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Emma-Jean Thackray: Abbey Road Amplify x Pitchfork London Sessions

Emma-Jean Thackray was invited by Abbey Road Studios and Pitchfork to record a session around her performance at the inaugural Pitchfork Music Festival London. This session was recorded in celebration of Abbey Road Studios 90th Anniversary and the inaugural Pitchfork Music Festival London.

Released on 02/24/2022


[drumsticks clicking] [upbeat jazz music]

♪ Panic, panic, panic, panic ♪

♪ Panic, panic, panic, panic ♪

♪ Panic, panic, panic, panic ♪

♪ Panic, panic, panic, panic ♪

♪ Panic, panic, panic, panic ♪

So today I've been recording the Talking Therapy Ensemble,

which is a new project of mine,

completely different from my usual music.

It's, I guess, a mix between free jazz,

punky kind of stuff.

And it's about just exercising demons

and trying to find some catharsis,

and we can talk about stuff

that you might only talk about

with a therapist or something,

so trying to blur that world,

that you have to do a lot as an artist,

of what's public, what's private,

how much of your personal life and your personal struggles

are you gonna use as fuel for your art?

[upbeat jazz music] ♪ Do too much ♪

♪ Do too little ♪

♪ Sleep too much ♪

♪ Sleep too little ♪

♪ Eat too much ♪

♪ Eat too little ♪

The Gate House felt really intimate.

We all felt very held there,

I think because it's slightly away from the other studios.

It sort of feels like its own little world

where you can experiment

and not feel like people are watching you.

So that's quite nice to sort of be tucked away.

♪ Too much, too little ♪

♪ Too much, too little ♪

I like to just first and foremost make sure

the drum sound is right.

That's the most important way that I like to sort of set up,

because the drum sound kind of

will infer everything else.

So if the drums sound right and exactly how we need to

like in the pre-production,

then everything else is gonna go well.

So on drums is Dougal Taylor,

my sort of usual drummer and collaborator.

Mike Gebridge on the bass,

again, my sort of regular touring bassist,

and Binker Golding on the saxophones

who is an incredible saxophonist.

[jazz music]

It was just a case of showing the guys the music,

they'd never seen before.

I'd sort of spoke to them about what I wanted

in terms of the sound world,

but they've never seen the charts.

It's very minimal, sort of written sheet music.

And I did that with my last record.

No one knew the music before we recorded it,

I wanted to sort of surprise people

and have that sort of slight sense of hopefully wonder

of like, Okay, this is something brand new,

and that excitement of playing something

that you don't know.

So you're always gonna be fresh in the way you approach it.

[jazz music]

We were playing live together in a circle,

everyone looking at other, lots of eye contact,

and we recorded things pretty much completely live,

there's just been one or two little overdubs

just to thicken up some sounds,

but pretty much just a live performance

and it's been raw and real.

[jazz music]

I don't really get writer's block.

I think always being under pressure is really good for that

because you don't really have the time or the luxury

to feel stuck.

But also having done degrees in composition,

I think what you learn from that

is a toolkit of ways to approach things.

So almost taking art

into a place of being a trades person,

so it's like, Okay, I have a job to do here,

rather than waiting for this elusive muse

that might never come.

It's a sense of,

every day I'm writing down little ideas, little sketches.

My ultimate advice is to trust yourself

and to keep learning.

So never feel satisfied that you know enough.

Always be looking for new techniques, new ideas.

Don't let people turn you away from your vision.

If you have something in mind that you wanna do,

then you should wholeheartedly commit to that.

[jazz music]