Lausanne-based singer/songwriter has always done things by herself. She writes, records, and manages her work only following her precise feeling of what’s correct and what’s not.
In 2019, Emilie Zoé got a Swiss Music Award and was invited to play major festivals such as The Great Escape Brighton (UK), Fusion Festival (DE), Bad Bonn Kilbi (CH), Paléo Festival Nyon (CH), Winterthur Musikfestwochen (CH), and opened for Shannon Wright (Le Trianon, Paris) or Jay-Jay Johanson (La Gaité Lyrique, Paris). In 2020, Emilie Zoé played Eurosonic Noorderslaag.
See our exclusive interview with her below:
What are some of your earliest memories of music?
Listening to the same Tom Wait’s record over and over at my parent’s and imagining the music was really played live every time I pressed “play”. I remember imagining the musicians were in a small shack in the forest using weird objects to make those sounds. I couldn’t distinguish any instrument though at that time and didn’t think about the way this music could come to my ears.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
I have to play on an instrument, and the instrument helps to find notes that sound good on it and good to my ears. Then come melodies and words with them, and it makes a verse or a chorus. Then I dig into the sense of it and find the story I want to tell with that song by writing other parts of the song, little by little, like an archaeologist digging up an old object.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
For me at the moment playing live is the most important, and what I’ve done most. The skeleton of a song is written at home but then I try it on stage and it evolves by being played live. And in the studio, I’ve always recorded songs playing “live” guitar and vocals. Both are highly connected.
What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?
Last year’s whole tour, playing an album called “The Very Start” (Hummus Records, 2018). We played 120 shows in Europe and it was crazy how people always came to talk to us enthusiastically after every show.
If you could put together a radio show, what kind of music would you play?
Rough and simple music that touches me directly. Sometimes lo-fi home recordings.
Name five artists and their albums who would appear on your radio show
The White Stripes – Elephant
Two Gallants – The Bloom and the Blight
Louis Jucker – Eight Orphan Songs
Great Black Waters – Songs for a Bath
Lhasa – The Living Road
What would you like to achieve with your music? What does success look like to you?
I’d like to be able to continue writing, playing and recording music as long as possible. For me it’s a kind of social activity: I make music with my friends, we release our records on a self-managed label and it would be great if it could inspire and motivate people to do their own activities together with the people they like. We will need to create resilient structures and strong social ties for the years to come.
One last thought to leave your fans with?
Let’s try to learn as much as possible, be enthusiastic and curious about the world and the universe. With this knowledge, we’ll be able to decide how to live in the best possible way.
Follow Emilie Zoé online