Hello Emileigh. At first congratulations to your new, really astonishing album. How do you feel after finishing "11.11"?
Thank you, and after a long wait for the release, it's been a little strange because I just continue working on new music. I'm never quite sure what to expect when an album is released, but I hope everyone likes it as much as I do.
A bit sad, that this album will not be released on 11.11. What does the title mean?
There is no need to be sad, because the title was never intended to correlate with a date. "11:11" is my favorite time of day, and it makes me happy to notice it. I just felt the need to pay tribute and share how I feel in the moment.
As I saw the album title I just google a little bit to look what's behind the number. Very interesting: 11 as a number could also stand for "allah akbar" (god is powerful). I also read that 11 in numerology is the number of spiritual people and artists. Something you have had in mind while making the album?
Nope. It really is just that simple as the number on the clock. If you want to go deeper, the number 11:11 happens to be a type of chiasm in itself, a numeric palindrome (the same forward and backwards) with a point of crossing over. That was actually by accident.
Do you believe in God or a higher creature who watches over us?
As a scientist, I try to keep my mind open. I would like to believe that we're not alone and don't think it's been dis-proven. I'm really interested in the current space expeditions and hope that we find proof of something mind-blowing.
Since your last release almost four years went by. Do you take your time consciously?
I really do keep busy between albums, but I certainly have learned not to rush things as well. I released two virtual EPs, Apple Island (2009), and Obligatory (2012), and contributed to other projects since Reform was released. I have been writing new songs constantly and experimenting with new methods of recording. I also play many roles in completing everything. As well as the music itself, the website, the photos, the artwork, and the production are things I'm always working on. Basically, I just keep going, and hope that eventually it gets shared.
What happened during these years in your life? What good or bad experiences did you have?
As for some good, I received my motorcycle riding certification, started brewing my own beer, moved once (not far), and continued on with my science work. Last night I had a dream about cassette tapes, not sure what that was all about. :) The bad experiences I've had, I try to accept as a part of life. I used to be someone that thought she could plan for everything, and that’s just really not the case. It makes for all the better writing material.
Could each album also be regarded as the end of a chapter in your life, so to say every album as a page in your diary?
For me, each album helps to re-associate segments of my life with how I was feeling at the time. As I hear the songs, I recall myself at the moment I was writing it, so it is interesting to me in that way. I'm sure to the listeners it all means something completely different based on their own lives. I do enjoy a sort of regeneration process between each album to regroup and come back down from the editing mode to focus on creating again from the ground up. I've never been one to start a song and finish it quickly without some luck or a deadline. The songs on each album are for the most part worked on simultaneously until I'm happy with all of them as a whole.
What in your opinion is the difference between your latest work and the former "Reform"?
"11:11" is the first full-length album I've created using a computer-based editing method, so the way I created and arranged the songs was completely turned on its head. Everything beforehand was with stand-alone sequencers and multi-track recording units, and just the amount of data that could be worked with at once became creatively limiting. And there were several steps involved in the transition: first I wrote as I learned the new system, discovered the boundaries of that, started condensing things down again, and then bought a new computer, stepped backwards a bit, and started up again from there to finish. It was quite a process, but I know so much more now, and it has inspired lots of new ideas.
You've studied neurobiology…something very interesting as music or art generally is free, unlimited and science represents the opposite of that – everything have to be discovered, to be analyzed, proven and then general rules are made out of the results of the researches. Does this antagonism also push you in a certain way?
Science and art really are not as different as they may seem. Both involve a lot of experimentation, require creativity to solve problems, and deliver some sort of result. It's always discovered that some things work and some things just don't, and the restrictions involved are often just resources and your imagination. I think that at the forefront, curiosity and a search for truth helps in both disciplines. I may take a more scientific approach to writing than some, but without comparison I can't really say that. Certainly in music and art it's a lot easier to change things once you've gotten started, but there is still usually an initial design to be followed through on. Either way, the outcome still is what it is and influences future directions too. I would not be surprised to discover that in my life science and art really fuel each other. It keeps me moving.
As you come from Detroit, the famous but also violent city of automobiles, did the musical history of this city as the starting point of the Techno-Music started by Juan Atkins also influence your choice of using electronic instruments?
I think that growing up near Detroit amongst many electronic artists only made it feel easier for me to enter the genre. I was an early trained piano player and vocalist, and quickly obtained a midi keyboard, which I loved. So after acquiring some confidence in school, I think it really was only a matter of time until I put it all together.
Would you say that with every release as Chiasm you also come closer to yourself, to what is behind Emileigh Rohn, or is Chiasm just an artistic part of you?
I think that while I'm writing music, the two are fairly well integrated and there isn't a lot of distinction that I'm sure of. My intention has never been to write from the perspective of an alter ego, so what you hear is pretty straight-forward in who I am at the time I'm creating it. I usually write what I'm feeling when compelled during the day on tiny slips of paper, and then stuff them in my pockets to turn into songs that weekend or when I have time. So yes, each song truly represents some point of my life, it's just hard to say exactly when or how unless something in particular has inspired me, which happens. At this point I really can't imagine myself without it.
After almost 15 years in the music business, which experiences did you gain?
It feels like a lifetime of experiences, as most people would have during their young adult age. Through it all, I've learned the process of creating, recording, performing, and producing music by myself through trial and error in my personal studio. It's been like painting a giant picture that in some ways is constantly changing. And I suppose I've always known this, but through the work I have reconfirmed that the best music comes when you write for yourself. Ideas can't be rushed, and over-thinking can be a burden as well. I've also discovered that creating music is something I'm just going to continue with throughout my life, because one project finished only inspires a new one. As my interests expand, I take on more and more, and continue to learn a lot as I go. It's become very exploratory in nature.
Thank you for the interview and all the best. Perhaps we'll see you in Germany somehow.
Thank you and I hope to see you in Germany too!