The British songwriter and award-nominated alt-pop artist unveils her immersive visual for hit new single, “Anyone Else”.
Explosive, powerful and game-changing: the three qualities of Emma McGann that allow her to face her “Monsters” with finesse. Originally one of the first artists to use live-streaming within her artistry, Emma is no stranger to the art of trailblazing. Garnering support from the likes of Kylie Minogue, Nancy Sinatra and Beth Hart, Emma McGann gets her fans in the mood for the release of her EP “The Monsterverse” with the release of “Anyone Else”, the follow-up hit from the EP’s first track, “Monsters”.
Dropped alongside an immersive visual, Emma challenges the boundaries of her craft using the latest virtual production technology, creating a game-style experience that bridges the gap between artist and audience — all the while delivering compelling melodies and clean lyrical prowess. Placing her fans in control of her soundscape, the video follows a first-person point-of-view, raising pulses for the track’s imminent climax.
Allowing us to experience music in a totally new light, Emma continues to carve the way towards a more exciting and engaging future. In celebration of the release, we caught up with the artist to discuss the making of the video, her forthcoming EP and her new single, “Anyone Else”. To stream the music video now and read the full interview, head below…
Hi Emma, how are you? Where are we speaking to you from right now?
I’m great, thank you! The sun is shining and I’ve been packing for a trip to Amsterdam this weekend.
What is your earliest memory of music? What do you think sparked your interest?
As a kid I’d go on treasure hunts through my Mum’s album collection to see what I could find that I loved. One of my earliest memories is bouncing around to Shania Twain, Fleetwood Mac and Spice Girls. At around 14 years old I brought home an electric guitar and a tiny amp without telling my Mum. By some miracle she let me keep it and I started teaching myself how to play throughout my teen years. It kept me out of trouble and made me realise from a young age what I wanted to do.
You describe your sound as alt-pop, what about the genre draws you to it?
It combines the formula of mainstream pop that I love but scribbles outside the lines too. It breaks out of the boundaries of the familiar. There are less rules I guess and that’s what I love about it as a writer. I’ve always been quite eclectic with my ideas around music so I guess I feel like I can pour more of my personality through the lens of alt-pop.
Who would you cite as your alt-pop inspiration?
When I was starting to feel more at home in who I was as a writer, I was listening to artists like Marina & the Diamonds, Florence, more recently St. Vincent, HAIM and so many more. A lot of stuff in the alt-rock genre too. Most of my playlists are almost all-female led so these ladies are up there at the top of that inspo list.
Let’s talk “Monsters”! How did the song come to fruition?
I couldn’t sleep and was having intense panic attacks around the time. I got tired of letting it get the better of me, so I sat in the home studio with a guitar until this one lyrical idea came to me: ‘Which one of my monsters are coming out to play / left them for too long now they’re eating through their cage’ – and the rest fell into place so naturally. It felt healing to get it all out. When I finished it I slept like a baby.
Is there a core theme that runs throughout?
It’s centred around mental well-being, self-exploration and facing your fears. I wanted to remind people that they can be a badass, be in control and tame whatever monsters they’re dealing with.
And, the track comes accompanied by some seriously trippy visuals! Talk to us about the concept behind the video?
I wanted to cast the listener as the main character, so a first-person POV music video seemed like a fun challenge to bring the music to life even more. In the “Monsters” video, you’re an explorer who starts out in a safe house prepping for your next adventure. You explore worlds known to be inhabited by monsters by jumping through a portal. Throughout your journey, you find glowing shards you bring home which power up your portal. But they’re guarded by “Monsters” you meet along the way, so your mission is to retrieve the shards, evade the “Monsters” and get home safely.
What was filming like? How did you dream up the monsters that are featured in the video?
Everything you see in the music video has been rendered inside of a game engine called Unreal Engine 5. I created the Monster designs inside the 3D modelling software Blender first, then animated each Monster using my Rokoko mo-cap suit. When you see a Monster in the music video, that’s actually just me acting out the movements in my tiny living room in a really tight suit packed with sensors. It’s so wild stepping into the shoes of a character you’ve made and watching it come to life. It’s definitely the most ambitious project I’ve ever created around my music.
Also, you have an EP named “The Monsterverse” on the way! First of all, what is the Monsterverse – describe this place to us?
“The Monsterverse” is an alternate dimension overrun with creatures anyone is yet to understand. You explore alone, world-hopping through your portal into different realms of the Monsterverse throughout the episodic music videos of the EP. It’s also a metaphorical reference to the wild world inside our own heads and how we each have our own “Monsters” we face. I envisioned “The Monsterverse” as both being an immersive experience through the music videos, but also as a game people could play. So, I’ve created a Monsterverse RPG (role-playing game) that listeners will be able to play in my Discord later this year too.
What can we expect from the project? Is the sound of “Monsters” similar to the tracks that fill the new project?
“Monsters” is the perfect DNA strand of what you can expect from the rest of the EP. There are some elements from track-to-track that mix it up a little too. Some songs are grungy and guitar-led, while others have a subtle EDM influence too.
“Anyone Else” drops today! Talk to us about what this one means to you personally! How was the filming process for this video different from others you have done before?
“Anyone Else” is a track about navigating a relationship to make things work. Me and my partner have worked together releasing music for years now so this one is really special because it’s about the two of us. Writing music is what brought us together 12 years ago. We have such a shared love for writing big pop tunes so have never stopped. It’s always given us such a buzz and to be able to do that with your love and your best friend is a beautiful thing. His name is James (producer name, MIRLYN) and he produced this one. He’s a diamond in the rough and an insane producer and audio engineer. We’re honestly so excited for the world to hear this one. This next music video was animated and rendered using the same process as before. However, this time the main character no-clips through the cracks of reality into the creepypasta of the “Backrooms” – an endless maze of segmented rooms inhabited by entities. The Backrooms originated from a creepy photo posted on 4chan, where users have built on the lore and backstory, and I’ve been obsessed with following it ever since. So, for “Anyone Else”, I wanted to do a crossover of my own creations within “The Monsterverse” into this online urban legend.
What is one of the best things about working with 3D computer graphics when it comes to your videos?
Unreal Engine 5 has completely changed the game. What I’ve loved about the process is that it’s enabled me to dream up whatever visuals I want to pair with my music and make them a reality. It does come with a steep learning curve, but I’ve really enjoyed that challenge. It’s opened my eyes to the possibilities of visuals I’d like to create in the future around other music releases too.
Aside from all of the exciting things we have discussed, what else are you looking forward to this year?
I’m heading out to the US for some shows in August which I can’t wait for. I’ll be in LA, Dallas TX, Nashville and New York – so I’m excited to be out performing live again.