We’re extremely excited to announce our new lineup for 2016.
During recent recording sessions for our upcoming record we collaborated with our friend and singer Emma Mason, who worked with us on four new songs, ‘Street Level’, ‘Subway Dancers’, ‘How Do U Feel?’ and ‘Worldwide Experience’. The four songs form part of a collection of nine which are set to be released as Galaxians’ first full-length album ‘Let The Rhythm In’.
Having been officially invited to join the band in 2016 following the studio sessions, Emma spoke to Stargaze Records….
Stargaze Records: How did your path as a singer take its course? When did you first have that ‘hey, I can sing!’ moment?
Emma: I was a late starter, I knew I could carry a tune and loved music but I didn’t get a notion that my voice was anything special until my late teens. I remember singing a Brand New Heavies song and my sister came in the room looking surprised and said ‘Was that you’? She told me I was really good and it hit home that maybe I was.
SR: I know that for me as soon as I knew I wanted to learn to play a musical instrument that I was going to play either bass or drums, how did your realisation that you were going to do something musical occur?
E: Singing on stage was something I daydreamed about a lot but didn’t have the confidence to do for a long time. There came a point in my mid-twenties where the need to sing outweighed the terror of performing in public. A friend urged me to put an ad in the free paper saying I was looking for a band and it all started from there.
SR; How old were you when you first felt that music was a serious thing for you?
E: Well I’ve always been passionate about music, it keeps me sane, but I probably became serious about my own musical aspirations in my late twenties when I started to write and perform my own music with the band ‘The Bloody Wowsers’. I wanted to perform as much as possible and I realised this was something I needed in my life to be happy.
SR: What was your first performance?
E: My first performance was with a Motown covers band called Chicago Joe and the Soul Divas in a pub somewhere near Leeds. I still laugh at the name and we were a motley crew but the music was decent. I drank a bottle of wine to get over the stage fright.
SR: What kind of music were you heavily into as a teenager?
E: A huge variety of music, Ella Fitzgerald, Depeche Mode, Cud, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, The Cure, The Housemartins, Nina Simone, The Smiths, Sugarcubes, Stevie Wonder, Eddie Cochran, Neil Sedaka, David Bowie, Donna Summer, Aretha Franklin and music from Cabaret and The Rocky Horror show….I could go on and on but those were probably the artists I probably listened to the most. Mum has great taste in music and my older sisters were always bringing music home to listen to so I was lucky.
SR: Who were your first singing influences? Who influences you now?
E: Stevie Wonder has a very special place in my heart particularly his early Motown tracks and 70’s albums Talking Book, Innervisions and Songs in the key of life. I spent hours singing along to Stevie Wonder songs when I was young along with Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald. They taught me how to really sing. I still love those artists but I’ve expanded my tastes since then. In recent times I’ve been influenced by old RnB and gospel artists like Big Mama Thornton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Lavern Baker, such amazing musical talent largely forgotten by the mainstream. I love discovering new old artists. I’ve been listening to more 80s disco lately too since working with Galaxians, Gwen Guthrie is the bomb. Most of my musical influences are pre-90s.
SR: The art of performing, and of writing music is quite complex isn’t it? But then it is also by nature very simple sometimes. What has always intrigued me is that the nature of art can be very contradictory at times, and that’s part of what drives people to make it, and to engage with it? Because above all else art is human and it mirrors humanity, and contradiction is part of the human condition?
E: I would agree with those statements, I think for for most serious musicians it is a need rather than a choice to make music and that’s why we persevere through the challenging times, disappointments, creative block, crises of confidence and the general burden of the sensitive creative temperament. Sometimes the joy of making and performing music just falls into place seamlessly but, as with life in general, we only really appreciate those moments because of the trials we face.
SR: You’ve had experience at performing in quite a few really different musical environments haven’t you?
E: I surely have, I think because my tastes are so eclectic I never felt the need to limit myself or be pigeon holed, plus it makes life interesting to try new things and increases performance opportunities. I’ve performed in a Motown covers band, acoustic soul duo, swing bands for dancers, rhythm and blues ensembles, I’ve done classic jazz and blues, collaborated with hip hop artists, I’ve even tried a little classical singing as part of a project called Symphony for Yorkshire for the BBC and of course now this wonderous union with Galaxians which is so very exciting.
My cabaret showgirl persona ‘Em Brulée’ has been a big part of my performing life for the last 8 years, I love the decadence of burlesque and cabaret shows, the creativity and the theatre of it. I basically fantasise that I am Sally Bowles in 1930s Berlin. My cabaret work has made a performer of me as well as a singer.
SR: Can you talk a bit about working with Galaxians and how it came about?
E: Well Matt and I have been great friends and neighbours for many years, we have always shared a passion for good music and a mutual admiration and support of one another’s work; we have played together on a couple of occasions. I’ve been a fan of Galaxians since the beginning, so when Matt suggested the boys might want to try a few vocal tracks on the new album I jumped at the chance to be involved.
I think we were all amazed about how seamlessly it all went in the studio, I’ve never enjoyed the writing/recording process so much and the results were beyond expectations. It started out as a collaboration but we want to keep making sweet music together and Jed and Matt have officially invited me into the fold.