Artist Interview: “Love Is Not A Choice” by Emma Hunter

Q: I love everything about this track: your unique vocals, the infectious beat, and the to-the-point title. What do you hope listeners take away from “Love Is Not A Choice”?

EMMA HUNTER: We would love people to feel that this song is a celebration of queer love; that love is love. We hope that when people listen to it they feel empowered to be themselves and to stand up for what they believe in. (P.S. Thank you for saying such lovely things about it!)

Q: What is the best piece of advice each of you has been given about the music industry?

EMMA: David Bowie once said that you need to love the music that you make, if you don’t like it what’s the point? It wasn’t given directly to me, but it’s definitely relevant to all artists in the music industry. 

Q: You guys have been performing together since March 2019. What has been, so far, each of your favorite songs to perform, and why?

EMMA: I love performing Treacle Well. It’s great to just use my voice to layer the vocals and it’s great to be free of the guitar for a few minutes and to be able to move around!! 

TOM BRUCE: My favourite is actually Love Is Not A Choice! Without sounding big-headed, I think the drum part is great and it’s really fun to play. When we play this live the verses are looped but the choruses aren’t so it’s a challenge to drop back in sync with the looper going back into the verses. Rewarding when you nail it though.

Q: “Love Is Not A Choice” is dark yet ambitious, with elements of different genres such as dark wave & alt-pop. In your own words, how would you guys describe the music you typically create? 

TB: It’s something I always struggle to describe to other people when they ask what kind of music we play. I guess because it draws from quite a variety of different genres it’s naturally hard to define. For example, Love Is Not A Choice has a latin bossa nova style beat that is overlain by Emma’s dark wave and alt-pop loops. My best shot is cinematic, flamenco-inspired surf rock with dark wave and trip-hop influences, but there are many more styles and genres that are sort of meshed together in various layers.

EH: I also say it’s flamenco inspired alternative-looped-rock with a vintage vibe. But that’s me trying to be short and to the point. We laugh with our director about using the term cinematic, but we aim for the music to sound like a soundtrack in many ways, to be dark and to conjure up images of a land far away, somewhere in the past. 

Q: I read that you’re (Emma) heavily influenced by cinema, particularly David Lynch films. What Lynch film is your favorite, and in what ways has he inspired the music you’ve created?

EMMA: I loved the Twin Peaks series. The music is so evocative and draws you in emotionally. But I loved Blue Velvet too. His use of music throughout his films is so inspiring. When I hear music I always have a series of colourful images that flash into my mind and they often look like a Lynch film! 

Q: Tom, having a background playing percussion in orchestras, I’m interested in how that has influenced the type of music you create now? 

TOM: Well, orchestral music is all about creating moods, atmospheres and emotions really. The percussion section is just one cog in the orchestral machine, but it’s through that I learnt how subtle little things can make just as much of an impact as something big and loud, and how leaving space for something can actually be better than filling it with noise. When I’m creating music now I try to understand how it is and what it’s trying to achieve as much as I can before thinking up a drum part that will complement it. I guess this naturally leads onto creating emotive and atmospheric music that emphasises subtleties as much as boldness.

Q: What has been one of the highlights of your music career so far?

TOM: Our first gig at O2 Academy Oxford was pretty incredible, and playing Cornbury Festival was also amazing!

EMMA: I’d agree with Tom. We are about to play at Truck Festival on the main stage, so I’m hoping that is one too!!

Q: Do you remember what first got each of you into music? 

EMMA: Apparently I had a very musical cry as a baby!! My parents are both really into music and I remember devouring new albums when I was a child and listening to them over and over again. Travelling abroad really taught me a huge amount about the power of music and how it can really show emotions. That’s why I love the traditional music of Spain, Italy and Greece. Singing has always been a way for me to give myself permission to feel. 

TOM: I come from a musical family so it’s something that has always been there in a big way, it was inevitable! I think my Mum’s taste in music had more of an influence on me growing up but it wasn’t until I was 15 or 16 that I started to develop my own tastes in music. It was really through hanging out with friends and being in bands that got me into music.

Q: Tell everyone what’s next for each of you (together or solo)! Any shows, new projects in the works, etc.?

EMMA & TOM: We are playing at Truck Festival tomorrow and have a new EP out in the Autumn, let’s see what else happens next. Oh, and filming a new music video on a beach, we’ll see how that turns out!!

Photo credits: Jason Warner

Interviewed by Melissa Cusano


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