Emiji: “meditative music, being quite cinematic, was perfect, even though the audience may be super niche”

by James Hendicott

As a long-time co-owner of the wildly successful hip-hop production collective Diffusion Labs, Emiji has been firmly immersed in Irish music culture for some time, but his own style is a little different.

Describing his sound as “meditative” and “cinematic”, he has a far more mellow approach than many of his charges, so much so that the sound doesn’t fit comfortably in the Diffusion Labs bracket, but it is intriguing and different, an organic-feeling, incredible chilled out experience.

“I am pretty much a self-taught pianist, who took time to practice and study music theory and composition in my free time,” he explains. “I’m also a producer, and a trained engineer. I come from hip-hop, funk, house and jazz background musically, although I love neoclassical, cinematic soundtracks and psychedelic music.”

“After years of working on so many different styles of music, I wanted to go in a totally different direction. I tried to compose some classical stuff around 2007-2008 but it wasn’t even close to ‘good’. I wanted to explore my deeper and darker side, more mellow and sad, but also the side that appreciates life more.”

The album ’My Journey’ shines with Emiji’s connections, bringing in a host of Dublin musicians who add colourful layers to the style and sound.

“‘Larimar’, the collaboration with Hvmmingbyrd, an amazing Dublin folk-pop duo,” he explains. “These women have such amazing, yet contrasting, voices that I felt would be simply perfect for one of the tracks. I wrote Larimar on piano, but they have done such an amazing job making the song more mystical and gave it a mystical tone. Love their workflow and melodies! It was a pleasure to work with them!”

“‘Parks and Alleys’ is a collaboration with National Concert Hall’s Gamelan Orchestra, led by Peter Moran. I met them at their gig. They blew me away with how all these sounds interact, their eastern scales and instrumentation, so different from the western ones well known to us. I talked to Peter to see  if we could collaborate on something and he was happy to help me along with part of the Orchestra. It was such an experience to record them and write with them, especially without any background in eastern music on my side, but Peter was great at connecting and translating across both worlds!”

“Some of the songs relate to my sad, broken, crying, angry, inner child, the one that was scared, one that didn’t feel loved, was lost and so on. Also, on the other side, some of the songs relate to bliss and appreciation for life. Lots of various bright and dark emotions have made it into the album. I guess it’s my way to release those feelings too.”

“I sometimes get bored or tired of music. When I do, I take out the camera that was given to me by my friend Laelia, an amazing, top photographer. I bought a couple of lenses and started to learn the craft of photography. I’ve also bought a drone, which gave a whole new perspective on my photography.

It also feels like my music works with pictures. I’m a lot about DIY, but hey, nowadays we have Youtube and everything is there. You can learn just about everything for free or at the cost of broadband connection. Amazing!”

That creativity is what shines on Emiji’s record, a journey for him, but also for the listener.

‘My Journey’ is out now.

Click on link above to read more in this weeks Digital edition

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