“Dark” singer-songwriter is a term which deserves an official registration based on the modern wave of talented female artists. Next to Chelsea Wolfe, there is also Emma Ruth Rundle rapidly building her space on the market. Her captivating voice and an amazing taste for cold melodies are more than addictive. If you look at her list of favorite albums, the magic of her sound suddenly makes more sense. In addition we also spoke about her gear, challenges on a tour and beauties of Prague, which is also on her current European tour schedule on 18th of October.
Featured photo credit: Amélie Jouchoux
Would like to give some introduction to your list?
This is not so much a list of my favorite albums of all time. Much of these are rather pieces I return to over and over as they are especially significant for me.
40 Watt Sun – The Inside Room (2011)
One of my all time favorite albums, English 3 piece, 40 Watt Sun, combine a slower, heavy guitar driven washes over which Patrick Walker literally pours his heart out. HIs lyrics and voice are incredibly eloquent and beautiful. The songs are, at times, in the 8 plus minute category so there is plenty of time to be reeled into their world and taken through Walker’s emotional landscapes. One of my biggest influences in the last few years.
Kate Bush – The Sensual World (1989)
A longstanding favorite and go to listen for me. Kate Bush has a few phases and different sounding albums but there is always her at the core. I think The Sensual World has become the diamond album in her discography, for me, because of the song Love and the Anger. It’s one of the catchiest and uplifting songs I’ve ever heard. Just watch the video and see Kate dancing at the end…How can you not fall in love? Also some really tasteful world influence and killer guitar by David Gilmour on Rocket’s Tale. Love it all the way through.
Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream (1993)
It’s very frustrating to wake up and look at the internet these days only to be greeted by any number of people and music blogs STILL making fun of Billy Corgan – not going to lie, it bums me out and makes me feel sad for a world of critics who can’t take it the simple fact that Billy has recorded THE BEST guitar tone of all time and he did so on Siamese Dream. The songwriting is brilliant and this is really an album that takes you to a place, especially by the time you reach Silverfuck. Sure, I jump over the hits – I don’t need to hear Today every time I want to enjoy this masterpiece but if you’re somehow not familiar take the whole trip and revel in what I think is some of the most important guitar playing of the 90’s.
James Blake – Self Titled (2011)
A groundbreaking beauty of an album. James Blake managed to write and produce this minimal pop R and B (with strong classical influences) that won him the Mercury Prize. There is nothing but pure perfection and genius on this record. Even the cover art is elegant and humble in a way. I guess there is some sense of humility in Blake’s writing that takes me in even further and I become invested in all his repetitive and disintegrated lines, waiting for them to break or modulate in any number of ways as they do on this album.
Cloakroom – Time Well (2018)
I came to know Cloakroom just by association. They had done a lot of touring with label mates Russian Circles as well as some other folks I know. I sort of disregarded this band for a time – not sure why – but when Time Well came out on Relapse earlier this year, I was completely head over heals in love with these Midwestern boys. The guitar playing and textures as well as the cleverly timed riffs (for lack of a better word, this band isn’t metal at all but heavy in a deferent way) and the bonus of Doyle’s of introspective vocal has won them a very special place in my heart and headphones.
Brian Eno – Thursday Afternoon (1985)
In his 11th studio album, Eno has fully mastered the very new world he himself pioneered and invented: Ambient music. Thursday Afternoon is just one long daydream of a song with nothing but the babbling of the synthesized (or whatever he’s employed on this) brook. Nothing “happens” on this album. There is no break or moment of great change or rhythm even… it’s just the most relaxing music on Earth which is why I find my way back to it so often. Pure peace streamed right from the source of new sound.
I’m not an ethnomusicologist
Tori Amos – Boys for Pele (1996)
Tori Amos peaked, for me, on this 18 track album. It was her first time self producing as well and there is something so fierce and desperate in her lyrics and voice. While generally regarded as a singer songwriter, which I think conjures up a picture of a subdued character sitting in a coffee shop somewhere, Tori is really more of a badass and this album rocks it ways though piano and harpsichord driven tunes. I love everything about how the record was recorded and sounds as well. Even the music videos that came from this album are great. If you don’t know, you should.
