Today sees the release of How Do I Feel?, the new album from Los Angeles-based band Elle Belle on Little Record Company. Christopher Pappas, the brainchild behind Elle Belle, was really put through the wringer as he wrote and recorded the follow-up to 2020’s Post Everything. From facing the pandemic with an autoimmune disease, having a cancer scare, his mother suffering a heart attack to a close friend (who was on the cover of 2018 album No Signal) taking his own life, he naturally found himself constantly asking the question that would become the title for the new record. It’s pretty incredible that he was able to produce such a quality album with songs such as “Gone Are The Days”, “007” and “Wake Up, It’s Alright” being my favorites right now.
Like every other Elle Belle album so far, How Do I Feel? was recorded at 64 Sound studios in Highland Park, CA, which is owned by Rilo Kiley’s Pierre de Reeder, and the record was co-produced by Pappas and de Reeder.
We caught up with Christopher to talk about the new record and how he was able to get through those tough times.
Hi Christopher! How’s everything going right now?
Everything is great. Just had an awesome show at The Fable in Eagle Rock last night. I’ve got my record coming out soon, and I’ve been working on new songs too. I can’t complain! Which is very frustrating to me. I love complaining.
What classic album cover is your current mood?
That is Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas
Your new album “How Do I Feel?” is out on September 1st. When and where did you write and record it?
I wrote it quarantined, in between panic attacks from thinking the air was poison. I recorded it at 64 sound with Pierre de Reeder, who was brilliant at engineering, producing, and talking me off ledges.
It sounds like you’ve went through a lot of personal hell during the making of the album – is that where the title comes from?
Absolutely. Really, it was me laughing (and sometimes crying) at the absurdity of the question. I had so many emotions that I had never felt before zolting through my body that I became fixated on that absurdity as a guiding light. I don’t think “zolting” is a word but somehow it feels right.
If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
You know, I don’t know why it popped into my head, but I’m just gonna go with it since it was my first thought: OK Computer by Radiohead.
“How Do I Feel?” Is your fourth album – what do you know now that you would like to tell your 2016 self as you got ready to record “WAKO GUMBO”
Not to worry, ‘cause worry is wasteful and useless in times like these.
You’ve said this could be the last album you make and may just release individual tracks going forward. Do you feel that the LP is becoming a dying medium or is it that you think that is the best way to get your music out right now?
I actually think the album as a medium is coming back en vogue. Personally, I want to see what happens when I’m not able to revise, revisit, et al. I’m going through a stage in my life where if you give me enough time, I’ll talk myself out of a good idea. I’d like to try and mitigate that by not giving myself the time.
Do you have any plans to tour the album and if so, what will the set list look like?
I’ve been doing a lot of shows here in LA, but would love to tour again. It was pre-pandemic the last time I was on the road and I miss it. You know any bands that would want me to open? Hey bands reading this – I’ll open for you. Hit me up. The set is some old songs, new songs, NEW new songs – but a lot of times on the road they’re all new to people, which is exciting.
What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
Well I’m Greek so I need feta, then I’d put some green pepper and white onion on that baby. We’ll call it “What’s Pappenin’”.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2023 and beyond?
More writing, recording, playing shows. Also I’ve got a few D&D campaigns going and they’re really starting to heat up so I’m excited to see where those go.
Photo Credit – Casey Curry