Introducing the explosive Emma Dilemma, the Christchurch-based artist looking at the absurdity of life through a laughable lens on her new album ‘SPIT’ - out today!
Emma Dilemma explores all sorts of sonic influence, pulling inspiration from the Beastie Boys to Sleigh Bells, blending her love for music and finally finding confidence in herself after a youth full of anxiety, fear and low self esteem. The result? Her thundering debut single ‘We Should Give a Shit’. Demanding to be played at full volume, it’s an angsty heavy hitting track about partying, and the eventual dread of next day regret - marking the explosive arrival of Emma Dilemma.
After spending the past few years performing and releasing music in bands, Emma spent the time taking the first steps of her solo career. Working on and off through 2019 and 2020, she worked alongside the Melbourne-based producer duo Le Sauvage, as well as writing all of the music herself for the first time. “SPIT is totally my perspective on life, and I love seeing how my thoughts and feelings and connecting with others who have similar perspectives to me.”. It’s already clear that each release from Emma Dilemma amplifies the multifaceted nature of her artistry. From the 2000’s rock, disco-esque blend of ‘New Attraction’ to our favourite, the energetic guitar-driven ‘Vulnerability’ - the cherry on top being an exceptional music video recreating shot-for-shot the famous talent show scene from ‘Napoleon Dynamite’. Iconic.
Today, Emma Dilemma has released her latest album 'SPIT' - and to celebrate we thought it’d be best to get to know a little more about the emerging artist.
GET TO KNOW: EMMA DILEMMA
What is your first musical memory?
Telling my parents I wanted to learn the violin - I can’t remember why that was my instrument of choice at age 8! A woman my mother worked with told her that the violin was hard and expensive so she told me to pick something else, and I went with guitar. I was gutted at the time but I’m glad I did! It altered my entire life path!
How would you describe your music to your grandparents?
Ha ha! I would tell them it’s loud and silly, music to dance, have fun, and enjoy the absurdity of the world to.
Do you remember the moment you landed on the name Emma Dilemma?
Yeah, it was quite unceremonious! I had a few other “Emma [insert word that isn’t my real last name here]” options that I wasn’t really vibing and then my partner suggested ‘Dilemma’. Not only did it rhyme, but it also summed up the way I seem to experience life!
You’re about to release ‘SPIT (Side B)’ - what does the project mean to you?
It feels like a big deal to me, personally, as I’ve released several records with bands in the past that were collaborative in the music and songwriting, but this is the first time I’ve written all the songs/lyrics myself! So SPIT is totally my perspective on life, and I love seeing how my thoughts and feelings and connecting with others who have similar perspectives to me.
What’s your favourite lyric you’ve ever written?
I write really silly lyrics, and I love more the way that I can wrap and form words and phrases around a melody and how those two things can interplay with each other; which often means when you see my lyrics written on paper without any musical context they are just pretty basic to be honest haha! I’m a bit of a straight shooter and just say what I’m thinking as opposed to trying to make it metaphorical or poetry! So, the first thing that came to mind was “everybody else can go get fucked, it’s only us.” which is in my song Bounce, and it’s just how aggressive that lyric is when set against this bubblegum indie track that gets my juices going!
How are you feeling about Aotearoa's music scene right now?
THERE IS SO MUCH GOOD MUSIC IT’S MENTAL. Soooo many great artists are not getting the commercial radio support we deserve while the same ‘tried and true’ artists get thrashed and repeated over and over. There is so much tasty shit across all the towns and cities in this country that needs to be heard! I want to see that celebrated and big-upped more instead of just one month a year!
I seriously love the music video for ‘Vulnerability’ - where did that idea come from?
Thank you! Well, some people may pick up on that it’s a direct copy of a scene from the cult classic film, Napoleon Dynamite! When I sat down to brainstorm ideas for the video, for some reason that scene just popped in to my head… I think because it’s a dance track so I wanted to do a silly dance to it. It just made me remember Napoleon risking it all out there on the stage for Pedro and it just made sense with the message of the song. Amber Beaton [the director] and I worked hard to get it entirely shot-for-shot to the original movie scene, which meant a LOT of hard work on my part figuring out those dance moves! I honestly don’t think that scene was choreographed at all - I think the actor John Heder just flailed about for 3 minutes haha. To make it full circle I insisted it was shot at my old high school - Lincoln High - in front of the students there for maximum realness of message.
You’re about to head out on a tour around NZ! What are your favourite songs
to play live?
I love performing 'We Should Give a Shit' live coz it just has a really aggressive energy that brings out a certain vibe in me and gets a crowd going too!
One song you wish you wrote?
In light of recent events I wish I wrote Running Up that Hill by Kate Bush because how MINT would my bank account look right now?
If your musical path was a literal path... what would it look like?
The Yellow Brick Road, coz I’m just skipping down it enjoying myself and meeting lots of cool creatures along the way. Some weird flying monkeys have tried to fuck my shit up but I keep skipping on with my pals!
What’s inspiring you outside of music right now?
My friends and family and all the amazing and diverse things they do!
Perfect place to listen to the album?