It’s been a year since our first conversation with Emma Moore, and she’s spent the year making her new EP, the table. It’s fairly safe to say that it’s been a year no one expected or could have predicted. We sat down with Emma shortly before her release to put the world to rights – and talk about her music. Emma starts by telling us a bit about it…
I’ve never been this excited about anything in my entire life. I don’t even know where to start with it. It’s a really good mix – I think – of traditional and new. I feel like it’s my kid, I just love everything about it. I enjoyed every moment of the process. What do you want to know about it?!
I want to know about The Blinded Experience – where the concept came from, and why you decided to essentially offer the EP so far in advance to people – for nothing?
Yeah, it was scary! It was scary, it was weird. It was a weird thing to do, very different, very ‘this could go one of twenty different ways’, this could be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done… or it could be the best thing I do, it could be anywhere in between. So there was a lot going on with it.
When lockdown happened and there was no idea when shows were coming back – because that’s all I’ve thought about for the past few years, ‘how do I get shows, how do I play more shows, how do I travel to more places. How do I be a live touring musician?’ And then all of that went out of the window. I started researching, listening to podcasts, youtube videos, tutorials, I signed up for so many shitty scams for artist training – and then found a great one about how to run a music business. So the idea of running this direct-to-fan process came from the team at Indepreneur who teach musicians how to be independent business owners, and it’s all targeted towards music. The concept was theirs. And you just have to figure out a way to make it fit your music and your style and your audience and your songs, and what you want to offer. And then you have to build it all.
I spent months doing it because it’s not my normal area of expertise. I knew I wanted to do something different because I hate the way music is released now. It almost feels like nothing. You work so hard on a project and then – oh, it’s out now, especially because there’s no shows so you can’t celebrate it with a launch or a tour or anything like that. I didn’t want to just put it out on iTunes and then be like – there you go, it’s there.
I was actively looking for something different and the overarching theme for me behind it was ‘how do we make this feel special?’ – like getting music is special, like it’s got value, like it’s a gift, like it’s something that you want to be a part of and you get excited to wait for. Like when we were talking about the 90s and technology and stuff, you’d save up your pocket money to go and buy an album, because you’d seen it on Top Of The Pops or CD:UK or you’d heard it on the radio, and it was someone you liked and you really wanted to hear the rest of the album so you’d save and save and save. You’d go into Asda or Woolworths or HMV or anywhere – and you’d go and buy it and listen to it in the car on the way home and get really excited and read the liner notes with the lyrics to every song off the album.
And I thought, maybe we can digitise that. So then it just became this super-long process of ‘what do I give people? How do I do it? How do I try and make it the start of a business?’ I love The Blinded Experience, I think it’s really cool. [But] you give it to people for free and then there is this huge likelihood that you’re giving this thing away – for free – to the people who are most likely to have bought it from you when it came out. So that was the biggest risk because obviously, it’s a fortune to make the EP – and then all of the time, and hours and technologies that you need to build something like The Blinded Experience. All of that has to come from somewhere. Then you’re advertising and paying for ads and you’re like ‘crap, is this the worst idea ever?’ And I guess we still won’t know until May 7th.
But it was a hope that the merch would offset some of the free music. So if nobody bought music, nobody downloaded it or bought a CD, maybe they would buy the merch. And then it all comes into one big pot. But the CDs did really well; I’ve got 11 or 12 left of those 50 limited edition ones and then I’ll launch the regular ones on 7th May.
So, yeah – you just kind of hope that people feel closer to the music and closer to me as an artist as well. I feel like I had a very quiet year throughout 2019 because I was at uni and I was really focused on that and I didn’t see my band for a year, and then coming into a COVID year – I just feel this massive disconnect between me and my audience and I feel like The Blinded Experience was my bridge to them and a way to give something back. We all know that we’re inundated with choice of what music to listen to and who to support. To give people that extra ‘that was such a cool thing she did for us, I am going to stream it or see her play live.’ Just hopefully putting a really solid foundation in to launch everything from.
The Blinded Experience really does feel like something that could survive beyond the EP. In a month’s time or three or six months, when people are thinking ‘okay, what am I going to listen to now?’ – you’ve got all of that extra content and all of those extra stories for your fans.
