The release of her self-titled debut EP in June of last year seems to have propelled Limerick’s Emma Langford into an unstoppable forward momentum. The creative path leading to the release of her debut album ‘Quiet Giant’ on 18 October is already paved with many milestones, which includes supporting Declan O’ Rourke, performing at some of Ireland’s most popular festivals, as well as at St James’ Church in Dingle.
We meet Emma for coffee in Sligo, where that evening she is due to play one of the final shows of her solo Irish tour. Her choice of coffee is directly related to the stage of the tour she is at. A strong, black Americano. “I’m just bloody wrecked,” she exclaims. I’m so tired.” As she approaches the end of the September tour, she is in a good position to reflect on the experience.
“It’s been really fun. I think I have done a lot of learning from playing my own music for an entire month to totally new crowds. That can be really scary but mostly they have been really nice and receptive. I have gained two or three fans, or contacts or friends from every gig. I’ve learned something about the local radio stations or about the local venues so that’s been really helpful.”
While the September tour is a solo effort, ‘Quiet Giant’ is anything but. Reflecting on the recording process, Langford appears humbled by the impact the band has had on the record. “I’m finding it really hard to take credit for the album because the band put so much work into it and they are all so brilliant. They’re what makes the album for me. I created an EP last year and it’s a really good EP but for this album I have just watched an entire team rally around me to make it. So it has given me a completely different feeling around it. I’m really, really positive about it.”
After the album release, she will embark on a tour in Germany before returning home for the official album launch in December. Her affection for her home county is clear when discussing her headline show in Limerick’s Dolan's Warehouse. “That’s gonna be really good fun. There are tonnes of incredible venues I’m gonna get to play in Germany and Switzerland. They are stunning. But I think the experience of coming home after all of that and getting to play home venues like Dolan's is a different level. It’s really special having your home crowd and your family and friends there to see you and the whole band as well”.
She feels that the album, in many ways, is made possible by the level of support she has had since the release of the EP, but the necessity of self-promotion online has also introduced her to a degree of begrudgery from others. She is philosophical about this, yet pragmatic. On the one hand, “I think the last thing you need is hearing about other people sort of taking you down from the outside. We all take ourselves down from the inside. There’s a great cheesy quote which is ‘In a world that makes you want to hate yourself, loving yourself is an act of rebellion’. I love that. I think it’s really cool. It’s a great thing to keep in your mind all the time”.
On the other hand, “the reality is, that extended circle of people, the people you really want to be reaching because they don’t know who you are, are only going to see one of those posts maybe in a month. So you just have to keep pushing yourself out there and hope that someone, somewhere sees it and that it gives you the step up you need to get a fanbase elsewhere and extend your circle.”
While discussing some of the tracks off the upcoming album, one candid conversation stands out. “When I wrote Bear this Child it was about depression. I had a brush with depression a few years ago, as so many people do these days. It’s a plague. The best way I could find of expressing how it felt to walk around carrying this burden of depression was carrying an unwanted pregnancy.”
She continues, uninhibited, to vividly describe the sort of depression that the song was written about. “This burden just wears you out and you can’t do anything about it because the resources aren't there. And you don’t know how to express it to anyone. It keeps you awake at night. As soon as you think you are bled dry by it, it just keeps going. It doesn’t stop.”
When asked if any of this is off the record, she considers the question a non-issue. “It’s a normal thing. It’s just being human, really, in this day and age. Everyone deals with it all the time. Singing about it is how I cope with it. It’s cathartic for me. I’m pretty open about it.”
With only a short amount of time until her debut LP hits the shelves, Emma is confident in the ten-track collection. “I think this album is a really good calling card for what I can do. And I know it’s a really beautiful album and it’s gonna really represent myself and the band in the best possible light. I’m excited about people hearing it”.
Emma will be releasing a music video for Closed Book on 13 October, as well as doing in-store releases in Cork and Limerick, before the release of ‘Quiet Giant’ on 18 October. You can read our review of ‘Quiet Giant’ here.
Artist Photograph by Ken Coleman.