Prolific behind-the-scenes as a recording engineer working at some of the best studios in the land, it isn’t too far-fetched to assume that Emily Wheatcroft-Snape would be a musician in her own right. Under the shortened artist name of Em, she has by now released three EPs since 2020, with the latest one, ‘Tender’ out in early June. New single Phases made it onto NZ On Air Music‘s NewTracks June compilation.
Emily Wheatcroft-Snape, Auckland, singer, producer, audio engineer.
I took music in high school, focusing on songwriting and composition, but I didn’t record or produce until I started MAINZ in 2015. I completed a Bachelor in Audio Engineering and Music Production at MAINZ. I originally signed up for the Certificate which was one year, in case it wasn’t my thing. About two months in I knew I wanted to record for the rest of my life.
I work as an audio engineer and producer. Studios I have worked at include Parachute Studios, Big Fan, Roundhead, Big Pop, and Red Room. I also have an initiative called Record Enable where I help out other women in the same field.
Em is a creative outlet for me in and around my other music work. It started when I worked at Roundhead Studios and I would record using the mic set-ups at the end of sessions. I now record in my producer studio at Parachute Studios in my free time. My friends Manuela Ovalle Herrera and Amy Boroevich often give me feedback and play on my music.
I wrote songs by myself for a really long time. My songwriting has evolved in that I think more about what I’m feeling, what I want to communicate to the listener, and how I want to communicate it.
My name is Emily and generally people start to call me Em when they get to know me better. The stories in my music project are very personal. Using ‘Em’ feels like a good representation of that closeness.
I had a listening party for my ‘Undergrowth’ EP in my garden. I don’t perform or put myself out there with music often, and this was the first time I had done something of this nature. To set up my garden with lights and gather my friends and family to listen to the project as the sun went down was very special.
It encapsulates the kaupapa of all of the music I’m writing at the moment. Going through the phases of a big life change. It is the song on the EP that sets the scene for the rest of the songs thematically and shows the direction of the production of the project. I feel like I was able to execute all of my intentions with this song, and as such I wanted to share it separately to the rest.
I went through a breakup and my body rebelled against me. I was bedridden with the flu, general sickness, and then Covid, for weeks. Over this time all I could do was look out the window and wait for myself to heal. Watching the cycles of nature go by, the chorus ‘phases of the moon, phases of the moon, phases over you, phases over you’ became my mantra to help get me through this time.
I love the instrumentation in the bridge. I wanted it to be the moment in the song where you shoot off into space. In the first half of the bridge I took out the bass and lead guitar, put in interesting guitar layers, and changed the melody, chords, and where I sing in my range. In the second half, I pulled the song back into focus by reintroducing the bass and guitar, adding my guilty pleasure string layers, adding rich vocal harmonies and a late addition counter melody.
I had a bunch of different versions of the song. I organised a writing session with my friend Manuela Ovalle Herrera and we wrote the song in its current form including the guitar part. I worked on it by myself in my studio for some time and asked Josh Johnston to play drums. After a few more weeks of work, Manu and I recorded final guitars. I added the BV layers last. I think they really make the song. I mixed and mastered the track also. It was the first track on the ‘Tender’ EP to be completed.
I want the song to pull the listener into its little world for a while.
I generally pick songs that thematically represent the project it is a part of. And / or the songs I find the most catchy.
Just Manu and Josh for this one! Manu took a bunch of the pictures too. DRM has been very supportive of this project. Parachute Studios are always so supportive of my endeavours, I’m very grateful to be a part of their community.
I have an initiative called Record Enable. It aims to help women and non-binary people create sustainable careers as audio engineers and music producers. Go to instagram.com/recordenablenz.
I am currently writing a lot about my next phase of this journey. I’m thinking of creating that next body of work once I’ve had a rest from this release.
Not so far! I don’t qualify for any funding as an artist yet. I’ve been very lucky with other funding though. I think just know what you need and get all of those things to a good quality before you approach people / apply for funding.
Switched on Pop
The Production Line
This Sounds Better