Interview – See Emily Play

A coach station is not the usual place where we conduct our interviews, but luck and last minute plans had it that the interview with Emily Ireland from See Emily Play would be conducted in a small café by the coach rank. While the busy coach bays transported back and forth a myriad of people we would never talk to, we talk about her upcoming gig (Sunday 20th, Library Theatre, Sheffield), her new ep, Four feet from the door, Pink Floyd and Superhero names.

It’s all related. Honest. 

So, you probably get this one from everyone: where did the name See Emily Play came from?

It’s the name of a Pink Floyd song. When I was little, my dad used to play it on record to me, so it was quite fitting that when I was searching for a stage name, I took that one. It’s a bit obvious, but that’s it. I quite like Pink Floyd as well.

Which Pink Floyd album do you like best?

Ah, I like the post-Syd Barrett stuff, so I think Dark side of the moon, which is the obvious one, I guess, but I think it’s their best album. Wish you were here is good as well!

Good choices! I prefer Animals myself.

Ok, that’s interesting!

But it’s more because of me liking George Orwell a lot. It’s a hard album to get in, as the songs are quite long, but once you get into that stuff, it’s great.

Yes, they do like their extended songs.

Yeah, ‘Echoes’ is half an hour! And it’s so good that Andrew Lloyd Webber nicked the theme for Phantom of the Opera from that one.

That’s interesting!

Yeah, Roger Waters sued Lloyd Webber because of that. It’s that bit about 10 minutes in. My dad loves Lloyd Webber and The Phantom of the Opera so when I heard ‘Echoes’ for the first time I went “hang on a second! A tribute from the past?”

That’s cool! Need to hear that.

It’s weird with Pink Floyd: nobody has ever told me The Wall is their favourite album, even if it has the most played song from them.

Right.

It has two or three songs and they are the ones by Gilmour. I prefer him to Roger Waters. Heck, I like The Division Bell.

I haven’t heard that one! Is it good?

Yes, I love it! I know people say “oh, it’s not Pink Floyd because there’s no Roger Waters” but then again, it hasn’t been Pink Floyd since Syd Barrett got shown the door. But anyways, back to business.

Yeah.

So, your EP is titled Four feet from the door, where did the name came from?

Well, it’s the name of the title track and it’s also a line from one of the songs. I quite like the alliteration in it. A very English lit student answer, I know, it had a certain ring to it.

Alliteration is good! If you look at every superhero comic, all the names of the heroes are alliterations: Peter Parker, Reed Richards, Matt Murdock, Bruce Banner…

Oh, you’re full of little facts!

My friends in Mexico call me Sammypedia, I wish it was useful information though.

I see!

So, Tiny Teeth records. Tell us a bit about that label. Is it yours?

I’m part of it, it’s run by Jon Windle, who was in a band called Little Man Tate. They were famous a while ago, when there was this explosion of Indie bands.

That’s something that Sheffield needs: more labels.

Definitely. I was in a band when I was 13 or 14 and I was in a battle of the bands that Jon Windle judged, so it’s really strange; it feels it has come full circle now by being signed to his label. It’s funny how little things in your life end up being more significant.

Butterfly effect, I guess. Let’s go into a couple of your songs. ‘Four feet from the door’ sounds a little personal, would you mind if I ask you what is it about?

Oh…

Next question, then?

Haven’t been asked about what the songs are about in an specific way. Yes, it’s very personal. All of my songs, well, I find it really easy to write from experience and how I’m feeling instead of making things up. ‘Four feet from the door’ is basically about someone being a bit of a dick, really. Pretty much, and me not feeling too good about it.

“Someone who was a dick”, yeah, that sounds right. Don’t worry, I’m not OK magazine, that’ll do! Oh, what about ‘A loner like me’?

That’s the only one that’s complete gobbledygook. I wrote it a long time ago! I was 15 or 16, so it’s a strange progression how the songs are written from different ages. It’s not really about anything.

So you’ve been working on all them for a while?

Yes, I wanted to play them for some time and get them done right, so practice practice practice, then I went to the studio and I went with my brother, who’s a bit of a musical genius. He played the drums, the bass, the guitar. It was really nice to play a song and add all of these pieces and see how it sounds different with a full band. Sorry if I’ve gone off the hook right there (laughs).

Don’t worry! Go on! Which studio did you record at?

2Fly, with Alan Smyth.

Good choice.

2Fly is pretty much where everyone I know goes.

He must recognise me by now. Been two times taking photos, “singing” for a pub singalong and breaking pieces of wood for a band.

That’s cool! You’ll little claim to fame.

I guess. I didn’t see any credit so I should sue…

Alan Smyth is quite good, he knows his stuff. We didn’t have a proper idea of how to record but Alan helped a lot. He was very non patronising about the whole affair and helped us a lot. We’re happy from the recording and we hope people enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.

Let’s talk about the gig at the Library theatre. How did you get that one for your EP launch?

Basically through the label, really. It’s a lovely place, it feels like something out of the 1930s and it’s very exciting to play my music in a place as lovely as that.

Good acoustics too.

Yes, that’s true! Dead like Harry and Felix will be supporting, so it should go very well. We have an after party at Henry’s.

I know Dead like Harry. Good luck!

Thanks! I’ll be playing with a full band, it will be the first time live with a full band. We’ve been happy with our sound on rehearsals. I have only seen productions there and hopefully we’ll do fine. It’s good that it’s a good stage; plenty of room for all instruments.

Yeah, you don’t want a tiny stage! Some room to breathe.

Right!

So, influences?

Okay, in terms of playing, it has to be Ben Folds. He’s brilliant! I’d love to be him…or marry him! Voice wise, I like gospel singers a lot. I’m well into Aretha Franklin. My favourite band of all time is The Who and it was watching them a few years ago what made me want to go into music.

So piano was because of Ben Folds! I like his soundtrack for Over the hedge, a really funny film!

I haven’t seen the film! He made an album recently with Nick Hornby on lyrics, it’s a brilliant album!

Nick Hornby is a legend! It’s nice he got a chance to do it, he shows his love of music in High Fidelity. Check that book or the film, real good one.

Will do!

That’s pretty much it! Anything else to mention?

Well, EP launch gig on the 20th  of November, with tickets available from Cow and from my website! The EP is out on the 14th. It’s the boring bit of the interview, really.

It had to be said! Best of luck, Emily!

Thank you very much!

It was then the time for Emily to catch her coach, we wish her the best of luck for her upcoming gig. You can read our own take on her EP right here

Words: Sam J. Valdés López

See Emily Play WebsiteMyspaceFacebookReverbnationTwitterSoundcloud.

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