Emmy the Great is back! We've been keeping close tabs the Hong Kong-born, now Brooklyn-located singer for a while now by forcing her to sing on stage with Weezer, interview new age music pioneers, and calculate how much it would actually cost to be A$AP Rocky's lady, but musically she actually hasn't released a solo record since Virtue, back in 2011. But Emmy is a musician, so of course she's been making music and not just watching Chasing Amy on loop.
"After Virtue came out I toured for a year and a half and I wrote a soundtrack (Austenland, released in 2013), and at the end of all that time I came home and didn’t really know how to proceed again," Emmy told us. "I’d written all my albums about breakups and the only thing I knew was that I didn’t want to write another breakup album, because I didn’t feel like that anymore. So I just kept moving. I went to LA, and I went to New York, I met a lot of new people, and I wrote everywhere and in new ways and formats, until I lost my process, and then gradually, a new one formed. Over the course of making this EP and the album that will follow, my life has changed completely and it’s all thanks to the fact that I was looking for a new process."
Sounds like she's been pretty productive—although it should be noted that Emmy helpfully did not include the number of hours she's devoted to Skyrim, but whatever, everyone needs a release.
A couple of weeks ago Emmy dropped her first new tune in forever—"Swimming Pool"—a super mellow introduction to what's to come from her in 2015, with her voice soft and close over a gentle swoosh of effected guitars and twinkly fairy feet (probably). And then Wild Beasts' Tom Fleming sneaks up behind her for a little spooning action. Honestly it sounds like vocal spooning. Bravo for that sexy baritone.
"I met Tom when we were both working with Leo Abrahams, who produced the Wild Beasts record and played on my EP," explains Emmy. "We then shared a bill at an event in London a year ago where we were singing Daniel Johnston covers solo. I remember watching him sing on his own and just feeling like I’d been hypnotized. The day he came to the studio I was running between the rooms singing, 'It's Wild Beasts day!' like a maniac. He recorded it in two takes, and at the end we knew the song was finished."
Above is the premiere for the video for said song. It's cinematic and unsettling in its stillness, as the camera moves through barely-lit, sepia-tinted rooms. "Swimming Pool is a really peaceful song for me, it’s about seeing someone else’s life and it looking so perfect that for a moment you think you can have it," says Emmy, "which is not to say that I’m about to Talented Mr Ripley someone."
Peaceful though the song may be, the video, shot "in a very strange house in an LA suburb called Monterey Park," takes a rather sinister turn. And no that's not Emma as a ghost. This is the digital age people: she's like Tupac, she's a hologram. Emma had one more thing to add: "I hope that people will watch this video and remember not to swim after eating."
Didn't parents always warn us not to eat and then swim because we'd get a cramp and drown? We've recently come to the conclusion that it's because kids might barf in the water and no parent wants to clean that crap up. Anyway, that's by the by: Just enjoy Emmy the Great's "Swimming Pool."
Emmy's EP S is out on 1.27 via Bella Union.
Kim Taylor Bennett is happy Emmy moved to NY so she can stalk her on the regular. She's on Twitter.