Eleyet McConnell: Exclusive interview with the creative duo

by | Sep 15, 2023

Meet Eleyet McConnell

In a world awash with musical conformity, Eleyet McConnell emerges as a refreshing, genre-defying force, breathing new life into the music scene. Comprising two distinct talents and creative minds, their music is a fusion of raw emotion, introspection, and unapologetic originality. This dynamic duo, hailing from Central Ohio, is rewriting the rules of music expression, crafting a sound that defies easy categorization. Their song-writing prowess is compelling, with words that resonate deep within the hearts of their audience. Their lyrics are a reflection of personal experiences, universal truths, and the shared human condition, delivered with a vulnerability and honesty that is both rare and refreshing.

1 In Music meets Chris and Angie from Eleyet McConnell for an exclusive tête-à-tête.

The sound of Eleyet McConnell

The most successful thing to us is living a full life where we can say we did all the things we wanted to do. No regrets. Music is an enormous part of that

1 In Music: What is unique about you and your music?

Eleyet McConnell: We write music that is very relatable to anyone.  The beauty of music is that people can relate to songs in different ways depending on their circumstances at any one time.  The same song might resonate with different people in different ways.  That’s a beautiful thing. Our songs are about personal experiences, and truths, even when the truth isn’t easy to face.  You know, while we have things that are different from one another and yes, we are all unique individuals….we are really a lot alike. We are all in this life together just trying to find our way, and everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time.  Our music highlights that.  It finds what we all share and hopefully creates that place where we can all celebrate what we have in common and just relish in the moment.  It’s an escape from all the forces in the world that try to divide us.

1 In Music: What or who shaped your music?

Eleyet McConnell: Oh wow…well, there are a lot of influences that we can say contributed to what we sound like today.  It’s hard to describe what or who specifically because the list starts to look overwhelming.  We both do this a lot….we will hear a song and say, “I was at Billy’s house when we did this and that” , or “OMG this song played all the time at the pool when I was a kid”.  Like who can’t remember what song they listened to 1000 times after they got dumped the first time (chuckle)? Which type of music do you pull up on your play list when you are really honked off, got your feelings hurt, or when you want to do go lay it all out in the gym?  In our mind, all that shapes a person.  You could say we are just a giant culmination of life in the 70s and 80s.

1 In Music: Who supports you?

Eleyet McConnell: As far as support, we have an incredible family that encourages us to keep doing what we love.  We come from a smaller town (not a 1 stop light town although both of us grew up that way) and we all know each other.  Our friends are just as excited about us doing this as we are doing it.  It’s terrific.

Beyond all that though, we are each other’s rock.  There isn’t anything we won’t talk about and there isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for each other.  Not saying discussions aren’t tense sometimes.  They are because the most important things in life aren’t easy.  We’ve made the commitment to ourselves and each other that we take all steps needed to keep negative people at a distance.  Life is too short and if you don’t try…well the end result is fairly certain, isn’t’ it?

1 In Music: When did you realize you were going to make music professionally?

duo husband and wife Eleyet McConnellChris:

I’ve worked at professional music in one form or another for a very long time.  I was with a group back in the late 80s that toured the mid-West and almost had a record deal.  As bummed as I was that it didn’t work out I look back now and know the timing wasn’t right.  Too many people doing drugs, dying, losing everything. I did have a bit of a dark period where I swore I’d never play again but things just aligned and there I was getting back into it.  Through all of that I eventually met Angie.  It took her a while.  I mean I would get aggravated at her (chuckle)  because I’d throw riffs at her hoping she’d pick up on it.  That took forever!  But one day, for whatever reason, she heard it.  No looking back after.  We’ve been pursuing it ever since.

Angie:

There was a time I was all ready to move to Nashville and give it a go.  That was the mid-90s but I chose to just go the get-a-job route and start a family.  I buried the dream to be honest.  It wasn’t until 2010, I think, that I decided to get back into a band.  I met Chris in 2013 and he’s right…I was thick in the head for the longest time.  I can’t really say why I heard him finally (chuckle).  Maybe the universe just decided to smack me in the head because I wasn’t taking the hint that this is what I should’ve always been doing.  We started being deliberate about things in 2016 or 2017.  We kept writing and playing but things didn’t go anywhere.  The pandemic came and went and we just decided, “we are doing this!”.  We met a guy through a friend who owned a studio.  That was it.  We have gotten more traction this time than ever before and met the most wonderful people.  It’s a lot of work but it’s all kinds of fun too.

What inspires duo husband and wife Eleyet McConnell?

