Ember Island sat down with The Nocturnal Times for an exclusive interview to discuss their latest remixes, song covers, and their future
Exploding onto the music scene like an unstoppable force, Ember Island is taking music lovers by storm with their recent string of releases. The trio—comprised of members Joakim, Didrick, and Alex—come from very different musical backgrounds, but they so eloquently blend together.
Finding inspiration from Coldplay, Bon Iver, and Owl City, Ember Island aren’t afraid of experimenting, taking risks, and doing what feels right. Passionate about music and Ember Island, the band members have become known for not only their original productions and remixes, but their cover versions of popular songs as well. Notable favorites that Ember Island has released cover variations of include The Weeknd “Can’t Feel My Face” and Radiohead “Creep,” among others.
More recently, Ember Island provided a remix for the release of Didrick’s “Smoke” featuring Amanda Fondell.
The Nocturnal Times had the opportunity to sit down with Ember Island to talk about some of their biggest influences, a day in the studio, their upcoming EP, and where they see themselves five years from now.
THE NOCTURNAL TIMES: HOW AND WHEN DID THE THREE OF YOU FIRST GET TOGETHER TO FORM EMBER ISLAND?
EMBER ISLAND: Me (Joakim) and Didrick had known each other for a couple of years, and when my old band disbanded in 2013 the two of us started to write songs together. We didn’t have any plans for the music at first, we just wanted to hang out and have fun in the studio. But we soon realized that we had something special going on and started to think about forming a band more seriously. We needed a vocalist and had heard about Alex from a common friend. We all met up and started to write songs together, and we felt that Alex voice was a perfect match with the music!
THE NOCTURNAL TIMES: WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE THE STYLE OF MUSIC YOU WANTED TO CREATE?
EMBER ISLAND: We all come from very different backgrounds and different music scenes. So we just put our individual styles and references together and it immediately felt very natural. It just sort of happened as we wrote and produced more and more music with each other.
THE NOCTURNAL TIMES: WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ARTISTS WHERE YOU TEND TO FIND SOME OF BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
EMBER ISLAND: We love artists and bands like Coldplay, Bon Iver, Sigur Rós and Owl City. Those are some of our all time favorites and we consider them big influences.
THE NOCTURNAL TIMES: EMBER ISLAND JUST RELEASED A REMIX OF DIDRICK “SMOKE” THROUGH PRMD MUSIC. HOW DID THIS FIRST COME TO BE AND WHERE DID THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE REMIX COME FROM?
EMBER ISLAND: Didrick is a part of Ember Island so he just asked us if we wanted to do a remix of Smoke. We love that song so it was an easy decision. It started with the three of us just sitting in my living room late one night. We brought some recording equipment and it didn’t take long until we had most of the remix done. We really wanted to highlight the emotions in the song and the lyrics, so we started with only the vocals and a piano. Then we added the atmosphere sounds that were taken from different field recordings and phone memos as well as the strings, guitars and drums.
THE NOCTURNAL TIMES: WHEN REMIXING A TRACK, IS THE PROCESS IN THE STUDIO DIFFERENT FROM WHEN YOU’RE CREATING AN ORIGINAL PRODUCTION OR COVER?
EMBER ISLAND: It’s pretty similar, but of course it’s easier for us to make a remix since the structure and melody is already there. When we create our own songs it’s a much longer process with more writing, recording demo versions etc involved. But as soon as we have the lyrics and melody we work very similar on the production in the studio. Everything is very spontaneous, we usually try to capture the first feelings we get, the first takes of an instrument recorded and so on. Then we go back later to work on details.
THE NOCTURNAL TIMES: WHAT INSPIRES EMBER ISLAND TO RECORD COVERS OF POPULAR TRACKS (SUCH AS THE WEEKND “CAN’T FEEL MY FACE”)?
EMBER ISLAND: Both are two amazing songs where the lyrics and melodies are really strong, and that’s the most important part for us. We want the music we cover to make us feel something. At the same time, doing these covers are a great way for us to express ourselves through something that’s already familiar to a large audience. Someone who loves the music by Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber might have never listened to us if it weren’t for the remix we did for them. It’s a great way to create a bridge between different styles of music.
THE NOCTURNAL TIMES: IF WE WERE TO BROWSE YOUR MOST RECENT PLAYLISTS AND MUSIC YOU’RE CURRENTLY LISTENING TO, WHAT WOULD WE LIKELY FIND?
EMBER ISLAND: So much good music. M83, Björk, Bon Iver, CHVRCHES, Underoath, Sufjan Stevens, Mura Masa, Gallant, Ariana Grande, Jónsi, Airhead, Justin Bieber, Lido, Owl City, Dua Lipa, The Chainsmokers, Flume. The list just goes on and on. And also some guilty pleasure songs we don’t want to admit that we’re listening to haha, like “Doctor Jones” by Aqua. Such a genius song.
THE NOCTURNAL TIMES: WHAT CAN YOU SHARE WITH THE NOCTURNAL TIMES ABOUT WHAT’S NEXT FOR EMBER ISLAND IN TERMS OF UPCOMING RELEASES (REMIXES, PRODUCTIONS, COVERS) AND GIGS?
EMBER ISLAND: We’re working on a remake of the classic song “Creep” by Radiohead right now. At the same time we’re working on our EP that we hopefully will release soon. We also have some really exciting collaborations going on!
THE NOCTURNAL TIMES: WHERE DO YOU SEE EMBER ISLAND FIVE YEARS FROM NOW?
EMBER ISLAND: We hope that we have been able to create the little world that we want Ember Island to be in five years. With visuals, music, the fans and us all coming together in a place where we can forget about the outside world. We want to be able to tour the world so we can play our music in as many places as possible, spread a good message and connect with people. After all we’re just three kids with big dreams, hopefully they will come true!
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