Saturday, May 16, 2009

Exclusive Interview: Emmon

A short time ago whilst playing records at Pleasant, a nice girl came up to us and told us that we were playing great music that you seldom hear at places in Stockholm. She said it was fun to share the good music interest with us. Then she left and fifteen minutes later she came back with a signed copy of her new record “Closet Wanderings”. A nice girl making great music, her name is Emmon!

Hello Emmon, or Emma, which is your real name. Who is really Emma aka Emmon?
From a subjective point of view it’s a tough question to answer. Maybe it’s as simple that we are the same creative, crazy for music, irascible and explosive person that are busy as a bee. But Emmon suits me better as an artist, and at the same time it gives me an alter ego to fall back on and simultaneously it gives me the chance to live out my extrovert pop star dreams through Emmon.

I would describe your music as modern electro pop with big influences from synth. But how would you self describe your music?
I think it’s a fair and significant description of my music that I totally agree with.

Right now you are very hot and much stuff is going on with Emmon, lots of projects, live gigs and a remix competition of your forthcoming single. Besides that your new record “Closet Wanderings” received very good reviews from the music critics. Have you got the act of hubris now and cruising the city in a white limousine?
The only thing I can get the act of hubris of is when I see how the hard work really pays off. I think I could be kind of hard to satisfy, especially when I’m doing almost everything that’s creative for Emmon. It includes everything from writing songs, record, produce, mix, make covers, make videos and direct photo shoots. The big issue for me is maybe my bad patience with myself. I believe that you always can make more out and reach higher levels. Not even the sky is the limit!!

I also must take the opportunity to congratulate you, because your birthday was a few days ago. I suppose you celebrated a little when you played live in Eskilstuna last Friday? How did the gig work out?
Thank you very much! It was fantastic! It also was the first ever performance for a new member of my little band I have when I performs live with Emmon. Niklas “the Driller” Kärreskog is our new keyboardist together with me and Tony “the Beat” Ahola on drumpads. Jon Axelsson from Melody Club is also participating as keyboardist from time to time but right now he is quite busy with the tour for his own band.

By the way so are you and Jon Axelsson engaged. How is it to be together with another musician? Are you going on each other’s nerves or does it take a musician to understand a musician?
We’ve been together for quite a while and of course it’s an advantage that we both are musicians. It probably gives one another more insight and understanding to the great amount of time and energy you put into your music. To work as a musician in that intense way we do is a kind of crazy and different way of living, which almost certainly demands much understanding from a partner. In our case we often push each other forward, support each other and always helps out when help is needed. Besides that it is a priceless benefit to have such a good musician and technician as Jon close at hands when my patience fails.

Right after the gig in Eskilstuna you went straight to Helsinki in Finland for the next live set. It was not the first time you played live in Helsinki. Is it maybe so, that the Finnish are your greatest fans?
All Emmon fans are the greatest fans. But it’s true that lately a growing fan base has emerged in Finland, and that of course makes me happy. It’s also happening things in the eastern parts of Europe and I will for example release my new record in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

You have recently also been involved in the project “An Evening With Depeche Mode” with several of other great Swedish artists such as Henric de la Cour och Tingsek. You have touring around Sweden and paid tribute to Depeche Mode. You got the honour to perform one of the biggest synth hits ever “Enjoy the Silence”. How did that feel and how did the tour work out?
It has worked out very well and it was a great honour to perform a hit of that calibre. I also sang “I Want You Now”, that also is a great Depeche song. It’s always fun to be a part of these kinds of projects with other talented artists, people that you get to know and become friends with. I’ve been a part of several other Depeche Mode tributes before and the next is as soon as May 20th at Kolingsborg in Stockholm. It will be a tribute to the album “Some Great Reward” from 1984.

As mentioned before, your forthcoming single “Lips on Fire” had a remix competition. It seemed like it was a tough decision to crown the best remix of all good remixes?
It was horrible! So hard having to decide between so many good remixes even if there were a few that didn’t reach that class. If I alone could decide, I had let plenty of remixes win, but now it wasn’t me alone and we had different opinions. So it came up with a compromise. But one thing for sure, I will have a lot of great remixes to play next time I’m DJing.

You have also been doing quite a lot of remixes yourself. Of course you’ve been remixing a few songs for Melody Club but also for acts like The Knife, BWO, Universal Poplab, Soviac, Paris and recently for Don Juan Dracula. How do you choose which songs to remix?
It’s different from time to time; the latest remix I did was for Jacques C’s “A Moral Life”. I happened to be introduced to that song and instantly felt that it was a tune I wanted to make a remix of. I often get proposals of songs to remix and if it’s sounds nice I go for it! Unfortunately I have been forced to turn down several good songs lately just because I put the production of “Closet Wanderings” in the first place. I love to do remixes and could be doing it full-time if that possibility existed but there are so many other things that must be done before the remixing thing.

Recently you also have been hanging out in a dark basement, when it was springtime outside, to record the video to “Lips on Fire”. Tell us about that experience?
It was everything, but not hot and sunny. In the video I should look sweaty, dirty and quite beaten up. For that reason, over and over I was poured with water and had to crawl around on dirty cellar floors in two days. So I really hope that the material was good even if it was my own fault, because I came up with the idea and produces it together with Tony and Niklas (from the Emmon live band) and Niklas’ brother Joakim Kärreskog.

Until the new video is out, watch this video for "Secrets & Lies":

Since 2006 you are with the record label Wonderland Records. They are based in Lerum outside Gothenburg. A quite odd remark is that I actually grew up close to Lerum, in a place called Floda. How about that odd remark and how is the collaboration with Wonderland working out?
Oh, that was quite an odd remark, that area of Sweden grew a lot of great music taste! Wonderland Records gives me that artistic freedom I need as an artist, and that is exactly what I’m looking for from a record label. To be with a more alternative label doesn’t give you all the resources and benefits as a more established and bigger label. But the most important thing for me is to collaborate with people that share the same interest for creative solutions and also have music as primary driving force rather than economical interests.

Emmon is your solo project but you are also a member of the indie pop band Paris. I presume that you are fully focused on the Emmon project right now or do you have time for Paris also?
I always keep full focus on both my music projects. The advantage of Paris is that I’m not alone; there are three more members in the band that hold one's position and I trust them big time. Paris has by the way started recording album #4 and will shortly release a new single and video.

And the final question is about your background as an art student at Konstfack (University College of Arts, Crafts and Design) where you studied a few years back and actually came up with the whole idea about Emmon. But what do you think about the cultural debate lately, regarding the two students that have received huge negative criticism due to their degree projects?
I actually haven’t gotten into that debate enough to make a fair comment about it. But it’s crucial that the art institution exists further on, as an active and daring comment to our contemporary period to have the possibility to make problems visible and enable the opportunity for changes.

Tracasseur wants to say thanks for a very lovely chat with Sweden’s next big electro pop queen! Good luck!
Thank you very much yourself!! I hope we get the chance to play together soon in a near future.

You can buy the record here and you can also listen on Spotify. And here are some candy for you from Emmon:

Emmon - Lips on Fire

Emmon - Secrets & Lies

Emmon - Belarusian Night

The Knife - You Take My Breath Away (Emmon Remix)

Don Juan Dracula - New Sensation (Emmon Remix)