Thursday 22. 9.
Born in the UK of Czech heritage, while her teenage friends were doing teenage things Emika was studying computer sequencing and audio processing in Somerset’s picturesque city of Bath. A classically trained pianist and vocalist, inspired by nearby Bristol’s trip hop vista, while Emika’s means of musical expression lay in techno culture and the rising dubstep scene, her curiosity for sound was equally guided by avant-garde electro-acoustic composers such as Iannis Xenakis, Dennis Smalley and Trevor Wishart.
While working as an intern at Ninja Tune Records, the budding producer began work on her self-titled debut album during a period when female producers were becoming increasingly empowered by technology and a DIY approach to production. Released in October 2011, Emika exposed her signature sound as bass heavy electronic with staccato rhythms and vocals, All Music’s Jon O’Brien quickly distinguished the 25-year-old’s uniqueness: “Emika doesn't really sound like anyone else out there. An admirable feat which should appeal to those dismayed by Dubstep's recent commercial takeover.”
The sophomore electronic pop album Dva arrived within two years. Admittedly torn between conforming to the music industry machine – exemplified by her cover of Chris Isaak’s global ‘80s hit Wicked Game, Emika possessed a yearning to break through its obsession with style over substance. Gainfully employed by music technology developer Native Instruments, Emika found home in Berlin where a nascent underground scene would further infiltrate her production aesthetic.
Signalling Emika’s intent to seek full ownership of her career, 2015 would deliver a two-pronged attack on the senses. Provoked by Ninja Tune’s relative disinterest in releasing an improvised piano diary, Emika showcased the minimalist neo-classical Klavírní on her newly founded Emika Records. Six months later, the electronic pop beast Drei would validate her rapidly escalating talent as a beat maker and sound designer.
Yet, while Drei cemented Emika’s desire to playfully develop her signature style, Klavírní had opened a door to experimentation that could not be shut. In the artist’s own words: “I’m known for being a shapeshifter and reinventing things. That’s how life and art is, but they smash into the music industry world where everything needs to be put in a box. I’ve embraced so many different ways of working now that it’s hard to go back.