Emalkay Interview

Drum and Bass | Wednesday 7th December 2011 | Osh


How’s it going?
I’m alright thanks,just getting on with some music.

Cool, so where are you at the moment?
I’m in Scotland at the moment.

Just chilling out?
No, gonna be here for the duration of the day, I should think, just getting on with new material.

Are you not out enjoying the sun? It’s such a nice day.
Yeah, I know, we’ll see, we’ll see how it goes.

Cool. So obviously with your new album out, ‘Eclipse’, tell us about the creative process behind the album and what we can expect from it.
Um, the album... It’s basically an observation of all these years being in that sort of sound. It’s really representative of I’d say, three, four years of being in this scene, and you’ll hear aspects of what you’ll find in my pieces. So the album’s mainly made up of I’d say dark, heavy sort of dance floor material but at the same time with a sort of deeper edge to it. So you can sort of listen to, well I hope so, listen to the track from start to finish and that’s pretty much like, the music I’ve put out over the years, so I think that’s pretty representative of what I’ve been doing.

Cool, and you’ve obviously been working with Dub Police. How did that come together?
Um Dub Police, that came together, well me being signed to Dub Police was me seeing Caspa a couple of times in person and then I started having some music which he really liked, and he played it a lot, gave me the feedback, and he was really interested in the music so he signed I think two tracks to begin with and it just went from there. So we work really well together.

And it must be a lot of fun being part of the Dub Police family.
Yeah it’s good. We’re all like-minded artists and we all get on pretty well, and though we all live quite far from each other, we try and meet up as much as we can. And yeah, it’s a good laugh with those boys, basically.

Do you live in Birmingham now still, or did you just grow up there?
For now at least, yeah, I’m still based in Birmingham, yeah.

And do you think that’s had a big influence upon your sound?
Um, I was asked this before, and I would say probably on a subliminal level. I don’t consciously think well, I’m an outsider then well, I’m gonna make my music different to anyone else. I just think basically because I’m not surrounded by the competition and I’m not interacting with artists on a daily basis, I reckon there is seclusion. I’m just making music for fun. I’m away from everything and I feel less pressure being away from everything. I guess that has an effect on the music itself, really, I don’t know.

And what do you think of the London crowd, do you get a good response?
Er, London crowd, well, I don’t know. I mean, every time I’ve been to London and I’ve played in London, it’s been really positive. Just last week I was playing at Cable and I did play a lot of my own material and it always goes down really well, even the old stuff. I mean, I’ve been in London before; people have been worried about keeping up with the newest sound and being like the coolest DJ around, whereas me, when I go anywhere, not just London, I just play the music I’ve always liked, so I play old and new and I guess it just comes down to how you select them. And with London I’ve never noticed any apathy or anything different there. Um, I guess, I dunno man, I think it’s just the way I play my set and I think a lot of people probably come to hear my music as well as see me play. So yeah, it goes down really well.

Cool. With your track, ‘When I Look At You’, that’s such a big record, did you know at the time, you know, did you think, ‘This is gonna be a tune’ or were you surprised with the reaction?
Um, I knew when I made it and sort of finished it that it was a good tune, and I said to Caspa, well I played it at Fabric first, I gave him it, I just said this is a new one, and it went down a storm. And he phoned me up like the next day and said, ‘Fuck, this is gonna be massive’. Honestly, I don’t think anyone knew it was gonna have an effect like it did. Honestly, we didn’t expect it, so it was a good, it was a nice surprise.

Yeah, definitely. And when you’re making your music, where do you get your inspiration from? It is everyday things, or...?
I always refer back to what I’ve always liked and what I sort of grew up around I guess, so in regard to music I liked a bit of everything, but mainly in my early days when I used to get into underground music it’s mainly about jungle and house, and then moving on you’ve obviously got drum and bass and garage and grime. And those are the main things that you know just sort of, anything with a bass line really and that’s it’s just, kicking. And so yeah, I use to listen to a lot of mixes and DJ tapes back in the day, and today I don’t copy, I just take those elements that I thought made them good tracks and put them into my own sort of context, if you know what I mean. Yeah.

