eM Interview

eM Interview

eM Interview

After over a decade of musical and creative experimentation, eM (Emma Roberts) unleashes her entirely self-funded, written and produced nine-track opus Darker Harder, an ambient-trance fusion of eM's own design.
"I wanna show my versatility, I think a lot of artists pigeonhole themselves" eM explains, on the birth of the Darker Harder record. "I just love beats. It's an eM journey, it's hard to describe to people. I've had a seven year-old like it and a fifty year-old like it! I think it's eclectic. I've been involved with all sorts of music, I wanna grab people's attention to me and what I can do, not the type of genre. It's not necessarily the genre- a good track is a good track, no matter what"

eM has already tasted the commercial fruit; her collaboration with UK dance artist MaRLo spawned a global hit in Capture, which has since been fabulously remixed by UK heavyweight DJ Mike Koglin and hit number one on the Trackitdown Top 100. A remix disc is planned with guests like Jerome Zambino, Raf Fender, Cristian Padararu and DJ Mixman D.

Darker Harder
1. Waking Up Inside
2. To Paradise
3. I Wanna Be Close to You
4. Tempted
5. Chose
6. You Make Me Feel
7. In The Rain
8. A Miracle
9. Never Come Down

Waking Up Inside is a fragile but stirring start to this album, with eM 'facing demons'; it's a swaying, acoustic guitar-laden opener, complete with jittery shaker. It's a great song for the opening of a record; it has that sense of rebirth- new beginnings, as if one were being given a second chance. "I still have a lot to learn, to accept myself… it takes a lot of strength to stand and heal" eM sings, as a subtle dance beat eventually comes in but doesn't take away from the softness of the guitar and eM's earnest vocals.
To Paradise is starkly electric and space-like; eM's cold vocals demand you "take me to paradise" and the atmospheric chasm lulls you into a sultry dream-land. Echoic strums of rock guitar are introduced to set the pace, but the head-bobbing booming bass comes in and seeps thick and heavy from your speakers. "I place my mark upon your skin" you hear eM say, lost in love and lust, entwined with synth beats and shaky bass. "How long do I have to wait? What more do you need to see?" she asks, sensual and longing.
An eerily sparse number follows in I Wanna Be Close to You, a track sharpened by eM's icy vocals. An atmospheric, stormy synth, like the Phantom of the Opera's lonely organ, caps off a gothic love song set in a dance music frame; "I wanna be…close to you" echoes and bounces off the speakers. eM's vocal distortion serves to highlight the hopeful longing deeply embedded within the track's chilly exterior.
Tempted brings back an eerie rave memory; one of banging beats, whistle songs and flurrying lights bouncing off the dilated pupils of your furiously shuffling counterparts. "You could save my heart if you tried…" whispers eM, her vocals affecting with the kind of confusion and unrequited love we all know too well. The sounds are truly epic as eM asks, "Why do I have to play this cat and mouse game?"; eM is what we will now call a 'trance balladeer' and a sort of dripping tap sound increases the spooky factor, in a calm, austere way.
"I know I should regret this" drawls eM in the head-bobbing Chose. The distinctive and intriguing use of a djembe drum works well with the vocal echoes used in the song; they both intertwine and serve to highlight eM's feelings of regret and confusion on the track. Speedy, sharp drumbeats and the aforementioned djembe mix with old-school trance and haunting synth to create a unique listening experience. EM confesses that she "didn't ask to fall in love" and we can all empathise.
You Make Me Feel is an understated track, rich with ardour and longing ("You make me feel a part of heaven"); it's sultry, smoky and the inclusion of the ever under-used harmonica, manipulated here to sound chilling, like a jailbird on death row, work aptly to create just the right mood. Halfway through, the heady dance bass jumps in and you can already see the strobe lights kick in for that one. The earthly harmonica blends well with sharp bass and squelchy synth sound effect, showing eM's uniqueness in the dance market.
Single In The Rain is thick with echo and swaggering beat; "All I wanna do is make love to you". A slew of creepy vocal manipulation and heavy breathing gives the track a blanket of sensuality, as does a deep, dirty bass sound. The women herself talks about the process of making a video for the dark track: "We shot the video for In The Rain in freezing cold rain at the beach. That wasn't planned but it just happened to piss down the whole time! We make sadistic kind of videos; my video editor likes the darker sort of things. We wanna dabble into the Chris Cunningham area"
Miracle is your retro, old-school rave. As eM repeats "I pray for a miracle" to a sharp, spooky synth-drenched beat and fist-pumping, fuzzy drumbeat, you know this is the hands-in-the-air euphoric dance-pop highlight of the album. The track sways in and out; at first getting all up in your business, dominating you with that relentless beat, then fading out just enough to lull you into a false sense of security and then, like a freak wave, it all comes flooding back.
Never Come Down enlists the services of our friend, the hard, booming bass. The end of this nine-track voyage- what the artist herself calls "a journey of ambient love songs"- and Never Come Down is the record's party anthem, the kind you hear you from expensive car stereo systems rolling along high streets; within eM's snarling vox and ghostly sound effects and vocal echo, we can, not only a head-spinning oscillating synth sound, but a truckload of commercial appeal, comparative to Madonna's later, dancier output (think circa Frozen).

