We're not a defined pop boy group. We don't all look the same. We are really vastly different. And that's the weirdest thing about us.”

Instead of widening the distance because of our differences, Irish group ELM want to bring everyone together despite them and what better way to unite people than through three and half minutes of a glittering and soul-baring pop song? After giving the people a taster of what they’re made of at Ireland’s music and arts festival Body & Soul, Canadian Music Week and School Night in LA, the Dublin- based four-piece are bringing in a new era of relatable queer pop, sharing their personal experiences as they go along. “I guess the main thing about ELM is that I feel like we write truthful dance-pop bangers,” says vocalist Dylan Walsh. “We're just telling our stories through light-hearted dance songs because not everything has to be so serious. I just want to have a bit of fun and to tell a story and to nearly celebrate what I've been hiding for so many years.”

ELM is made up of Dylan Walsh (vocals), Aidan Clancy (piano and synths), Gary Molloy (cello) and Ca Ahearne (drums). Dylan and Aidan grew up together in Bray, Co. Wicklow and they were the self-proclaimed “weird music kids” in school. Their adoration of music brought them to Dublin’s BIMM Institute, where they met Ca, their precise and powerful drummer, who they immediately knew would be a perfect fit for

the group. The final missing piece came in the shape of Gary, who Dylan instantly befriended when they met one night at a party. “He was like 'I play cello' and I was like 'let's be friends' and ever since it's been a beautiful romance...” Each member brings a unique element to ELM that is then shared, spliced, perfected and polished with the other members until a carefully constructed, multilayered and

shimmering piece of pop is born. Dylan quite often expresses a clear idea of a story that he wants to bring to the forefront, working with Aidan to delicately paint the picture. “It’s ruthless,” says Ca. “Some ideas end before they've begun while others take hold and flourish.” Musicians as well as music fans, they analyse the song throughout its various stages of growth, wondering how a listener will emotionally and physically react to their arrangements. The production of the music is weighted heavily upon so that when the song is finally released into the world, they know that their sound and their message will always feels true to who they are.

“Aidan and Ca will churn through hours of production on our tracks before we reach a place we’re happy with sonically, and that’s just for demos,” Gary explains. “It’s much more than just the melody. It’s how the chords, rhythm and so many other elements synchronise together to create a sense of the story being told through our own collective voice.”

As their stories burst into life, Dylan’s vocals drive a sharp yet emotive undercurrent. Warm but laced with a knowing grit, he exudes a sincerity that can so often be overlooked - or underachieved - by other vocalists. The emotion he projects wraps itself around Gary’s cello playing in a effortless fashion, so much so that it practically feels like a duet. An uplifting surge of honesty, passion and adrenaline, it’s the kind

of music that the pop world needs now more than ever. Their debut single Fear is an uplifting and dizzying definition of acceptance; an acceptance of who you are and who you love. Produced by MyRiot (LondonGrammar, Rae Morris, Halsey, Foxes), Fear is a string-fuelled bop that’s custom- built for a moment of ecstasy on the dance floor. Its power doesn’t just rely on the fact that it’s an out-and-out banger but on the chorus Dylan sings about being in lovewith a boy.

“The verses really encapsulate the fear of being different whe n you're younger and when you get to the chorus, it's like this liberating feeling of being like 'I actually love him and that's ok!' And as a boy that was just so scary,” he says, acknowledging the power that lies within a pronoun. Growing up, they didn’t have queer artists to look up to. Too young - or, in the case of Ca, too punk - for Madonna, the Pet Shop Boys and George Michael and arriving= a little too early for current chart stars Years and Years, Troye Sivan and Sam Smith, they know the importance of representation because they didn’t experience it in their formative years.

“The thing about our songs is that we're not trying to change anything politically. We're just trying to embrace the beauty of individualism. We're hoping to get that inclusive, cheered environment that lets the listener feel safe to be themselves.” Imagining what that environment will look and feel like, Dylan paints a very attainable and achievable image. “The ideal would be... I would love if we could have a little community together of just people who just embrace each other. I'd love if we could play an ELM gig, have no gendered toilets and have everyone just celebrate each other in one room, whatever you are. We’re always conscious that there’s a truth we want to portray and we want the sound to lift it to a higher plain”. “I feel like we could probably speak to a lot of people who haven't been heard before.Or just someone who's like 'I can kinda relate to that', do you know what I mean?” asks Dylan, placing goodness at the forefront of ELM. “That's the hope anyway because I feel like if one person even heard our song and was like 'I related to that', I feel like it's a success.” In the same way that Swedish pop genius Robyn and Welsh alt-pop hero MARINA does, ELM’s music is therapy for the dancefloor. In one key change or one power chorus, we can banish our worries and give in to our truth and own it.




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