1 In Music: What type of music do you listen to?

Chris: Depends on the mood. We are all over the place at times.  Our playlists might look a bit like a confused mind.  Angie will go for full on Metal when she’s doing a difficult Peloton workout but then groove to Steely Dan radio tooling around the house.  I’ll do the same thing.  I love finding Indie artists and go jam in the skoolie Angie and I are renovating.  We both love Porcupine Tree while working in the yard.

1 In Music: Who, to you, is the most undervalued music artist?

Chris: John Paul Jones. Anyone of those guys in Led Zeppelin could’ve stood on their own but together, they were this incredible machine.  I always felt he got overlooked back in the day and many people never knew (some still don’t I guess) just how many instruments he plays, that he writes scores of music, he’s a producer.  He’s fierce!

Angie: The first person that always comes to my mind is Alex Lifeson from Rush.  Now I don’t get the sense his band undervalued him at all, but everyone honed in on Geddy Lee and Neil Peart so much (rightfully so by the way) that Alex didn’t always get the credit that he deserved for being an incredible musician.  I also like to recognize some gospel singers.  There are folks out there that don’t give those singers the same recognition that they do the rest of the world.  Straight up…some of those people can belt it for real! Take Guy Penrod, for example.  Holy smokes that guy’s voice is amazing!

Getting some inspiration from Eleyet McConnell

if you are an artist writing original music… do your homework.  Keep your circle of trust a bit small and get good advice from a lawyer

1 In Music: How do you prepare for your performances?

Eleyet McConnell [EMC]: We practice all the time unless we are playing a lot of shows right in a row.  No living room in our house… we have a band room.  That makes rehearsing super easy because it’s always set up. We do like to strategize in some ways too.  Playing as a duo requires some thought as far as the venue, and the mood of the audience.  On that vein, we will jump around the set list too if we get a vibe from the folks in the crowd and think they’d respond to another song than we planned.  We might rearrange ourselves on stage or things like that but we just do what we need to do to connect with the audience.  All in all we try to stay very fluid.

1 In Music: What do you do when you don’t do music (creative or otherwise) and that you are passionate about?

Eleyet McConnell[EMC]: We love to do things in the yard.

Chris: Angie loves cooking and canning.

Angie: Chris is renovating a 4-window school bus.

EMC: Outdoor stuff is always a yes!  It’s so much fun to get the Kayaks out and float down the Mad River.  We love spending time with our friends, our animals, and our family.  And we really do enjoy getting out to watch other musicians perform.  It’s fun to support each other.

1 In Music: Success to you is…?

Eleyet McConnell: At the end of the day the most successful thing to us is living a full life where we can say we did all the things we wanted to do. No regrets. Music is an enormous part of that and whether we are playing for 10 people or thousands (because that would be very cool), we mostly want to know that we connected with someone through our songs.  Maybe that helped them deal with something difficult. Maybe it brought them joy.  Maybe it helped them rebuild bridges that were broken.  That is the best compliment a songwriter could receive.  If all this brings a lot more, then YAY US and we will take that too!  We both have dreamed of doing this since we were young.  We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished so far and have no plans to stop going forward.

1 In Music: What do you wish you were told when you started out and that you think would help anyone who starts out?

Eleyet McConnell: Seriously…..if you are an artist writing original music and embarking on this journey.  Do your homework.  Keep your circle of trust a bit small and get good advice from a lawyer about all the copyright mumbo-jumbo and the facets that go with the music business.  Talk about a tangled web.  WOW!  Plan on spending more money than you planned.  Recording is the fun part.  The easy part.  The behind-the-scenes pieces of putting out an album and protecting your work is time-consuming, sometimes confusing, and sometimes tedious and not-so-fun.  But it’s necessary and will pay off later.

What is next for…

1 In Music: Any upcoming projects?

Angie: Chris is ready to jump back into the studio tomorrow.

Chris: Angie wants to spend a little time promoting this album (CRAZY WORLD) but there is enough material sitting in the queue right now to do a few albums.

1 In Music: Where can we find your music?

Eleyet McConnell: We will have an online store up and running very soon and when it’s ready, you can get to it from our website and social media pages.  Once launched,  you can get CDs and vinyl and other merchandise there as well as our live shows.  All of our music will be on all the streaming platforms as well.  In fact, our first single will release on October 6th!  Pre-Sav is live now!! We know you’ll love it! The plan for the full album release is early fall 2023 so stay tuned!  It’s called CRAZY WORLD.  We are super proud of it and there is something there for all listeners!

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