Darker Harder is available on i-Tunes now.

Interview with Emma Roberts

Question: How did it feel to hear your song played all over the airwaves?

name: The first time was 'Capture' my No.1 trance track with Australian DJ/producer MaRLo. I heard it on Above & Beyonds Trance around the World radio show and Tiesto's Club Life. Blew me away! And recently I heard my own track 'Never Come down' on Leigh Austins radio show on Discovertrance.com, awesome!

Question: Did you have any pre-conceived ideas about the music industry?

name: No I've always known its tough.

Question: Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration?

name: Yes and now I produce them. My own experiences, feelings and I'm constantly listening to latest DJ mixes for inspiration.

Question: What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?

name: So many! At the moment I'm listening to Cosmic Gate, Constant Progress, Martin Roth and can't get enough of Armins remix 'Faithless - Not Going Home'

Question: What's next? Tour/Album/Single?

name: I have a couple of releases happening off an American label I've formed alliances with 'Passport Recordings' and lining up a couple of gigs including 12th November in Melbourne. Looking at a USA tour next year to promote as I've started on the next album.

Question: Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel?

name: I've worked two jobs for over a year, sacrificed a lot to get my album done and released. Self funded, self produced, self released and although I'm proud of this, it's very hard work.

Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?

name: Both. I have been concentrating on producing over the last three years so gigs have been minimal. My CD launch was magic, there is nothing like singing your heart out to a crowd.

Question: What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?

name: I started singing at six and told my family that I wanted to be a singer when I was 15. From that point Madonna, Sinead O'Connor and Kate Bush influenced my music until I discovered dance music!

Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success?

name: To keep going despite the knockbacks. I stopped knocking on industry doors three years ago, from that point I've been doing it MY way.

Question: What's a typical day like?

name: Up until a week ago I would head to my first job 8am. Go to my second job at 5.30pm 2-3 nights a week. Come home around 9 and work on my album. Most weekends I spent working on my album or writing for other producers. Now I'm having a bit of a rest (although I can't fully walk away from the love affair I have with my computer)

Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?

name: Expressing what's inside and being able to actually put it into a track. But also, getting amazing feedback from people on how my songs affect them.

Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?

name: BT, Martin Roth, Richard Durand. On a more chilled note I love Sia.

Question: Do you have a website fans can visit?

name: www.myspace.com/mzzem

Question: Can you tell us 5 things required for a happy healthy & enjoyable life?

name: Be grateful for what you have. Love no matter what. Never hurt the ones you love. Be true to yourself. Give give give.

Question: What message would you like to say to your fans?

name: Thanks so much for your support! It keeps me living my dream. With gratitude, I am giving away a free remix on www.soundcloud.com/em_melbourne by the end of the month.

60 Second Quiz

Full Name: Emma Linda Ray Roberts (married name Kilpatrick)
Nickname(s): eM, Mzz eM
Star Sign: Cancerian
Music Talent: Vocals / producer / voiceover / bit of keyboard
Favorite Food: Porterhouse steak, sautéed mushrooms with roasted pumpkin / sweet potato and gravy
Favorite Film: Waaaaay too many - love thrillers, off beat comedy and sci-fi
Favorite Actor: Robert De Niro, Nicholas Cage and Leonardo Dicaprio
Best Feature: Eyes, Boobs
Worst Feature: Teeth. Cost a fortune and still shit.
Person You Would Most Like to Meet: Right now? That doctor off Offspring. He's HOT lol
Hobbies/Interests: I live breathe and sleep music but when I have free time, socialising, travelling, art, numerology, criminology
First Job: Sales Secretary for National Mutual Life Insurance
Are you a Pub, Bar or Club kind: All of the above, where ever there is good music
What Can You Never Leave Home Without: Make up bag and mobile
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning: Make up bag and mobile

Interview by Brooke Hunter