Emerson Todd

Truth be told, next Saturday's line-up at fabric has left us feeling quite dizzy. After hearing the news that label heavyweights Dirtybird, Get Physical and Canadian beat-smiths Art Department will be thrilling adventure seekers around the clock, we’ve been doing cartwheels with excitement.

One New Zealand ex-pat who’s also fully amped for the night as well as making his own debut at our disco is Emerson Todd. Originally from New Zealand, now living in Berlin, Emerson’s unique style of jacking wonky house music has made its way onto Cocoon, Get Physical and Upon You Records to name but a few. So without holding our breath, we decided it was time to pin the melody maker down to hear more on his upcoming release with Jonny Cruz out next month, the secret behind Get Physical's legacy and the best way to make a mean Kiwi & The Coconut Pie.

Download: Emerson Todd - fabric Promo Mix

What have you been up to recently?
Settling into my new studio in Berlin, making it all homely and ready for the winter. I figure I will probably be locked in there a lot in the coming months... my first real winter of hibernation ahead.

Can you tell us how and where your fabric promo mix was recorded?
It was recorded in my studio in Berlin using Traktor scratch and nice cup of tea.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the idea behind the mix?
Well it’s about fabric really... I am pretty excited to be playing fabric for the first time so its stuff that I am really into at the moment that I would really like to play at the club.

What’s your own history with electronic music—how did you discover it, and how did you come to start making it? We heard your mother owned several independent record stores back in the day….
I was pretty lucky as I had access to a lot of music growing up, so I became a music collector at young age. I discovered electronic music around '93 when I was taken to rave by a friend and then I just started hunting it out. I would listen to the local dance music show on the radio and write down the tracks that the played and then find them. Back then, the only way for me to get the music was on vinyl so I slowly built up a collection and djing naturally followed. The production came not long after as with the collecting of music I was very inquisitive and really wanted to know how it was made.

So I used to go in and sit with anyone I could find who had a drum machine or a synth, just so I could see how these weird new sounds were made. The natural step was then to start to save my money and buy my own gear. Like my beloved first MPC, we went through a lot together...

What’s your process like in the studio? What kind of gear are you using and what inspires you once the doors are closed?
Well that changes a lot, I like to keep things fresh and not repeat too many processes when I work, so I am always mixing things up. That's why it takes me so long to finish stuff too ha! Double edge sword that one.

I have a pretty basic set up these days, as with all the traveling I have done its not been possible to drag lots of analogue gear around the globe.. so its basically a mac running ableton, a few bits of outboard like synths and drums machines.

For me its about the working environment as you spend so much time in there, so I have a nicely acoustic treated studio with my trusty Dynaudio monitors, a large couch and an air hockey table.. We are going to have a winter air hockey tournament with the guys in the studios next to me. Norm from Luna City Express is the one to watch though, he just kicked my ass 9-2 today.

Tell us about your upcoming release with Jonny Cruz ‘The Kiwi & The Coconut Pie EP’ on My Favorite Robot Records out early next month?
I met Jonny at Sonar this year and he moved to Berlin about the same time as me, so we hung out and he came up to the studio and things just worked really well between us. I had been talking to the guys at MFR about doing a record for them and it just seemed natural to do it with Jonny. We wrote a few tracks really quickly as we had a real clear vision of what we wanted to create it was very organic and we plan to do more together soon.

What’s your recipe for Kiwi & The Coconut Pie?
Add one part Puerto Rican, one part kiwi add secret herbs and spices.. mix in a acoustically treated room and leave to sit for a few hours before eating.

Which of your peers are you particularly feeling right now?
Maya Jane Cole is doing some really beautiful music, I really like her stuff.

You recently featured on Get Physical’s 8th annual Anniversary Compilation mixed by Thomas Schumacher with the secret breakdown of free jazz, ‘Make Me’ alongside Tim Green. Tell us about your relationship with the Berlin-based label and the secret behind dancefloor legacy?
I did my first release with them at the end of 2009 after I sent DJ T some tracks, it all happened very quickly and I have done a few more since then. They are a great label to work with everyone is so helpful and very friendly.. they are just a damn pleasure to work with to be honest. They have a lot of diversity to their releases and I really think that has helped to make them what they are, it can’t always be about dance floor bombs. There has to be some depth to a label or it tires quickly, I think they have managed that well over the last 8 years.

Are you excited for your fabric gig alongside M.A.N.D.Y and Heidi? What can we expect?
Damn straight... I am really amped to be playing..  fabric is somewhere that I have wanted to play for a long time so I am pretty excited to be playing for the first time. It’s going to be a really fun night I know everyone who is playing which is pretty funny and probably very dangerous at the same time. I am looking forward to catching up with the Dirtybird crew and Art Department, I haven’t seen the guys in a while so it will be a great time I am sure of it.

What can we expect from you for 2011: other tracks? An album?
Yeah I am not sure about an album yet, it may be on the cards but to be honest I am enjoying doing EPs at the moment but a few months locked in my new studio will tell me a lot more. Its been a couple of years since I have had my own studio space so I am pretty excited to see how my sound will develop working in the one space again.

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