Emma Blake grew up in Glasgow, but the origins of her artistic career can be traced to Copenhagen. A few years ago she moved to the Danish capital for her studies, and a discovery of the local techno scene quickly led to her playing regularly at clubs like Culture Box. Usually this would involve spinning a mix of hard-and-fast techno and acid as one quarter of the much-loved Apeiron Crew, but the last twelve months have seen Blake gaining recognition beyond the collective.
Blake’s offbeat studio work has played a part in this rapid ascent: her glitchy electro tracks have come out on labels like Outer Zone and Brokntoys, she regularly collaborates with Ctrls as Historical Repeater, and earlier this month Modeselektor used her pulsating cut Masha for their Modeselektion Vol. 04 compilation. She joins them for Modeselektion with us on 16th June, so ahead of the date she sent a mix that highlights her love of broken techno and electro.
Not initially – I tend to find that if I start working on something blindly without too much thought, it eventually reveals to me what it’s going to be on its own. This mix has a clear mood, I think; the first half in particular has some great tracks with low-key vibes and interesting details. It’s quite gentle in some ways, with lots of ASMR feelings and lovely bleeps and bloops. It’s also worth noting that it’s mostly made up of music released fairly recently. I was pretty inspired to start working on some new stuff of my own when I listened back to it, which has to be a good thing.
Where did you source the records from?
I’m very lucky to receive lots of great new music in my inbox these days, as well as getting to check out record shops in the cities I visit when I’m playing. One notable example I found that way is Bakkup by Harry Wills on EXT. We just got chatting in this excellent record shop in Frankfurt called Gosu. I asked to hear his music and luckily there was one copy left in the shop, so I got to pick it up and play it in the club later that night.
You often describe yourself as someone that plays quite hard or heavy. Why do you think this is?
I play a lot of music that I suppose would be considered kind of heavy, but that’s usually not the aspect of a record that makes it interesting to me. I think this mix is quite a good example of that. There are a few tracks at the end that are much heavier than the rest, but they work together sequentially for other stylistic reasons.
Do you remember a specific moment where you started taking DJing as a career path more seriously?
I usually tell people that I had to start DJing because I studied philosophy and suddenly realised I’d run out of career options, but honestly it’s been a very gradual progression towards this being my main job. Making music is also very important to me, I think starting to release records over the past couple of years has made me begin to believe that this is something I will be doing long term.
You feature in Modeselektor’s forthcoming Modeselektion Vol.04 compilation – can you describe how that came about?
They just got in touch and we made it happen! It was all very natural and easy, other than having to decide what to send when they asked me for music, which was a bit more of an internal struggle. It’s been a great experience overall and I love how the compilation turned out as a whole, so I’m just really pleased to have been asked to contribute.
What plans do you have coming up this summer?
There’s a lot going on at the moment! I’ll be playing at Berghain for the first time this Friday, which is exciting of course, but should be extra fun because I’ll be playing back-to-back with my good friend Kasper Marott. I’m also looking forward to the Modeselektion show at fabric next weekend, then I’m off to play a few shows in Australia a couple of days later. I have a record out on Earwiggle this week as Historical Repeater (a collaboration with Ctrls), and I’m hoping to squeeze in a few shows with him later in the summer. After that, I’ll just be looking forward to RBMA at the end of September.