Emma and the fragments
Now, inspired by 90’s Indie Rock, the band take their influences one step further exploring a multitude of styles from Pop to Metal, and display a sound that’s both dark and brooding and light and fun, complete with catchy melodies and driving guitars.
Formed in 2013 and based in East London, here in the UK, Emma And The Fragments have made their presence known across the city, sharing stages with a great many upcoming acts at venues including Omeara, The Finsbury, Water Rats, Nambucca, Spice of Life, O2 Academy Islington 2, Vann Festival, Dublin Castle, The Underbelly, Fiddlers Elbow, Finborough Arms, 93 Feet East and The Engine Rooms, and have since opened for All Saints in 2017 at KoKo in Camden, which was a testament to their guitarist’s skill after only joining two weeks prior, and having to learn the set and play in front of an audience of 2000 strong at the drop of a hat. Sadly, members come and go as is always the case the formation of any band, and as they bid a fond farewell to their original bassist Doug Rimington, work soon got underway auditioning for the role. By April 2021 they welcomed Jonny Leigh into the fold, and with their best foot forward soon got back in the saddle sporting their new line-up that now consists of-
Emma Kitchen – vocals, Donnacha Mullaghy – lead guitar, Jonny Leigh – bass and Jonathan Kitchen on drums.
Donn, first picked up his axe age 12, influenced by Alice in Chains, U2, Twelve Foot Nija, Nightwish, The Police, Tori Amos, Agnes Obel, The Birthday Massacre, and Stevie Wonder, and now sets his fret board ablaze courtesy of his mentors.
Jonny first stepped into music on piano at the tender age of six, and by 11 had progressed to clarinet, joining a marching band aged 13 to16. By 14 he had found his love for bass before joining a Metal band at 17. Throughout, Jonny has been inspired by Punk, Indie Rock, Blues, Soul, Folk and Funk, and although he has only been in the band 4 months, it seems like years, earning his place as a true Fragment.
Jonathan has been pounding the skins for 15 years now, first inspired by The Jam, Style Council, Depeche Mode, Artic Monkeys, Blur, Beck, Father John Misty, New Order, Fontaines D.C. and Idles, and now stokes the engine of the band sitting proudly on the riser.
As a unit, The Cure, U2, Two Door Cinema Club, Circa Waves, Smashing Pumpkins, Blondie, Maximo Park and Garbage forms the nucleus of their sound creating the band you see and hear today.
“We love creating original music and performing live. We are excited about how our music has developed and evolved, so want to keep writing new material and enjoying the buzz when we get a positive reaction to our songs.”
With that said, I asked them what the meaning was behind the band name, they added;
“There was a suggestion to call the band The Emma Kitchen Band which Emma wasn’t so keen on. So it was proposed the band was called Emma And The Fragments. Since the band evolved from a musical theatre project, each song told a different story and was a Fragment of a story. So essential it means Emma and her stories/songs.”
I followed this up by asking about their song writing process, and how they would overcome any creative blocks, they explained;
“Emma writes the lyrics and the melodies, she either brings a song to the band and then the arrangement is created or a song starts with a guitar riff and then instrumental arrangement. Emma’s melodies and lyrics are then added as the song develops. It is a collaborative process, so everyone in the band writes and has creative input, but ultimately the core of the songs are Emma’s thoughts and feelings translated into catchy melodies and hooks. Donn is also brilliant at coming up with really memorable riffs and building them into a really multi layered sound. As for creative blocks, we jam around ideas at rehearsals, but don’t stay too long on something if we aren’t feeling inspired, we just come back to it another time. We also share ideas for new songs outside of rehearsals, to get ideas flowing. Emma also likes to use song writing techniques which she has learned and developed over the years to get inspiration for song lyrics/themes.”
“Out of us all I would say that was me. I am naturally shy and an introvert, so don’t enjoy being the centre of attention and can feel drained by it. I enjoy performing, singing and dancing, and I get to express the other side of my personality. No one ever believes me when I say I am shy when they see me on stage. I enjoy the creative process most, starting with an idea and seeing it develop into a complete song. I particularly love when inspiration hits, I listen to the instrumental and sometimes the melody line forms in my head as clearly as if it was being played by an instrument. It is really exciting when that happens.”
“I love the rush and energy of playing live, especially as a drummer it gives me a massive buzz when the crowd is really into your music.”
Donn went on to say;
“For me, its working as a team and creating the music. It’s an incredible feeling when you write something you are proud of. Also, once the instrumental is written and I hear Emma’s lyrics and melody for the first time, it gives me the chills. It ever fails and is the greatest feeling.”
“For me its Emma’s songs, they are great fun to play, I never get bored of them.”
Finally, I asked them what they have learnt about themselves as a band on their journey so far in the industry, and if there was anything they wished they had known before starting a career in music, they told me;
“It’s important to get along, be honest and open with each other. There will be differences in opinion musical taste etc. Our former guitarist used to have a sticker on his guitar which said Don’t Be A Dick, which is pretty much our mantra! You also never know what’s around the corner – 8 years in and we’ve just signed with Regent Street Records this year so looking forward to seeing where that takes us next. We have learnt to be confident in what we are creating, and that it’s not possible to please everyone, as musical tastes can be so different, after all, one person’s poison is another person’s nectar.”
If it’s a driving backbeat you are after complete with Jazz riffs, crystal clear vocals and a feel-good hooks, then this is the track for you. This, their fourth single release this year, first came into existence at rehearsals where one of Emma’s phrases Proper Everything, normally used if something that was The Best, soon became a reality, and in this case was used to describe how great a relationship can be. Inspired by Victoria Park in London, the band use the imagery of the surroundings to describe falling in love, and lyrically give us a sneak peak into a further track from their forthcoming third EP Smile Til It Hurts, due for release later in the autumn, and recently told me;
“The EP marks an evolution in our music. We’ve always had a real Indie Rock sound, but the latest EP is definitely darker with two of the tracks Circle of Concern and Back to Blue use synths and samples which we haven’t done before. The latest EP will have more contrast than our previous releases which you can hear in the latest single Proper Everything which is really energetic and brings out the more fun, Indie Rock side of our music. We like to go into the studio with songs already written, and ideally already played at a live gig, so we have a feel of how an audience reacts to a song.”
There is a certain innocence in Emma’s vocal, and a purity that allows the listener to hang onto her every word through perfect enunciation, as she walks you through the storyboard with ease. This, coupled with the musical simplicity running through this single, demonstrates that less is most definitely more.
Visually, the animated video boasts cartoon versions of themselves playing Live in the aforementioned park, and displays the very same fun element of the track, and shows the bands ingenuity.
But their creative prowess doesn’t stop there, as the band have recorded jingles for Virgin Radio, and later interviewed as part of their house band feature. Emma has since raised the eyebrows of Ben Lovett from Mumford and Sons, labelling her as Best Front Women, an honour that will put the band in good stead for an already shining future.
In all, this single won’t gather dust in any collection, and will keep heads bouncing and feet tapping from sofa to stage.
Star Rating – 10/10
“We have released four singles in 2021, and will be releasing the final track before the end of the year which will form the EP Smile Til it Hurts. We also have music videos for each of the singles which are on YouTube and will also be releasing the video for the final track before the year comes to a close. On the 2nd of October we performed in East London, and put on our very own all day festival called Fragfest with a lineup of bands we’ve played with over the years. Thank you for taking the time to read all about us and listening to our single. All of this and more can be found on any of our links listed below.”
So why not clear a space in your collection and give Emma And The Fragments a try for 2021.
© Stargazer Music Magazine 2020
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