Q&A Scene: Mike Elrington

Tell Us About Your New Single/Album/Tour

My current single is entitled “Build You Up (To Cut You Down)”, which is from my album “Two Lucky Stars”, which I will be doing a 10-show launch tour for throughout March this year. This tour will see me doing shows in The Gold Coast, Mooloolaba, Brisbane, Toowoomba, Eumundi, Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle, Melbourne & Ballarat.

How Would You Describe Your Sound In Food Form & Why?

That would have to be a well-done rump steak with a dash of strawberry ice-cream. Because I reckon my sound has lots of gritty & meaty toughness but also has that extra-subtle sweetness to it as well.

Which Song Resonates Most Strongly & Why?

This is something that often changes with me but at the moment I’d have to say “Build You Up (To Cut You Down)”. As this tune is about some of my most negative & difficult experiences in my music career, however being able to write it & produce it the way I did was extremely cathartic for me. Ain’t nothin like songwriting for good therapy!

Have You Been Touring Much? Any On The Road Anecdotes?

Yes, I tour pretty frequently. Normally I average around 130 shows each year but am looking to increase that to 150 this year. The most memorable anecdote I can think of is when the band was touring in the USA and we found ourselves in a difficult situation in South Central Los Angeles where we ran out of gas and gave some free merch away to some armed gangsters who weren’t particularly pleased that we had ventured into their “hood” by accident. We made sure we paid extra attention to all the road maps from that point on…

Where Do You Draw Inspiration From?

I guess I always draw the most amount of inspiration from a great song. Of course there are certain musicians out there who just play so incredibly well that I find inspiring. But nothing will ever beat a great song, where everything just falls into place and ends up being this truly irresistible piece of musical goodness. I don’t care what genre it is, I just love a great song. And I pretty much always know one as soon as I hear it.

What’s Next For You?

Always more touring around Australia, and hopefully some more overseas trips this year. Plus writing more new tunes for the next album. All just more of the same really, but hopefully with a few different twists here & there. Really want to try some new & different sounds & ideas on the next record.

What’s Your Scene?

I guess it’s traditionally been Blues/Roots, although I’m always inspired by the idea of being able to create sounds that can cross multiple scenes/genres etc. I’d love to be the guy that can play a blues festival one weekend, a folk festival the next & then a rock festival the weekend after. I don’t think I’ve quite reached this level of diversity with my music yet but I’ll definitely keep working on it.


Basketball prodigy, scholarship rower, mental illness survivor, blistering bluesman.

The big man of Australian blues music, Mike Elrington, has crammed a stack into his 30 plus years, but the best lies on the horizon.

Standing almost two metres tall and wielding his signature, gut-wrenching vocals like an instrument all its own, few forget a Mike Elrington performance.

His live shows leave nothing behind but sweat.

And US ears are about to get another dose, ten years after the man from Adelaide first toured the states and shared a stage with BB King’s daughter Shirley.

It’ll be on the back of his latest stompin’ single Build You Up (To Cut You Down).

A typically honest account of Elrington’s second greatest struggle, to be heard, over the past 15 years as a muso, it’s the first cut off his new record, Two Lucky Stars.

The past few years have been the premium for Elrington, both as a performer – signing international publishing and management deals, track Believe getting national airplay on Australian TV institution Neighbours – and as a man, with marriage and children.

2014 produced 127 shows across every state and territory with appearances at Bluesfest Byron Bay and Sydney Blues and Roots Festival, plus gigs in New Zealand, Los Angeles and London.

2016 is shaping up to be even bigger, with over 130 shows throughout Australia, New Zealand & the UK.

It used to be so different, though.

Elrington, whose sold in excess of 5000 units independently so far, has not just fought for airplay but some traumatic battles with himself; duelling the black dog of depression and bipolar disorder, a fight he describes as “nothing but empty and horrible”, back in 2009.

It was almost the end of him, but luckily, he found a way out through music.

“I guess the whole chase of ever-elusive success just caught up with me and really dragged me down, so I had to take a break from music for a little while & then get back into it for the right reasons, which are mainly fueled by the desire of writing songs & then sharing them in a live situation, regardless of weather there’s 10 people in the room, or 10,000 at a festival.”

Blues fans will be glad he did once their get their hands on 14 track EP, Two Lucky Stars, an acoustic snapshot of Elrington’s finest work plus five covers that have become guaranteed fan favorites at his live gigs.

Build You Up (To Cut You Down) is your first offering from this release.

With many years as one of the hardest working artists in Australia(averaging 120 shows per year), multiple tours of the USA, and releasing 5 albums along the way, this man is only just getting started in his lifelong journey of music.

“Blistering guitar playing that would make Clapton proud”
Forte Magazine, Geelong, Australia

“One of the most exciting acts to come out of Australia in many years!”
Ed Ivey, Blues Revue Magazine, San Francisco, USA

“Freakish guitar playing with an earth-shattering voice, he is most definitely possessed”
The Age, Melbourne, Australia



Mike Elrington (@MikeElrington) | Twitter

Mike Elrington (@mikeelrington) • Instagram photos and videos


Catch Mike Elrington Live soon:

Feb 07, Cambrai Hostel, Maffra, Australia

Feb 12Great Ocean Rd Brewhouse, Apollo Bay, Australia

Feb 19Marlo Hotel, Marlo, Australia

Feb 20 & 21, Bruthen Blues Festival, Bruthen, Australia

Feb 26, Flying Saucer Club w/ Karise Eden, Elsternwick, Australia

About Mary Boukouvalas 1612 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.