“I don’t even know what happened,” says Aaron Ellingson, former guitarist of the indie-pop “haute rock” band, Young Empires.
“It honestly felt like a break up,” says Ellingson of his surprise departure from the group. Despite the heartache that one would typically expect after making that kind of life changing decision, he sounds rather upbeat. “I sort of knew it was coming, but I didn’t plan for it,” he tells me over the phone at 6 AM, with a sort of sincerity that I can’t help but admire. I mean, it’s 6 AM and the guy seems, like, actually…happy.
Young Empires, whose single “Rain Of Gold” was named one of the featured songs on the FIFA 2013 soundtrack, is only a fond memory for Ellingson now, as he parted ways with the group in February of this year. ”I wasn’t just gonna sit around waiting for everyone else,” he says. “I wanted to be a songwriter, I wanted to make to make an impact, I wanted to create,” says Ellingson of his choice to leave the group.
However, like any true artist, with or without the band or fame, he’s bounced back like a Slazenger. Wimbledon style. In fact, he’s bounced back so hard that he’s tackling a schedule that doesn’t allow for all that much shuteye, or, for that matter, phone conversations during reasonable daytime hours. So, heavy-eyed, I listened as he told me all about his new jewelry line, ELLINGSON.
“We creative types, we get up early, stay up late, because that’s when the ideas come,” he tells me, not at all sounding as ‘Kathleen Turner’ (circa 2011, wayyyy post Romancing The Stone) as I do at that hour. Unlike me, he sounds clear-headed (and throated), and excited, and oddly motivated for this time of day. And, in no time, I’m right there with him, enveloped by his positivity. His voice is like coffee to me. His enthusiasm is like a big ol’ can of Red Bull. I don’t know what it is, but something about talking to him launches me out of catatonia, and onto my laptop.
Perhaps it’s his optimism? His unchecked excitement about the future, no matter how uncertain. And uncertain it is. “Life is a gamble, after all,” he tells me.
After leaving the band, which was “hard for [him],” as the other members had been “friends [of his] for years,” Ellingson found himself at a crossroads. Give up, and go back to TV production, where he had worked for upwards of ten years at MTV, CTV, and Global Canada, or continue on along the creative path that he had been so passionately navigating.
Suddenly, faced with a stealthy — but admittedly pervasive – feeling of dejection, he was starting ELLINGSON. “After leaving the band, I was upset on a personal level, yes,” says Ellingson. “But, on a business level, no, I knew I wasn’t on the right path when I was playing with the band, and I knew I’d go on to do other things, different things, not necessarily better, but different.”
It was shortly after his exit from Young Empires that Ellingson thought back to a previous project. It was just a side thing, something fun to do, something that he had never considered to be a ‘real job’ or career move.
Just a few months prior to leaving Young Empires, the ladies of Kissette, an L.A.-based DJ duo, who are recognized for their style savvy, and their “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude, had asked him to collaborate on a piece that was to be featured in Nylon magazine. Reflecting on it, a project that was first meant simply for fun started to appear as an opportunity.
“It’s been a weird couple months,” says Ellingson, and I can hear his smile.
Why the smile? Because ELLINGSON is making waves. Like, we’re talking Blue Crush waves.
Worn by a number of the top movers and shakers at Master Card Fashion Week in Toronto, ELLINGSON balances a hard, metallic exterior with delicacy and elegance. Dangerous and demure, all at once. Plus, there’s the added bonus of pure exclusivity. That’s right, he is commissioned (no mass production here) each time to create something just for the purchaser. Every piece is custom made to suit the wearer, and each piece is created to enhance the overall look, not to govern it. “The jewelry speaks for itself, but it doesn’t command anything from whoever is wearing it. It’s designed to simply highlight the inherent style of the person I made it for, not to dictate it,” says Ellingson.
Before we hang up, he leaves me with something to chew on. He alludes to a “top-secret” project that’s in the works. I ask if it’s fashion or music, and his answer?
“What’s the difference? Art is art. It’s all the same…”
To learn more about Aaron Ellingson (who’s first name is really Robert, fun fact) his line of personalized jewelry, or to order your own custom piece, check the site.