5 Minutes With… Emika

EMIKA‘s status as one of the most captivating, innovative and ambitious artists in electronic music is cemented further with the release of her new album DREI – one of two LPs the Berlin-based, Anglo-Czech talent is releasing in 2015. With a musical vision that’s equal parts Blondie and Kraftwerk, romance and sci-fi, her two albums with Ninja TuneEMIKA’ and ‘DVA’ garnered widespread praise and marked her out as one of the most exciting names amidst the new generation of DIY artists. Producing, singing, songwriting, performing live and curating her visuals, she is an artist truly in charge of her own destiny.

We caught up with Emika ahead of her live album showcase which will be taking place at Electrowerkz, 15 August, to talk Berlin, Bristol and being the head of your own label. 

Hi Emika! Where are you speaking to us from today?

Hello, how’s it going, I’m mixing in my studio in Berlin. 
How are things going at Emika Records?
It’s all very interesting, I’m working with my friends, all very creative and fiercely independent, we have some great projects in the making like my records for 2016 and my first symphony score is nearly complete.  
You had two critically acclaimed albums on Ninja Tune before launching your own label. What lead you to decide that it was time to take things into your own hands?
I just wanted to go back to being an artist in Berlin, thinking art things and being independent.  I’ve got a different approach to business, because I mix and produce my own records and feel it is important to be able to manage the releases right the way through all the processes involved in record production.  I can educate myself in all the areas as I go, and therefore spot new ideas or ways to improve my work.  I like to be on the front line with my audience and being able to give them everything from my heart. 

What would you say are some of the pro’s and con’s of releasing your own material on your own label? Do you feel like there’s added pressure?
I feel less pressure, because I now have a license to fully express myself in many different areas of sound and music.   It is very difficult today for all freelance creatives in Europe, the hussle and the grind some days does get me down.  But if you focus on great music and express as much beautiful creativity, give it all, share, that is ultimately what makes me happy and the rest is all just part of the day job.  Running things is not glamorous or particularly exciting, its a normal job with emails, accounting, planning and execution, this backbone is what gives me the stability to be free as an artist.
What were the reactions like with Klavirni and DREI (both released on your own imprint) in comparison to your first two albums?
I think my fans and audience are pretty happy with the transformations I make in sound and style, and also a little surprised with the piano one.  
You’ve toured the world, worked with some of the biggest names in electronic music, performed a Boiler Room set on top of a plethora of huge achievements. Can you pinpoint some of the stand out moments?
When DJ mag announced my new label and the symphony project.  I’m amazed that the electronic world is interested in this side of what I do.  Also finally being given some space in the tech world to share what I actually do every day, record production, via the in-the-studio Future Music Magazine video. (Watch below).

The reaction from their audience in the comments was pretty shocking, being judged by my gender and somewhat abused for it.  But this has sparked another project I want to work on which will hopefully change the image of who a record producer can be.  And of course, performing live at Glastonbury this year was cool, that festival is so full of love, it’s hard to express in words.
You moved from Bristol to Berlin a while back. Is there a difference in the way that the two cities have directly influenced your music?
Bristol taught me about the powerful spiritual possibilities of sound through bass music.
Berlin taught me about the techno movements, in which I observe many artists longing to follow one sound concept for dance music.  I find this need to be a creative belonging to one musical form very fascinating.
How beneficial has being “classically trained in music” been for you? Can you explain for those that don’t know what it means to be classically trained?

Classically trained can mean, that you understand the construction of western harmony, and if you study long enough, you can become a composer and work with melodies, rhythm, harmony, instruments, in relation to what has happened before you, the history of music can be a useful reference point in order to understand if what you are making today is relevant or good.

A little while ago we read an article where you explained your interest in field recordings and engaging in music on a deeper level. Tell us a bit more about this…

I like to study the perception of sound.  How we hear and decode the sounds around us.  If you can bring this awareness into musical composition, the results can be surprising and independent of the genre boxes.  To study sound, is to study life itself.

Who are you listening to at the moment?

Queens of The Stonage, Animals As Leaders, Lana Del Ray, Depeche Mode, Bruckner, Alexander, John Cage, The Black Dog, The Exaltics, CNCPT, James Ruskin, Kamikaze Space Programme, Eomac
Finally, what can we expect from your performance at the album showcase?
Hard fast deep intense emotional music, electro resonance and beautiful evokative LED visuals which express my soul in more ways than one.  It’s a sci-fi show, I’m a sci-fi girl.
For tickets and more information on Emika‘s album showcase, click here.


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