Supercry, the sophomore album from Brisbane musician Emma Louise, stands out for the sheer scope of moods on display. Across remorse, friendship, romance and nostalgia, Louise sings a remarkable journey. While the award-winning songwriter is the tie that binds them together, each song is very much an independent creature.
“It’s not necessarily on purpose. I just love song writing,” Louise says. “I want each song to be its own. I’ll always be an individual song person. In saying that, I think I’d rather release an album than just singles. With Supercry, I had all of these songs from different times, but I tried to find ways to segue them together. Even if just my voice is the connection. Some of the sounds are similar, we used the same bass sound for a lot of them, the same drum sound. We did most of the recording in three weeks, it’s like a blur now. I came in with 50 songs, we picked 12 of those and then only 10 made it. I want to record those other songs as well someday.”
It’s not unusual to enter a studio with bucket-loads of songs that must slowly be filtered down to an album. What is impressive is the ambition of her output; Louise seems to always be moving towards the next melody, the next lyric. The fact she has already stumbled upon her third potential album is all the evidence needed.
“If I’m spending time with a song and it’s not working, I think it’s just better to let it go,” she says. “Write down the lyrics, try and get down the mood, keep note of it, but then let it go. If it’s meant to be, it’ll resurface in another song in an even better way.
“I went to Mexico for 10 days [earlier this year] and I wrote and demoed a whole new album,” she says. “I didn’t expect that. The songs come from a really untouched-by-anything place. At the same time, it can be so stressful to go away to write if it doesn’t happen. I went to Japan and tried to write, and got nothing really interesting. I learned from that trip that I need to think of it as a holiday. Just soak it up, and then let it all out when you’re home.”
Given Supercry was only released in July, it’ll be some time before audiences hear any of these Mexican recordings. But when they do, there’s a strong chance the immediacy of their creation will remain. Stitching demos into the mix has become a significant tool for Louise, capturing the unadulterated emotion that first brought the song to life.
Supercry’s outstanding final track, ‘I Thought I Was a Ship’ is not only one of her favourite songs from the record, but comes as close as you can get to that original spark of creation. “[I was in] the Old Museum in Brisbane. There were artists working across these different rooms, so you had lots of crossed paths. I found out some terrible news that really shook my world, and I snuck into the museum’s basement where they have this old piano. I went in with some little mics, and I wrote that song. It was total, pure feeling, and we ended up using that from the demo because we couldn’t reconstruct it later with the same emotion.
“With Supercry, a lot of the songs are really close to the demo. We tried sometimes to make it different, but the demo can capture something special about the time you’re building it. The song is fresh and you can still tap into what you were feeling.”
Written by Adam Norris
When & Where: The Workers Club, Geelong – October 7 & Corner Hotel, Saturday – October 8.