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You need to hear Kelora, the London duo making haunting cyber folk

Ahead of the release of their debut album Gloomerald, the duo talk their biggest inspirations, internet obsessions, and favourite conspiracy theories

Drawing inspiration from sci-fi classics like Solaris, Kelora’s latest album Gloomerald imagines a planet that doubles as an emotional state. “It describes contrasts like shiny darkness and emerald gloom,” bandmates Benedict Salter and Kitty Hall tell me. Formed in Glasgow, the duo are known for their moody take on cyber folk, combining dreamy acoustic balladry with homegrown electronic production, which sits alongside pagan imagery of dimly-lit forests and derelict buildings. “We spent a long time experimenting with different ways of producing our songs and really honed in on the sound we were searching for,” explains Hall. “We were both writing a lot of new songs and we wanted to give them a whole world to sit in.”

Recorded between Glasgow, London and Perth “in quite a messy couple of years during and after COVID”, Gloomerald is the pair’s first full-length release. Featuring folk-style narratives and pared-back guitar melodies, there’s a gentle solitude to the record that feels out of focus, like trying to push through an unreachable fog. “I try to consume as much mystery as possible through visiting strange locations, IRL or online and hope I can channel that subconsciously,” Hall adds.

Below the duo talk us through their biggest inspirations, internet obsessions, and favourite conspiracy theories. 

What are some of your main inspirations?

Kitty Hall: Nature, isolation, a desire to escape. Through songwriting, you can discover hidden meanings or feelings you didn’t know you had, like a dream.

Benedict Salter: Sleep deprivation, books, abandoned buildings and playing the guitar in the dark. 

How would you describe your aesthetic? 

Kitty Hall: Rural supernatural meets lonely melancholy. Or bedroom meets wilderness and strange phenomena. Somewhere between night and day. Relentlessly outside.

Benedict Salter: Pixelated gnomes or any images and photos that convey an untranslatable feeling. When you take pictures digitally in the dark, a kind of blue and neon green dust appears. I’m always searching for that neon gloom and blue dust, or trying to make boring places like car parks or train stations look like spaceships, or like they’re from an alien planet. 

What’s the last text you sent?

Kitty Hall: I never text unless I’m somewhere with no internet, my inbox is a graveyard of spam and verification codes. So the last one is to a friend of mine at Christmas in Perth (Scotland): ‘Im just going straight down by the shops so I think we will be coming from either end.’

The most recent picture/screenshot on your camera roll?

Kitty Hall:

Benedict Salter:

Your favourite cornershop snack?

Kitty Hall: Chipsticks.

Benedict Salter: Chipsticks.

What would be your funeral song?

Kitty Hall: I think it would depend on the time of year.  It would be nice if everyone sang something. A funeral is for everyone else, so maybe it doesn’t matter. 

Benedict Salter: Maybe “beast” by Felicita? Or “My Name is Death” by The Incredible String Band.

What would the line-up be in your nightmare blunt rotation? 

Kitty Hall: Anyone profoundly un-psychedelic, like maybe Simon Cowell or Jeremy Clarkson... alongside someone from my teenage years, like a high school teacher or classmate I was never really friends with. It’s the combination that makes it the worst. 

What’s your ghost outfit?

Kitty Hall: The most realistic ghost outfit you can create is to stay up for a few days, put on some blueish-white powder to give you a bit of an unearthly glow, with minimal makeup. Then add clothes that look like they could be from any time in the last 40 years, like you went into a charity shop and picked the first things you saw. And then you have to do the rest with body language – you shouldn’t really talk. 

What’s your weirdest internet obsession?

Kitty Hall: Dropping myself in really desolate or remote places on maps and walking around. When I’m in London I really feel like there’s not enough space so it chills me out.

Benedict Salter: Maybe TikTok livestreams of people talking to haunted dolls. Also the Ebay listings for dybbuk boxes (haunted boxes) – the descriptions are sometimes written in a kind of panicked style like: WARNING: PLEASE DON'TOPEN THIS IT CONTAINS A RAT SKULL BEAST SPIRIT BAD BOSS?? I CANT SLEEP WITH IT IN THIS HOUSE – 100% EVILL DO NOT break the seal.

I was also obsessed with the  ‘Who put bella in the wych elm?’ story recently.

What conspiracy theory are you quite into actually?

Kitty Hall: I was really obsessed with the tic tac UFOs – I’m still hungry for more information.

Benedict Salter: I love the one about there being a massive secret underground city somewhere near the centre of planet Earth where Vikings or aliens are living. Also, the one that says moving living gnomes exist and there’s an international conspiracy to hide this from us. 

Any recurring dreams?

Kitty Hall: I’ve had a dream a few times that I’m driving along a road and then I suddenly remember that I can’t drive and wake up before I crash. I’ve also had a lot of dreams where I realise I’m dreaming during them. Sometimes I tell someone in the dream ‘this is a dream’ and they try to convince me that it’s not.

Gloomerald is out February 24

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