Warren Ellis (musician)

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Warren Ellis
Ellis playing violin in 2021
Ellis playing violin in 2021
Background information
Born (1965-02-14) 14 February 1965 (age 59)
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Member of
Formerly ofGrinderman

Warren Ellis (born 14 February 1965)[1] is an Australian musician and composer. He is a member of the rock groups Dirty Three and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. He also performed with the band Grinderman until its disbandment in 2013. He has also composed film scores with long-time friend, collaborator and band-mate Nick Cave. Ellis plays the violin, piano, accordion, bouzouki, guitar, flute, mandolin, mandocello and viola.[2][3] He has been a member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds since 1994.[4][5]

Life and career[edit]

Ellis was born in Ballarat, Victoria.[6] He has said that he came to music by accident: while playing at the local tip, he found an abandoned piano accordion. He took it to school and his teacher showed him how to play it.[7] He later learned classical violin and flute at school in Ballarat.

After winning a scholarship to a private high school,[8] Ellis went to university in Melbourne, where he studied classical violin. After that he then worked briefly as a schoolteacher in country Victoria. In January 1988 he travelled to Europe, where he busked in Greece, Hungary, Scotland and Ireland. A year later he returned to Australia.[6][9] Ellis then wrote music for theatre groups and performed at art openings and plays in Melbourne, before he started playing in bands in the early nineties.[3][10]

In 1992, Ellis formed The Dirty Three with guitarist Mick Turner and drummer Jim White. As of 2018 the band has recorded nine studio albums, including several to appear on the ARIA charts in their native Australia.

In 1993, Ellis was invited to play with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds as part of a small string ensemble for several songs on Let Love In (released 1994). He soon joined the band as a full-time member, initially emphasising violin but gradually adding many other instruments. Ellis eventually co-wrote many of the band's songs and became a pivotal collaborator with singer Nick Cave in film scores and other projects. Ellis was also a member of Grinderman, a side-group from the Bad Seeds, who have released two albums.[3]

Ellis of the Dirty Three performing at WOMADelaide 2012

In 2002, Ellis released a solo album on King Crab records called Three Pieces for Violin. Since 2005 he has played on several Marianne Faithfull albums. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis composed the award-winning score of the film The Proposition,[11] and collaborated again on the scores of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,[12] The Road,[13] and Far from Men.[14]

In 2009, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis released White Lunar – an album that includes other soundtrack scores.[15]

Following the release of Carnage, Ellis and Nick Cave toured Europe in the autumn of 2021 and the United States in the spring of 2022.[16]

Ellis has lived in Paris since 1998 with his French wife and their two children.[17][3]

In 2021, Ellis and his wife announced the purchase of a parcel of land in Sumatra, which they donated to the non-profit Jakarta Animal Aid Network. Ellis Park Wildlife Sanctuary is adjacent to the existing Sumatra Wildlife Centre, and specialises in animals who need lifetime care and cannot survive in the wild.[18][19]


Solo albums[edit]

  • Three Pieces for Violin (2002)

Solo scores[edit]

  • Mustang, film soundtrack (2015)
  • Bad Girl, film soundtrack (2017)[20]
  • Django, film soundtrack (2017)
  • This Train I Ride, film soundtrack (2020)[21]
  • Purple Perilla, book soundtrack (2021)[22]

Collaborations with Nick Cave[edit]

Other collaborations[edit]


  • Nina Simone's Gum (2022, Faber & Faber; ISBN 9780571365630)[31][32]

Awards and nominations[edit]

APRA Music Awards

The APRA Awards have been presented annually since 1982 by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), "honouring composers and songwriters".[33]

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2014 "Jubilee Street" (with Nick Cave) Song of the Year Shortlisted [34]
"We No Who U R" (with Nick Cave) Shortlisted
2021 "Ghosteen" (with Nick Cave) Song of the Year Shortlisted [35]
2022 "Albuquerque" (with Nick Cave) Song of the Year Shortlisted [36]
ARIA Music Awards

The ARIA Music Awards is an annual ceremony presented by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), which recognise excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of the music of Australia. They commenced in 1987.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2006 The Proposition (Nick Cave with Warren Ellis) Best Original Soundtrack / Cast / Show Recording Nominated
2007 Nick Cave (honorary inductees Harvey, Ellis, Savage, Casey) ARIA Hall of Fame inducted
2013 Lawless (with Nick Cave) Best Original Soundtrack / Cast / Show Recording Nominated
2021 Carnage (with Nick Cave)[37] Best Adult Contemporary Album Nominated
Australian Music Prize

