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EMA announces “too political” new album, releases Ghostship tribute

By | Published on Thursday 16 March 2017


EMA has released a new song, ‘Stand With You (Song For Ghostship)’, on Secretly Canadian’s ‘Our First 100 Days’ series. She has also revealed that she will release a new album this year, but has accused her former US label Matador of refusing to put it out because it’s “too political”.

“Some people have been commenting that I haven’t released a record since 2014”, she wrote on Facebook. “Well, one’s on the way! It’s mastered and ready to go. There was a bit of a delay – Matador won’t be putting it out. It’s too political (which I think especially now music SHOULD be) and the sound is not exactly mainstream”.

Instead the new record will be handled entirely by City Slang, which released her debut album ‘Past Life Martyred Saints’ through its Soutterain Transmissions imprint and the follow-up, ‘The Future’s Void’, in Europe.

“I love working with them”, she said of City Slang. “They are a very diverse label and very supportive of the singular and controversial stuff that I think ends up being what EMA does best (they’re German! They aren’t afraid of politics or music outside of the box)”.

‘Mainstream and apolitical’ doesn’t sound like a particularly accurate description of Matador. And the label’s co-owner Gerard Cosloy refuted EMA’s view in a statement, saying: “From time to time we have to make some unpleasant decisions regarding the label’s release schedule (which is more crowded some years than others) and roster size”.

He continued: “I don’t know anyone – least of all someone as talented and visionary as Erika – who likes hearing, ‘We’re not putting out the great new album you’ve spent the last two years on’. But at no point did we discourage her from making a political record, nor was there any mandate to create something that leaned towards the mainstream”.

This new song, as the title would suggest, was written in tribute to those who died in the fire that destroyed Oakland’s Ghostship venue last year.

“Last December Ghostship burned down and I lost my damn mind”, she explains. “I don’t even know why it affected me so much but it did. I was a wreck for days. I cried a lot and posted crazy things on Facebook, where my feed was filled with bay area friends mourning and/or trying to figure out if people in their community were safe”.

She goes on: “I hadn’t lived there for years but it made me realise how important that community had been to me – I knew the person throwing the show (not the douche landlord) who used to come to shows at our venue in west Oakland, I knew the performers, I knew a few who didn’t make it out. It was partially the timing, right after the election which was like getting spit on in the face”.

Of the song itself, she adds: “We recorded this live in my basement, still improvising the words and timings. I had originally wanted it to be on some sort of Ghostship benefit comp, but hopefully this 100 days benefit will spread out the impact towards all sorts of communities that need it”.

Listen to the track and buy the full ‘Our First 100 Days’ compilation here: