Emily Magpie’s new single ‘The Witching Hour’ is inspired by the power of feminine energy, written after reading a book about the witch trials. It’s the follow up to last year’s debut EP ‘Same Stuff’, and we asked her about the musical journey she’s been on to reach this point in her career.
Music/art is a conversation. So I’d love to hear from people what their experience of [my music] is, or their own experience.
What was the first style or genre of music you really got into? Was there a particular song or artist who inspired you?
I remember really loving Janet Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, Blur and Pulp- stuff my parents played. And then as a teenager I loved a whole eclectic range of stuff, same as now really. I would go to my brothers room and listen to Radiohead, Nirvana and The Pixies. I loved that alternative scene but also the lush vocals on RnB and some old jazz as used to sing in a jazz band.
Can you remember the first song you wrote that you were really proud of? What was it about?
‘Same Stuff’ I wrote quite early on. I used to play it acoustic, but knew it needed to grow more layers. I still love that track now, it’s all about connection, which for me is what life and music is about. I love the line between science and spirituality, so it’s basically saying we’re all just a ton of atoms whizzing about, so there’s no difference between you and me - so why have we made life so complicated?
How do you write your music? Is there any kind of routine that helps?
I’m always singing, jamming, writing and listening to music, which I think keeps me tuned in. And I tend to write when I have an overflowing feeling or idea/image in my head that I just have to get down. I start playing around with little ukulele bits, singing over the top and writing it down/recording it as I go.
I try to go with that urge whenever it comes so have a ton of half written songs that I go back to and complete later. But often it forms into a whole song pretty quickly. Then I’ll record it properly, and begin building and producing the rest of the track on Ableton. The ukulele and vocals are always the bones of my songs.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
Ooooh I love Grimes! But maybe Ibeyi… I want to be the third member of the band and play with yummy harmonies. Plus I love cajon.
Your debut EP ‘Same Stuff’ was released last year. How was that received?
It went well! It’s all been a learning process, so I was over the moon just to release something, it’s all pretty exciting to me! And people seemed into it, which has only grown with time. I love seeing it grow.
How have you found writing songs since?
I find I’m pushing myself more and more as I grow as an artist, I’ve learnt so much about producing and songwriting just by doing it, so it’s always evolving. I’m excited for The Witching Hour EP as I feel my musicianship has developed and allows me to continue to further express my ideas and feelings.
Your new single is ‘The Witching Hour’. When and where did you write it?
I wrote it in Peru last year… I had been reading about the witch trials while travelling and learning about Peruvian philosophies of Pacha Mamma, so was exploring feminine energy and tuning into that. My own, and that around me.
What challenges did writing about the witch trials present?
It made me reflect on my own power and embracing that. I think I felt a bit unsure of standing in my power, and I think probably a lot of women, and humans in general can relate to that. It boggles my mind that there is that history and we see the remnants of it still in how we think of ourselves and each other as women. I don’t want to be afraid of or limit my own intuition or strength.
How would you like others to experience ‘The Witching Hour’?
However they’d like to experience it! Music/art is a conversation. So I’d love to hear from people what their experience of it is, or their own experience.
What are your hopes for the single?
Just for as many people as possible to hear it really.
Which song do you most enjoy playing live?
I’m going to enjoy doing that one live a LOT I reckon! Currently love doing an acoustic version of my track ‘Leave it to Fate’ which will be on the next EP. I do it unplugged when possible.
When can we see you on stage next?
Jun 10 Home Farm Festival Bristol, Jun 15 BBC Music Day at The Granary Bar Frome Jun 20 The Gallimaufry Bishopston, Bristol
If you could pick any venue or festival to play, where would it be and which slot would you most enjoy?
I’ve actually got a very exciting festival in August that I’m not allowed to announce just yet… Next year I’d love to do Shambala and Glasto also… I don’t know what stage.. but I’d like a smoke machine. That would be cool.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
Listen to yourself. I could probably keep repeating that advice to myself for the rest of my life.
What’s planned for the rest of 2017?
I’ve got a busy June gigging, some festivals over the summer and working on the EP… Planning to get it out later this year. That’s my focus at the moment, but after that would love to do a cheeky European tour. So if anyone’s reading this and wants to send some dates my way hit me up!
*Listen to ‘The Witching Hour’ on SoundCloud below. For news and tour dates visit her Facebook page.