Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ EMA

To accompany her new record release The Future’s Void, noise-rock artist EMA (Erika M. Anderson) shared Back to the Void last week — a digital zine that showcases her creation process of the album. In support of the release, EMA will play Toronto’s The Drake Hotel Toronto tonight. Ahead of the show we were given the opportunity of giving Erika a call to discuss Back to the Void, old giant televisions, Back to the Future, and advice on packing for a tour — enjoy!

AMBY: Welcome to A Music Blog, Yea? and thanks for speaking with me today.

EMA: Of course, thanks.

AMBY: You released your record The Future’s Void back in April and just shared your exciting project Back to the Void with fans. Please explain the project to me – how did you come up with this online zine?

EMA: That’s been something I’ve been working on for a few months now. I got really excited when I saw the Newhive platform and how open it was. I feel like The Future’s Void is only one part of this whole body of work and this whole thought process. The music is one thing, but you only get a slice of what I was thinking, reading, going through, and what visual art we were creating. I wanted to put it all together.

AMBY: I was looking through some of the slides, and you’re right – it really does take you behind the scenes to what you were personally experiencing. After sharing this with your fans, what would you say were some of the highlights you had while creating The Future’s Void?

EMA: I think hanging out and jamming with people because practicing and writing was really fun. I actually went and mixed it in Italy, which was kind of strange, but that’s how it worked out because I had to get out of my own environment. After that I got to go to Slovenia and my Dad met me there. We hung out and it was my first time over there and it was really informative and eye-opening for me.

AMBY: My favourite slide is the one about the television. In the midst of recording, you kept wishing for a giant and old big screen TV. Why was that exactly?

EMA: Our studio is down in a basement. It’s basically a garage below the apartment. There’s no natural light at all so I kept wishing for a big screen TV that we could put stuff on so it would feel like there was a window. I ended up finding one that was right outside the door. I didn’t move it downstairs because it was so fucking heavy.

AMBY and EMA: [laughs]

EMA: It’s in our living room now. We got rid of our dining room table.

AMBY: Who needs to eat when you have scenery on a television?

EMA: [laughs] We never use the dining room table, but I did want this TV.

AMBY: You decided to call the project Back to the Void. With the album being titled The Future’s Void, were you going for a Back to the Future reference?

EMA: Ah, I was choosing that one at random. People were saying that I should put a spin on it, either “Into the Void” or “Back to the Void” or something like that. They thought I should reference the album title in some way. It’s something like Back to the Future. Why not? I’ve seen the movie!

AMBY: It’s a good movie.

EMA: I think we had it recorded on VHS so I never saw the beginning. It’s one of those things where we missed recording the beginning but I’ve seen the film like fifty times.

AMBY: With the release being earlier this year, what are your thoughts on the album now that there’s been some time to reflect on it?

EMA: That’s a good question. It’s weird; in some way I feel like I completed the project just today by releasing Back to the Void. I feel like it all makes more sense when it’s viewed in complement with all of this other stuff that’s going on.

AMBY: You finished touring alongside Spoon, but have some headline shows coming up which includes a date in Toronto on the 30th.

EMA: Yea!

AMBY: What do you look forward to most as far as being on the road goes?

EMA: Oh geez. A lot of the time being on the road can be pretty rough in a lot of ways. I really love the band I’m playing with and I feel like we’re getting better and better. I’m feeling really good about that.

AMBY: While on tour, what are some quintessential items you must have with you?

EMA: If I were to give anyone advice on packing, I feel like you should pack as much underwear as possible.

AMBY and EMA: [laughs]

EMA: And then three other things you’d wear. Make sure the suitcase is half underwear and then make sure you have some sweatpants – you’re going to want something comfy in the van. I like to have books if I can. I’m a real comfort person when I’m on the road; I want earplugs, sweatpants…

AMBY: I don’t see why someone wouldn’t want those? I’ll never understand wearing heels and jeans while on a road trip.

EMA: Oh my god, you need it. Sometimes you get half of your sleep in the back of a van.

AMBY: You were also recently on David Letterman. What was that experience like for you?

EMA: It was really fun. There were times when I was really nervous, you know? I think I was more nervous the week before than actually being there. It was really cool, very old school New York. I didn’t understand what an institution it was and what it meant until I was there. It was fun and I had a good time. It’s not that hard, it’s just one song! And we practiced the fuck out of it [laughs].

AMBY: It’s been a real pleasure speaking with you today, Erika. To wrap things up, I must ask: what’s something about yourself that most of your fans don’t know yet?

EMA: Thanks you. A lot of times in interviews, people say “I wasn’t expecting you to be so nice and friendly.”

AMBY: Really?

EMA: Some people say that before or after the interview.

AMBY: I thought you were going to be nice, if that’s elevating at all?

EMA: [laughs] That’s good, thanks!


Thank you EMA, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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