Interview: Emma Essinger – OH OH OH

Emma personifies the essence of a cool and colorful artist, writing and producing her music and on top of that she is one of the most outstanding sax players out there.

Hi Emma Essinger, how are you today? 

I’m pretty good! I’ve been in a dark wardrobe all day recording tenor sax.. I heard it’s been a beautiful day here in Stockholm, but who needs sunshine if you’ve got a nice sax take anyway… 

How would you describe your sound? 

I’d say it’s a mix of organic instruments and electronic elements. I often seem to like things pretty raw and energetic. I want it to start me up in a way. I like to experiment a little bit in the recording process, not record everything “by the book”. Like record saxophones / drum elements in a basement with a cool acoustic that gives it an authentic reverb. And I also like to save some “dirt”  and not clean everything up. To me that’s more thrilling..

Which artists have influenced you the most over the years? 

Prince is an artist that’s always been close to heart since the day I discovered him. The sounds, dead on target productions/arrangements, the catchiness, the cockiness, straight to the point, feels like he had a vision and he knew exactly what to do with it. And he also has that mix between humour, playfulness and sexiness that speaks to me a lot. A dream was to one day get to play sax with him, but maybe we’ll get to jam in heaven instead.. And to mention a couple of other artists that I always enjoy going back to is Roisin Murphy, fell in love with her and her music in 2007 when she released her album ”Overpowered”. I think she is amazingly playful and creative with everything from sounds and productions to lyrics. There’s also Outkast, I discovered them as a teenager and was very drawn to their playfulness and the way they are using jazz elements in a really cool way (been listening to a whole lot of jazz) And last but not least I’ll say Neneh Cherry – with the classic album “Raw like sushi”, she will always be an icon for me. 

How did your latest single, ‘OH OH OH’, come about?

It’s the kind of song where the melody, chords and lyrics came at once. I just expressed how I felt, I was frustrated with myself, that I didn’t manage to do what I wanted in life and go for it. Was tired of bringing myself down, so there was a lot of frustration and also kind of anger and the song was me wanting to kick myself in the butt so to speak. I sort of wrote it as a pep talk to myself. 

Are you planning to make it part of a larger release, such as an EP or album? 

Maybe baby;) I’ve heard it’s always a good thing to be a little mysterious.. But things are in the works and I’m feeling quite happy about it:) 

The lockdown has affected everyone’s plans right now. What are you doing to stay productive throughout it and are you still able to work on newMusic?

Yes, basically all gigs 2020 got cancelled the minute Covid-19 was a fact.. first I felt a bit of panic but then I have really tried to stay calm and use the time in a productive way. Be in my studio and record as much as possible, hide underground in a basement so to speak.

Tell us about the video?

It’s a collaboration with an amazing up and coming video artist Valeria Valdes who’s drawn it all by hand, 12 frames per second. It has psychedelic elements, bold colours and bizarre contrasts. The video follows a game of dominance between two characters, that maybe also represents two sides of the same person. In a “Thelma & Louise”-esque road trip they set off on a journey that could come to change them. So basically it mirrors two sides of me, one side who believes in herself and wanna go out and see the world and the other side that we’ve called “the shadow” who wants to hold her back and bring her down. And the believer girl simply decides to not give a fuck about the shadow and instead just take her with her and go for it.

Anything you would like to add?

I did a live-session with a couple of my favourite musicians that was filmed in a cozy nice studio and a live clip of “OH OH OH” is just now out on youtube, search for “Emma Essinger Live at Växthuset Studios” 🙂

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