Independent Artist of the Week: Elle Shimada

June 2nd 2023

    Elle Shimada’s latest single ‘ABOUT BLANK ____’ is like a 3D printed heart on fire, blistering with bass, polished in plastic and bleeding like a screeching violin. Midway through the track the pulse increases as a thumping drum and bass beat surfaces. Elle chants “You don’t care care care care care care care” as guest vocalist Rara Zulu raps in urgent falsetto; the high drama of artificial cell division.

    FBi’s Independent Artist of the Week this week, the Naarm-Melbourne-based producer, DJ, and vocalist Elle Shimada spoke to Kate Saap on Up for It! about the process behind her latest single.

    Elle Shimada’s first instrument was a tape recorder, gifted to her by her father. A seven-year-old in the field in Tokyo, Elle recorded the rain, recorded her mother cooking, recorded the tv… Over the top she sang layers of vocals, and added percussion with kitchen utensils.

    “I feel like that tape recorder had a significant effect on me and is probably the reason why I ended up becoming a DJ and a producer.”

    Years later this multi-sourced, mixed-textured approach bleeds through into Elle’s work. Her latest single, ‘ABOUT BLANK ____’ featuring Rara Zulu carries an electronic yet distinctly organic sound, mixing regal strings with stuttering bass and hits of percussion that scuttle across the track.

    “The music feels like a movie, that song, for me. Each section and each element of the song is really dense and it’s also quite chaotic… I don’t really know how I made it.”


    Lyrically, the song reads like a journal entry, based on a specific experience with a guy Elle was seeing. “I’ve never told you why / I’m strong / Because you’ve never cared to know / Where do I go to be heard.” Elle’s words carry the power that comes from her radical assertion of vulnerability; raw human emotion refined into a poised dagger of feminist accusation.

    “I just felt really angry because this whole time I was very calm and trying to communicate. It wasn’t heard. But as soon as he sees a woman’s tear, suddenly he cares.”
    “I wasn’t quite sure if it was ever done, because it’s not like I figured it all out by the time I finished the song. Is it done if I don’t, I still don’t really know what I’m talking about? I guess that’s vulnerability [laughs].”

    Listen to the full interview with FBi’s Independent Artist of the Week Elle Shimada here. Catch her performing alongside Madlib and others at the Astral People Vivid Party next Saturday 10 at Carriageworks. Buy/steam her latest single below.


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