Ellie Dixon talks her brand-new off-kilter single Big Lizard Energy and fighting anxiety: "You've got to fight silly with silly"
Ellie Dixon has a really handy hint to help you when life gets a bit too much - crush those anxieties and fears by becoming a gigantic lizard.
In her wonderfully kitschy, off-kilter new single, Ellie fully embraces the more quirky edges of alt-pop in an entirely self-produced and self-written riot from beginning to end.
"Problems are big but I'm bigger," she chants on the chorus that will be stuck in your head all day. "I'm a Jurassic killer."
We caught up with Ellie via Zoom is discuss her influences behind her new single and her upcoming biggest live show ever and why she might just now be living inside her giant dinosaur costume from now on (the perfect Halloween costume).
Ellie, you are very on-brand this morning. Wearing bright green, we appreciate you sticking to the single aesthetic!
No, I actually sent my friend a video this morning and didn't realise I was still in the suit. She was like, are you living in that thing? Yes. Yes I am.
You're going to be trapped in it forever. How buzzing are you for the single to come out?
Yes! It feels really nice because [previous single] Swing! was the first single with the label [Decca] and that felt like training. I was finding my feet, I was on tour when that was released, so it was intense. But I think we all learnt what we were doing. Now I'm not on the road, I have spent so much time making content. I just made a Lizard Valentine's Day card!
As you touched on there, Swing! was your major label debut - for the follow up, did you have a few choices? Or was it always going to be Big Lizard Energy?
There were options, but I think everyone agreed that this was the one. What I really enjoyed, actually, about going on tour [when Swing! was released] was that I could play new songs to the crowd. This one seemed to resonate and stick the most. Everyone was singing it afterwards, my friend was still humming it a month later.
Note to all pop stars; please use your gigs as focus groups in the future
Honestly, give me your name and your number and I'll get back to you.
Where did the idea come from? That the one way to beat your anxieties and fear is to just become bigger than them. A massive lizard to be exact
I wish I could remember what on Earth I was thinking of, to be honest. I was writing it at a time where I felt super overwhelmed, I'd just got signed and everything was new. Bizarrely, even though I was taking the most positive steps, everything felt more fragile than ever. In hindsight, I just think that was because life was changing. I sort of tickled my anxiety, and I kept finding myself in these really frustrating [emotional] places. I was crying over nothing on the phone to my manager, I'd read some nasty comments on TikTok...I just hit a point where I was done with silly thoughts, you know? You have to fight silly with silly. So I went silly!
That's a really nice answer, because I just assumed you'd recently watched Godzilla, to be honest
I actually hadn't but that was definitely an inspiration, like any kind of disaster movie. I was trying to dramatise and fantasize and make these problems seem like a cartoon. You have to jump into the fantasy to destroy them, I think.
One of your biggest calling cards as an artist is that you do, literally, everything yourself. You sing the songs, you write them, you produce them. Some of my favourite artists ever - Kate Bush, Grimes, Fiona Apple - do the same. Are they inspirations?
I've always found myself connecting to artists who have a big hand in everything they do. Not deliberately, sometimes! I tend to find an artist [I love] and then find out they did everything themselves. I think there's just something about a project [where you realise the artist had full control]. I mean, both worlds [of producing your own stuff and working with a producer] are super valid. I love how you can get into a studio with a producer and create incredible songs, but I personally have a really big connection to passion projects. I just love people that play with production and do it from their bedrooms.
You've just announced your biggest headline show yet at Lafayette this May - in my mind, your gig is just you running around the stage doing absolutely everything yourself
I'm so excited! It is a bit like that, to be honest. I just love live shows. They're so fun and there's so much freedom. There's no rules. I actually can't believe I'm allowed on a stage and talk to people. I'm not being supervised! I can do what I want! I could start a cult! Last year I played so many shows, so it's really built a lot of confidence. I beat the performance anxiety out of me!
As my confidence is growing, the breadth of what my show can be is expanded. I'm not scared to throw biscuits into the crowd or throw giant inflatable baseballs. Once you take off the training wheels and what people think you have to be...you can do whatever you want! You can start an uprising!
Big Lizard Energy is out now via Decca