Having been notably absent from our live scene for most of 2020, Emily Edrosa re-emerges out of serious US lockdown conditions with a new single called Drinking During The Day, a first taste of her debut solo album, ‘Another Wave Is Coming’, which is expected in November. Stylistically softer than her award-winning past project Street Chant, and definitely a step upward from her self-titled debut EP, we were curious to catch up about the new material and life in a Covid hot spot. 

Can you tell us a little about who you worked with on Drinking During The Day?

I recorded the whole song with MIDI drums, was just going to release it like that, but then at a show I played solo here in LA I met a drummer who convinced me to record it again with real drums. I sent him the song, he learnt it, and he got me a good rate at a friend’s studio. We recorded the drums and the bass live there, and I recorded the guitars and vocals at my home studio. 
Then along with the rest of the record I sent it to John Agnello, and he mixed it in New Jersey at a studio there. A while later I had my friend Joo Joo Ashworth add some stuff to the mixing. The whole process was so drawn out by the time it was being mixed by John I had pretty bad “demo-itis” and I insisted that everything be completely dry, so Joo Joo added a bit more reverb etc.

The song sounds like a slice of life from NZ – which is likely quite different from your reality in LA this year, right? 

The song was written in NZ, quite a long time ago, actually. And yes, things in LA are very tense right now. It really feels like this country is on the brink of collapse. We have been in lockdown for 4 months and during that time I have only left my house to go to the supermarket, and the only person I have seen is my partner. She’s gone away for a month, so I’m completely alone! Definitely starting to feel like I’m losing the plot…

I can’t help but wonder about the situation you were in when you wrote the song. How much of it literally happened?

None of it happened, actually! It’s really just about a relationship breakdown and reflecting on how you can be so naive about the person you are with, and ultimately who you are. The drinking part is more about being wilfully ignorant, if that makes sense.

There’s so much space-themed stuff going on in the video – how does that fit?

When I was choosing the footage those ones just spoke to me. I guess being in my house for so long I enjoyed the expansive existential space shots. Like most people (I think), I like to look at images from space and feel insignificant.

How would you describe the sound you’re trying to achieve here? 

I just really wanted to do something that sounded like a band. I was learning how to program drums and learning more about recording while I was making the album, so I really just wanted to make a record that was really simple and straightforward – which is what debut albums should be, in my opinion. I really just wanted to strip things back. Street Chant’s last album had a lot of layers and it was quite a complicated affair, with the production all over the place, so for this one I just wanted to have it be more simple and to the point.

This is the first single from your first solo album due later this year, and sounds quite different from your EP.

This is probably the most pop rock song on the album, but the sound is pretty cohesive so it’s going to be a huge shock to people. I’m not really trying to distract from the songs. There are some songs which have a lot more space and they’re probably my favourite. Going forward I’m working on a new instrumental project which I’m excited about.

When did you start up PSL Sound? What does that stand for and what sort of business is it?

It’s just going to be my label for my stuff, for the moment at least. There’s some out of print Street Chant stuff which I’m going to do as well. I want to be in control of things. It stands for Pedestrian Support League, which is a Street Chant song. I liked the idea of it being a league! Plus to have the word pedestrian in a label name is kind of funny considering it’s probably one of the worst insults you can make about music.

How do you find the challenge of running your own business as an artist?

Honestly, I haven’t had to do much yet. I am awful at keeping receipts, though, that will be the first challenge.

What are you listening to right now in your free time?

Bobby Hutcherson, Makaya McCraven, Sarah Davashi

Made with the support of NZ On Air