After a long break, we are back with our New Weekly Discoveries. This time we bring you something special, magicall and disturbed at the same time.
Plike is the brainchild of Mad Madam Em, an electronic music producer/composer hailing from Reno, Nevada. The sound of Plike is at once hauntingly beautiful and disturbingly dark, an eccentric layering of natural, organic sounds against heavy digital elements.
Em began her musical journey in 2003, playing bass for the San Diego based industrial / electro band Bishop Buzzkill. In 2005, she began to experiment with keys, synths, drum programming and vocal sequencing and quickly fell in love with electronic music production and music composition. In early 2014, Plike was born, and the following November Em released her debut solo album, 47th Helen.
We reached out Em to know a bit more about the persona and character behind this machine called Plike. We asked her a few questions to have a better understanding of her sound, music influences, and career highlights. I will recommend to any producer or musician out there to read this interview in full with one of her albums as a background. It will transport you to another dimension. My pick to start this journey is the album 47th Helen.
What are your musical influences?
I've always been very drawn to music that is very polarizing and raw. The Dresden Dolls have been a huge influence. Amanda Palmer's lyrics are so surreal and powerful, and their sound has this wonderful vintage vaudeville vibe about it. Every time I listen to The Prodigy I get so inspired. Liam Howlett is just absolutely brilliant. Portishead was my introduction to trip-hop, and probably one of my biggest influences. And I love music that has a gritty, visceral bite to it, like Fear Factory, Nine Inch Nails and Celldweller.
How will you describe your sound?
I'd say my sound is a bit of a conglomeration of several genres, but with a twist on each. I wanted to capture the eerie spirit of witch house, and I love the occult themes of the genre, but my sound is more of a play on witch house, much softer and less aggressive. I definitely have a trip-hop vibe going on in most of my songs. I like to play around with pieces of genres, like dubstep-inspired drums or trap hi-hats. It's fun to Frankenstein these sounds together and see what you come up with. All of my music has a very strong focus on female vocal harmonies, and I think that gives it a very melancholy, ethereal feel.
What is your main goal as a producer?
I've always wanted to find a niche that would allow me to focus on composing music for films. Not so much the Howard Shore or John Williams composer model, but more like Aimee Mann's work on the Paul Thomas Anderson film Magnolia, or M83's work on the science fiction film Oblivion. I love the work that Trent Reznor has done with David Lynch especially.
What drove you to become a musician?
Ever since I was a kid, I've always had all these creative concepts that I think of as "stories" that I felt driven to tell. When I was young, I started out painting and drawing and that was a good outlet for about 10 years. I'm also a writer, and I'm currently working on my first novel. But ultimately, once I started playing music I realized that being a musician was my perfect creative outlet. To be able to express thoughts, ideas and emotions through music feels so natural to me, I feel like this is what I'm meant to be doing.
What can you tell us about your career highlights?
My heart is so grateful every time I think of the opportunities I've been given as a musician. Before I started Plike, I played bass in the industrial / metal band Bishop Buzzkill for five years, and that was the first time I'd ever had the opportunity to see an electronic producer at work. I spent a lot of my time in that group learning from that producer. In 2014, I decided to write my first solo album. It was so exciting to be able to experiment and try new things, but when it came time to release the album, I honestly didn't know how people would receive it. So I thought, I just have to put it out there and see what happens, and no matter what happens everything will be okay. I was truly shocked at the positive reaction people had to it! Sometimes it's so hard to step back far enough from your own work to determine, is it good, great, mediocre, is it terrible? In early 2015, I submitted my album to Pandora radio, and I was shocked as hell again when they accepted it and added Plike to their artist roster. A few months later, I came across an advertisement seeking original music for an independent film. A few days after I submitted my music, the producer contacted me to say that they had chosen three of my songs for the film. That had to be just about the best day of my life. Since then I've had several of my songs placed in films, and I'm really excited that one of my tracks was chosen for the upcoming film Time Freak starring Sophie Turner and Asa Butterfield. Last year the creative lead of Oak Moon Games contacted me to see if I would be interested in joining their team as a lead audio designer. That has been just an incredible experience. I've been a gaming addict since I was a kid, so this was another one of my dreams come true. And I've had the chance to collaborate with some of my favorite indie artists - a collaboration I did with the amazing German composer EWIAN is set to release next year, and I'm currently working on collabs with The Black Hundred and producer LAPIS EXILIS.
Plike currently has 5 amazing albums. Each of them has an amazing sound and the production is top level in each of them. As she explained the sound is a conglomeration of different genres. Very difficult to pick a favorite one when the music in each album is evolving to place where I have never been. I would love to stay here forever. Until this moment Plike has been my favorite artist discovery. It has everything I'm looking for, extraordinary dark soundscapes with a twitch of space atmospheres, beautiful melodies and all that back up with an angel voice. Its the type of music that takes you to a dark corner of your soul but at the same time makes you feel comfortable. I can say that Plike has the best of both worlds. Clearly, an artist to put on your daily playlist.
You can stream some of her albums here. All Plike music is available in BANDCAMP
Join me and help Plike to push the boundaries of dark electronic music.
Don't forget to check out Plike social network and share if you like! Music is freedom!