Elements Acoustic Duo: The Power of Two
Meet Elements Acoustic Duo, a pair that actually got their start as members of a five-piece band. We asked them to discuss the ins and outs of creating a successful and unique duo. Read on to get to know the pair and learn about the benefits of forming a duo act.
Tell us about yourselves. How did you form Elements Acoustic Duo?
We're Amy and Steve, otherwise known as Elements Acoustic Duo. We met when we both played in a five-piece band, and one of the other guys asked us to perform as a duo at his wedding ceremony. We realised we both really enjoyed it - a duo offered a lot more musical freedom to us than the bigger band - so we formed Elements.
Who are you influenced most by? Do you reinterpret songs acoustically?
We have a huge range of influences between us, from AC/DC to Justin Timberlake. We are quite unique in what we do - over the years we have added a lot to our set-up. We started with just guitar, vocals and some percussion, but now we loop rhythm, beats and bass lines and add effects, so we sound like a full band. Our songs are rooted in acoustic music and are still all played live, but we love the diverse range of songs we can play and we really enjoy covering some more unusual tracks, such as "Lose Yourself," by Eminem, or "Fire," by Kasabian.
What are the benefits to being in a duo rather than a 3-4 piece band?
Being in a duo works really well for us. Our set-up means that we can be incredibly creative with how we interpret songs, and we can have a really diverse set list - so it's not limiting that there's only two of us and ends up being what makes us unique. Being in a duo also has some practical advantages too - we can offer competitive rates, don't need much space to play and it's easier to organise!
What do you believe is the key to being a great duo?
Any act needs to offer a great service and put on a high-quality show (and many do!) but we think we make our gigs quite special with just the two of us. We have a close connection with our audiences - it feels more personal and intimate. We can also be very flexible and think on our feet - we don't need to be overly structured like a larger band might need to be. For example, if we see the audience is loving a song, it's very easy for us to play a longer version or switch the set around to cover more of what they like.
What advice would you give to musicians aspiring to form a duo?
Spend lots of time playing together and take opportunities to do open mic sessions. We did a load of free gigs and played for friends and family to get really comfortable with a strong set of songs, and spent time listening to honest feedback to develop our sound. We also invested in lots of kit as we went along!
Obviously, a high quality live set is important, but you also need to consider how you will do lots of other stuff between only two of you. We are good at sharing the load, and both take responsibility for different things like updating the website, organising practice sessions and dealing with bookings. The customer service part is really important to us. Everyone's occasion is slightly different and it means a lot to our clients that we know what the plan for their event is, what sort of expectations people have and how we can help things go smoothly.
Describe your ideal event to perform at.
That's a tough one! We've played so many that we have absolutely loved! Probably the ideal event would be a big party, with a range of different people that would appreciate our varied setlist and are all up for a good night! We like having a venue with a good dance floor, or where we can play outdoors in a big space, so people can dance. We're happy to play any event and will cater for what our customers want, but our favourite gigs are the ones where people don't really mind too much what we play - it gives us the chance to play a real mixed bag of songs and show off what we can do!
How did you decide on your name?
It took a while to decide on that! We wanted something that sounded like it suited a range of occasions, was elegant and professional. Initially, we were called Embla's Eyes, but no one ever seemed to understand what we were saying. After a while we ended up being called Eyes on Legs by our friends, so decided we needed something more simple!
Tell us a fun fact about your duo.
We have our practice sessions in a wartime aircraft hangar. In the summer we can open the huge front doors and play in the sun, and the reverb sounds incredible! It's a pretty cool looking place, so we have used it for photo and video shoots and you can see them on the profile.