As GL, Ella Thompson and Graeme Pogson make music destined for late nights, merging fascinations of rhythm and soul with a twist of electronic funk.
The duo, who each grew up in the artistic hubs of Warrandyte and Eltham in north-east Melbourne, started their musical journey in markedly different ways. For Pogson, a life-long obsession with funk drumming eventually led to experimentation with drum machines and sequencer production. A combination which would form the foundations of GL’s rhythmic sensibilities. Meanwhile, Thompson grew up in a hotbed of soul and blues, mentored by greats of Australia’s music world – Renée Geyer, Vika and Linda. She then moved on to study improvisation and composition at the Victorian College Of The Arts, where she was entranced by the sounds of soul and RnB, a fascination that carried through to her music with GL.
Since forming in 2013, GL have brought their wide array of influences together. Treading a fine line between urgent, drum-driven, funk and soaring, blissed out vocals. As the GL discography grows, their sound is constantly evolving, expanding into new territories while staying true to their distinct GL flavour. The project has always been an opportunity for Ella and Graeme to explore the bounds of their creativity without restraints, taking lessons from their extensive history in music creation – both as teenagers, and in a wide variety of bands throughout the years. The product of which encapsulates their vast musical prowess.
With a shoestring budget and a fervour for creativity, they created their debut EP, Love Hexagon, which was released in 2014. This launched GL into immediate success, capturing widespread recognition with their distinct GL sound. Their debut album Touch, released in 2016, expanded further on their style and showcased versatility with a longer-format release to suit the record’s twists and turns. The album received resounding acclaim, placing them at the forefront of an Australian electronic explosion, while earning international recognition through The Guardian and The Fader, among others.
As the duo’s catalogue grew, their live show evolved alongside it. They initially garnered attention for their sequencer-driven, 2-piece live shows, then 2019 saw the group expand to a four-piece incorporating live drums, percussion and synthesizers to show off every side of their multifaceted sound. The GL live show is an experience both entrancing and engaging, with a danceable energy that is simply irresistible. Their performances at festivals such as Splendour In The Grass, Falls, Meredith and Laneway along with their headline shows both in Australia and across the UK and Europe have always been considered a must watch.
After 2017’s double-A sided 12” ‘Destiny/Reflect’ and a pair of releases in 2019 (the adventurous ‘Night Habit’ and ‘Contagious’ singles). 2020 saw GL’s continued maturation with their sophomore album You Read My Mind – out via their own Pool Records.
Recorded at Swimming Pool Studio in Fitzroy, You Read My Mind sees GL at their most invigorated and authentic, arriving after a stint away from the project that left Ella and Graeme refreshed and more excited than ever to record. “When we went back to writing, we had no expectations at all. We weren’t thinking ‘okay, let’s make an album’,” says Graeme. The sessions were light-hearted and relaxed, with a lack of “pressure and expectation to write something new” leading to a burst of creativity that began with the album’s lead single ‘Night Habit’, which soon set the tone for the full record.
You Read My Mind demonstrates the ebb and flow of influences that evolve the GL sound without ever veering too heavily from their foundations. The album’s relaxed creation process translates into an explosion of funk and soul – with shimmering lighthearted moments interspersed between slightly weightier grooves. “Some of the songs are like a stream of consciousness, where I try to process what’s going on in my head and turn it into something positive,” explains Ella, before Graeme summarises the record to a tee: “We’re just embracing the fun, and how happy we are to be back making music again.”
AUS / NZ / ASIA