E.M.M.A. Launches New Label Pastel Prism with Short Film Soundtrack ‘Liberty’


Following previous releases for the likes of Astral Plane and Coyote Records, London-based DJ/producer E.M.M.A. recently announced a new label Pastel Prism with the release of her short film soundtrack 'Liberty', her second collaboration with filmmaker Sophie Davies (the first being her 2014 track 'Light Years').

Earlier this year E.M.M.A. composed the music for a Gucci jewellery campaign, and has continued to host her Producergirls workshops (alongside P Jam, Dexplicit, Ikonika and Nightwave) aimed at encouraging more young women to take up electronic music production.

Watch the video for 'Liberty' below and scroll down to read our Q&A with E.M.M.A.

With ‘Liberty’ you were scoring an existing film – how did that affect your process?

Normally when I make music I think of an idea based on the mood I want to convey or the story I want to tell. In this case director Sophie [Davies] gave me a brief – she had a clear vision about how she wanted to tell the story of a woman gaining personal liberation through her connection with nature. Our approach was very collaborative, we discussed references and sounds we liked, for example earthy percussion, how the tune progressed and how we wanted the audience to respond.

Which elements of the film were you trying to convey with your music, and how did you go about that?

I wanted to make sure the music reflected the journey the character goes on in the film. Visually, we begin by seeing a woman who is quite isolated and guarded – in her own world but not at ease. Slowly this sense melts away as she spends time absorbing energy and power from the trees and her natural surroundings. Sophie was keen to emphasise the inherent link between women and nature and I wanted to make sure that combined sense of power and ultimate liberation formed the basis of the dramatic curve of the soundtrack.

The elements of the song are stripped back to create the space we see her running in. I also picked sounds which were quite oldy or other-worldly, such as some western-inspired drums, a dreamy bell and baroque strings. Old oak trees have seen a lot of change. Historically nature was thought of as the link between the divine and humans, and on a spiritual level for many today being in it is a key part of staying sane. This idea and our relationship with nature over thousands of years also informed my instrument and melody choices.

Between this and the Gucci collaboration you’ve done a quite a bit of soundtrack work now. How has that fed back into your club productions?

Hmmm. Generally I think about “the club” less and less. I’m more interested in other listening/visual experiences and formats. Moving into the soundtrack space is encouraging me to think of the other forms my music could take or the environments in which people can listen to it.

When I make a track which goes down well in the club – eg. 'Mindmaze' – of late it tends to be because there is a fun element to it (in that case, medieval funky). So that’s on my mind if I’m making something to play out in a DJ set. But even with that I didn’t think of it as a club track until other people said it.

Pastel Prism is a very evocative name – will the label continue to combine art and music with future releases? Is there anything in the pipeline you can let us in on?

I hope so. I hope I can develop it along these lines and grow it to something which brings some new ideas to the table. The next step is firming up the next releases. I would love to release someone from one of our Producergirls workshops. I’ve told our private Facebook group of past attendees about it so hopefully it should spur them on to send me some creations. The longer I hang around in this industry the more vital it feels to have more variety of label owners too. There’s some decent ones out there but also some bullets to dodge too. It was quite fun releasing my own tune tbh, should have done it sooner.

How have the Producergirls workshops been going this year?

Great! We did three: Glasgow, Brighton and Bristol. All very creative cities. I was hoping to squeeze in Liverpool before December but haven’t quite managed to confirm the venue – so that will be next.

Lead image: Rosaline Shahnavaz