The multi talented duo, Caroline Gilmour and Marissa Keltie, form “The Eves“, a pop outfit based in Edinburgh. They’ve been setting stages alight (figuratively of course) and melting hearts since 2016. Marissa is a Singer-Songwriter in her own right, a session musician, a commercial model and a voice-over artist, who also has a Degree specialising in Saxophone and Piano (classical). Marissa’s grandfather was in “The Jimmy Shand Band”, so music definitely runs in her family. Caroline is a Songwriter, Musician, Podcast Presenter and Creative from Edinburgh. She’s also a No 1 selling songwriter with her EP “Electric Waterfalls” in 2016.
Marissa: Roland digital pianos
Caroline: Taylor and Gretsch guitars using D’addario guitar strings
Shure microphones and in ear monitor systems
We caught up with the dynamic duo to ask them about their music background, their writing processes and what’s planned for 2020.
Q: How long have you both been musicians and what inspired you both to become singers/musicians ?
Marissa — “We’ve been musicians for a long time. We’ve been writing and performing together for around three years. I have a BMus (Hons) degree in Classical music and I’ve had a full time career in music since then, as a vocalist and pianist. I love great acts such as Carole King, Paul McCartney and Fleetwood Mac. I also love harmony which inspired me to work as part of a duo.
Caroline – “I didn’t study music after leaving school (I went on to become an Accountant sadly!), but have played guitar and written original music for many years. Our inspiration has definitely come from the many fine female singer-songwriters of the past 20 years. I’m a huge lover of 80s music, so love a good pop song with catchy chorus! I am a huge Alanis Morissette fan and it was after listening to her debut album Jagged Little Pill that I decided to start learning how to play guitar.
Q: Did you first develop your songwriting individually and what artists or songs did you take inspiration from ?
“We’d both been writing individually for a while before The Eves.”
Caroline says , “my inspiration has come from many artists and genres. Ranging from of course Alanis, to KT Tunstall, Sheryl Crow and of course 80s pop. You can throw in a little Foo Fighters and some electronic dance as well for good measure.”
Marissa adds, “back in the early days it was Alicia Keys for me – she was the first modern artist I had seen play piano and sing when I first started out.”
“We’ve also taken huge inspiration from artists we’ve listened to together, such as Lissie, The Pierces, First Aid Kit, Joseph, Jade Bird, Coldplay and many more. As songwriters, and composers, we tend to live in a wee island bubble for a while. during the writing process.”
Q: How do you both deal with writers block, if it happens and what do you do to deal with it ?
Caroline – “We think it makes sense not to force anything. There will be spells where we’re super-creative and the songs just flow, often very quickly. There are of course spells where the ideas just aren’t flowing – that can be for any reason really e.g. tiredness, busy with life in general or just feeling a little uninspired. We help each other out of it by just being patient, and then encourage each other when we can spot a little seed growing.”
We all of course approach writing differently. Some leave it, to perhaps let lyrics come out organically, some “Fight to Write”, which of course is something which professional songwriters do, to sit and force the song lyrics and it’s direction into submission. (writers who may be signed to a Publisher and part of a writing team, will often talk of pushing a song until it’s worked into something they and their Publisher/team are happy with – Time is money and so are results). And of course the songwriters in a band may come up with something whilst jamming/rehearsing new riffs, progressions etc with band members chipping in and generating ideas, bouncing off each other. It sure is a great feeling when it all gels and everyone is happy with the progress of a new song…
Marissa adds, “It also helps going to see live music and listening to new music to generate a little inspiration. We both go to a lot of gigs together and we’re always buzzing afterwards. “
Q: When did you both start writing and how did you end up working together ?
Caroline – “I started off writing my own songs when I was at school studying music for Standard Grade. I kept it up when I left school, writing many songs of angst! It led on to plucking up the courage to perform them in local bars and clubs in Edinburgh. I met other musicians and then things just started taking off from there. I ended up working with various producers to record an album and a few EPs and singles over the past 10 years. I achieved my first UK No.1 single in the Official Vinyl Charts in 2016 with my track ‘Electric Waterfalls’.
Marissa – “My first attempt at writing was when I was about 15, but I didn’t really start properly until I was 21. Caroline and I knew about each other from the Edinburgh music scene. We’d both played in some of the same places and with the same musicians, but our paths didn’t cross at all until 2016. I wrote to Caroline on Facebook. to ask if she would be interested in collaborating. We met up for coffee and got on so well! We wrote around 10 songs together in the first month of meeting, and we really enjoy working together.”
Caroline’s hit “Electric Waterfalls“
Q: What are your writing processes. Lyrics first, then melody and music, how do you deal with different paths for a song, in a writing partnership ie (one feels the melody and chord progressions should go one way, and other writer wants it to do something different ) ?
Marissa – “It varies really. Sometimes a lyric will spark something off, other times it can be a melody or chord progression on the piano and guitar. There’s no set formula. We of course do have disagreements – Two creatives will never always agree all of the time. We’re fairly reasonable about it (most of the time!).”
Caroline – “Normally, if I disagree with something, we go round the houses until we’re right back to what Marissa suggested in the first place! But in all seriousness, sometimes you have to go through that process to make sure you’re doing what’s best for the song.”
Q: Do you both get together to write and lock yourselves in a room until you have something, or does it happen organically, with ideas from both and then work out if they should be taken further and then develop the song ?
Marissa – “We do a lot of our writing individually and then bring it together. We know pretty quickly if a song can be taken further and is worth developing.”
Caroline – “Some songs can be really tricky to finish, and there’s a few we started a while back that still need a lot of work. For example when I started writing Christmas In Summertime 8 years ago, I had about 70% of it. I just could not make it work to finish it. When Marissa started working on it, she managed to fill in the missing parts to absolute perfection and we finally released it at the end of last year. That’s the beauty of a collaborative creative process.”