Ella Thompson Takes Us Through ‘Domino,’ Track By Track

Occasionally you stumble upon an artist that feels like a true find, a beautiful album cover in a dusty vinyl shop that you can’t believe you haven’t caught before, a sound that could live in any of the last five decades. That most recently year has been newcomer Ella Thompson, specifically her first record ‘Domino’ a wistful, longing record that demands to be listened to in full. As always, allowing curiosity to take us to the source of the music, we reached out to Ella directly to learn more about this amazing debut: 

1. Domino

The original instrumental of the song ‘Domino’ was titled ‘Swimming in a Cold Lake at Night’ (written by Frollen Music Library). I think this kind of sums up the feeling of many of the songs on the record. Seeing light in dark places, freedom and anxiety of the unknown, feelings of curiosity, never regretting a swim and the euphoria you get when you come out the other end. Domino the word also refers to how one thing affects another, overcoming obstacles, unlearning conditioning, choosing how to live and getting closer to that slice of internal freedom.

2. Lotus and The Lily

I read a few books while writing this album some of which made a big impression on me and some of the themes made their way into these songs. I loved ‘No Mud, No Lotus’ by Vietnamese peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh with the idea that you can transform your pain into a lotus flower, I think that’s beautiful. I also read Susain Cain’s ‘Bittersweet’ which she describes as “a tendency to states of longing, poignancy, and sorrow; an acute awareness of passing time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world” . For me these interconnected states are inseparable and have helped me build my own sense of ‘home’ within myself.

3. To Light the Lantern

I wanted to capture the immediacy of the emotion I felt when I first heard the instrumentals by writing and recording the vocals from a place of flow, turning off the critic and letting the songs come out. This song is about being there for others when they need it, about a feeling that comes and goes, there’s a lot to worry about right now but I think we are looking for reasons to find the spark.

4. Never Fight The Way you Feel

This song is about feeling the feelings, riding it out and also listening to yourself. It’s a song for reconnecting with what matters, being the first to reach out and ask the question instead of building a one sided narrative. To acknowledge what is special and worth celebrating. Musically I was very much inspired by Marvin Gaye with his uplifting messages and spacey vocals.

5. Can’t Take Back

'Can’t Take Back' is about being able to argue, negotiate and disagree and simultaneously love and respect the other person. How trust can be broken in the moments we take one step too far. The instrumental was originally titled ‘Sauna’ and that’s the feeling you want after that post sauna chill.

6. Wouldn’t It Be Easy

‘Wouldn’t It Be Easy’ is about resilience and how that isn’t an easy thing to come by. I initially titled it ‘Don’t Read the Comments’ because we all know we shouldn’t but sometimes, it’s hard to endure the patriarchy and block it out. Not needing to attune ourselves to any kind of gaze. Being aware of our humanness and inherent imperfections.

7. When The Cold Wind Blows

This album was made in collaboration with Frollen Music Library, their instrumentals provided the basis for these recordings, many of which were influenced by Italian ‘Giallo’ film soundtracks of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. This song feels like the last scene of one of those films where the central character has been looking for a way to understand someone but realises you can’t go on a journey with someone who can’t see another person’s opinion and has too many fixed ideas. So she gets in her car, leans out the window and drives into the setting sun.