by Silke Hartung

Q&A: Emily Rice

by Silke Hartung

Q&A: Emily Rice

Former University of Auckland pop music student Emily Rice is back from her OE to Europe and will be playing at Auckland’s Own on May 21 with her band New Jungle Order. Emily was featured as Fresh Talent last year so we were keen to catch up with her. Auckland’s Own is presented by NZ Musician as part of our Boosted crowdfunding campaign for a new website

While your band name New Jungle Order may be new to Kiwi audiences, some of them might remember you, Emily Rice, from your solo work and your previous band We Stole The Sun. How did the new project come about?

When I was overseas last year I was co-labbin’ with a few friends back here in NZ via the internet and was realising just how much I loveeeee co-writing with others. I do like to write on my own too- but I always find quite a natural flow of music ideas/lyrics/melodies and all that when I’m working with others. So, I thought when I get home I’m keen to have a collaborative where we all write together! These 3 lads i’ve known for quite some time and really dig their own tunes, plus we’d all done a bit of co-writing together before so it just happened when I got home and boom! We’re onto something good I feel!

You just returned from your OE to Europe – what did you get up to, and how were you able to keep going with your music, seeing that money was probably tight.

Haha, you’re not wrong! I got up to a lot of music endeavours like recording a mini EP called ‘A Little Salt’, which I started writing in my little London apartment and finished off in Berlin. That was rad, I got to record with a string and horn section and had so much writing all the parts and hearing my little acoustic songs played by a delightful bunch of muso’s from around the place!

Musically speaking I spent most of my time busking! And this is what funded my trip. I was incredibly pleasantly surprised by how well busking is received and supported and was STOKED to be able to travel freely with my “job” being jamming on the side of the Berlin streets!! Met some of the most interesting people too haha
I also had a few awesome opportunities like getting to take my music to Rome for a conference, and gigged a couple of times with my wee Berlin band too.

As songwriter, what themes did your time in Europe inspire in your new material? How did your time in Europe change your sound and what influenced you?

I guess the main theme was to do with the people I met! I felt like every door lead to the next door and I was pretty fortunate to find almost every one of those doors being an awesome new friend who was able to show me the place from a local perspective. I didn’t ever feel like a tourist which was ideal, and amazing to see the world through others eyes! I learnt heaps from the people I met and the conversations we had wandering streets or eating some of the crazy good food from their hood. Community is everywhere and it’s just the best!

I was influenced heaps by the creativity in Berlin, you can’t not be! It’s everywhere. To me it felt like a place where people take risks, try things and push the boundaries a bit so that’s what i’m now doing with my music. Keen to kick the walls down and try a whole bunch of new things. That’s one of the best things about NJO, we’re all excited about pushing the sound new ways, trying new things and just seeing where the music wants to go- whatever that looks like… It’s super fun and a constant surprise!

What’s up next for you?

Loads of gigs’ happening at the moment- more than ever actually which is bloody awesome. Since returning home, Charles Looker and I have started a duo called Chem and we’ve just been on tour with Tearfund this week which has been great to be part of! We’re writing new songs constantly at the moment and will record an EP later this year. (To hear where we’re playing next and keep in the loop we just have an email –

And then New Jungle Order! So we’ve been writing and getting a set together for the gigs coming up- Aucklands Own (woop!) and then Portland Public on June 1st followed by Golden Dawn on the 4th June! We’ll be recording later this year too. It’s alllll happening!
I’m also writing a bunch of new tunes inspired by the time I had in Europe and will start recording them soon- still figuring out which way that album is heading but i’m loving the new vibes of the tunes, it’s different again!

It’s Music Month – what’s your all time favourite Kiwi tune?

Ohhhh I cannot get enough of Unknown Mortal Orchestra‘s latest album, LOVE IT. It’s gotta be ‘Can’t keep checking my phone’

You’ll be playing Auckland’s Own on May 21 – who are you looking forward to most on the night and why?

Actually Bailey Wiley!

I had heard her a couple of times live with Yoko-Zuna before I went away and then I met her though Noah Slee in Berlin last year. I had a few sneak peaks at the album she’s just released but am yet to hear any of it live! So I’m really looking forward to this soulstess’s new tracks! But all of it really, it’s guna be a rad night!