Artist of the Week #0070 - Emilie Kahn


This week’s Artist of the Week is Montreal harpist Emilie Kahn, who has released her new album ‘Outro’ via Secret City Records.

What sparked the move from the Emilie & Ogden moniker to releasing under your full name?
I had always wanted a stage name to separate myself as a person from myself as an artist, but as I get older I realize there isn’t really a delineation between the two. I think a stage name can act as an acknowledgment / form of protection against the obligation commodify yourself along with the art you make, but that now just feels inescapable beyond being an artist anyway. I also realized the name was just kind of confusing; after years of touring the one question I would still get the most was “Who’s Ogden?” haha, so while I’m still playing an Ogden harp it feels nice to go with the straightforwardness of my full name.

‘Outro' has a real cinematic feel to it, if you could write the soundtrack for any movie what would it be and why?
I can’t think of a specific movie since all I’ve been watching lately is ridiculous horror movies which I don’t think I could write for, but I think my music could be well-suited for some kind of indie dark romance film.

I love the blend of electronic textures along with the harp, it's a real change from the more acoustic feel on your last record. What sparked that decision (forgive the pun) to move into more electronic territory? 
I think this album ended up using a lot more electronic elements because the songs were all built in the studio this time around. At first I spent a lot of time on my own trying to force the music into different directions and made many demos that ended up getting scrapped, after which I had a bit of a break down and wondered if I needed to quit. That’s when I had a phone call with my producer Warren who said “Listen, let’s just sit down and play music and quit over-thinking it”, which is what we did — we sat down and played some new songs together in a room, mostly acoustic. The first one we did was “Island” (the original guitar track from that first day of demo-ing is still on the song). When I came in for our second session the next day, Warren had added the synths and drum samples. I remember feeling scared cause it felt like a departure, but also excited cause it felt like the right direction. Every song after that followed that same process and soundscape; laying the songs out acoustically, then piling on layers of synths and samples.

What's your favourite song on the album and why?
“Horse” is definitely one of my favorite songs I’ve written. I wrote it all within 10 minutes and it came after having writer’s block for several months, so it felt like an amazing outpouring. I was feeling trapped and dissatisfied in a sort of rebound scenario, which felt really good to finally admit to myself and say in a song in a very blunt way, and to get to quietly call out this person’s overblown ego. It’s a fun one to perform as well, with the cathartic build-up at the end.

What's the last piece of music that you were obsessed with?
Thierra Whack’s “Whack World” album/video is one of the best pieces of art I’ve seen in forever and have listened to and watched countless times. It’s an endless string of incredibly original and catchy hooks paired with insane visuals.

Emilie recently announced that she’ll be heading to SXSW in Texas this March and has now announced a London headline show to take place at The Waiting Room on Monday 13th May. 


7 Mar - Montreal, QC @ Centre Phi (Album-launch show) 
9 Mar - New York City, NY @ New Colossus Festival
15-16 Mar - Austin, TX @ SXSW 
22 Mar - Toronto, ON @ Drake Underground 
27 Mar - Gatineau, QC @ Minotaure
29 Mar - Trois-Rivières, QC @ Église Saint-James 
4 Apr - Quebec City, QC @ Salle Multi de Méduse 
5 Apr - Terrebonne, QC @ Le Moulinet 
12 Apr - Sherbrooke, QC @ Centre Culturel de l’Université 
16-19 Apr - Bourges, FR @ Printemps de Bourges
2 May - Lausanne, CH @ Le Bleu Lézard
3 May - Nyon, CH @ La Parenthèse
13 May - London, UK @ The Waiting Room
15 May - Paris, France @ Café de la danse
1 Jun - Saint-Hyacinthe, QC @ Le Zaricot