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Interview: Emma Louise

‘Lilac Everything’ is the third album from Emma Louise and her most obtuse. Recorded over many locations across the world with the help of renowned songwriter, Tobias Jesso Jr, the record is a completely austere and unique experience for both Emma Louise and her fans. We catch up with the artist to break down the novel production she’s chosen for this album.

Upon listening to your first single, those pitched-down vocals are quite a surprise, but after listening to the album in full it’s actually really beautiful. What was the reason behind pitching your vocals down, and will it affect the way you perform the songs live?

Well, I didn’t really think too hard about it, when I was 18 I had the idea to do a full album pitched down, because I heard my voice slowed down on tape and I loved it and called the character Joseph… Then I heard the album, and I was really proud of it, I was really proud of the songs and everything and we were in the last session and I was just like, “what would this sound like pitched down?” And then I heard it pitched down and I was just like, “Yep.” I just felt like that was what it was meant to be the whole time. It’s weird to explain, but it was just like a feeling that I had when I heard it… From there, we took it to Shawn Everett who is just, you know, an incredible mixer… and he did what he did with the vocals and mixed all the sounds together.

I understand that you booked a rather spontaneous trip to Mexico, where the album was written. Did you have intentions of writing upon booking the trip?

No, which was probably very healthy… whenever I go somewhere with the intention of writing it’s always very painful and I’ve learnt that… So that was probably very good because I’d just written and I didn’t need to write an album. It was kinda just like I went for a holiday and I just stored up lots of feelings and experiences and it all just kind of came out.

How did the Mexican culture influence your writing?

I don’t know so much about the culture, but it definitely gave me a lot of freedom to do exactly what I wanted to do. When I was in Australia or when I’m in a city, I’m influenced by the radio and success and all that painful stuff… it really affects writing, it blocks me. Just being in Mexico was really, really good because I was just writing purely from my heart and not from anywhere else.

You were lucky enough to work with the amazing Tobias Jesso Jr as your producer. How did this come about, especially given that he has not produced anything before?

I contacted him and sent him a demo… I sent him Wish You Well and he sent an email saying that he gets sent heaps of demos every day, but he was like, “this is the best one I’ve ever been sent,” and I was like, “Whaaaat! That’s crazy!” because I hadn’t really shown anyone these kinds of songs because they were different… so that was really reassuring and he was like, “come to LA and let’s talk about it!” And then I went to LA, I already had all these songs so he couldn’t really help me write, so I was like, “would you produce it?” and he was like, “uh… yeah!” I knew that we were on the same page with the songs and what we wanted them to be. It was so much fun… the whole recording process and everything. It seemed to come together so easily.

And finally, is there any chance of a national tour for ‘Lilac Everything’?

We’re waiting to hear back from a few people but I’d like to do something. Maybe not a full tour, but it will be special. I’ve had a show with my voice pitched down and it was really, really, really good. There’s just something really special about playing this album live with the vocals. I want to do something, but personally, I need a bit of a break… I really feel like I just need to focus on myself for a bit and just work through a few things, but I also want to do the album as much as I can. So I’m not too sure yet… we’re just kind of planning it by ear, and whatever the album wants to do, I’ll do it.

Written by Sarah Schietroma