Josh: Where do songs come from?
Emily: Honestly I don't know where songs come from, but I know where they DON'T come from, which is your busy, modern active mind. In my songwriting process I sometimes try to force myself to write songs, and when I do that, they turn into something that resembles how I wrote when I was thirteen... Not very refined, not very interesting in any way. It's really when I have an idea spark or a little inspiration come to me that I can actually listen to it the next day and actually be pleasantly surprised. Where did that come from? I like to think of songwriting as some sort of untapped energy that we don't normally have access to.
Josh: What challenges and advantages are you and the band experiencing in the "digital age"?
Emily: I work for an internet company, so I embrace the modern age, but at the same time I do have a lot of... not bitterness 'cause it's not that extreme, but I do have a lot of personal challenges with the digital age as far as music goes. I feel like everything is so fast and fast paced. I think the fact that I can put my music on Spotify or similar and potentially be in front of millions of people in a matter or seconds is pretty rad. But at the same time, the fact that I get a tenth of a fraction of a cent for each of those songs, are not very exciting.
But we have embraced it, we have a website, we have a Facebook page, we have all this stuff. This is just how people work these days, so you gotta be where people are.
Josh: Tell us how you connected with Jolie Holland and what it was like working with her?
Emily: Jolie had just posted on her Facebook fan page of all things, that she was coming to Portland and was looking for projects to work on. She put her personal email in this post. I have been a huge Jolie Holland fan for years, she's one of my heroes, and I had absolutely zero hope that she was gonna respond to my email. I had no good quality records of our songs. We had super rough, early demos of a couple of the songs for the first record, and I just emailed those to her and said that I know you're probably getting a million of these requests, but this is what I've got and I would love to have you play some strings or sing on any of this. And she responded within a couple of days...
She spent a good five or six hours with us in the studio and it was really fun! Her process was amazing. She played on the song "Spin". She would listen to the song and say "Okay, let's go back to this part". And we would press record and she would play for thirty seconds or less. Then she'd stop and ask us to go back to the same part again. We were all looking at each other thinking "What's going on...?" But what she was doing, was formulating harmonies in her head. It was really incredible to listen to it all back because I was so lost when she was recording, and it turned out to be this beautiful sort of dance of everything that she had put together. It was a really cool experience, and we've been in touch since. She invites me to some of her special shows, which is really fun. She's a super awesome person.
Josh: What is the ultimate dream for you as an artist?
Emily: I'm still a little conflicted about what my ultimate dream is. The fantasy dream that isn't necessarily practically thought out, is to tour for a number of months out of the year and then go live on a farm in the Portland area for the rest of the year. I'm not a hundred percent extrovert, so I think doing band stuff all year long would really drain me. I would really love to be able to make music and share it with as many people as possible and blend that with traveling. And then go back to the farm and hang out with the chickens and be very mellow for the rest of the year. I think that's kind of my unformulated dream.
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