A little over a month ago, a dear friend of mine turned me on to a great new indie band from the UK, called EmT. Being a massive fan of synth-pop, I always take special notice of bands whose music falls under the banner of that particular style. I discovered them via their SoundCloud page, by way of a really fantastic electronic music group on Facebook, run by my good friend, Shaun Kelly.
Shaun spoke very highly of EmT, and I just had to see what all the fuss was about. I must say, I wasn’t prepared for what I heard. I’ve heard hundreds of thousands of synth bands in my 40-plus years living on this Earth, and only a small fraction of them are worth listening to repeatedly. But every now and then you discover one that truly stands out from the others. Something that makes you step back and say, ‘Whoa! They’re really onto something there!”.
My first listen of EmT provided me with just such a moment.
I had to know more! I had to hear more!
So I set out to find out more about this promising new act from the UK. For the uninitiated……. EmT are an electronic pop duo from London, comprised of singer Ema Walter, and synth wizard, Tony Blue.
With silky smooth soul-infused female vocals that hearken to the best work of Alison Moyet and Lisa Stansfield, and a musical style that’s old-school synth-pop with a refreshing modern twist, I instantly fell head-over-heels for this band. Their track ‘Stay‘ hasn’t left my ears since I first listened to it. One listen to that track and you’re lost forever in its melody & sublime harmonies.
Over the past month I’ve become acquainted with Tony Blue, one of the two members comprising EmT, and I invited him…. or rather, his band, to become the subject of the very first Artist Spotlight here on my Eminent Domain blog. Much to my delight, he agreed, and I’m now happy to share with you the following insight into this truly noteworthy and magnificent up-and-coming band.
The following is a Q&A session I conducted recently with Tony via email:
Please tell us a bit about EmT. For starters, how did EmT come into being? Where do you hail from? How did you meet?
We were in a band a few years ago with another friend, and did pretty well in and around the London area, and even securing a record deal. When that came to an end, we all went our separate ways, but the two of us (Tony and Ema) got back together about three years ago and began writing again. We’re both from Northwest London, and met when my original band needed a singer. Ema auditioned and got the job!!
The name EmT is no great mystery, it’s the ‘Em’ of Ema, and the ‘T’ of Tony. We liked the way it sounded and looked.
In regards to the band’s identity…….how would you describe your personalities? For instance, is one of you a control-freak in the studio, or do you divide up the creative process equally? Is there anything quirky or silly in your personalities we should know to help us put a more human face on EmT?
Ema is open to ideas and adds her own spin on my initial direction for songs. I’m a perfectionist and know how I want things to sound. A lot of the time I write the music separately and then send the idea(s) to Ema, who then works on vocal lines and lyrics. We then get together, bounce ideas, and finally record! Although we take the songwriting and recording seriously, we often spend the time having a laugh, usually at each other’s expense! And although it sounds corny, our songs are more important than our image, and we don’t spend much time thinking about it.
In listening to your demos on SoundCloud, I would like to immediately point out that they sound far better as ‘demos’, than many other artists’ finished product does, so you clearly seem to have a leg up on many indies simply on the strength of your demos. Furthermore, upon listening to them, I can hear many wide-ranging influences in there: synth-pop, electro, and even some R&B. That’s how I would define it, anyway. More importantly, how does EmT define their sound? Who, or what are your influences and inspiration?
Thanks for the compliment! We would describe our songs as electronic, with a pop edge. Our influences are just too many to list! We love: synth-pop, electronica, glitch, ambient, dance, and any song that’s got decent lyrics and a good tune.
In regards to your song, ‘Stay’, I have to say that it’s one of the most moving tracks I’ve heard in a very long time. I listen to a lot of synth-pop, but it’s very rare that a song captures my attention and my heart so strongly as ‘Stay’ has with me. It’s one of the most perfect pop songs I’ve heard in a long time. Please tell us how this particular track came about?
‘Stay’ was one of the first songs we wrote when we got back together, and it confirmed to us that we still had a strong writing partnership. Ema had written the lyrics before hearing the music, and the two just seemed to come together perfectly – more by luck than judgement! Thanks for liking it as much as we do.
Another thing about EmT that stands out to me right away is how well-organized the songs are. Not just from a production and/or engineering aspect, but also from a traditional songwriting perspective. You actually write songs, if that makes any sense? in other words, you seem to put sincere effort not just into the sounds you use, or the rhythmic aspects, you also write lyrics that have depth and sincerity. Strip away all the technology, and there’s still a song there! Is this a conscious decision on your part to write the good, old-fashioned verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus sort of song, or did it just end up that way?
We have always written in a traditional songwriting way – it is very much a conscious decision, and works for us.
Do you feel that sometimes the art of songwriting gets lost in the pursuit of the newest and latest music-making technology?
Not especially – We like the right sounds to make a song work, but the song ALWAYS comes first.
Self-promotion as an indie artist can be a financially-challenging and emotionally-draining task. What are some of the challenges you’ve come across in getting EmT out there for the world to hear?
It’s definitely much less of a challenge nowadays, as everyone is so connected, although it can be hard to keep up with all the emails, page updates, and huge amounts of information that’s available. On a positive note, we’ve found ourselves amongst a great community of like-minded and supportive musicians.
What are your aspirations for EmT in both the long and short-term?
In the long-term we intend to self-release an album and play live. In the short-term we will be releasing or first downloadable single/EP soon.
Who are some artists, indie, or otherwise, that you’re really into right now, and is there anybody you’d love to have a chance to work with?
We already had our song, ‘Walk Away’ remixed by Jonteknik (Jon Russell), who we also hope to collaborate with in the future. We would love to work with Tim Simenon from Bomb The Bass, who we think is an incredible producer. Currently we are listening to Indiana, Jon Hopkins, and Saint Saviour.
For all the trainspotters and Anoraks who read my blog (you know who you are!), would you care to share any of the kit list currently used by EmT?
We keep it simple and use Logic for our DAW. Various free soft synths, such as the TAL plug-ins, and we also use Sylenth. Plus we have our own bank of various different samples, a lot of which we use for creating rhythm tracks. We sometimes play around with our MicroKorg XL, which is just a fantastic little synth.
Lastly……… when can we expect an album or single release from EmT, and what venue(s) will you use to get it out there to the masses?
We hope to have our first single at the end of this year, and intend for it to be released through all the major places like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.
What is the airspeed velocity of an un-laden Swallow?
Depends……. an African, or a European?
We have a winner, folks! 🙂
So there you have it.
A rare insight into the soon-to-be-massive art machine known as EmT! At the time of this article, we are still waiting for that glorious release date of their first single. But Tony assures me it’s coming VERY soon!
For the time being, you can check EmT out on SoundCloud. I strongly recommend you check out their track ‘Stay‘, and also ‘Regret‘, which Tony tells me is likely to be their debut single. You can check both songs out here:
You can also follow them on their official Facebook page:
Don’t delay……. get out there and discover this band NOW! Believe me, you will thank me in the morning.
Many thanks to Tony and Ema of EmT for taking the time to allow us to get to know them a bit better.
Jimm Kjelgaard – October 2013