Interview: October

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By Ben Doy

Last month saw New Zealand musician Emma Logan aka October, release her latest single 1000 Eyes. Recorded as part of The New Zealand Music Producer Series of 2017, the new track follows the release of previous hits 'Pure', All She Does Is Stare' and 'Cherry Cola'

October's sound is unique to say the least. She was strongly influenced by 90s industrial artists such as Nine Inch Nails and Skinny Puppy, and has utilised that heavy sound with an updated dark pop feel. 

I had a chat with her last week to find out about the past, present and future of October.

How and when did you first start performing music? 

I was very very young when I first started writing music, I’d say about 12 years old. Me on my piano at home just writing what I thought were amazing fabulous songs at the time... which in hindsight are now pretty primitive beginnings of songwriting (laughs). But I was about 15 or 16 when I started translating them into a more electronic sense and teaching myself how to produce on GarageBand. And then sort of graduated to Logik when I was about 18. 

Who were your early influences?  

I remember being absolutely obsessed with Kimbra when I was 12. I thought she was the most incredible songwriter, and I only recently found out that she produces all of her stuff which I find incredibly impressive because in my books she is one of the best producers of this day and age. And she’s female, she’s from New Zealand, and I feel like she is over looked a lot. So she was definitely a big one. 

But growing up as a teenager I remember listening to a lot of The Smiths. I remember listening to Grimes quite a bit, and then when I left school I was obsessed with FKA Twigs and discovered The Cure, Siouxsie Sioux, and sort of post punk bands and artists. Then I stumbled across the industrial scene, Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails. And then modern industrial artists like Death Grips. They’re probably my all time favourite artist. 

You’ve recently released your latest single 1000 Eyes. What’s the story behind the song?  

I guess 1000 Eyes is sort of a weird little love song of sorts. I think that it looks at the relationship between the artist and audience through the lens of a romantic relationship. And I think they’re similar in the fact that it’s a two way street. As an artist starting out there’s a sense of courting and seduction involved. You’re not there on stage unless you have an audience listening to you.

I think it’s kind of funny because when you listen to it, it can sound a little bit self absorbed because one of the main lines chanted throughout the song is “I like it when you are watching me”. But if you know me in real life, I would consider myself pretty introverted and shy. So I guess it’s about how performing as an artist, and performing as October, is a real release and relief as an artist... to be able to command yourself on stage. I’d kind of like to say alter ego, but definitely the other side of the coin.    

The song was co-produced by David Wrench. How did you end up working with him?  

Greg Haver organises the New Zealand Producer series that happens about twice a year. So we went out for coffee one day and he said that he was bringing over David Wrench and asked if I’d be interested in getting my song mixed in front of a class of 10 people as part of the seminar. And of course I was stoked at the prospect of working with such a renouned mixing engineer.

Greg is this incredible guy who is selfless and cares so much about the New Zealand music industry. So he’s always bringing highly esteemed producers or writers or musicians to work with a bunch of Kiwi artists, to give us the opportunity to put us on the map. It’s amazing, Greg’s great. 

Do you have any plans for an upcoming album release in the future?  

I’ve certainly got more songs on the way. I feel like I’m still a baby artist... a green artist. But I’ve certainly got more songs coming.  

Will we have the chance to see you perform live anywhere? 

Yeah! At the end of March I’ll hopefully be having some sort of showcase. And hopefully they’ll be some sort of mini tour, but everything is up in the air at the moment.