It is inspiring to see an artist pour all his heart, soul, and time into creating a career. There are no shortcuts. The ones that put in the hard work will be the ones who succeed. Chad Ellis seems to be one of these artists. We caught up with the Los Angeles based melodic rock star recently to get behind the scenes of his rising music career. Enjoy the interview here:
What first drew you to start creating original music?
I feel it was an escape from reality. Creating music can really help me forget about all my troubles and put me in a form of supreme ecstasy. Having and dealing with ADHD and depression it really helps me get out how I am feeling. Such great therapy.
How would you describe the unique Chad Ellis sound?
I would say drawing on my love for Bach and jazz music has inspired some of the quirky harmonies. During the bridge in, “Last Bus” I use a little Coltrane harmony where the Major 7th chords move in minor 3rds. I love how harmony can really set a mood.
Who would you say are your biggest influences?
I would say the biggest influences are Tom Petty, Everclear, The Smiths/ Morrissey. Though it’s really fun to get ideas from any artist. Sometimes I hear a cool snare sound from an album and try and copy that. I’m a huge fan of just about anything with a good chorus.
Chad Ellis Took The Plunge moving To Los Angeles
How would you compare your musical upbringing in Wisconsin to your current home base in Los Angeles?
Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin there are these music clicks. I hate clicks. You’re either in or you’re out. In Los Angeles, there are so many great outlets to be who you are without people really giving a fuck. And I love that so much about Los Angeles.
What is your songwriting process? Take us through how a song comes to be?
Every song can start so different! For me creating a new song can start with a song title, a progression or lyrics. Maybe a little phrase that I heard that could turn into a song. Sometimes I create the music first and if I get stumped on lyrics I find myself driving late at night in the car with the music coming through to see what could come out. I love to carry a little notebook while I watch a movie. I think it’s important to write differently everything so that way you get different inspiration. Lately though I have just sat down with the acoustic guitar to hash out the song.
What is next for Chad Ellis?
I plan to release 12 more EP’s over the course of the next year. Each of these EP’s I am titling Vol. I, Vol. II.. etc. I am focusing on getting music placed in TV and film. Continuing to play in bands as well I am in a few that are very active. D.I.M, Anna Lee and The Authority.
What advice would you give other artists pursuing their passion?
I would suggest to never give up and to stay working on it daily. I never write to impress anyone. So many musicians write to impress girls… which is very fleeting and a crashing bore to listen to. If I like the way it sounds then I feel that is the most important. However, working in so many bands in Los Angeles over the last 12 years it is important to come with an open mind when collaborating with a producer and other artists.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I wore myself out when I first started out trying to get a song perfect but there is so much beauty in imperfection. Don’t be afraid to take on extra work as a musician. I have found work charting, arranging, teaching and recording on other people’s tunes. All these things have helped me continue to work on developing my own music. The last piece of advice I would say would be to continue to learn every day, keep practicing your art and never give up.