Emma Louise talks us through the making of her bold new sound

Words by Nicole La Ruffa

And the creation of an alter ego.

Lilac Everything; A Project by Emma Louise boasts 10 soulful tracks with ethereal-like harmonies. On first listen, you likely wouldn’t recognise the singer’s sweet-sounding vocals – which shine in previous tracks like ‘Jungle’ and ‘Underflow’. Instead, she takes on a lower-pitched persona, altering each track on the record to deliver a bold new sound.

In a recent chat, we picked her creative brain for the low-down on Lilac Everything.

Hi Emma. Your upcoming record, Lilac Everything, is a musical exploration of your life since the release of Supercry. How transformative have the past two years been for you?

I learnt a lot through living and stuff but musically, I’ve definitely concentrated more on honing my songwriting. I’ve just been trying to be a better songwriter. And that kind of goes along with all the lessons that I’m learning, you know being a human (laughs). I guess they kind of work together, and that’s where the album came out of.

The idea to pitch down your vocals came during the final moments of the recording process. How do you think that ultimately impacted the record?

I think it definitely changed the album a lot. As soon as I heard the vocals on it, like pitched down, I knew straight away that was the way the album was meant to be. And then when the decision to pitch down the vocals was made, when we handed it in to the mixer – Shawn Evere – he kind of changed the sound of the instruments on the album, and it all weaved together differently.

You first toyed with this idea while making your debut album, Vs Head Vs Heart, back in 2013. Can you tell us about your lower-pitched alter ego?

I recorded Vs Head Vs Heart on tape, and I heard my voice pitched down – and I loved it so much. I called the character Joseph. He doesn’t really have a personality or anything, it was just the sound of the voice that was so different, I kind of wanted to name it. It’s just a different expression of me through a different voice.

You sent some tracks to Canadian producer and singer/songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr., and the album was born. What was it like working with him?

It was amazing. We were definitely on the same page musically. We really understood each other. We worked really well together, and it was a very exciting time, everything seemed to flow really easily and he’s an incredible songwriter. I felt so lucky that he liked my songs enough to want to produce them. I showed him the songs and originally we had planned to write together, but I had already written most of the album. And he was like: ‘oh there’s nothing really I can do’, so I asked him if he would produce it and he was very keen. I was just, you know, flattered. The whole process was amazing.

The album certainly sets itself apart from the rest. Can we expect more unique production elements in the future?

Yeah, I would say so. Every album I do will probably be different from the last.

The track ‘Mexico’ pays tribute to the place where much of the album was written. What inspired you most during your getaway?

I think just the space from the whole world. In Mexico I was so far away from the scene or what is cool and what’s not cool. It was just the freedom and writing whatever came out – whatever was true – and being free to do whatever I wanted to creatively.

Is there a particular theme you always find yourself revisiting in your songwriting?

Not really, no. I mean as a person I definitely tend to analyse myself. I’m curious as to who I am as a person and how I feel in certain situations or in certain relationships. I draw from experience, and also other people’s experiences too. Just human emotions, I guess.

Lilac Everything is out now via Liberation Records.


This article was originally published in Fashion Journal 183. You can read it here.

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