These new Bohemians have the sweet and sour taste

Tom Torley of Havant Symphony Orchestra

REVIEW: Havant Symphony Orchestra at Oaklands School, Waterlooville

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They’ve got an album produced by a award winners in the can, but El Born want their public to work for it before they get to hear it.

The London-based alt-rock duo of Si Connelly and Hils recently completed their debut with Brit award winner Chris Potter (producer of Verve’s Urban Hymns) and Grammy winner Dom Morley (Amy Winehouse’s Back in Black).

But Si, the songwriter, singer and guitarist doesn’t think the time is right just yet. He explains: ‘We’re sitting on the album for now.

‘We used to give ourselves these deadlines, but we’ve shelved the album until there’s a significant demand for it.

‘At the moment we’re putting out singles, touring, and building our fanbase – giving ourselves the carpeting to put the furniture on.’

It all ties in with Si’s unorthodox way of working – he got the album made in the first place by going direct to the top.

‘It sounds like something out of the X Factor, I was living out of a car, and I knew which studio Chris worked out of, I kind of got in his studio somehow and knocked on his door and said, “You’re going to think I’m mad, but I’ve got these songs and I’ve got no money, but if you want to make an album...”’

Chris and Dom agreed to produce the album for free in between their other jobs.

‘I know, it still sounds mad now,’ adds Si.

But things appear to be going the right way for the band – named after the Bohemian district of Barcelona – earlier this year Coldplay picked up 1982,a song from the album and put it on their website. Hils adds: ‘A fan made a video to the track and very soon we had 10,000 views in 8 days and it just kept rolling. Eventually we got to 40,000 views.

‘It was weird. Then Coldplay said they loved the video and the song and put it up on their website. We love Coldplay, so we were delighted.’

For now, El Born is a vehicle for Si’s songwriting, with striking honesty he says: ‘ I was a solo artist originally, not necessarily by choice, but because I couldn’t get on with people.

‘But then I kind of created these songs, and I’m not a folk singer, I wanted to play some rock‘n’roll stuff. That’s when I put adverts out and Hils saw it. The minute I saw her, it was instant, the whole thing balanced out.

‘It’s like sweet and sour – I was far too sour.’

I’m not very good at co-writing, When I write a song, I hear it finished in my head. It’s very undemocratic. I’ve never written with Hils, it would feel kind of dirty.’

El Born play The Cellars at Eastney tomorrow.

Doors open 8pm. Call (023) 9282 6249 or go to elborn.org

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