As the singer with Crystal Fighters, Eleanor Fletcher has spent much of the last four years of her life and career extensively touring the globe. Their unique fusions of genres have earned them worldwide critical acclaim leading to sold out shows and unmissable festival appearances. This year alone has included performances at Field Day, Sasquatch, Latitude and Glastonbury, where they took on the John Peel stage alongside the likes of Mercury Prize nominees Jungle, CHVRCHES, Lykke Li and headliners Kaiser Chiefs.

Today starts a new chapter for Fletcher. While the band takes a rest from touring to work on their third studio album, we present her debut single 'One'. Now professionally known as KYIKI, 'One' is a beautifully composed and rather dark pop number, inspired in part by the extensive and exhausting touring schedule of Crystal Fighters. There's something of an statement of intent with 'One' laying much of the foundations to KYIKI's burgeoning career.

Tell us about 'One' and how it came together.

One, I think I wrote it quite swiftly. I'd just come off a quite long stint of touring with Crystal Fighters. I was kind of just exhausted, shattered and wired. I just wrote it all quite briefly at home and it was a really quick turnaround. But it all came quite naturally and felt right I guess. I just built on it over the next few weeks and it was done quite swiftly. I think it was just one of the first songs I felt happy with melodically and showing my experiences through that year. The release of it is really exciting and I like it because it starts off quite solemn which I enjoy doing in music, before going into more of an intensity nearing the end.

Have you always had a desire to go solo from Crystal Fighters?

It's always been something that I felt I needed and wanted to do, and something I knew I had to do. Being with Crystal Fighters just spurred that even more because it's taught me a lot. It's been amazing developing the project whilst being on tour, dong the shows and seeing lots of other live bands, taking bits and pieces and influences from that. I do write a lot when I'm away; sometimes it can be whole songs, other times it'll literally just be a chord or something but it will all be very prevalent to what's going on at the time so a lot of my music has been based on travelling around having this slightly neurotic odd lifestyle, I guess which I think is interesting to portray in songs. It's great to listen back to and kind of remember and be like "Oh yeah that was a weird time!"

With you working on solo material, what is the status of Crystal Fighters? Is the band on hiatus? Will you be looking to return? Or have you not thought that far ahead yet?

To be honest, they're writing their third album anyway so all of the shows have calmed down. But I think I'll always be a part of Crystal Fighters. It's been four years now and it's been a big part of my life. So although I am focusing on this right now, it's not the end for me with them but I think that's taking a turn anyway with the third album and it's been quite intense touring for the past four years; I think it's starting to chill out a bit now which leaves room for me to progress further as KYIKI.

I wanted to ask about the name change because; obviously KYIKI isn't your real name. What inspired the name change?

I'd love to say it has this really amazing story or an exciting spiritual meaning or something but I've always had an obsession with places like Hawaii, for instance, that whole vibe, it's so different to how I live. I was just researching Hawaiian words and names and kind of made something up essentially, it's just a name that's got that "iki" sound and vibe to it. It just felt very different to me; I like to have the two separate personalities, my personality and my music, and everything within it. My music is the more eccentric side of me and I'm putting that all into this music, whether it's visually, lyrically or musically. I want KYIKI to be the separate slightly weirder, more neurotic part of me. I also like that it's simple in a complicated way, it looks good written down, I just like the sound really. It takes it away from Ellie Fletcher which is a slightly boring name. Mum and Dad didn't do a good job there! [Laughs]

Would you say KYIKI is an alter ego of sorts or is that taking it too far?

I'd say it's probably the worst parts of me in a weird way. That's getting all of my negative and crazy parts and putting it into a musical form. I wouldn't go as far as saying it's an alter ego because it's definitely part of me, it's bringing out those parts as opposed to pushing them down, it's kind of the more intense, dramatic side of me. It's sort of like an alter ego, yeah!

Who are your musical influences?

The way music influences me I guess is more of a feeling a song gives me when I'm listening to it as opposed to production or directly influencing but at the moment I'm listening to Blood Orange, The Knife, Lykke Li, I do tend to really like my female artists. Little Dragon, I always thought they were really cool. I love the pop vocals then counter acted with more interesting production, I've always loved that, just having the two different elements of pop because I do love pop but with slightly more quirky elements going on around it. I love crazy, weird, surreal harmonies and things you don't necessarily expect to hear, I'm really drawn to that but with the classic melodic content as well. I do tend to like quite sad songs. [Laughs] I'm not necessarily sad, I just love the intensity with it, I guess. I've always felt that kind of stuff more. The haunting stuff, I love the haunting, creepy stuff!

Can you pinpoint your earliest musical memory?

I started learning the violin when I was three. My Grandparents were eccentric musicians as well and my Grandfather still writes operas and teaches violin. I learnt the piano when I was five and I started writing songs when I was about six because my grandparents were always encouraging it and I was watching them write. I don't think it would be so prolific now, looking back on the song writing but it was a start! [Laughs] They lyrics, I don't think had too much deep content but they were still based on experiences. One of my first songs that I wrote was called 'Accident in the Playground' so still a darker side! [Laughs] I know this is so cliché but my Mum and Dad were obsessed with the Beatles so I always listened to that and all of their different range of genres. I just wanted to be an artist from then; I've never really wanted to do anything else. I used to get my little karaoke machine, get my two hour Beatles Karaoke tape, go into the living room and sing for the two hours out of key and horrendously. My Dad didn't like the Beatles as much then. [Laughs] Then of course Britney came along and as an eight-year-old ( thought she was amazing! I definitely loved all my pop when I was younger; I was always very excited by it. It's just always something I've always done; unfortunately I haven't been able to do anything else.

Is there anything outside of music that you enjoy doing?

Everything I think I do has been based around music because it's the only thing I've ever wanted to do. I almost feel like it's probably sad that I don't feel that motivation to develop anything else other than that because I feel like I don't want to be wasting time, I want to put it all in to music. So even things like doing art; the only reason I developed it further was to aid the music side of things. Production I have done since I was 17 as well, that was to aid music. I remember being in studios not having a clue what was going on and it used to really frustrate me. It seemed really complicated and I wanted to try to understand that. Also, it got to a point where when you don't know much about what's going on you heavily rely on other people and that used to frustrate me so much because I want to rely on myself, progress further myself. That's why I started doing the production and technical side of things. It's opened a lot more doors for me because it means I don't need to rely so heavily on other people.

In terms of the KYIKI project, are you working towards a more full length release? An album perhaps?

Absolutely! I've just been making songs constantly and I keep wanting to do more. I keep wanting to try to get out as much as possible, I still feel like I've got a lot more to get out but an album is definitely going to be happening next year. I feel like I've got a lot of songs and there's still some other parts I want to touch, genre wise. I want it to be quite eclectic; I don't want it to be set in stone genre wise. I want to have different elements of different music that I love really and portray different emotions. I find that really important; I don't want it to focus on one type of emotion or one period of my life. I want it to be all of the different dynamics of my life, where it's the exciting parts, the solemn parts, the angry parts... I'm really looking forward to getting to a point where I'm like "Ok, I'm stopping, I'm going to stop writing for a little bit" and then choose the songs for the album that i think symbolises KYIKI in the best way possible.


All photos taken by Bertrand Bosrédon for The 405.