Emma, many thanks for speaking with Hammarica.com today. First up can we say many congratulations on the release of your second artist album, ‘Ghost Of The Light’. Start to finish, how long did it take to bring this beauty to completion!?
EH: Thank you so much guys, appreciate you chatting with me! It definitely has been a hot minute since the last album.
Once we sat down and and committed to making the music ourselves (my brother Anthony and I), the record took about two years. I guess the project started during the covid lockdowns and at first, the idea of just doing everything ourselves was more out of necessity than any grand creative plan. But as time went on and we found our groove, we became more and more immersed in the process and brought in some great players and friends along the way…it become aan experience that I’ll always really treasure.
Before this album, I think we had this weird fear of doing things ourselves and we thought we needed some magical other person to make things happen so it really was a bit of a demystifying process and creatively empowering.
EH: It’s really a combo, firstly I often tend to use ideas for collabs… I don’t write a tonne because writing must be super personal and inspired for me if it is to make sense.
Because of this, I kind of keep giving away all my ideas to keep up with collaboration requests. Also, it took us a fair while to discover how we were going to create an album that sounded the way we wanted it to inside our heads.
Could you go talk a little about the meaning behind ‘Ghost Of The Light’s enigmatic title?
EH: The title is really speaking to the memories of the people, places and moments that stay with us, long after they have gone. Like snapshots in time, remaining forever the same in our minds, where we can visit them again once in a while. To me; some of the most special memories almost seem like ghosts – they’re with us, but just out of reach and they can light our way through darker times.
You strike us as someone to whom memories play a particular importance in life. Are you relatively nostalgic along with that, do you think?
EH: Absolutely. I mean, I am definitely focused on living in the present, I am not one to dwell on the past, but at the same time I believe it is so important to honour all of the moments that shaped us and made us who we are, and I love to go back to them and view their poignance from different perspectives as I change and grow.
Your songs feel like they have a lot of personal experience behind their lyrics. Does putting this much in (or giving this much of your life up) affect you emotionally?
EH: It does actually, when I am creating a song I tend to live in it for a while, like I have one foot in each world. It definitely takes you to a place. It’s like that feeling when you get lost in a book you love and it kind draws you in to a parallel reality for a time.
With each single that came before ‘Ghost Of The Light’s release, you teamed up with other producers to effectively ‘co-remix’ those tracks. This approach feels unique to us, so we’d like to know how you found the process generally, and how complex did you find it to be working on the Original version and remixes near enough simultaneously?
EH: It was really great to creatively be able to work in this way, to fully finish the original versions of the songs first, in whatever format we felt they belonged, and then hand the songs over to the remixers for them to give their creative take on things.
It was very exciting to hear how other producers interpreted the songs, after we first made our versions. It was also nice for me to have the chance to freely allow the songs to exist in their organic format before being mixed for the clubs. I love that both sides can co-exist.
EH: I am a massive fan of Robot Koch’s beautiful, cinematic production style. Originally, Robert gave me a demo with some beautiful piano and strings. I wrote this song walking down the street, singing into my phone, thinking about my family and friends far away. I then realized the melodies fit beautifully over Robert’s original demo. To make the song then fit on the album, Anthony and I worked in the studio with our friend Tim Henwood and layed down a lot of extra production parts to just build it up. We brought in Pete Marin (Passenger)to play some awesome live drums too. I wanted this song to be kind of grand and vast, like the distance I was feeling in the writing.
Aside from the singing and songwriting, you’ve been involved in a great deal of the music making on ‘Ghost Of The Light’. What instruments do you play yourself and which of them did you find most beneficial to use as accompaniment when writing your songs?
EH: It was definitely a learning process. I am no master of any instrument by any means. I was a classically trained pianist, but I had become very out of practice from not playing for many years. Still, I think the musical theory knowledge allowed me to figure things out, to create string arrangements and keyboard parts, basic drum loops etc. Making this album was more about experimenting with as many different sounds as we could get our ears on, and through trial and error, discovering the ones that should stay. I always hear the parts inside my head, the more difficult part is bringing them into reality. I guess the instrument I went back to time and again was the keyboard and piano – I felt if the songs could work stripped back with just voice and piano I was onto something and of course, the keyboard is basically the portal to any universe you wish to travel to.
You seem to have a knack of balancing discernible meaning and figurative metaphor in your songs, Emma. Is this something you’re aware of during the lyric writing process itself.
EH: I think it is, subconsciously. I normally co-write the songs with my brother and between the two of us, we balance out the metaphorical with the direct. By ourselves we can sometimes go too far in one direction or the other, but our writing styles together tend to blend both sides.
The album’s packed with amazing tracks, but ‘Raindrop’ struck us particularly. Beautiful as its lyrics are, it was the one that seemed to hold its meaning closest to its chest! Could you give us some idea of what inspired those words?
EH: Oh, thank you. It is kind of an unusual topic for a song, I was at first unsure of how this one would work, especially as a club version, because of its very different context. This song is about a girl I knew once when I was super young, she got tangled up in some heavy stuff; gangs, prostitution and the like, and she kind of silently drifted away from everyone. I never knew what happened to her and I often think back and wonder if she made it through those dark times OK.
Thanks so much for speaking with Hammarica, Emma. Final question before you go though: do you think we’ll need to wait another ten years to see the next Emma Hewitt artist album!? 😉
EH: Thank you so much for chatting with me and for taking the time to listen to this record – I really appreciate it. It may sound strange but I almost feel ready to go back into the studio and start on the next chapter…I think that will be an EP and I hope to have the bones of it written by the end of the year. Now that we’ve gained the confidence to tell these stories in this way, there’s a strong desire to just take a deep dive and see if some songs decide to visit.
NEW ALBUM ‘GHOST OF THE LIGHT’ OUT NOW!
LISTEN HERE: https://blackhole.lnk.to/ghostofthelight
Tracklist: 01. Into My Arms 02. Collide 03. Raindrop 04. Children 05. Warrior 06. Fallen 07. Satellites 08. Ties 09. This Isn’t Over 10. Everlasting 11. Holding Out For You 12. The River 13. Endless Skies
# Emma Hewitt – Ghost Of The Light Album Launch Tour #
May 26 E11VEN Miami, FL
Jun 16 Park, Sacramento, CA
Jun 17 45 East, Portland, OR
Jun 23 Yolo, San Francisco, CA
Jun 24 Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO
Jun 30 Ora, Seattle, WA
Jul 01 Pure, Sunnyvale, CA
Jul 15 Rise, Houston, TX
Jul 28 Darkstar, Phoenix, AZ
Jul 29 Celebrities, Vancouver, BC
Aug 05 Elektricity, Detroit, MI
Aug 19 Webster Hall, NY, NY