Create NSW caught up with emerging Sydney-based electronic music producer, Thalia Skopellos aka Ellatronix, about expanding her creative practice, reaching a wider audience and making music with a powerful message.
Image: Ellatronix Photography: Nicoleta Marangou
Ellatronix has dropped the first of four singles from her upcoming debut album. Supported by a Create NSW Small Project (Quick Response) Grant, the track Ocean Friends was produced in collaboration with Elise Reitze-Swensen (one half of duo Feels) at Koori Radio music studios as part of the Koori Radio Artist Residency in 2022. Hot on its heels is her second original single, Earth Arcadia, with music video made possible by the Create NSW grant.
Ellatronix describes the purpose behind her music is to ‘inspire, educate and uplift humanity towards healing our connection to ourselves, each other, the environment, and animals.’
Congratulations on the release of your first single Ocean Friends from your debut album. Can you share with us some of the insights you’ve gained through making the album?
So much goes into releasing an album. When you get to a certain level in your craft, the easy part is creating the music, the hard part is gaining traction with it. If you don’t have the right support or the budget, this can often place a lot of limitations on what you can achieve.
How has the process of creating your album Earth Arcadia helped your artistic practice?
Creating this album has expanded my artistic practice by branching out into creative writing, directing and filmmaking. The album isn’t just about the music but the story behind it, through the animated music videos. Being able to not only produce and collaborate with others on the music but also then write my own stories has inspired me to another level of artistic expression and innovation.
Four of the songs on Earth Arcadia were made possible through a Create NSW Small Project Quick Response Grant ($3,836) and a Koori Radio Artists Residency. What advice would you give someone thinking of applying for a Small Project Grant?
If you are considering applying for a grant to fund your album or music project, make sure you can show the panel that you’ve done it before on your own. Before applying I would go through the process of releasing one song on your own so you can learn about the process and what is required to release a song. By knowing exactly what is required, you know what you need to ask for in your application. It also shows the panel that you can pull it off.
You specialise in tropical house and chill out music. What motivates you to create music in these two genres?
For me, it’s the plucky house synths, vocal samples, fruity flutes, and feel-good vibes. My music is feel-good music that you enjoy while exploring your favourite naturalistic piece of heaven on Earth, whether it’s the ocean, a magical forest, or the red dusty outback. The genre also fits perfectly with my passion for healing, nature’s beauty and in advocating for Mother Earth and animal rights. Not only do I want to make music that is fun but also music that shares a powerful message.
As one of Sydney’s few tropical house producers, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced in the industry and how have you overcome them?
As an Indigenous artist, producing a very niche genre that is not yet very well known in Australia, I don’t fit the mould. Some unconscious bias in the industry has meant opportunities for exposure and performance concentrate around Aboriginal identified celebrations. I think having honest conversations with professionals in the industry who are directly affecting you is imperative, plus also doing your own healing work on yourself is necessary.
What more do you think can be done to elevate the profile of Aboriginal artists?
It’s a complex issue. Not all Aboriginal artists paint up, sing in language or tell Aboriginal stories. For artists like me, daring to break out of the stereotypical mould of what it means to be an Aboriginal artist, if the music is good enough to be celebrated during an Aboriginal identified occasion on certain radio stations, then it is good enough to be placed in front of mainstream audiences as well.
Ellatronix is a beat maker and electronic music producer. Her favourite genre is Tropical House, chill out and she loves to experiment with different genres of electronic music such as lo-fi and cinematic music for film. Her music has received major Spotify placements and triple j unearthed rotation. She also facilitates electronic music workshops and creates free tutorials on her YouTube channel for those wanting to learn how to make electronic music. Read more https://ellatronix.com.au and follow for regular updates on https://www.instagram.com/ellatronixoffical
Ellatronix’s debut album is due out in Nov 2023 via her independent label Soulset Records. The animated music video was produced by motion pictures studio Beyond Summerland Entertainment, in association with Soulset Studios and Beak Brush Animations.
Create NSW Small Project Grants (Quick Response) support the creation, development and presentation of new work and professional development opportunities for NSW-based professional artists and arts and cultural workers. Applications are open and offers grants from $500 to $5,000 towards projects. Find out more and apply now. https://www.create.nsw.gov.au/funding-and-support/arts-and-cultural-funding-program/small-project-grants/
Image: Ellatronix Photography: Nicoleta Marangou