B&L: What animal do you associate yourself with (given our ties to oxen)?
Buckland: A gazelle. I love to dance, and I think singing can be such a graceful thing—much like gazelles.
B&L: Why music? Why do you seek it? Why do you create it? How’d it come calling to you?
Buckland: I’ve always felt a deep calling to play music. My parents often joke that I was singing before I could talk. I think I create for many reasons—to find human connection, to express my inner self, to reach a higher plane of joy, and to reflect on my life and to try to empathize with others (specifically in my writing).
B&L: Is songwriting an easy or arduous process for you? Are you an “in the moment” kind of writer, or do you have to actively schedule “office hours” to get words on paper?
Buckland: It’s definitely both! Sometimes it feels like the worst thing in the world, and I ask myself ‘why even am I banging my head against the wall… again!?’ But then I write the line that causes the whole song to fall into place and then it’s all worth it. That keeps me coming back, and will forever, I think. I go through phases of waiting for inspiration and then phases when I give myself a writing schedule, and I like both options for different chapters of my life. It’s a shifting practice!
B&L: How has this whole pandemic thing effected your music, if it all? For better or for worse…
Buckland: I think it’s helped me see that performing and writing music is still very important to me. I was questioning that quite seriously before the pandemic, and now with the release of my debut album, I’ve never felt more motivated and excited about playing music.
B&L: Your latest record, “You Don’t Have to Know” came out on October 29. I gotta know… What were the goals for this particular release? Sonically it’s a bit different than your work with Lula Wiles, which is fun. What were you looking to achieve with this debut solo release?
Buckland: It was incredibly fun to record! I let the songs guide the process, and my goal was to let myself be creative without the boundaries of my preconceived notions even about my own music. So, it ended up much more pop and indie rock leaning than I had anticipated? Which I love! And, makes sense, given how much pop music I listened to as a teen. In that, I actually think I found my voice as an artist in a way I never had in previous contexts of being in a band.
B&L: What do you appreciate about going it “alone” for a few and exploring some new territory?
Buckland: Don’t get me wrong, being in a band is beautiful as well, but I really appreciate the artistic freedom I’m exploring in this solo release and solo career launch. It’s exciting to feel myself growing and discover new parts of my musical self that have previously gone undeveloped.
B&L: What’s the making of a great show?
Buckland: A great audience, a warm room, songs that say something, and a killer band. Is that too much ask?!
B&L: What can folks expect when they come out to see you perform at the Word Barn on November 12?
Buckland: Exactly the above! Haha. But in all seriousness, I am VERY excited for everyone to hear the band I’ve put together. And the word barn is such a fantastic room to play, so I think people can expect and rocking night of music.
B&L: Is it weird to set foot onto stage and play to a room full of (mostly) strangers? Or do you bask in the opportunity to make new friends/fans?
Buckland: I really enjoy that aspect of being a musician, because in some ways it’s the whole point. When I’m deep in the moment of playing a song and I can tell the audience is right there with me, man that’s a special feeling. And my sense is that it’s mutually empowering and fulfilling for artist and audience.
B&L: What’s one tune (or, heck, a couple) that exists out there in the ether that blows you away that you kind of wish you had written yourself?
Buckland: “Now You Know” by Anais Mitchell, “Woman of Heart and Mind” by Joni Mitchell, “Love Letter” by Bonnie Hayes (made famous by Bonnie Raitt).
B&L: Whhhhhy is wishing useless? Whhhhhy?
Buckland: Oh man, this one’s a doozie! (For those of you who haven’t heard the record, I’ll definitely be playing “Wishing Is Useless” at the show on Friday.) I think in the case on the song, wishing is useless because the relationship was never going to work out. There’s a certain devastation in realizing that while still having tender feelings for someone.
B&L: Question number 12. If you could have a dozen of anything, what would that dozen of something be?
Buckland: In this moment, doughnuts, because I’m drinking coffee and it’s what I’m craving in this moment. Free CD to anyone who brings me a doughnut at The Word Barn on Friday!
Eleanor Buckland will make her debut performance as a solo artist (her band Lula Wiles has been through a smattering of times) at the Word Barn on Friday, November 12th in support of her brand-new solo record, “You Don’t Have to Know.” Tickets and further information available here.