Emma Pollock

Having devoted a decade to her Mercury Music Prize-nominated band The Delgados, Emma Pollock returns as a revitalized & fully independent artist with her ‘Watch The Fireworks’ album, released on September 11th. And, blessed with an arsenal of talent and a wealth experience, she’s come up with a truly impressive solo debut. As the recent first single and radio success “Adrenaline” showed – and the gorgeous forthcoming “Acid Test” single underlines - Emma’s songwriting combines wide-eyed melody and thoughtful lyrics to thoroughly beguiling effect; ‘Watch The Fireworks’ is a dazzling record that demands attention.

Written by Emma and produced by Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and Beth Orton), the eagerly anticipated album was mixed by Grammy-nominated Jeremy Wheatley, whose previous credits include Razorlight and Corinne Bailey Rae amongst a host of other successes. Offering 11 tracks of effervescent melody, it’s an exciting new chapter in the singer / songwriter’s already-impressive career.

Hailed as one of most influential bands of their time, The Delgados formed in Scotland back in 1994 and were a firm favorite of the legendary John Peel, recording more than ten live sessions for his landmark Radio 1 show. The Delgados founded and ran their own independent label - Chemikal Underground - whose discoveries included Mogwai, Bis and Arab Strap – and released five critically acclaimed albums, including 2000’s Mercury Music Prize-nominated ‘The Great Eastern’, before disbanding in 2006.

“I grew up in Castle Douglas and never got to see any bands, ever,” remembers Emma. “I was by no means a musician until my early twenties when I moved to Glasgow University and started going to gigs. I was always really into music, but that took my blinkers off. I did an awful lot of catching up, which inspired me. I taught myself guitar by copying the bass lines from New Order songs … and the Delgados followed shortly after.”

It was only after the band’s impromptu final performance that Emma considered the possibility of a solo venture. “It did feel like a divorce,” she says. “Our last show happened without any fanfare, because we didn't know that’s what it was. There was no real closure - for fans or me personally - so it was an odd situation. I always took a bit of a back seat before, so the process is much more intense now. It’s daunting because it's clearly all about one person, but I’m ready.”

Now, signed to 4AD, Emma was clear on the vision that would mark her debut. “I love pop music that's done intelligently,” she says. “While it does have its darker moments, with tracks like ‘The Optimist’ and ‘Limbs’, this album is essentially out-and-out pop. It’s a very different record to anything I’ve done before”.

Lyrically personal and anecdotal, ‘Watch The Fireworks’ is an album about the complexities of life and human behavior. “It's nothing people can't identify with - it's all pretty ordinary stuff, but that's the whole point. This record is really about ordinary, everyday life...which is anything but ordinary!”

“I tend to make a patchwork quilt from songs. They can be inspired by a multitude of things. The first line in ‘Acid Test’ is "this house does not feel like a home" - that stemmed from the fall-out of the Delgados. I felt a loss of contentment. My family had moved into a house that needed renovation, but I couldn’t motivate myself because my head was to too full. I needed to pour it out into an album.”

Highlights of ‘Watch The Fireworks’ include the giddy, celebratory, waltzing opener “New Land”, the relentlessly energetic lead-off single “Adrenaline”, and the piano-driven “Paper & Glue” – the beating heart of the album and a surefire future classic. That “If Silence Means That Much To You” was written about a feud between Emma’s mother and grandmother gives an indication of the record’s lyrical range.

“A lot of life is unbelievably difficult to comprehend or understand, but it's lovely to pick up a physics book and take comfort in its absolute nature. There's a reassuring predictability. It's lovely to lose yourself in that. It's much like music – it’s bigger than life and gives us perspective.”
  1. Watch The Fireworks
    Emma Pollock
    Watch The Fireworks

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