A conversation with Emma

 

    Nicholas Coyne spoke with Emma about the concept of trust in her music, depending on genuine support to continue her art, seeking timelessness in creativity and the romantic properties of raspberries.

    I think the effort, in and of itself, is magical. I think the magic is being able to be with those two guys and making music that really works for us.

    1

    Nicholas Coyne

    Forgive me if this is too literal. Does the concept of trust factor itself into your musical output?

    Emma

    When the band was starting, Dragos was very attentive to and concerned with addressing positive values; he did not want to create anything that could have been negative or had self-destructive lyrics. Trust was taken as a band name, so Jessy and Dragos took the trust as they are just two guys in this band together. They found me and then it all fell together in a very special way.

    2

    Men I Trust was a group that did not have a primary vocalist until you sang on a song of Jessy and Dragos’ from 2015 called “Out In Myself” and the match was made. Do you recognize any sort of magic in chance encounters?

    I think the effort, in and of itself, is magical. I think the magic is being able to be with those two guys and making music that really works for us. Meeting and being able to progress together naturally is really magical to me. We are all good friends and share the same views. It feels like teamwork and I don’t think it’s something very easy to find.

    3

    Everything about the world your creativity inhabits is concerned with preservation and independence. The growth has been very natural and dependent upon genuine support.

    Little by little, there has been blog support and Internet magic at play. We don’t have any label or anyone really supporting us, so everything has been done by us and we are all very proud of it. We don’t sit around and really plan out how our music will be presented or where it can live. The only thing I think that really separates us is that everything we do is dictated by our decisions. There is a consideration to the work we do, but that’s a result of our natural instincts.

    There were no bad experiences, but I think, when we were first making our rounds and looking for labels, we felt like the people we spoke to did not think they could sell our music. We never felt like we had to sell it to people, we felt that it could support itself. There is still a noticeable belief in the old system of “We’re going to get signed and then we’ll be superstars”, and that has nothing to do with success.

    We looked into how we can cover the ground of doing PR and managing ourselves. We came to the conclusion that we could probably do all the work better than others could do it for us. It really taught all of us in the group that no one will care about you as much as you do. We can manage it and it gives us an incredible sense of freedom. I’m super thankful that we work together the way we do.

    We are still small and seeing people at our shows who know all of the words is so amazing. Putting a shirt on Bandcamp and having it sell out within 48 hours is encouraging. The rest of the group and I can clearly see the support online and in person and that matters so much.

    If I’m not writing it, I don’t feel as shy about singing it. Every time I write a song for myself, it’s really hard to sing about something personal.

    4

    What is the impetus behind Men I Trust having such a calming sound?

    I think it’s something very personal to all of us. Dragos writes a lot of the lyrics and he is a very reflective person. You can tell he cannot write things he is not living. I think that is why a lot of our music is centered around existentialism and self-realization. Dragos can write the lyrics, but we are always together in the creative process. If there is something in the lyrics, like a sentence, that I don’t feel, then we can work around that. If there is a direction he wants the melody to go in, we find a way to make the music a reflection of our creative process.

    It’s a process that makes me feel better about playing, because if I’m not writing it, I don’t feel as shy about singing it. Every time I write a song for myself, it’s really hard to sing about something personal.

    5

    Your have your own project called Bernache, which is French for goose. Where do geese come in and what function does the solo project have?

    That really comes from friends giggling and saying I have a pretty shitty voice. When I yell, it cracks and squawks. For Bernache, it’s totally me and my mistakes, my experience, everything I’ve taken from what I’ve lived. We are always working on Men I Trust, so I wanted a mode of expression that was a result of my work. I never really worked with any music software before, so I sat down with Ableton and attached myself to something I felt very close to.

    I think for my mental health and my happiness, I try to be as positive and unpolitical as possible. I try to view things from outer space, sort of.

    6

    There is a present sense of timelessness evoked in the Men I Trust’s music. Can that be an intentional motivation or does that fall into place without much thought?

    Yeah, absolutely, it could be sought after. I think we aim to make music that passes through time and are not about very literal stories and small things. It’s always about going further and making things that are inspiring to us. We are always talking about life and being alive.

    I think for my mental health and my happiness, I try to be as positive and unpolitical as possible. I try to view things from outer space, sort of. That is absolutely not to say it isn’t important, but we understand our views on the world. We believe in science and progress and the improvement of society. I think a lot of people are afraid of technology and fears its impact on our ability to communicate and to love, but I think humans will ultimately be humans and act on human instinct.

    We have a luxury to be able to communicate something separate from the daily happenings of the world. It’s a very conscious effort to be aside of all of that. I feel part of the intent is to balance those emotions out.

    7

    What qualities of life outside of art impact the music the group wants to create? There is a sense of longing and conjuring of fleeting memories.

    Getting lost in nature and taking in cinema. The very sensitive encounters you have with your ears and your eyes are really inspiring to me. My grandmother had a raspberry field, and every time I eat a raspberry now, it is a romantic experience. I can remember everything about her house and it felt like Italy, before I knew what Italy felt like. It was rustic and had brick walls. Every sense attached to that memory I can still recall pretty vividly.

    8

    Most importantly, do you have a favorite cloud?

    Absolutely; it has to be cumulus clouds. I used to sit around with my grandmother and point animals and shapes in the clouds. I think about her all of the time because she was a very strong and impressive woman. She was very independent and stubborn. My mother raised me that way as well. They never told me how to behave based on how others would judge it. I think of them whenever I need to consider a decision or what would be best, thinking of the lessons they taught me.

    Thank you.

    Data


    Conversation: 168
    Curated by: Nicholas Coyne
    Conducted by: Phone
    Edited by: Morgan Enos
    Published: April 13, 2018
    Total questions: 8
    Word count: 1229
    Reading time: Five minutes
    Hyperlinks: 2

    Metadata


    Raspberry: ∞
    Reflection: Accessed
    Technology: Null
    Romance: ∞
    Cumulus: ∞
    Goose: ∞

    Relation


    About the subject


    Emma is the lead singer of the Montreal indie-dance band Men I Trust. She also records and performs under her solo moniker Bernache.

    About the guest curator


    Nicholas Coyne is a music journalist and member of the editorial staff at TIDAL. He is also a sack of flesh whose primary source of pleasure from life is found when enveloped in sound. He is so very interested all of you and hopes you lead lives that make you happy to be you.


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