Emma Louise’s Pontoon tour brings her to the Astor Theatre this Friday, October 4, with support from Sean Pollard of Split Seconds. BOB GORDON reports.
After a year that saw her not only playing all around Australia, but throughout Europe and the US, Emma Louise finds herself actually having a rare moment at home.
“I am,” she says good-naturedly. “I have one week off, so I’m in demo land, which is a fun place to be.
“I kind of do it every time I’m home and I do really enjoy it as well. It’s always good to be in the creative circle of things, writing, touring, recording or demoing.”
Always good to hear when someone loves their job. While there’s a certain focus when demoing, the singer/songwriter is comfortable changing up processes and changing down gears when it comes to creative pursuits.
“When (2011 breakout single) Jungle first came out I was in this place sorting of thinking, ‘is there gonna be a next one? Are you going to be a commercial artist?’ sort of thing, and I didn’t really want to do that. So, now, with the demoing, I write a song completely and just demo it. Then add to it, layers and ideas and stuff. Or, if I’m not writing a solid song, I’ll just come up with a riff and just loop that or loop a beat or something. Sometimes that creates better songs than the ones I nut out on piano or guitar.”
Emma Louise’s debut album, Vs Head Vs Heart, was released back in March. Expectation and a little doubt pre-empted the release, but it has since taken off on its own flight.
“It’s all been a bit… I’ve just kind of sailed along with it,” she ponders. “I don’t know why, I can’t really gauge the album as it is now. It’s kind of not mine anymore in a way, because I’m working so much now on the next album and working out what else I want to do.
“Leading up to the album coming out I was a bit nervous. Mostly there was one song I was nervous about. But I was grateful because if it wasn’t for that song then I probably wouldn’t have got any other songs on triple j and stuff.”
That song was Freedom, which in its own way opened the door for the rest of the album.
“I’m grateful for what it did,” she asserts. “It got on the radio after Boy and stuff but I’m not the biggest fan of it (laughs). But at the same time, I’m not like, ‘I hate that song’. It’s just a very uneasy feeling releasing something when you’re not 100 per cent loving it.”
It’s not unusual. You often hear that hits or breakthrough songs are the ones that were almost left off an album. It seems the songs that connect are frequently the ones that songwriters are least connected to.
Is she perhaps too hard on herself?
“I see other artists who are just so hard on themselves but I don’t want to be like that,” she responds. “I don’t want to be hard on myself. I try to be nice to myself but I also want things to be perfect. That whole harshness on yourself though, is just striving to be a better artist.”
Emma Louise is well into the writing of her second album, which she hopes to start after the coming tour. In the meantime 2013 ends as it has continued, following her songs as they take her all around the place, to perform to all sorts of people.
“It’s a pretty amazing experience, really,” she says. “Music, in general, is a very peaceful, travelling thing. It’s pretty special and I feel very lucky to be able to sing in front of people and be the person who’s written the thing they are singing along to.”