❉ Ange Chan chats with electronica duo EmT about their debut album ‘Resolute’.
“We called the album Resolute as we felt it described our determination and single-mindedness to record and write the songs that we wanted to hear ourselves. We had absolutely no idea if anyone would like it, but we were satisfied that we’d achieved what we set out to do.”
EmT are a synth duo comprised of Tony Blue and Ema Walter. Their band name is a combination of their first names, which also succinctly sums up the partnership between the pair. Their songwriting process is equally democratic and, although singer Ema tends to be the lyricist and Tony the chief knob twiddler and programmer, they both equally venture into all aspects of their songs’ creation.
Together, they’ve recently released their first album, Resolute, to critical acclaim. The album’s cover art was illustrated by the talented Simon Brett (who, coincidentally, also illustrated my Doctor Who poetry book, Timelines).
I caught up with Tony and asked him to tell We Are Cult about how he and Ema met and how EmT came to be.
“Ema and I have known each a long time! We had our first band with another friend in the early 90s which Ema auditioned for; the band was heavily influenced by the dance and electronic scene of the time.
We wrote and played live for about five years and had a small recording contract but unfortunately the label sat on the songs and they didn’t surface. So we all went our separate ways and then about four years ago I asked Ema if she’d be interested in writing again; this was purely for our own pleasure.
Then we decided to put a couple of tracks on SoundCloud and then everything snowballed and we were played on many radio shows and our profile on social media also rapidly grew. We played only our second gig as EmT at BAS 2014, then more gigs followed.
Rusty Egan picked up on us and has been a big supporter and we released several singles ‘Regret’, ‘Walk Away’ and ‘Let Me Go’. We then become good friends with Tim Dorney (Republica and Flowered Up) after a chance encounter, Tim offered to remix a re-release of “Regret” and then agreed to produce our debut album after seeing us live at the Tenek album launch in Bristol, we started recording the album in 2016, finally releasing it in September 2017 along with the singles ‘Do It’ and ‘Seedy City’.”
Resolute itself is an impressive debut album. It takes the listener on a journey with both impossibly catchy pop tunes (Do It, Addiction and Seedy City) to melancholy pop ballads. There’s a familiar theme of broken or dysfunctional relationships running throughout the album which makes it highly accessible as that’s a subject we can all relate to.
EmT explained the thinking behind the album’s lyrics, track by track.
Tony explained “Most new songs and way more often these days, we are writing from scratch together, something we didn’t do too much of in the past but are now finding is really working well for us. As with all our lyrics, we take a story predominately from real life. Not necessarily personal but something friends have shared.”
‘What Else Can I Do?’
This was in relation growing so far apart that the relationship breaks down but instead of feeling powerless the woman feels more power because she has the common sense to see what’s right in front of her and the strength to make the decision to walk out.
After a night out on the town people always find themselves late at night trying to get home ….It’s then that the realisation of the city around us isn’t paved with gold as we once thought and therefore becomes a Seedy city.
‘Why D’ya Do That?’
…Is about a person in a predicament. They have chosen the wrong path but seem determined to follow it against all odds.
We often get put off in life by other people’s negative opinions, in this song I describe how easy it is being used to varying challenges the one thing that won’t get me down Is peoples negative thoughts because deep down I’m addicted to what I believe in and no one has the right to tell me that what I do is wrong.
Ema explained, both Tony and I agree that this song it’s pointing the finger at things completely beyond our control.
It’s a fuck you to cancer (although too upsetting to picture that when I sing it live so I envisage Donald Trump, just to get complete aggression in my voice!) and also about how terrible 2016 was for so many people including many of our close friends. it is a tribute to say that we’re done with being scared and how we can’t and won’t let ‘the power that’s got hold’ to defeat us.
This song bears relation to being stuck in a job that is thankless… for a company that gives no recognition and the turmoil that the challenges of not knowing how to move forward because your hands are tied.
This song is about infatuation, being blind to the effect that one person can have on another and to be able to recognise that, eventually.
This song is about speaking without thinking, being in a situation that confuses you, where you feel that you don’t and won’t fit in and you don’t know what direction to take but you’re exhausted, and when you finally get a chance to reflect the regret of how things are said in the heat of the moment.
This song for me personally was during the time where the Internet seemed the only method of conversation. Needing to talk text write to anyone who would listen relying on technology to be my friend when first experiencing living on my own and thinking I needed a relationship to stay happy.
Being infatuated and that first feeling of love.
‘A Thousand Arms’
For me personally this song is about listening to my friends problems and the frustration of a friend asking for help but not being able to see straight and take advice and their need to be comforted when all about are losing their mind.
‘Run Away from Me’
This song is about losing faith in yourself, not believing that the messages and decisions you’re trying to make are actually of any use to anyone – literally wanting to run away from yourself and wanting to be someone completely different.
‘Let Me Go’
This song is about someone who can’t be there for somebody…. that won’t be there for somebody and needs to be let go. It’s a personal message to a friend who was lying in their relationship and used me as a ‘get out clause’ and would lie to their partner about what they were getting up to… using me as a scapegoat!
Although this song reeks of sexual connotation (I blame Tony and Tim for the middle eight break) it’s more to do with the excitement of wanting to be in an environment where you’re at your happiest and wanting to experience pleasure of any description over and over again.
I’ve seen EmT perform a number of times in the last couple of years (including at The Fleece Bristol when they very kindly treated me to their rendition of Soft Cell’s Bedsitter) but most recently at DJ Dave Charles’ “DC-10 Extravaganza” for Market Harborough FM when they launched Resolute. Yet again, EmT played a flawless set and everyone who attended that night enjoyed what they had to offer.
So what does the future hold for EmT? There are no immediate plans for them to perform again in the near future but they are always open to invitations for the right gig. I for one, will watch with great interest, and think they should “Do It”!
❉ ‘Resolute’ is available directly from EMT via their website https://www.thebandemt.com/news
❉ Ange Chan is a poet and novelist. Her fourth poetry collection “Fame; What’s Your Name?” and her second novel “Baby, Can You Hear Me?” were both published in paperback and Kindle in 2016. Her latest poetry collection “Songs of Sorrow and Heartbreak” is out now and her third novel “Champagne Flutes and Pixie Boots” will be published in 2018.