The London DJ, producer, and co-host of the Angel Food show on Radar Radio steps up with a mix featuring candy coloured club music, hard-hitting rap and a twisted Rihanna edit
E.M.M.A. is a London-based DJ/producer whose technicoloured electronic music draws on hard-hitting club beats, rap and grime structures, UK funky rhythms, and melodic synthesizer music. Since the release of her astonishingly good debut album Blue Gardens in 2013, E.M.M.A. has been a regular presence on the capital’s underground music scene, DJing around the city and co-hosting the Angel Food show on Radar Radio alongside music journalist Aimee Cliff.
Recently E.M.M.A. generated headlines for launching a series of production workshops for female and female-identifying producers, teaching alongside fellow producers Ikonika, P Jam, and Dexplicit. Though the UK music industry still suffers from a huge gender imbalance, DIY ventures like this offer a positive and necessary step towards fixing the problem. Following a successful first outing, a second workshop is due to take place in early June.
E.M.M.A. is set to play at new clubnight Wild Combination at The Yard in Hackney this Friday (May 20) alongside influential UK funky producer Cooly G and Manara of the excellent Night Slugs and BBC AZN Network crews. Ahead of the date, she’s put together a new mix showcasing some of her own productions, some wide-eyed club tunes from Deadboy and Murlo, and a twisted Rihanna edit.
Stream it below and read on for a catch-up with E.M.M.A.
Tell us about Angel Food.
E.M.M.A.: Me and Aimee Cliff both had separate radio shows on Radar last year. One day we were drinking beers in a graveyard after an Arca gig and were suddenly like, ‘Let's join forces and fuck shit up.’ We have a broad synth-y aesthetic – sad, sexy, and brand new from across the musical spectrum, punctuated by ridiculous chat. I drop a lot of my own tunes and Aimee brings pure heat. Our guest mix slot is reserved for a girl who is killing the game. Toxe, Mapalma, and KABLAM have all done one recently.
How did your first production workshop go?
E.M.M.A.: It was really fun. Me, Dexplicit, Ikonika, and P Jam spent a bit of time planning what we were gonna do, so it was nice to see it all come together. They made it really fun too. Also all the girls were really focused, arrived early, and absorbed everything. It was heads down, headphones on from the start.
Is there anything you’ll be doing differently with them in the future?
E.M.M.A.: I think formula-wise, no, ‘cos it worked really well having short sessions on each aspect of production. The only thing we want to change is to give people outside of London the chance of attending one.
Coming out of the first one, did you notice anything that you didn’t necessarily expect?
E.M.M.A.: I didn’t really think about how popular it would be, so I've been quite amazed by that. Around 600 people have contaced us in around three months. It makes you wonder why nothing on this scale has happened sooner. Maybe it has, but it’s just not got to the right people. I’m not sure. 2016 is the year we change the game.
“I didn’t really think about how popular (the production workshops) would be... Around 600 people have contaced us in around three months. It makes you wonder why nothing on this scale has happened sooner” — E.M.M.A.
Was it strange having a 7-year-old and a 12-year-old apply?
E.M.M.A.: I think it’s got a lot to do with dad producers in their 30s and 40s who are now realising they would like their daughters to have the same opportunities and interests that they’ve had, and have encouraged them to apply. What’s interesting, at the other end of the spectrum, is having 23-year-olds thinking they’re too old to apply, which was surprising too. Or a 48-year-old asking if they’re too old. I never put any age limit on because passion for music is not something you ever grow out of.
What’s going on in this mix, then?
E.M.M.A.: I recorded this live in the Radar practice room, so it’s a snapshot of me on that sunny Saturday we had the other week. I’ve put all my recent work in it so people who may not have heard can have a listen. I think it’s quite dramatic – that’s the vibe I’ve gone for. Balls on the table. Go hard or go home. Fall back like your chair ain’t there.
What else are you working on?
E.M.M.A.: Apart from dismantling the game step by step, I’m also finishing a couple of releases which have dropped down the agenda in recent months due to the workshop. I’m DJing out a bit – next one is Wild Combination. I'm also collabing with a couple of my nearest and dearest producer friends.
How does it feel knowing that DJ Pauly D is a fan?
E.M.M.A.: It feels like the earth can finally spin correctly on its axis. I think it’s a nice balance – total obscurity vs. endorsement from the highest paid DJ on the planet. I am available for foam party bookings, so long as I have Cîroc on tap.
01. E.M.M.A. – “Pumpkin Emoji”
02. E.M.M.A. – “Gold”
03. EMGLEW – “Murda”
04. EMGLEW – “Untitled”
05. E.M.M.A. – “Magna Kanye”
06. Loom – “Fractured Light” (Akito edit)
07. Deadboy – “It Did Not Feel Right”
08. Lyeform – “Elkish”
09. Letta – “E.M.M.A. x RABIT x LOGOS x BEATKING edit”
10. Chris Travis – “What It Is” (prod. Hitkidd)
11. Murlo – “Haze”
12. Xao – “Devylz”
13. Rihanna – “BBHMM” (Sim Hutchins edit)
E.M.M.A. plays Wild Combination with Manara and Cooly G at The Yard in Hackney, London on May 20