Emma Lou: Pirate Mixtape 01
The first in a new series spotlighting the musical community based around Pirate Studios. Emma Lou is an eclectic DJ who weaves an intricate web of RnB, Hip Hop, Downtempo and beyond – a perfect accompaniment to a Monday afternoon.
Emma Lou does things a little bit differently – seeking to cement herself as a DJ who is capable of meandering between styles and sounds rooted in her own influences growing up – blurring the lines between the new and the old.
Focussing on Funk, Soul, Hip Hop and RnB her selections often create a certain ambience, one best enjoyed in dimly lit clubs or during quiet moments of personal reflection as you lose yourself in some old RnB B-Side from the late 90’s or a forgotten sample from long back.
A relatively fresh faced DJ on the scene she has begun to build a presence for herself with guest appearances on the likes of Rinse FM and Reprezent Radio.
She has most recently taken up a residency at Pirate Studios, utilising the opportunity to define her sound in more focus and build upon her musical repertoire.
This is the first mix in a new series which will spotlight artists from within the Pirate Studios community – Emma Lou makes a splendid start, with deep moving cuts which highlight her broad knowledge and eclectic taste.
Who are you and how did you first become interested in (electronic) music?
“Hey, my name is Emma Lou and I’m a London based DJ. My interest in music without a doubt began with my family. My dad was part of a sound system when he was younger and both him and my mum were constantly playing music around the house growing up. All tempos, all genres, all styles. Countless vinyls and CDs on the shelves and constant playlists and mix CDS being made. That opened up my musical ear for sure and I started discovering for myself what I loved.”
Describe your approach as a DJ?
“I’d say soul music is at my core so I definitely steer towards more soulful sounds and energy. My DJ style mixes classics and new vibes, and I love playing music that people haven’t heard in ages, tunes they’ve forgotten about or even songs and artists they haven’t heard before.”
What influences you musically?
“I think mainly the people I have around me, my friends, a lot of who are producers, musicians and fellow DJs are constantly inspiring and influencing me. My parents being huge influences also. Sometimes just walking into the kitchen and hearing what they’re listening to can spark something in me. A lot of old school music is a huge influence too, I’d say that’s my happy place, the 90s-early 2000s and also platforms and collectives like Soulection and (throwing it back!) the Soulquarians.”
What challenges have you faced as a musician or artist?
“Starting out it was definitely getting out there and booking sets, establishing myself as a DJ in such a competitive industry. In all honesty, I’ve definitely struggled with the confidence to put myself forward for opportunities, which I’ve made huge strides with the last 2 years, thank God! Staying true to my sound and style as well, which continues to pay off because the people I work with and the events I play are always aligned which is a really amazing feeling.”
You are taking part in the Pirate residency, explain what inspired you to become involved in that?
“I am an avid Pirate Studios user, I’ve spent A LOT of time there the last few years! Especially since I made the jump to CDJs and USBs, having that space to create and practice and hone my craft has been so valuable. So when I kept seeing the Residency pop up on my timeline and the posters around the studios, I thought why not take a chance and apply. It’s a great opportunity, you never know. And here we are today!!”
What do you feel the residency has offered you?
“So many amazing opportunities! I’ve met some great people, been part of the Residency showcase and got some upcoming workshops with artists that should be really exciting. Also a huge confidence boost for one! Being chosen as one of 36 residents out of 5000 applicants is such a huge honour and a blessing. Cross The Tracks especially being a standout moment, not only my first festival set but being part of that lineup?! Wow.”
Describe the mixtape, which track in the mix is your favourite and why?
“It’s an eclectic, head bopping one, I definitely bounced around genres and vibes for this one and I love it! My favourite track would have to be Where I Go, it’s one of my favourite songs of the last year and it’ll always give me the best memories of DJ’ing at Cross The Tracks and then watching NxWorries live to end the night.”
As a DJ what would you aspire to achieve through a set in the club or at a festival?
“I want people to leave with a song or two that they’ll Shazam or go and listen to again when they leave. And of course a huge smile on their faces, my aim is always to bring vibes and joy with my sets, I love to see people shaking a leg in the crowd.”