Good and bad fairies from around the world primarily know Jody Ellen as Captain Robert’s songstress sidekick in Abney Park’s rousing headline sets at fantasy festivals and conventions around the world. Walk down the streets of modern day Seattle and you will easily notice her natural beauty, but you’d be hard pressed to connect her to Steampunk’s reigning royals. In the fall of 2012, Ellen jettisoned the Airship Ophelia to take a solo adventure with her album, Skyscrapers and Helicopters.
Moments before she took flight on a new adventure, FairyRoom caught up with Jody Ellen to dish about this year’s FaerieCon West.
I would love to attend this year, but I will actually be in the Netherlands when Abney Park plays Phantasium. It looks like it’s going to be a really great lineup too!
Bummer, I know. However, I’m really stoked about getting to check off one of my life goals of visiting Amsterdam! Though I won’t be at FaerieCon West, I will try my best to be there in spirit and can’t wait to see the awesome costumes and photos on Facebook. FaerieCon attendees have the best costumes.
What were your thoughts about last year’s headline gig?
The best part was headlining in our hometown of Seattle. I remember it was a fully packed show and the fans were super into it. One of the coolest parts was getting to have Erica “Unwoman” Mulkey (our friend and opening band) join us onstage for a few songs. I always love it when we get to collaborate with such talented artists… she is definitely one of those artists! Unwoman played cello on an Abney Park album as well as my album, Skyscrapers & Helicopters.
The line-ups for FaerieCon West’s Good Faerie and Bad Faerie Balls were just announced, any must-sees?
One act you simply must see if you are attending FaerieCon this year is the Nathaniel Johnstone Band featuring Tempest: a world-renown gothic belly dancer. Nathaniel is a very close friend of mine; he produced my album. He does a tribal fusion type of world music that will have you up on your feet all night!
How does the Abney Park mythology come together? When you’re hanging with the band, do you tell each other stories or does most of it come from the mind of Captain Robert?
Most of our mythology, or “story,” comes from the creative mind of Captain Robert. People always ask us, “What character are you?” We don’t actually have characters though. We write songs about being Airship Pirates and traveling around the world doing crazy things, but these are usually just metaphors for what is going on in the life of Captain Robert. The funny thing is, we DO travel all over the world and get into crazy mischief! “All the Myths Are True” in a sense. When it comes to the Role Playing Games (RPGs) and novels that we have, that is all Robert as well.
The rest of us show up and do what we do best. We all have something unique about us that makes this band click. For Robert, it’s his great imagination, hard work ethic, creativity and vibrant personality. For Kristina, it is her determination to create the best music possible and to always reinvent the sound. She always gives the fans something new and interesting to listen to and see. Dan is our details guy. Without him, we would all be standing around in a desert lost, probably (laughs). He really keeps everything flowing and working like a well-oiled airship. Josh, our guitarist, is always about the music. He really brought the quality of our sound up a few notches and has such a good ear for what needs to go where. If I hit a wrong note or something, it’s Josh who notices. Titus, our violinist, is one of those guys who everyone wants to be friends with. He adds the “sweetness” to our sound and plays a mean violin. He is an excellent reader and classically trained musician. As for me, I bring the party — at least this is what they tell me. It’s not that I am this huge party person, it’s that I want everyone to be happy. As long as I can make people feel good and keep them laughing, I have done my job.
Touring is going to be huge for me this year. We have two Europe trips, Australia and several U.S. shows in our calendar. I also hope to start my second solo album this month. I want to take my time with this one. I set incredibly difficult deadlines for myself on the last one. We shall see where this album takes me as far as the sound goes. I’d like to put out more rock songs, but with my new software and current influences, who knows what could flow out?
My Hubby, who plays a mean guitar, has actually been touring with me for my solo project! He came with me on my recent West Coast “Skyscraper Tour.” We had such a wonderful couple of shows and can’t wait to do it again. Perhaps the East Coast will be calling us?
If you could steal the Abney Park’s time-traveling airship — what time and place (real or fantasy) would you want to travel to perform with the band? As Jody Ellen solo?
I would go to Paris in the 20’s. Paris is one of my huge love affairs in life. I get these obsessions for reasons I don’t understand, and Paris is one of them. Perhaps I’m drawn to it because I am a quarter French? Maybe it’s because I just recently visited there… who knows? It was the one place in the world that I HAD to go to before I died, and when I did, I cried.
I love the early 20th century time period and Paris seemed to be at the forefront of fashion and culture. The outfits, the colors, the smells, the luxury… Just put me in the Moulin Rouge movie! I would definitely perform with my buddies in Abney Park. I wouldn’t want to go back in time to Paris and not invite them! Crepes are my favorite thing to make and consume, so there would be plenty of that going on as well.
Thank you, Jody!
- Most of the beautiful images featured above (Jody Ellen and one of her kindred spirits) were shot by Noctem Photography. We went exploring Noctem’s magical website and discovered they have a knack for bringing beautiful Faeries to life.
- Shop Jody Ellen’s online store here.
- Tour the enchanting world of Noctem Photography.