Ep10: Emma Pollock on how knocking on the wrong door led to a career in music
Hello you! Welcome to my conversation with Emma Pollock, recorded on Tuesday 26th November 2019. Keep scrolling down for links to everything we discussed in this episode and visit Emma’s website to explore her back catalogue and sign up to her mailing list.
[Content warning: friendly swearing from the start and one allusion to suicide, in the context of Emma’s collaboration with Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit.]
In this conversation, we discuss:
- how singing in the bath and knocking at the wrong door led to a career in music
- from The Delgados to Emma Pollock solo – how breaking the spell of a band means starting all over again
- the magic of songwriting – balancing music theory knowledge with the quest for the unknown
- do Biffy Clyro travel on golden Segways?
- the brilliance of XTC
- “GPS Cat”
- the “information-action ratio” – how can we can protect ourselves from information overload?
- reading books in the daytime – an indulgence?
Emma Pollock is a Scottish singer-songwriter, musician, and a founding member of the bands The Delgados, The Burns Unit and The Fruit Tree Foundation. As a solo artist, she has released three albums to date, as well as a plethora of collaborative work. She co-runs independent record label Chemikal Underground and the chem19 recording studio.
Explore Emma’s work:
Emma invites you to listen to “The Light Before We Land”, “The City Consumes Us” and “American Trilogy” by The Delgados, and solo songs “Old Ghosts” and “Dark Skies” from 2016’s “In Search Of Harperfield”.
Follow the “Attention Engineer” playlist here.
In February 2020, Emma’s co-write with The Warm Digits was released as the first single from their album “Flight of Ideas”. “The View From Nowhere” refers to the mid-century approach to psychotherapy which required the therapist to remove the ‘self’ from their view of the patient.
Other things we talked about:
In the intro I mention touring the UK with comedian Robin Ince. Thank you, Robin, for inviting me and for introducing me to Emma and Paul!
Emma mentions the film “Garden State”, which is gorgeous and introduced me to the music of The Shins, and we both big up the skills of her husband (music producer and Delgados drummer) Paul Savage. Emma also talks about TV series The Marvellous Mrs Maisel.
She talks about the wonderfully creative music of XTC, and we get onto a discussion about the internet via Cal Newport’s books (I didn’t bring them up first this time!!). I also mention Creative Pep Talk, which is one of my favourite podcasts.
Emma mentions the “information-action ratio” covered in Arctic Monkeys’ song “Four Out Of Five”. While discussing not being able to read all the books on our shelves, I allude to the Japanese word Tsundoku, which actually means buying books and letting them pile ups without reading them.
On the subject of reading, Emma talks about tackling “Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science” by Werner Heisenberg.
Post-Delgados, Emma has made great music in collaboration with other people, including The Burns Unit (with King Creosote, Karine Polwart and more) and The Fruit Tree Foundation (with Idlewild’s Rod Jones and more).
The song she co-wrote with Scott Hutchison (RIP) is called “Singing For Strangers”, and it’s beautiful. Listen here.
This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!
New to my musical world?
+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.
+ I send a thoughtful email every week – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.
+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer” are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.
+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Have a lovely day xoPodcast
Another excellent podcast. Can’t help smiling to myself when I’m listening…. Love the humour and easy flow of conversation. Cheers.
Thanks so much, Paul!!