I hope so! I’m still trying to figure out a way to make it an evergreen process. I’m still trying to work it out – you know, for bringing new people in, who haven’t heard it or didn’t hear it on the radio. I hope that it continues, and I’m still tinkering away in the background trying to make it something that can stay. I’ve got ideas for it, there’s always ideas for more content. It just comes down to time.
I loved the idea of having different drinks for each song.
So did I! I loved that!
Were you drinking different drinks when you were writing them? Where did it come from?
It was just a silly thing! I was writing big lists of what I wanted to put on each page. I knew every page had to have the lyrics and I really wanted every song to have a playlist. I remembered reading James Corden’s autobiography years ago and the only thing I remember about his book is that at the start of each chapter, he had a snack that went with the mood of the chapter! I’m more of a drinker than a foodie and it was just another way for me to put a vibe on the song without being super obvious about it. It tells you a lot about a song.
Cocktail recipe book incoming?
Oooh that’s such a great idea! I love merch. I did make coasters – the same as the one from the autumn bundles, the vinyl one. I did a pack of six of those and they each have the song and the drink and a little explanation on them.
[Merch] is just another way to be creative. It’s interesting, and it’s really fun to come up with stuff. Some stuff has done really well; some stuff I’ve bought and think “I’m never gonna sell this.” It’s nice to see that progression; I still have a couple of t-shirts from when Pilot came out because they’re really shit! I like the colour and they’re so soft, but the design is really shit. I love seeing those next to the ‘Match Made In Hell’ ones because I’m just like – ‘you got good! You learnt some stuff!’ You can see the progression, which is nice.
What’s the worst bit of merch you’ve done?
A few years ago I had these bottle opener-lighters, which I thought was the coolest combination ever. Everyone loves a bottle opener! Not many people smoke anymore, but everyone loves a birthday, you can use [the lighter] for the candles on your birthday cake. So I thought they were great, then half the lighters didn’t work. I also got my website printed on them and then I changed my website. It was a proper rookie mistake.
I also bought koozies last year, which nobody buys. I have about a hundred koozies in my wardrobe. I’m hoping they sell at festivals, I feel like it’s a festival thing! But you learn. That’s the thing. Especially with merch, you have to let yourself experiment and you have to invest and just take some risks. Some will pay off and some won’t, but hopefully in the long run it’ll catch up on itself.
What’s been the best merch?
The autumn bundles! I love them! Although I will say I did not make enough money on them for the amount of work [involved]. I was still figuring out packaging and postage. And the mugs were a nightmare – when they arrived, half of them were smashed. But they were on pre-order, so I think only the first 12 or 14 came and they were completely fine, so I could send them out straight away. Then, the rest of the pre-orders had to wait an extra two weeks because the mugs came smashed to smithereens. Then, some broke that I sent out – so I sent replacements. So I think I just about broke even on the mugs. There were other things that I really wanted – I’m really trying to up the quality of everything but I didn’t want to charge people loads of money, I didn’t want to charge more than I really had to. So for me the bundles were the most creative and the most fun, they sold really well and I loved making them and talking about them. Everyone got so excited and that felt like a little mini ‘experience’ that everyone was in on. I loved the whole experience.
I’m gonna try and make it a yearly thing, but I’m gonna have to compromise somewhere because it was so much work for no money at the end of it! But I didn’t really do the bundles to make money, it was just to have something interesting to go on and to learn the process. Last year’s autumn bundles weren’t really finished before I got the idea for this year’s.
The newer T-shirts are more expensive because they’re more expensive to buy; they’re a lot nicer, they’re all organic, super soft cotton. They’ve all got multiple colours printed on them. This whole year has just been about experimenting. [I didn’t know] what would be more popular: the cheaper t-shirts that are more affordable but people won’t wear because they’re not that nice, or some higher quality clothes that are a bit more expensive but people actually enjoy wearing and they wash and iron really well. I’ve no idea how it’s gonna pan out.
I’m terrible. I use a few different [suppliers] and I’ll get an email, it can literally be as low as 5% discount but I’m like “ooh, what do I need?” I’m so gullible. “Ooh, I never thought about getting this! Oh, they’re on sale, I’ll just design something. I’ll just play around in Photoshop for an hour and see what happens.” and then I’ve got an order in. I’ve got a whole wardrobe just for merch!