Earth – Hex; Or Printing the Infernal Method (2005)
I am not sure when I first became aware of the legendary instrumental band Earth but I am sure it was later on in life than for some other more tuned in people. Hex is an album that I listened to a lot while on tour and desperately in need of refuge from the chaos of being trapped with so many other people traveling across the globe. Hex is like a soundtrack and works incredibly well for someone who’s trapped staring out a window, avoiding conversations for most of the day. If there was ever a time to describe something as dusty sounding, this is it. Having really loved the Neil Young soundtrack to Dead Man – Hex felt like a sister album to me or in that world. It has a special ability to take you into a barren landscape and push out all your youngness which is so needed!
The Body – No One Deserves Happiness (2016)
This record came into my life at a time of physiologically shattering life change and a very hot summer in LA. Most would describe The Body and an “experimental” or harsh noise (at times) project. No One Deserves Happiness introduces female forward singing over the backdrop of the bands soul reaping sounds. Chip’s hollow screams have manifested a truly horrific creature in my mind. There is a blend of classical reverence and choral singing within The Body’s noise land and it turns on a part of my brain while listening. I feel comforted by this album somehow.
Stars Of The Lid – And Their Refinement Of The Decline (2007)
Another instrumental masterpiece – SOTL also have classical inclinations or leanings or is this contemporary classical music? I’m not an ethnomusicologist. Washes of treated instruments grip your xanaxed out sandbag body and drag you slowly and mournfully in waves under a pink ocean of wonder and obliteration of the self. I have fallen asleep in my most anxiety ridden times to this album as it swallows you like no other can.
In the heart of Europe
In late October you will be coming to Prague to very intimate club called 007. Did you ever have a chance to properly walk around Prague?
I never played a solo show in Prague, but I performed here with my previous bands already. Every time I made sure, me and my band mates have enough time to check the city. It was amazing every time and I just can’t wait to come again. I visited Prague the last time in 2010 and our tour manager was Tomáš Zakopal, who was local, so he prepared a beautiful commented tour for us.
Could you please present to us your collection of guitars? From the most recent live footages I see you are a big fan of Fender guitars and especially a model called Coronado II.
This piece actually belongs to Evan Patterson, who plays guitar in my band as well in my support band Jaye Jayle. Guitar #1 in my collection is a classic mahogany piece from Cordoba. There is also one from Chinese brand Blueridge, inspired by OM model OM from Martin…(I’m sorry, I am little bit sick)… Within electric guitars my most favorite is standard Gibson SG. It was quite cheap second hand acquisition in one music store. Another piece is Fender Baritone Jaguar special HH. Then there is Fender Stratocaster. I can’t remember the exact model, but it’s quite unique as it has two humbuckers. Next to that I also have one white model from Guild. Longer I play I realize it is very important for me to have two humbuckers within electric guitars. And finally there is one really crappy SG, which I would really like to get rid of, as it is badly made. (Laugh)
Some preferences within microphones?
I use BLUE enCORE 200 the most. Probably as it was a gift. I like its sound, as it can work very well with mids and highs. Another reason is very practical. I realized I get sick more often if I use in-house microphones. If I use my own microphone, I have bigger chances to stay well.
Life on a tour
I am sorry, you don’t feel well. Do you think it’s also because of air conditioners during this years’ crazy summer season?
Not sure to be honest. I was just getting back from a European tour and I must have caught something on a plain.
Longer I play I realize it is very important for me to have two humbuckers within electric guitars
How are you trying to stay in a good shape on a tour? There is a European tour coming up during fall and that’s quite challenging season for immunity.
One can just do maximum and hope. If I can, I try to stay warm and eat plenty of hot meals. I try to rest, as much as I can and get plenty of sleep. But it’s not always that easy, where there is so much drinking and everything else which belongs to a tour life. It is practically a miracle if you survive a tour without any harm.
Is there some European location, which you really look forward to visit during upcoming European tour? It doesn’t necessarily have to be Prague…
It’s funny, as everybody in the team looks forward for the Prague the most. Evan is practically obsessed with Prague and I just can’t wait to meet friends, which I haven’t seen for years. I am also looking forward to see Porto, Lisbon and also Madrid, as I’ve never been to Spain. In general I love to visit well known places as well as completely new locations.