US this summer, and we get to go to Brazil in April, which has been a life-long dream of ours.
What do “hope” and “passion” mean to you?
Both are essential to life and music. When you start to lose either of them, it’s time for a change.