Interview: Emma Louise is back
Brisbane’s Emma Louise is just about to drop her second album. Courtney Dabb talks to her about it:
Firstly, congratulations on your new album, Supercry. Being your second release, was there an added sense of confidence during this process or just as nerve-racking as the first?
Supercry and everything that has gone with it so far has been so different to the last album. Vs Head vs Heart really hurt me in a way. At the end of the album cycle I didn’t want to be involved in music anymore – which looking back I can’t believe. I think I put too much pressure on myself with the first album. I was learning things very quickly and didn’t have enough time to adjust. I took some time to travel and experience and slow down things to the right speed in order to learn what I needed to learn. I don’t think I could ever give up music forever. It creeped on back to me the way it was before I had shown it to the world, and we started over again.
As an individual and an artist evolving from one album to the next, what does your new material say about where you are in your life right now?
I recorded Supercry a year ago and lots has happened and changed since recording it. But I think it captures who I was and what I was going through in a time where I was lost and learning lots of new things and dealing with change and pain and having different and new realisations.
You worked with producer Pascal Gabriel of Goldfrapp fame on this album. What did Pascal bring to the table that shines through this LP?
Pascal was amazing. He nurtured me into making music again. He made me feel confident in my ability to play the instruments on the album and made a very comfortable environment for me to express myself honestly. He made me see that things don’t need to be perfect if they are honestly expressing what the song wants. That paired with his technical skills as a producer made for a goooooooood two months of music making.
As a songwriter, can you explain the feeling of putting pen to paper and crafting a song that has lurked within your subconscious for some time, written in a relatively quiet and personal space to than performing it live to hundreds / thousands of people. It must be a surreal, if not partly violating experience sometimes, taking a deeply private experience and broadcasting to so many people?
There’s a special time after writing and demoing a song where no one has heard it. All of the songs are all stored together in waiting to be heard and considered to record. And they’re all sitting there saying “pick me!”. They’re all full of their own little beauties and mystery. And then you take them into the studio and rearrange them and record them and then put them through this process and gradually they are less and less yours and more and more other people’s. It used to really hurt me but now I feel like its cool because they were never really mine anyway.
You are a creative powerhouse, not content with just writing your own music but you design your own customs, create your own artwork and storyboard your video clips. Does such an autocratic process become daunting at times or by taking on some much, you are never short of ideas or energy?
I never really think of it being a lot of work or different to what other people do. I just feel that to represent the music properly it has to all come from me. Also I think I always need to be working on something to keep my hands and head busy.
Your video clips are incredibly slick with a real cinematic feel to them. How challenging is it to turn that initial concept into a physical being?
Usually my ideas are really big and too much for the budget, haha. So it’s a negotiation and I like that process too. It’s like a fun challenge. I come up with an idea and then the director and I throw it back and forth until it’s the right shape and size. Dylan Duclose is amazing. We’re on the same page most of the time so it’s been great to work with him.
What does music give you that nothing else does?
Peace. It’s very peaceful when you’re on a roll writing a song, when you’ve written a song and when you’re playing it live.
You will be playing Splendour In The Grass later this month. Performing amongst some of the world’s finest acts, it must be satisfying to be handpicked for the line-up and very humbling to be recognised in that way?
Yeah! I can’t wait for Splendour. After having so much time off and dipping my toes back into live performance again, I realise how much I love it. Being picked to play Splendour is the coolest feedback.
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you?
July 15th is the release of Supercry. I’ll be touring in September/October and hopefully recording the next album before too long.
Interview by Courtney Dabb.