Keysound Recordings just released a compilation called This Is How We Roll, which should well be read as an outline of label bosses Dusk & Blackdown’s current stylistic focus for their Rinse FM show and, obviously, their record label. Without floating off into a soliloquy about how it’s difficult to find assured clusters of quality artists in this post GeoCities internet miasma, this compilation is important because it unifies these artists and gives them a collective identity - something that Keysound has always strived to offer their artists. But it’s also quite timely, considering how bleak and bare some of it can be, it’s like a new swarm of producers are harking back to early dubstep where the initial idea and the impact of it on the system was the only thing that really mattered.
EMMA is amongst that core group of artists whose stock has benefitted from the consistent Rinse FM airplay rotation and inclusion on the ...How We Roll compilation. Having only released a two sided 12” with Wavey Tones, the label arm of a South London party of the same name, her track ‘Peridot’ manages to simultaneously sum up a few characteristics of the style Dusk & Blackdown are obsessing over – the 130bpm tempo and the slight UK funky lean of the clipped drum work – whilst adding her own distinctly unique melodic slant. Like ‘Dream Phone’, the B-side taken from her Wavey Tones release, ‘Peridot’ is driven by several little rifts of synth work layered on top of each other to draw out and drive-on the drums.
Other than a geographical reference, “Merseyside-born, Putney-based,” which we just lifted from a Boomkat review, there’s very little information out there about her (that's not her pictured btw), so ahead of her back to back set with Moleskin at the compilation launch in Room Three this Friday we entered into an email chain to try and find out a little more about her…
Obviously you’re part of this cluster of Keysound artists whose work kind of sits at this “dark 130” junction that people have latched onto, but how did you get into production in the first place?
It was a combination of factors, but when it became harder to find music I liked to listen to around 2007 I thought I better do something about it, and the easiest thing to do was to start making what I wasn’t hearing. Then my mate hooked me up with Fruity Loops and a few drum samples, gun shots etc. I phased the gun shots out in 2008….
And similarly, what do you think it is that inspires you to make the kind of music you make? What informs it do you think? Like, Martin was telling me your pals with Sully, do you think his love of bruk, swung rhythms rubbed off on you a bit?
Well Sully is a genius, out there on his own, unfortunately I don’t think I can claim any of his rhythmic knowledge and style has rubbed off on me; I don’t know what bruk means for starters. His approach is something which has influenced me though – his musicality, the way his tunes can make you react or feel, if any of my stuff makes people feel like that that would be a bonus.
I tend to come at it from a melodic synthy perspective and then chuck a few drums in for admin purposes. When I make a tune it’s generally inspired by something abstract that’s had an impact on me, a lot of psychedelic music from the past and the ideas that went with it. Also things like footage of old Hollywood.
Lately when I’m producing I think “Could Brian Cox talk about the end of the universe over this?”
I know what you mean, I like to look at this as often as possible >>> http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html <<< and just remind myself that there are much bigger things out there. How does it feel to be included amongst such a plethora of new breed artists in the context of the ...How We Roll compilation?
I didn't know about that site - looks ace. Yeah that's my thoughts exactly. It's great being part of Keysound, I always half thought Dusk and Blackdown might like my stuff but I never got round to telling anyone what I was doing. It's good to have a bit of recognition, not least for wrestling with Fruity Loops for over 5 years and having something to show for it!
I feel like the compilation crystalizes that we've all got a role to play within Keysound, taking up a different part of the spectrum. Though I'm excited about Fabric ‘cause it will give people a chance to hear what I've been working on as part of a wider theme.
What have you been working on? What do you think your set holds in store? Will it be something else to what people might expect considering you’re involvement in the compilation?
If people have only heard my compilation track then I guess they'd be a bit like: "what's this Magic Roundabout, sugary, baroque UK funky about? Refund please…" but I have a feeling the 10pm crew will be familiar with my bits that Martin has played on his show. Plus I've got some new bits from the Brian Cox universe influence which may or may not clear the dancefloor.
Oh and, um, Martin also mentioned you’re a little bit obsessed with Microsoft Encarta ’96… can you tell us a bit about that particular fascination?
I just think the idea of the monopoly the Encarta encyclopaedia had on knowledge is ridiculous in the context of the present day, I’m not ashamed to say it’s my muse. Anyone reading this who had completely forgotten about it – you’re welcome.
Catch EMMA in Room Three DJing as part of the launch party for Keysound Recordings This Is How We Roll compilation this Friday night.