Friday 17 November 2017


October saw the release of 'Mindmaze', a track by London-based producer and DJ E.M.M.A. It's an unexpected cocktail of two colliding eras of dance: courtly, medieval, harpischord-based whimsy of the past vs. the electronic beats and high-energy of sweaty dancehall. The tract of lutes 'n' flutes that appeared in the track was lifted from Mindmaze, a dungeon crawler-slash-educational quiz featured on childhood-forming Encarta '95. Why Mindmaze though? "God knows to be honest," the producer speaks to us via email. "I made it in 2014, I can remember sitting down and thinking this Mindmaze theme would sound great as a UK funky type beat, but I can't remember why Mindmaze popped into my consciousness 20 years after the fact. It was just something I vividly remember engaging with as a child."

Perhaps it is the polyphonic complexity of baroque music, fugues and counterpoints – something that finds its way into things like videogame soundtracks, and only fractionally in underground, internet morsels and dance music – which simply sounds good against a beat that no Renaissance composer could have imagined. Indeed it's not E.M.M.A's first scrape with utilising the centuries-old form. "Some of my melodies – particularly on [her 2013 album] Blue Gardens – turned out to be baroque and I think maybe doing a homage to the most baroque tune I could think of kinda just seemed like a good direction to go in," she explains. "I've always been obsessed with what Encarta 95 provided us with before the world wide web came on the scene. I'm not sure why this ends up influencing my music, but we are where we are."

There is a nostalgia in E.M.M.A's music, too, with the sonic referencing in 'Mindmaze' following tracks like the 2012 'Dream Phone', referring to the '90s boardgame of the same name. She brings the humdrum of childhood memories, TV commercials and PC encyclopedias, storming into the adulthood of our modern age with hard minimal beats.

Alongside her own musicmaking, E.M.M.A founded Producergirls, an initiative encouraging women to get into producing, hoping to address the gender imbalance in the music industry. The free DIY workshops began in early 2016 and, thanks to a recent, successful Kickstarter campaign, will spread outside the current London base to cities across the UK. With this to look forward to in the future, for now the producer takes some time out to navigate the mindmaze of the lazy interview.


w h o   a r e   y o u ?   w h e r e   a r e   y o u   f r o m ?   w h a t   d o   y o u   d o ?
I was born in Liverpool and lived near Chester before moving to Brighton and London, where I've been for about 7 years. I produce electronic music and DJ, have an NTS radio show with Aimee Cliff called Angel Food. I started the nationwide Producergirls workshop series with Ikonika, Dexplicit, P Jam and Nightwave to encourage more women to try out electronic music production and to see if we can make the industry more gender balanced. 

h o w   d i d   y o u   s t a r t   c r e a t i n g   m u s i c ?

My friend Paul showed me FL Studio in around 2007 and was very encouraging of my earliest creations. A few of my friends were producers and I wanted a piece of the action.

h o w   w o u l d   y o u   d e s c r i b e   y o u r   s o u n d ?

Colourful, whatever the opposite of passive is. Active. I try and make it provoke some sort of dialogue with the listener. Maybe like a musical conversation. In terms of nuts and bolts, it's mostly synth orientated and set in a different imagined world a lot of the time. It varies from track to track.

i s   t h e r e   a   p e r f e c t   t i m e   a n d   p l a c e   f o r   l i s t e n i n g   t o   y o u r   m u s i c ?

At the risk of sounding like a clichΓ©, the middle of the night I think! That's when I make it.

I've always been obsessed with what Encarta 95 provided us with before the world wide web came on the scene
w h a t   i n s p i r e s   y o u   m o s t   w h e n   m a k i n g   a   t r a c k ?
Nature and our relationship to the universe and different times—past, present and future. But then again it depends on the song. I wrote 'Magna Kanye' because something Kanye said about making music really inspired me at a time when I wasn't really doing much, but Aimee and I decided to start Angel Food. I needed a tune for radio which was reflective of the battles I've had in this game. 

w h a t   i s   y o u r   m o s t   m e m o r a b l e   m u s i c a l   e x p e r i e n c e ?

When my first 12" came out on Wavey Tones in 2012. My close friends Tom and Letty started the label to release my music. I remember hearing it being mastered in a studio not far from my house at the time and then holding a copy of the test press in my hands. It just made me see London in a completely different way too, and it was when I started to think that I might actually be a real musician. 

w h a t   a r e   y o u r   f a v o u r i t e   t h r e e   s o n g s   a t   t h e   m o m e n t ?

The Horrors – Ghost

Nightwave – Limelight 

Xao – Karrakis

w h o   d o   y o u   m o s t   a d m i r e   i n   t h e   m u s i c   w o r l d ?

Suzanne Ciani, who I saw at Cafe OTO last week. The OG pioneer of the modular synth.

i n   y o u r   o p i n i o n ,   w h a t   i s   t h e   f u t u r e   o f   m u s i c ?

In terms of the industry, it's smashing up privilege, dismantling self-interested structures, opening up access and reclaiming the art from the gatekeepers so that the industry is what it should be: welcoming to all, with skills shared for free.

w h a t ' s   t h e   f u t u r e   o f   y o u r   m u s i c   –   w h a t   d o   y o u   h o p e   t o   d o   n e x t ?

I'm working on another album.

w h a t   i s   m o s t   i m p o r t a n t   t o   y o u ?



  • πŸ”” Feel free to purchase E.M.M.A's's Mindmaze / Pumpkin Emoji 12", out now physically and digitally courtesy of Coyote Records. Various options for purchase are available via this exact hyperlink.

E.M.M.A Internet Presence ☟

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