Premiere: Emma Louise - "Mexico"
What inspired Lilac Everything?
Once I started writing Lilac Everything, it kept falling out of me and the album was written in a pretty short amount of time. I was inspired by a more classic style of songwriting. One night, in Melbourne, I decided I would fly to Mexico. I was pretty lonely and sad at the time so I started writing the song "Mexico" and then booked my flights in the same hour. It was very impulsive, but one of the best decisions I’ve made. The song starts, “If I could paint a picture of myself tonight it would be the deepest shade of blue, half my face lit by the moon oh, so I’m going to book a flight to Mexico, ‘cause I just felt so lost I might as well be there you know’”... and then I was kind of like, ok I’ll do it, and it was great. I ended up writing most of the songs for the album. If you listen to "Mexico," you can tell I wrote half of it when I was sad in Melbourne and the other half when I was having a great time in Mexico.
Tell us about the creative process behind recording "Mexico."
The song was written fully on piano and was more ballady than it is now. In the studio, Tobias and I played around with the structure and we fell into that drop that happens halfway. It was so much fun. It all kind of happened with all of us in the room — Tobias, myself and the band. Because it was all recorded live, you can really feel the joy that we felt in the studio when we were making it. There was so much joy in making this track. It means a lot to me because the first verses are dark and heavy and talking about letting go of heartbreak and suffering and then all of a sudden there’s a release and it’s light and colorful and full of joy.
What is the meaning behind the title Lilac Everything?
When I’m not feeling like writing I paint. Around the time I made the album I’d been learning a lot about how to paint shadows. A good friend of mine who’s a painter told me that you can paint shadows by using different shades of purple or lilac. Then it was crazy, I just started seeing lilac everywhere, in all the shadows on the cement, roads and everything. Because shadows were a theme in the album - “Shadowman” — I thought it would be fitting.
How does "Mexico" play into the larger picture of your full album?
I think "Mexico" is a good introduction to the album. It starts off as what could end up being a nice ‘song song’ and then explodes into something different, colorful and full of tiny colorful surprises. It has that light and shade element that I think the rest of the album has. I feel like I wrote the album from a dark place and then somehow managed to attract so much light and ultimately it’s that mixture that really satisfied me in expressing myself in it.
What has working with Tobias Jesso Jr. brought to this single/album?
I first heard Tobias’ song on triple j in Australia. I was so inspired by his album Goon because he was writing classic sounding songs, and I hadn’t felt there was a place for that style of songwriting in our world anymore. It was so real and raw and every part of me was inspired. It gave me permission to write the songs I wanted to write. When I met Tobias and showed him my songs I think we both had lots of the same feelings and instincts around songwriting so it made sense that he were to produce my album and I was ultimately just so grateful that he wanted to do it. The whole process of making the album was magical.
How will you spend your time after the release of Lilac Everything?
Well I have a farm in Australia and it’s very hard to leave, but I will play some shows and give all I can to this album because I really believe in it. After that, I want to get some baby lamb and cows and start an artist retreat/songwriting camp in Australia - which is going to be so much fun. I’ve been living in LA and Australia - going to and fro – and I’m enjoying writing songs for other people and trying to get into that world. Writing songs for other people is very exciting to me at the moment.