Interview by tosnob
Canadian singer/songwriter Emm Gryner has a new album coming out in February. Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Gryner about her album. Here's our conversation:
T.O. Snob: Thank you very much for agreeing to speak with us. We're big fans of Emm Gryner here at Snob's Music. You have your new studio album Goddess coming out in February. What should fans expect from Goddess?
Emm Gryner: Probably the most personal album i've ever made. There were a few songs I wrote recently that I thought were poppier or more catchy and I just left them off because they had no place intruding on the moody, subzero landscape of this album.
T.O. Snob: What goes into the songwriting process for you?
E.G.:I write about what I can't talk about.
T.O. Snob: I've been listening to you since I first heard "Summerlong" on CFNY in Toronto. How would you say you have progressed musically in the decade-plus since then?
E.G.: Because I'm a singer-songwriter and I write from life experience my music has changed as I have changed as a person. I've come out of my shell, gone back inside it and come back out again. I've stopped worrying completely what others think and it's a great place to be. The way music is made and shared these days has only contributed to this kind of creative freedom.
T.O. Snob: For quite a while now you've been doing pretty much everything yourself through your Dead Daisy label. What has running your own label allowed you to do that you wouldn't otherwise be able to do on a major label or one of the larger indies?
E.G.: I am able to control my schedule and go off and do projects that I may not be able to if I had a long calendar filled with a year of tour dates. I'm able to be a real, functioning human being with lots of choices and experiences and time to travel and act and bake cakes and visit my family. It's a good way to go. I also don't have to answer to anybody.
T.O. Snob: How much day-to-day influence do you wield in the running of the label and the artists that are on the roster?
E.G.: Sometimes I'm talking to folks every day, and other times I go long stretches without speaking to anybody. I'm there for them when they need me. Like a mom who's got kids who have left the house and come back once in a while for a high caloric home cooked meal.
T.O. Snob: I had the pleasure of catching you and Josh Ritter at The Phoenix last year and I was blown away, particularly when you joined him onstage to do a couple of songs. Have you considered working with him, or someone else, on a recording basis?
E.G.: I loved touring with Josh. It was his idea to do the duet and it really was an honour to sing with him. I don't know if our paths cross musically to be honest, so I don't have a plan to record anything with him. I'm also enjoying just finding this time to produce and record on my own again so I'm enjoying the "table for one" approach right now. Obviously I'd love to work with so many people. The list is way too long.
T.O. Snob: You have a number of headline shows coming up around southern Ontario in January then you head off to do a number of dates in Ireland supporting Colin Devlin in February. Your album Songs Of Love And Death was all covers of songs by Irish artists. What is the connection/affection you have for Ireland?
E.G.: My dad's family is Irish. I went to explore the country many years ago and fell in love with it. I also toured with Bowie there and the crowds were so insane I just wondered - what is up with these people? The Irish have a huge spirit and lust for life, and there is so much good music over there I had to explore it. They've really embraced me and I love to be there.
T.O. Snob: I find that pretty much everyone loves covers. Your Gil Versions is still one of the best covers albums I have ever heard. Do you have any plans for another one in the future? If so do you have a theme in mind?
E.G.: No more covers! Okay, maybe a few at shows. But no more records.
T.O. Snob: What are your guiltiest musical pleasures?
E.G.: I went home to my parents and saw on my shelf a Justin Timberlake cd maxi single for "Like I Love You". I don't remember buying it but guess what - I did!
T.O. Snob: Thanks for taking the time to do this for us. Congratulations on the new album. We wish you nothing but success with it.