What other kind of music do you listen to, what do you like to listen to apart from dubstep?
Um, I still prefer to listen to mixes and compilations, I’m one of them people, I don’t... I’m not really a huge fan of anybody, so I guess if I hear a good tune that’s come out, say, um, I’ll tell you at the moment I’m really liking Subscape. I know it’s dubstep and I know he don’t have a label but I could stand to listen to his music and he’s playing some good tracks at the moment. That’s one artist I like at the moment, but other than that, it’s a mishmash of everything.

What are your thoughts on the dubstep scene at the moment?
Oh ok, well I honestly am not actually bothered by how it is, I don’t really follow that much into it. As long as I can keep making my music and as long as there’s a market there for my music, I’m happy. Um, if the scene’s trending a certain way, and it starts to affect me and the way I make music, and if I feel like it’s not fun, then I’ll move on. I don’t know, I don’t really like to speculate. At the moment I like the way it is and it’s working for me, and that’s the main thing. If there’s a certain trend or a certain sound that’s emerging that I don’t really like, I just won’t listen to it, it’s as simple as that, and I won’t play it. I don’t really think too much about it. Yeah.

Yeah. And what’s been one of the best parties that you’ve played at?
One of the best parties? Glastonbury last year.

Sick. Must’ve been crazy.
Yeah. It was Glastonbury, and it was like, the time of day, it wasn’t late night, it was sunset, so it just made it special, it was good.

Cool. And so, 2011 has been such a big year for you so far. What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?
Er, what’s coming next? Basically, we’ve got the next single coming out, which will be ‘The World’, and that’s coming out June 27th, and we’ve recently done a video for that which is looking good and sounding good. Um, I’ve got a remix coming out soon for Caspa, for his next single... And then it’s mainly just about getting my head down and moving on to the next thing, you know, making more music but trying to sort of develop and push the sound even further, and see what happens. And more collaborations as well.

Are you playing at any festivals this summer at all?
Festivals? Yeah, there’s the main one which is Outlook festival which I’m looking forward to.

Yeah, that is gonna be crazy, I can’t wait for that.
Yeah, I’ve never been to that one.

No or have I, and this year I’ve got tickets already, so I’m on it.
Ok, good. Yeah the line-up itself is ridiculous. I can’t wait to see, well I hope I get to see Barrington Levy. I used to listen to him a lot. Um, and things like, I’ve got Bestival, and European ones like Pukkelpop and I’ve got a festival in America soon called Hardfest. Yeah so, pretty busy on festivals, I’m looking forward to it.

And they’re always good fun as well, aren’t they, so...
Yeah, it is mainly just fun, it is literally just, yeah, it’s having a laugh. And uh, yeah. I tell you what, before last year I never went to a festival.

Glastonbury was the first festival I ever went to.

Oh my gosh, that’s mad.
Yeah, I’m not a festival goer, usually.

You not like the whole camping and stuff, no?
Yeah, but I got to go a day early I think, so I had a chance to soak everything up. It is, it is literally, the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

So now you’re completely turned are you?
Yeah, so it’s about bringing that bit of not-taking-it too-serious, you know what I mean? Everyone’s just there to have a good time.

Yeah. And then just a couple of really silly questions that I’m gonna ask you. If you were invisible for the day, what trouble would you get up to?
If I was invisible for the day? Ok, what would I do? I’d just go on planes.

On planes?
Yeah, I’d go on planes and just fly to anywhere I wanted to in the world, you know what I mean. No one’s going to... I guess I’d have to probably sit down on the floor of the plane if there’s no seats, but... I haven’t really thought that one through. But yeah, I’d try and travel the world as much as I could.

And if you could star as any superhero in a film, who would it be?
Most definitely Batman.

Batman? Good choice.
Batman, I don’t know why I like him, he doesn’t really have any superpowers does he? Anybody really, if you get them enough gadgets and money...

He is quite cool though.
Yeah, yeah he’s cool, yeah he’s also cool, yeah, obviously.

And if you had a swimming pool filled with anything in the whole world, what would it be?
A swimming pool full of anything, wow... Marshmallows.

You’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth?
You could dive in, you wouldn’t hurt yourself, it’s really soft, and you know, I really like marshmallows.

And then you could just eat them all day, couldn’t you?
Exactly, yeah, definitely.