Hailing from Brighton, UK, solo artist Ellis Dickson aka ELLiS·D released latest single 'Nature's Game' on 30th March through his own DIY Label Change The F*cking Records!
'Nature's Game' is an "exploration of how human relationships attempt to stand the test of time."
Starting off as a drummer at the tender age of 15 - playing in a host of different bands - most notably in Strange Cages - ELLiS·D began his solo career in the summer of 2019.
High profile support slots followed with DITZ, Mush and U-Bahn and radio play on BBC Introducing and Totally Radio.
Please give our readers a little introduction who you are.
I’m a solo artist in Brighton, having started up the project in late 2019. I play music tinged with a mixture of post-punk, krautrock and psychedelia to funk, art-rock and baroque pop. I like to be as open as I can about myself in my lyrics, aiming to create something that feels true to who I am as a person, writing as a means of alleviating feelings fear and self-doubt.
I remember you being the fantastic drummer of Strange Cages - what was your motivation leaving the band(s) behind to concentrate on your solo career?
Thanks! I wouldn’t say I’ve left the bands behind completely - we’re on something of an indefinite hiatus with Strange Cages right now but the door certainly isn’t fully closed just yet. I’ve always dreamed of having a project of my own though and the time felt right a couple of years ago to give it a go. I’d been writing lyrics for a long while before I started up but I needed time to build up my confidence as a frontman - I spent between six months to a year doing the open mic circuit in Brighton every week to help sort out some of the nerves. Playing drums had always come naturally to me so I never felt too many nerves when playing shows behind the kit, but when singing is a different beast altogether as you are laying your soul bare to the audience each time you perform, which when starting out is pretty terrifying!
Tell us a bit about your own label 'Change The F*cking Records!' - which artists are currently on your roster and are you working on any upcoming releases?
I got inspiration for the label from an old monthly night that used to run in Brighton called ‘Late Night Lingerie’ that I would attend religiously. It had such an incredible sense of community and excitement to it that I always said to myself that when I got a little older I wanted to try and run something in the same vain.

At the moment Change The F*cking Records! has only myself on the roster but I’ll be curating a night under the labels name from July onwards at the Brunswick cellar bar in Brighton where we’ll be hosting local artists on the last Friday of each month. I wanted to do my bit in helping reboot the local scene in Brighton following the pandemic, and I’ll definitely be looking to release music from other artists on the label once I get the night up and running, (and once I can get off furlough pay!).
Your latest single 'Nature's Game' was released 30th of March- What's it about? What was the process for writing and producing it?
It’s an ode to our efforts to build and maintain lasting relationships over what’s been an acutely difficult time to do so. It’s a fictional narrative but heavily inspired by conversations I’ve had with friends and family about very relatable struggles we’re all experiencing right now, and even though the lyrics have a quite maudlin, defeatist feel about them, I wanted to instill an uplifting undertone to the song to represent the feeling that we might find that we’ve come out the other side with an even deeper connection to one another than before. I’m prone to feeling both optimistic and pessimistic in pretty short periods of time and I think this is reflected quite heavily in my music.
Like most of my songs I built the track up from an initial drum pattern, toying around with a beat for a couple of weeks before layering melodies over it and so forth. I find writing from the ground up in that sense a really interesting way of creating music; placing the spotlight on the percussion makes me twist melodies on their head and explore playing styles I wouldn’t have previously considered doing myself.
I recorded the song with superstar producer and self-proclaimed ‘King Of Jenga’ Joseph Thorpe at Brighton Electric Studios, taking the stems back home to mix.
What do you do outside of music? / Do you have any hobbies that you turn to to rejuvenate your creativity?
I love to read but sometimes struggle to concentrate at home for long periods of time, so I’m eager for coffee shops/pubs to re-open as I love taking a book down to an empty corner of a pub where there’s no distractions and I can nurse a Guinness and get totally immersed in what I’m reading. When we first went into lockdown last year both me and my girlfriend got a couple of bikes and spent a lot of the summer going for long cycles down the seafront which I can’t wait to start doing as well once the weather brightens up.
How did the pandemic influenced your music career and how did you stay motivated through all the madness of lockdown(s) and being stuck at home?
I was fortunate enough to get in on a shared studio space last year right before the lockdown hit, so I’ve been able to keep using it pretty much throughout this whole time and not had to rely on public rehearsal/recording spaces staying open, which has been an absolute godsend. In terms of staying motivated, I’ve had literally next to nothing other to do than write music so going down the studio to either write, record, make noise or sulk that I still can’t quite play John Bonham’s double kick drum pattern on ‘Good Times Bad Times’ has been the only thing keeping me (relatively) sane. If I ever learn to play it properly I think I’ll have to retire. Where do you go from there?
Having said that, the infinite stretch of free time has led me to concentrating a lot harder on the so-called ‘business’ side of being a musician these days, which I probably wouldn’t have done for a lot longer otherwise and is such a necessity for getting yourself out there. It can be demoralising at times without any live shows, and the social media side of it is a slog, but I’ve realised how you have to be realistic in terms of how you’re devoting your time and face up to whether you just want to create art purely for the personal catharsis of it, or actively pursue a career doing the thing you love.
What do you love about the Brighton music scene and which artists/bands should we look out for?
I miss the live shows dearly and as much as streaming gigs have filled the void to some extent they don’t really do it for me. The past couple years had seen a bit of a lull in the Brighton scene following the closure of a some great small venues, Sticky Mikes, The Richmond, The Globe and Blind Tiger Club to name a few, but I’m confident that having had the live experience taken away from us will give us all the kick up the arse needed to be as proactive in getting out to support the local scene as much as possible.
Hanya, Collect Call, Youth Sector, World News, Wife Swap USA, Skinny Milk and Nature TV are a few of my faves from Brighton at the moment.
Little insider tip – best thing to do in Brighton?
Not a whole lot at the moment ! One of the great things about Brighton though is the amount of spots overlooking the city, especially up on the south downs, and as it’s such a small city pretty much any place is within walking distance. One of my favourite places is up by the racecourse - there’s this one particular bench from which you can see all the way from the marina down to Worthing - it’s a really peaceful spot and one I’ve been frequenting over the course of lockdown for a chance to escape the monotony of it all.
What's coming up for you in the near future?
My next single will be out in May followed by an EP and a return to gigging in the summer including the monthly night at the Brunswick with Change The F*cking Records!
Check out the video for latest single 'Nature's Game' here:
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