One of the biggest breakthrough acts of the last 18 months, Example, aka Elliot Gleave (E. G. – gettit?), has become a regular fixture at the top of the UK charts, securing the number one spot with his latest album and its two singles, notably the dancefloor smash “Changed The Way You Kissed Me”. He’s just been Down Under, touring the country with Parklife festival, so we said hello…
Is it true you came to Oz as a backpacker and became a gardener?
Ah yeah, I wouldn’t say I was a gardener. I moved to Australia in 2003 and nobody would employ me in any respectable job except digging holes in people’s gardens in the suburbs. That’s probably the best way to explain it. If you want to call me a gardener, that’s fine!
How long were you here?
I was here for like 10 months. Yeah, I was gardening for a bit, I got really good at digging holes. I did midnight removals and then managed to blag my way to a bit of tiling for a few months, then they realised my tiling wasn’t up to much. Then I got a job at Fox Studios and ended up leaving the country with a load of lightsabers, which George Lucas didn’t know about.
They come in useful?
Well, they’re not actually lightsabers. People think that they are. If you threw it as someone really hard it would probably kill them, but you couldn’t chop any legs off. I lived in Bondi and cycled to work every day, down to Fox Studios. I just loved the lifestyle to be honest, the most stressed I ever was in my whole stay in Australia was when I got a puncture on my bike. Other than that, no shark attacks, good food, nice women.
So it was good to be back?
It’s like my second home.
You were last here for Australia Day. What did you get up to?
I was sat on a boat in the harbour, swimming and sat listening to Triple J’s Hottest 100.
So, did you hear your tune?
Yeah, it was pretty cool. Most of the people I was with were too fucked to be excited. All the women really warmed to me but the blokes all got a bit of an alpha male thing.
You toured with Faithless a while back. How was that?
Yeah, they’re lovely guys. Maxi is a bit of an enigma to be honest. He’s like mid-50s but in amazing condition and just has this mad stretching ritual before he goes on stage and is then on stage for like two hours. Most 20-year-olds would have trouble keeping up with him. He seems like a spiritual character. I put it down to art. And other stuff.
You’ve enjoyed some real whirlwind success of late…
It’s mental really as I’ve been at it for like seven years. What it comes down to is that all my old stuff is shit and all the new stuff is really good.
Do you really think that?
Ah, I don’t think that it’s shit but it’s probably best that people don’t hear some of those demos, ha! What it is, is that when you sign to a major label, people see talent in you and they might develop you for three or four years. I don’t think I was ready. My album was quirky, had a bit of a cult following, but was rough around the edges. I wasn’t ready for the mainstream, but I learnt a lot about being dropped, about my image and my sound.
How would you describe the new album?
It’s quite dark and epic compared to the last one. It’s all based around big synth riffs, lyrically and vocally inspired by grunge music. It’s all about relationships or drugs or that generation.
Example’s album, Playing In The Shadows, is out now.