As she’s gotten older, Ella Smoker, AKA gglum, has found that her subconscious has been trying to tell her “some pretty wacky stuff”
Thoughts will come to the 21-year-old singer-songwriter in dreams, or as she writes lyrics in studio sessions, words floating onto the page before she’s really had a moment to realize what they are.
In learning how to open up to herself, gglum ended up finding a kindred spirit in producer Karma Kid (Maisie Peters, Shygirl, Connie Constance), pushing past her natural bedroom-pop introversion to find joy in the process of collaboration. Whether it’s the ragged radio-rock of ‘SPLAT!’ (“basically about realising that somebody you held up very highly is actually just a massive shambles of a person”) or the riotous, industrial energy of ‘Easy Fun’, Smoker is able to reshape her vocal around the mood, creating a record which expertly balances light and shade. “I've never really done anything in like that vocal style before,” she says of ‘Easy Fun’s near-spoken delivery. “I love that song because it’s not something I would have come up with on my own, but Karma Kid was great at pushing me out of my comfort zone. I just thought like, look: I can be a little silly with this.”
gglum - The Garden Dream
Clear Orange Vinyl
I feel like I naturally gravitate towards wanting to make musical spaces that you can feel like you’re living in, rather than trying to make songs. That's something I really wanted to solidify with this album: I basically want to make music that feels like when you're looking out the window and it's the end of the film and you're imagining what comes next. That's the sound of what I want to be doing.
We're excited to announce gglum as part of Rough Trade On The Rise, our dedicated curation putting a spotlight on the emerging music we are the most excited for you to hear, to follow and become a fan of. Read on to discover more about the artist in her own words and check out The Garden Dream on Secretly Canadian.
gglum on gglum
a self-penned bio
Five by Five
5 Qs, 5 As
Describe gglum in 5 words.
Indie coming of age movie
What are 5 records you listened to prior to making your album?
The Glow Pt.2 - The Microphones
Trick - Alex G
Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You - Big Thief
Inference 3 - Fog Lake
The Call Me By Your Name soundtrack
Top 5 career moments?
Supporting Jadu Heart on their UK/Europe tour with my band. It was amazing getting to travel around and play gigs with all my best friends in the world and I wish I could do it forever all the time.
When I quit working in a coffee shop to write and play music full time. That’s the dream isn’t it? I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
Meeting Karma Kid. Musically we clicked immediately and I love how easy it is to make music with him. Living legend - you heard it here first.
The time I was playing at All Points East and the smoke machine went haywire and I couldn’t see anything and was laughing so hard I couldn’t finish singing the song. That was such a fun gig. I know that sounds sarcastic when it’s written but I’m being dead serious.
Writing my debut album ‘The Garden Dream’. It was so much fun and took only a month or two to make. It was a very proud moment when we finished it 😄
You host a pre-release listening party for the album. Who are your 5 VIP guests (dead or alive)?
My Mum because she’s epic
My Dad because he’s epic
Hugo Simberg because I’m using his art as my album’s art so I feel like it’s the least I could do and also he’s my favorite artist ever ever ever.
Joe Strummer because obviously
Hayley Williams because she’s incredible at everything and I like her hair
Top 5 essential tour snacks?
Lucozade Sport - I don’t know if that counts as a snack because it’s a drink but if you’re hungover and waking up at 5am to get in a van for hours then you need them sweet electrolytes.
Satsumas - It’s rare for you get to get involved with fruit and veg on tour so a little bag of satsumas for the days you really feel the lack of vitamins is ideal
Hummus and Sweet Chilli Crisps - So yummy ooooooooooo
Biscuits - literally any biscuits, maybe ginger nuts. Biscuits are great aren’t they?
Cheese strings - I know they’re for children’s packed lunches but let’s get real, they are fabulous and I eat them all the time. I am going to go and eat one right now.