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Interview with Emmy the Great

The new album Virtue is currently picking up more and more outstanding reviews and Emma-Lee Moss, known as Emmy The Great proclaims the start of an extensive UK tour late 2011 with the release of a new single ‘Paper Forest’ (In the Afterglow of Rapture) on September 19th.

The track ‘Paper Forest’ (In the Afterglow of Rapture) Emmy explains, was inspired by a Patti Smith song, being ‘blessed amongst all women’, and a classical Sylvia Plath quote, that ‘character is fate’. These two phrases encapsulated her situation and the heart of the song.

The follow up to her equally critically acclaimed debut First Love, Virtue began as a series of stories Moss embarked on after the breakup with her fiancée. Drawing on symbols borrowed from fairy tales and mythology, she added modern icons to create a record that made her feel like a person and that she hopes will speak to many others.

Moss has been in contact with The Badger during the summer for an extensive interview about fairy tales, fate and fearlessness.

Caption: Emmy The Great Photo Credits: guardian.co.uk

”Out of chaos comes order” – is that how you would describe your work of art? I haven’t in the past, but I do like that. The period before making the album was one of tumultuous feelings and complicated unknowns, and now all that’s left of it is ten songs. So I suppose that’s exactly what it is.

Do you consider yourself blessed to be able to make music for a living or were you just born that way (fate)? Yes I do. I consider myself lucky being born into the situation I was born into, with a loving family and the opportunities of Hong Kong and the UK, and to be able to also do a job which I find interesting, and which changes and evolves, is more luck than I deserve.

What highlights a good fairy tale and what would you say it stands for? I like the fairy tales with young women cast out of their comfortable situations who have to navigate their way back by their wits. I think these are women of the past sending messages to future generations in code. When a lot of these stories were originated, women didn’t have a lot of power and didn’t have much of a voice. They kept their lessons hidden in folk tales that they told to children, or while doing domestic chores, and it was effective, because they’re still remembered and passed on today.

What things make you feel, for real? I think I get most excited when I read a book, see a film, or have a conversation where I think that the other person feels the same way as I do, or has the same experience as me. Bit narcissistic really.

Would you like to comment on words like virtue and rapture, what they do and what they mean? I think the former has a prim, ladylike feel to it, which is open to subversion, and the second one feels terrible and dangerous. 

I hear you mentor Nimmo and the Gauntletts, how is that working out? I love them! They’re doing really well. Just recorded their first EP and getting a lot of great support slots. They’re one of these bands that will last a long time, not just some buzz act that comes and then disappears.

What’s your next project? A Christmas album with Tim Wheeler, out this Christmas.

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