When Emmy The Great returned with her S EP nearly three years after her last release, a new band member suddenly appeared on the cover art and in the video for her latest single "Swimming Pool": Emmy The Hologram. This technological wonder is fittingly placed on this EP, as it's the first time Emmy has extensively experimented with electronic soundscapes. The result of immersing herself in the glittering surroundings of LA and the home comforts of her native London, while dealing with the personal turmoil that comes with the breakdown of a relationship, Emmy's S EP is an astounding listen. Shortly before setting off on her upcoming US tour, Emmy tells SPB about her plans for Emmy The Hologram and why this EP is different from any other record she has ever released before.
Scene Point Blank: Hi Emmy! How are you and where are you right now?
Emmy The Great: I’m in my brother’s room in England. He’s away so I’ve moved in while I prepare to return to New York for the US tour.
Scene Point Blank: You recently released your S EP, which scored 9 out of 10 on SPB. How do you feel about the reception the EP has been getting?
Emmy: Thank you so much, that is amazing! I'm always astonished when people take the time to write about my music. I started making music basically without knowing a thing about it, so whenever I put something out and people listen to it I feel like I've gotten away with something. With the EP it means so much more because I took such a leap, creatively and in my life, to make it. If it had sunk without a trace I wouldn't have been angry, but this alternative situation makes me feel really happy.
Scene Point Blank: Was the S EP a spontaneous release like 2009's Edward EP or had you been planning to release it for a while?
Emmy: Yes, it’s been ready for a while but a few things pulled together to make it come out almost a year after it was finished. I always set out to make these songs into an EP. They came together so naturally when I was writing the album and they were the first to make it into the studio.
"I started making music basically without knowing a thing about it, so whenever I put something out and people listen to it I feel like I've gotten away with something."
Scene Point Blank: The recording of S was split between London and LA. How important is to you to record in different cities? Do you find that where you record impacts on the sound you make or is largely predefined before you get into the studio?
Emmy: Previously to this I've always recorded in England, but what I've learned now is that cities affect me a lot. LA was this incredibly freeing situation where I felt like I could do anything and make a song sound any way I felt. Then I returned to London and everything always got a little darker and a little more subtle.
Scene Point Blank: How did the idea come about to get Wild Beasts' Tom Fleming to guest on your single "Swimming Pool"?
Emmy: I just asked him because I love his voice, and he had the time. This was a miracle as they were on a really epic world tour. I guess it was meant to be.
Scene Point Blank: Your lyrics on this EP seem to be more focused on the world around you than on your previous releases. How difficult was it to try and shift your perspective to an angle you're not used to exploring while songwriting?
Emmy: It was actually a result of the life I was leading at the time. I had less time for introspection as I was constantly taking in new information. I think I'm more extroverted as a person now too.
Scene Point Blank: You seemed to experiment a lot with synthesizers and deft production on this release. Were you ever nervous about moving away from your more acoustic sound?
Emmy: Actually not at all, but everyone around me was. I just went with my gut feeling, but this led to a few flunks along the way.
Scene Point Blank: You used a hologram in the "Swimming Pool" video and also on the cover art for S. What did you think of the holograms of Tupac and Michael Jackson playing live--is it a significant progression in or potential threat to live music?
Emmy: I'm just more excited to see where this stuff leads. I've always been really interested in the Japanese hologram pop star Hatsune Miku, who I think may be the first of many constructed hologram artists-- like manufactured pop but really so. I can see some really scary dystopian stuff coming as a result of this, or dead icons touring as holograms, but also a lot of cool scenarios. Recently I heard a funny story from the Janelle Monae and MIA East Coast/West Coast hologram shows, where each singer performed live with the other as a hologram in LA and New York. Something to do with pigeons always flying into the material that the hologram is projected on. So I don’t know if we’re quite at dystopia yet. Maybe more like comedy. The South Park episode about holograms is pretty amazing.
Scene Point Blank: Lastly, can we expect to see Emmy The Hologram on stage any time soon?
Emmy: After she’s done with the dishes and my laundry, yes.