It is debatable whether or not Young Magic would’ve existed if it weren’t for the handiness of modern day technology. Before owning a laptop and discovering the programs that would help front man Issac Emmanuel record music, Emmanuel was just fiddling around with instruments, with no real way of compiling things together.
“This project literally started from owning a computer and a mic for the first time and teaching myself how to record,” explains Emmanuel. “Before that, I’d always play around by hacking away at synths or guitars, sometimes frustrated with tones and gear lacking any warmth or creative control; finding this new instrument allowed a new expression creatively for the first time.”
Knowing that recording could become a portable hobby now, Emmanuel took advantage of this light packing and became a musical jetsetter, recording in Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Iceland and America… the list goes on. Recording became more of a habit though and less of a concrete goal, meaning that the completion of the record on the road was merely a coincidence. “It just so happened that we were all traveling when this record was made,” says Emmanuel. “We didn’t even realize we were making a record, we were just recording.”
Emmanuel admits that the experience away from his home of Australia became an inspiration of sorts but he also missed having a regular space, adding, “It’s nice to have a door to shut and a space to make, something I was definitely craving after living on couches for so long.”
“It’s easy to glorify but it was a lot crazier than I’d imagined, trying to get down ideas in some kind of never-ending global transit. No money and no insurance, stolen gear, asshole border security, losing passports, beheadings on the beach, being stuck somewhere with no money or language – so many times I wanted to turn around, tail between my legs, and live in the forest, solo forever.”
Young Magic did eventually find a home in New York, though, but don’t know where the future holds for them, geographically. “I think we asked, ‘Why not?’ and couldn’t find an answer,” says Emmanuel, on how the band decided to stay in New York. “Anything could happen…we could be in Jamaica tomorrow, if I’m lucky.”
Regardless of location, it’s evident that the band has broken out of its Australian home base. Emmanuel explains that the local Australian scene can be “small to the point of being a ghost at times” but credits the internet to their band’s breakout, as well as many others. “It feels like, at times, the most interesting sounds coming out of Australia didn’t get the time and love they deserve there or anywhere but I feel the internet is really changing this; you can be in Melbourne or southern Morocco and still have a canvas, a way to broadcast.”
And this online marketplace is exactly where the blogosphere caught eye of Young Magic and their debut record, Melt. The LP, as Emmanuel explains, is actually pretty close to being chronological both geographically and in a timeline of the last few years. “It’s like some kind of map of each time and place,” he says, feeling a bit strange about it all. “The imperfection was interesting to me, actually – sounds creeping in all over the place in recordings, wherever we could find a moment – personally, I really like hearing people’s sketches, the behind-the-scenes, the dug-up beat tapes and I was interesting in putting out a collection of songs that had this type of feel.”
“One way I’d imagine this LP was if the tangible world was stripped back one or two layers and Melt was all that was left behind. There wasn’t a clarity, defined edges or obvious outlines that overly slapped you in the face, instead, it all bled into each other.”
“This was the way I saw the world and universe in which I lived in whilst making this record so it seemed logical for the music to completely reflect that,” says Emmanuel. “Did I lose faith in the tangible world and its concrete rulebook? Maybe.”
Melt is available now through Carpark Records.