Emma Hewitt first carried us away in 2007 when she began her ascendance into the dance music scene as the co-writer and featured vocalist to Chris Lakes’ US Billboard #1 “Carry Me Away” and just five years later, Hewitt is prepared to “Burn The Sky Down”. Premiere go-to vocalist for some of dance music’s elite, Emma Hewitt later collaborated with Dutch DJ/Producer Dash Berlin on 2009s dance anthem “Waiting”. Fans can expect a deeper, perplexed side of dance music with Emma Hewitt’s new “Burn The Sky Down”, sure to appeal to a plethora of dance music masses. Somewhere between her vigorous touring schedule and preparing for the release of her debut album “Burn The Sky Down” on Armada Music, Hewitt recalls some of her earliest nightlife memories, balancing live performing with recording and upon the completion of solo release, which of the albums’ tracks she holds closest. NightLifePost.com was lucky enough to chat with the Australian singer/songwriter as she prepares for the release of her highly anticipated debut album and explains to fans exactly what the album making process entails.
NightLifePost.comm: What can you recollect as some of your earliest nightlife memories?
Emma Hewitt: My happiest memories of going out where when I was quite young and first discovered electronic music and the scene in Melbourne. It was so exciting going to huge raves down at the docklands or to the Gatecrasher parties and festivals. Back in those days we were all wearing fluffy boots and angel wings, haha. It was so much fun! I never knew a great deal about electronic music back then, or who the producers and djs were that I was listening to, I was still in a band and listened to mostly grunge or rock music myself, but experiencing these events with my friends and feeling the energy of the people opened up a whole new world to me.
N: Who were some artists who first inspired you to become a musician? Who were some of the first EDM artist first caused you to explore the realm of dance music?
EH: When I was growing up music was always a very important part of my life, there was always music playing in our house or car, and I was hugely influenced by my dad's record collection as a child. Listening to bands like Pink Floyd, The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac taught me to sing harmonies and gave me the feeling of truly wanting to create music. Then when I was at school bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Garbage really inspired me. These are the songs that all my teenage memories are linked to, and whenever I hear a Pearl Jam song I am taken straight back to those days.
The first EDM song I really heard and took notice of was the Tiesto mix of "Silence" it is still one of my all time favorites, such an amazing vocal by Sarah McLaughlin. This song was all over radio, and it really made me wonder what on earth this music was and where on earth did it come from...At the time I wanted so badly to create something ethereal like this, but it wasn't until years later that I had the opportunity to enter the EDM world myself.
N: You’ve recently released your debut album “Burn The Sky Down” on Armada Music, what can you tell your fans about the album making process?
EH: The album making process with this particular album was very different from the way most EDM albums are created I would imagine. I kind of decided to go back to my organic roots and create something with live strings, drums and guitars merged with the electronic sounds. The approach we used was more similar to the traditional band approach of making an album, I guess this is what I know so perhaps I wanted to go back to this set up subconsciously. I love the feeling of locking yourself away in the studio for weeks with a group of people who are creatively on the same page, and bringing in different musicians and seeing how the songs take shape and come to life. This process is a lot more time consuming than recording a completely electronic album, and you never really know exactly what you are going to finish up with as each musician that plays brings their own interpretation and style to the recording, so it becomes a hybrid of everybody's energy, but I love this feeling. It can also be quite stressful and when making an album in Australia it usually involves a few beers along the way too!
We also used different mix engineers, which is much more of a band thing to do really, but we felt it would give some extra depth to the recording. This meant the mixing of the album also took an extra month or so on top of the recording, many many days of listening extremely intently to every drum sound and bass note!! It was certainly a long process, but we wanted to get the energy of many wonderful people involved to hopefully create something a little bit unique.
The second side of the album, the remix package, is still coming together now. This process is purely exciting to me as I am not in the studio with the producers, I am just able to sit back and listen to their creative takes on the songs...this is really an amazing feeling to hear someone else's interpretation of your work!
N: Now that the album has been officially released, which tracks from the album would you say you hold closest to you and why?
EH: For me "Colours" is very close to my heart, being that it was written about the passing of my grandfather and thinking about all of the moments we will remember when that time comes. I always get a little bit emotional when I sing this song.
"These Days Are Ours" is also very close to me. This was written about growing up in my small town in Australia, and the trouble I used to get into with my friends, walking around the streets, going to house parties, sneaking cigarettes from parents and just the usual teenage stuff that becomes meaningful in our memories. I have always been fascinated by the passing of time, and a lot of my lyrics are about this. Nostalgia and the longing for the times that have been and knowing that they are forever just a memory now, but also remembering the hope and excitement we felt in those days, but also bringing that feeling of hope and excitement into now and looking forwards.
N: Along with the release of the album comes touring and live performances. Which of your recent live performances were most exciting for you and why?
EH: I was lucky enough to visit Australia a few weeks ago with Cosmic Gate for a sold out tour. It was amazing to visit my home country and play shows to such an overwhelming response. I hadn't been home for quite a while, and it seems dance music has really been embraced out there now, so it was wonderful to feel such a positive vibe from the crowds on home turf!
I have been touring constantly for the past couple of months which has been amazing, some of the festivals like "Nocturnal" in Texas recently have been insane!! i also love playing the intimate shows where you can get really close to the audience, I love to get as close to people as possible when I am singing, so I find some of these club shows really exciting too, SanDiego at the Hard Rock Cafe pool party was amazing, such a positive energy there, the South African shows a recently were also really special. I just got back from a Mexican tour with Dash Berlin too, the crowds out there were really crazy and so into the music which was awesome!!!
I have to say I am pretty excited for EDC in New York on Friday too!!
N: With the success of your career skyrocketing over the past five years, how would you say you life is different than it was five years ago? Where do you see yourself five years from now?
EH: It really is a different life, I feel as though I have somehow been transported into a parallel universe. I feel so blessed to be touring so much and playing my songs live, while getting to experience so many parts of the world I would never have otherwise had the opportunity of visiting. Hotels and airports have kind of become a bit of a second home these days, I moved in to a new apartment in Berlin 2 months ago and I haven't even been there yet. I wouldn't change this life for the world, it is something I really have to step back and appreciate, as it is unusual and something that may last or may be fleeting, so I am careful to be grateful for every experience. I don't see my family and friends as much as I would like these days, but I think they understand.
In five years I hope to still be creating music and playing shows, I have no idea where I would like to be or anything other than that, but as long as I still have these things then life will be good.