The Australian Music Prize (the AMP) is an annual award of $30,000 given to an Australian band or solo artist in recognition of the merit of an album released during the year of award. It commenced in 2005.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2021[38] Carnage (with Nick Cave) Australian Music Prize Nominated
National Live Music Awards

The National Live Music Awards (NLMAs) are a broad recognition of Australia's diverse live industry, celebrating the success of the Australian live scene. The awards commenced in 2016.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
National Live Music Awards of 2020[39] himself Live Instrumentalist of the Year Won
National Live Music Awards of 2023[40] Nick Cave and Warren Ellis - Australian Carnage Tour (Supersonic) Best International Tour in Australia Won


  1. ^ "Warren Ellis | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  2. ^ "CULTURE : Digging diamonds from the dirt; Dirty Three Birmingham Academy 2". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d "Warren Ellis Interview". BBC. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  4. ^ Baker, J. (2013). The Art of Nick Cave: New Critical Essays. Intellect Books. p. 72.
  5. ^ "Liverpool – Entertainment – Dirty Three @ Carling Academy". BBC. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
  6. ^ a b Calkin, J. "Flying on instruments". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014.
  7. ^ Badham, Van (3 January 2016). "Warren Ellis of Dirty Three: music is a place to get away from things". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077.
  8. ^ Option: Volumes 66–71, Sonic Options Network, 1996
  9. ^ Dwyer, M. (31 March 2002). "Wild seed". The Age.
  10. ^ "From The Archives -Dirty Three- Concert Chronology / Gigography". Fromthearchives.com. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  11. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (21 February 2006). "The Proposition OST". Pitchfork. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  12. ^ Klein, Joshua (1 February 2008). "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford". Pitchfork. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  13. ^ Murray, Robin (12 January 2010). "Warren Ellis On 'The Road' Score". Clash Magazine. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  14. ^ Fischer, Russ (6 April 2015). "Sample the Nick Cave and Warren Ellis Score for 'Far From Men'". Slash Film. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  15. ^ Lusk, Jon (2009). "Nick Cave & Warren Ellis White Lunar Review". BBC Music. BBC. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Nick Cave and Warren Ellis".
  17. ^ "More than one string to his bow". The Age. January 2006. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  18. ^ Alex Gallagher (23 June 2021). Warren Ellis is opening a wildlife sanctuary for animals with special needs. wafv951.com, accessed 17 March 2022
  19. ^ Ellis Park website
  20. ^ Warren Ellis – Bad Girl (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2017, CD), retrieved 24 August 2021
  21. ^ "Warren Ellis set to release 'This Train I Ride' film score". 16 March 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  22. ^ Purple Perilla by Warren Ellis, 24 February 2021, retrieved 16 May 2021
  23. ^ "Vesturport". Vesturport.com. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  24. ^ "Trailer: Nick Cave-Penned/Scored 'Lawless'". Twentyfourbit.com. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  25. ^ ""Wood Dove" – Nick Cave & Warren Ellis (Video by David Orr)". YouTube.
  26. ^ Leggett, Steve. "Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  27. ^ "Cinésonore : "Le Brasier Shelley", un film sans image en son immersif au mk2 Bibliothèque à Paris". France Culture. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  28. ^ "Tinariwen Release New Album 'Amadjar' Today". 6 September 2019. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  29. ^ "she walks in beauty | Marianne Faithfull Official". Mariannefaithfull.org.uk. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  30. ^ "The 1975 'Being Funny in a Foreign Language' Review". 13 October 2022.
  31. ^ Larman, Alexander (2 October 2022). "In brief: Three Times a Countess; Queen High; Nina Simone's Gum – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  32. ^ "Book review: Nina Simone's Gum by Warren Ellis". Radio New Zealand. 25 October 2022. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  33. ^ "APRA History". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  34. ^ "Nick Cave, Boy & Bear Lead APRA 2014 Song of the Year Shortlist". Music Feeds. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  35. ^ "One of these songs will be the Peer-Voted APRA Song of the Year!". APRA AMCOS. 3 February 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  36. ^ "2022 Peer-Voted APRA Song of the Year shortlist revealed!". APRA AMCOS. 3 February 2022. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  37. ^ Kelly, Vivienne (20 October 2021). "ARIA Awards nominees revealed: Amy Shark & Genesis Owusu lead the charge". The Music Network. Archived from the original on 20 October 2021. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  38. ^ "Australian Music Prize reveals 'strong & diverse' shortlist". The Music Network. 1 February 2022. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  39. ^ "Nominees announced for 2020 National Live Music Awards". NLMAs. 7 September 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  40. ^ "Genesis Owusu And Amyl & The Sniffers Win Big At The 2023 National Live Music Awards". The Music. 11 October 2023. Retrieved 12 October 2023.

External links[edit]