ELM is the new fluid, queer pop band you need to know

Emerging queer pop band ELM comes to YASS Magazine and they bring their aesthetically pleasing visuals, their refreshingly glittering and soul-baring queer music and their androgyny attitude that goes beyond boundaries and limits. They describe themselves as “Four queer playing banging pop” and they identify as fluid, queer, trans and gender non-conforming. Their mission is to raise visibility, as it’s the way forward to teaching the youth that you don’t need to align to any norm.

About the track, ELM explain: “GOLDEN represents much more than a colour. It has become our mantra to remind ourselves to unapologetically love each and every part of our body. In a world that constantly tries to define what way we should look and present ourselves, ‘GOLDEN’ promotes the power and beauty of individualism.”

ELM had one hell of a year in 2019 and 2020 is set to be even bigger. ELM were on tour supporting American superstar Brooke Candy across Europe and are set to be firm favourites on the festival circuit this summer in both the UK and Ireland with Live at Leeds, Body & Soul and Mighty Hoopla already announced.

The band generated serious buzz last year with their relatable, honest LGBTQ+ anthems. Described as “if Clean Bandit collaborated with Halsey” their debut single ‘Fear’ (LISTEN) is an uplifting and dizzying definition of acceptance, whereas second single ‘Paris’ (WATCH) highlights a reality many queer teens have faced: gender expression confined to their bedrooms and hidden behind closed doors.

ELM is made up of Dylan Walsh (vocals), Aidan Clancy (piano and synths), Gary Molloy (cello) and Ca Ahearne (drums). Dylan and Aidan grew up together in Bray, Co. Wicklow. Their adoration of music brought them to Dublin’s BIMM Institute, where they met Ca, their precise and powerful drummer, who they immediately knew would be a perfect fit for the group. The final missing piece came in the shape of Gary, who Dylan instantly befriended when they met one night at a party.

The Irish band matches vocal androgyny with unforgettable cello lines, creating a unique sense of originality within the constraints of the pop realm. Each member of the band brings a unique element to ELM that is then shared, spliced, perfected and polished with the other members until a carefully constructed, multi-layered and shimmering piece of pop is born.

What does ELM mean to you?

In the centre of its entity, ELM is a space where we can run to and express our true-selves. It’s a place we can explore, experiment and feel accepted through thick and thin. It is essentially a big dysfunctional family full of love (when are aren’t killing each other)

Who are the members of ELM and what makes each one of you unique?

Those vocal cords you hear belong to Dylan Walsh (a.k.a TWINK) – he undoubtedly brings the sass, he’s the buzzer at live shows and obsessed with reality TV and pop culture (YASS!). That cello that’s making you emosh is at the hands of Gary Molloy (a.k.a OTTER, verging on bear) – he’s our dark horse, has the wit of Oscar Wilde and likes to play russian roulette when ordering take away food (never the same dish twice).

Our keymaster is Aidan Clancy (HETRO-QUEER)- he brings a beautiful depth, he’s our dreamer and (little known fact) has an absolute love of maps.

On the tubs we have Ca (TRANS) – they give us the beats that move our bodies, official messer of the band and now sporting the best mullet-hawk known to humankind.

Why is it important to be a queer music band in 2020?

One word: Visibility. It’s the way forward to teaching the youth that you don’t need to align to any norm.

How would you describe yourselves and how do you identify?

Four queer playing banging pop. I think we sit in very different places when it comes to our identities and I think that identities can also be fluid. But it’s safe to say that some words that apply to us are queer, trans and gender non-conforming to name but a few. Forever evolving like a maturing wine.

What is your favorite lyric from new single “Golden”?

“I wear no clothes for you / they’re thrown about this room”– I love this imagery. It’s aboutbaring everything about yourself because you are proud of who you are. Not only that, but also feeling so good about YOU that you’re not afraid to show others.

What is the story behind the “Golden” video?

It’s so easy to get distracted with how the world wants you to be. We wanted to get across the idea that every single person has something unique to them which shines through. It’s about unashamedly showing that part of yourself – almost like a work of art. And that you’re own uniqueness IS a work of art, literally;

Dylan became the ‘The Creation of Adam’ by Michelangelo Aidan fashioned ‘The Girl With The Pearl Earring’ by Vermeer

Ca displayed the transformative nature of ‘Vitruvian Man’ by Da Vinci Gary embodied ‘The Statue of David’ by Michelangelo

We just had so much fun with this vid and the process of finding out and discovering these things about ourselves was an interesting journey too. The beautiful humans at H&G Creations and Collective were so intrinsic to this and we’re so grateful.

Do you think there is enough LGBTQ+ representation in the music industry?

There is wonderful representation in music at the moment and it’s diversity is probably THE most beautiful thing about it. Artists like Sam Smith, SOPHIE, Muna, MNEK, Tove Lo, Years & Years, Troye Sivan, L Devine, Kim Petras… SO MANY SHOWSTOPPING ARTISTS. Each one represents a different part of our wonderfully diverse community. It feels so good to know that the upcoming youth will be able to see themselves reflected in music.

How do you describe your music and what is your style?

Queer dance pop! We want to create music that can make you move emotionally and bodily. We hope that our story telling cuts through the up tempo tracks to give a wonderful sense of freedom. Gary’s cello playing can really ground the music whilst sparking the emotion, injecting the song with a sense of euphoria.

Who are your role models and inspirations?

I think one of ELM’s quirks is that we all have such different role models. Gary is a classical maestro, loving all things Chopin to Beethoven. Ca always loved sticking it to the man singing their endless punk anthems. Aidan was lusted over the singer songwriter world, idolising over the sung stories of Damien Rice and the likes. Dylan has always been a pop queen. From the noughties anthems of Natasha Bedingfield to knowing every current day rising pop act under the sun, he lives and breathes the pop world.

How do you keep creativity levels high in the band?

Motivating yourself is a constant battle so many people in the creative world go through. Being in a band involves so much behind the scene managing of social media, keeping on top of a constant influx of emails, organising release strategies and campaigns, the list goes on and on. Not letting all of the background work overwhelm you to the point that feeling creative becomes secondary is so important. Keeping a clear mind and a clearer vision of your message and where you want to be is a big creative motivator.

I think we, as a beautiful family, have decided to just continue having the craic (Irish slang for fun), sharing our story and traveling the world. Sounds stunning, right?

Share with YASS a guilty pleasure or a secret fantasy.

Michelle McManus. She won against all the odds. THAT IS IT. No more reason needed.


What are your future plans and ambitions for the next few years?



Get yourself strapped in babes xx

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