Emika - Kickstarter #HowtoMakeASymphony

Emika - pic Alex Lua
Emika - pic Terry Tyldesley
Emika - pic Jacob Pritchard
Emika - pic Jacob Pritchard
Emika - pic Jacob Pritchard
Emika - pic Alex Lua

Acclaimed electronic artist Emika has a groundbreaking new music project on Kickstarter called #HowToMakeASymphony and is enlisting fans’ help to make her symphony happen. The Anglo-Czech talent has released two albums on Ninja Tune and three on her own label, Emika Records. She was classically trained in her youth, later discovering the limitless world of electronic composition that would provide the yin to her formative yang. We interviewed her about her new work.

Milton Keynes, UK

Emika - Kickstarter


Emika has been documenting her intricate creative process as part of the Kickstarter she set up to fund the #HowToMakeASymphony project. She has been composing and preparing for the recording with the 70-piece Prague Metropolitan Orchestra that will feature the vocals of soprano Michael Srumova, and is calling on fans to help bring the project to life.

The great Kickstarter rewards range from a previously unreleased Emika string orchestra piece as an immediate download, to a special composition for individual backers, a production tutorial via Skype, or Emika remixing your track. Some of the rewards like Emika singing on a track have already been snapped up, and the Kickstarter finishes on Friday 13th November.

So what stage is she at now?

The music score is written and I am working on the over all dynamics of the piece together with Paul Batson who transcribed the score and is also my music teacher from school. We have known each other for about 11 years now and I am very lucky to be able to work with someone who truly gets me.

I am going with my sound tech to Prague in November to sit in on another massive orchestral recording session at Czech Radio so we can observe how they work and prepare for our recording. Also I will rehearse with Michaela Srumova the lead soprano some more and discuss the recording session with the orchestra agent and dear friend Radek.

“The thing that excited and scared me the most”

What made you decide to create a symphony - we know you are classically trained, was it something you always wanted to do, and why now at this point?

I split with my previous record company. I had nothing. I was just sat in Berlin feeling like I could do anything and that I should do something great with my new found freedom. So I decided to do the thing that excited and scared me the most, write a symphony and compose music for another artist to sing.

I met Michaela the soprano in Prague when I was recording a string piece for my track ‘Dem Worlds’, which featured on my second album ‘DVA’. I fell in love with her voice and she became my first serious muse. I was so inspired by the experience that I promised myself I would compose something much bigger.

What kind of reaction have you had so far to the project and what more support would you like?

Having grown up through the traditional indie music biz, right now I feel like I am living in a beautiful parallel universe where dreams come true and anything is possible and life is fair and life is sweet. My audience is backing the music before they know how it sounds, and not even I know entirely how it will sound. Can you imagine how this feels?

Emika at ROLI Rise launch - pic Terry Tyldesley

“I am inspired by visionary entrepreneurs”

We saw you play an excellent set at the launch of the new ROLI Rise. What are your favourite tools and instruments for making music?

I am inspired by visionary entrepreneurs, and Roland Lamb (of ROLI) is one of these. If a great person makes something unique, then I want to make music with it. I am for sure getting tired of music tech which is made by big companies. I feel like the bigger the company gets, the more bland and average the final tech is when is it released.

I also love Stephan Schmitt (Reaktor inventor), Mike Daliot (creator of Massive), Carla Scaletti (Kyma).

The Echo Concept

Emika works with everything from an upright piano to plugins and still has her original music tools - Logic 4 on her very first Mac that’s running OS9.

You’ve been a sound designer for Native Instruments, do you want to make your own instrument one day?

Not really, I want to continue to produce music and discover new beautiful ideas and people and make love to the world and keep searching for the ultimate truth through vibrations and harmony and noise.

Emika is exploring new approaches to making a symphony, and promises a piece that applies her trademark production processes to classical composition, filled with echo concepts, deep resonant bass, haunting lyrics and twisted song narratives.

With the echo concept she wants to bring techniques from the world of electronic music into classical sound. She works with echoes, feedback, filtering and delays in her electronic composition, and she is writing music that creates those sounds organically when it is played by the string section of an orchestra.

“Music doesn’t need genres and labels”

What are your roles in the symphony, what will you be playing and will you be producing the recording yourself?

Composing, producing, recording and mixing. I am also thinking about hosting a remix competition so my audience can work with the music and I want to come up with an insane prize for the winner like maybe going to visit a weird chamber where you can listen to silence.

You released a piano and an electronic album last year on your own label. How important is it to have your own label so that you can fulfil your fantastic range of creative projects?

I basically don’t give a shit about labels anymore. I think their time to do good for music and artists is over now.

Artists are better off working with their own teams and following their guts and listening to their audience. Music doesn’t need genres and labels, it just needs to be good music.

My label is a vehicle with no direction and no release schedule that needs to be filled with something so it can keep functioning. My label is the invisible house that I can live in where everyone can come round for tea, and I can have some peace.