Music

“You Are Everything You Are” is the latest abulm released by Emker Cel

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“There were moments when completing this record seemed impossible. There were moments when I felt I was on the verge of giving up! ‘You Are Everything You Are’ is the latest album from Matt Kassell, better known as Emker Cel. Its 12 tracks mark a departure for Matt, exploring new sonic territories while paying homage to his songwriting inspirations. However, as he candidly admits, the album’s realization faced considerable challenges.

The writing and pre-production phase began in 2019, coinciding with a scheduled break from music due to impending fatherhood. Despite Matt’s son being born in August 2019, a year later, the onset of the Covid pandemic disrupted his plans. Matt, severely affected by the virus, spent the next six months essentially housebound, grappling with days where walking, talking, and singing were monumental tasks.

Recovery came through music and work. Gradually regaining energy, Matt’s musical drive rekindled. Physical therapy and breathing exercises enabled him to play and sing again, initially at home and later at an open mic night hosted by friend and labelmate Jonny Swift.

Reflecting on the emotional return to performing, Matt shares, “It was more emotional than I expected. I could only sit and managed four songs before my voice gave out. Given lockdown and illness, it was my first performance in over three years, giving me hope that this wasn’t the end.”

Instrumental recording resumed in 2022 with soundtrack composer Dave Fox. They recorded live takes at Matt’s Digital Man Studio in Barrow, featuring Dave on drums and Matt on vocals and guitar. Over the next year, Matt overdubbed the remaining instruments at his own pace, health permitting.

A prominent theme emerged for the album: relationships. Each song delves into different forms of relationships, from the impact of lockdown on online connections in ‘Not My Enemy’ to exploring the dynamics between individuals and government in ‘Death Of Dreams.’ The title track delves into self-perception through the eyes of others.

Despite not being based on lived experiences, the lyrics are thoughtful observations, explorations, and discoveries made during a challenging period. Matt emphasizes the album’s accessibility, presenting songs that may sound like love songs but serve as a device to discuss broader themes. He encourages listeners to interpret the music based on their own experiences.

Musically, ‘You Are Everything You Are’ stands out as the most varied and upbeat Emker Cel album to date. Tracks like ‘Face The Music’ draw inspiration from early ’80s analogue synth-era Rush, ‘Data Loss’ features experimental stereo-drums and sound collage, while the title track showcases Matt in spoken word territory for the first time.

A significant sonic influence came from the band Field Music, with whom Matt collaborated during production. Matt completed the album in September 2023, receiving additional recording assistance from various musicians. The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Matt Kassell at Digital Man Recording Studio in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, UK, and was released on Seahouse Records (FSCD100) on December 1, 2023.”

Listen to “You Are Everything” on Spotify:

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