Interview: Linn Koch-Emmery – Being A Rock Star

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Linn Koch-Emmery is a rising star in the Indie music scene, making “Waves” (pun intended) with her first two EPs (Boys, Waves).

Her latest release is Being The Girl, a PopGaze album full of catchy songs that will command repeat listening.

Although she did live briefly in Niagara Falls as part of a student exchange, she is currently in Stockholm Sweden.

Origin Story

Linn’s cousin was into Indie Rock, a broad spectrum of 60s to 90s British bands.  

“That music just sparked something in me.”  

Bands like The Libertines and The Beatles were shared, opening her up to this new musical universe.

Family Band

Linn was in a band with her twin sister Lea.  

“We came from a very small town.  I’m not from a very musical family and I didn’t have a lot of friends that were into music.  My sister Lea played piano, so it was more “convenient” that she could play an instrument that I needed in my band.”

One thing they did not do was play covers.  

“When I was starting out, I was literally playing in a band and learning to play guitar at the same time.  None of us were really that good to play a cover.”

They would start with very simple practices, like “switching between an A and a G chord…for 10 minutes.”

They spent time working on the building blocks of their craft.

“Eventually I started writing songs…on one or two chords in the beginning.  Very simple songs.”

Linn’s friend Victoria played drums and her other friend Josephine played bass.  

“I was really happy with how it sounded.  To be honest, I don’t think my music today is that much different.”

There is a certain bravery to produce songs that aren’t overly complicated.  It’s that simplicity that makes them so powerful and catchy.

“I’ve evolved, but the core is still there, the really simpleness of a few chords and a very simple melody.”

Imagine Picasso adding layers upon layers to his work, where it just becomes a complicated mess.  The simplicity is the art.

“To me, it’s more about the emotions than the technique.” 

First Insta Post

Linn’s first Insta post is Niklas on the phone, holding a pitcher of berries in the woods.

“That’s funny because he produced my record.  He’s basically my best friend.”

That day, they were at the family cottage at the Archipelago on the East coast.  They drove out there in a golden Volvo and were picking blueberries.  

That’s about as Swedish as you can get!

Niklas is more than just a forager, he’s part of the creating process.

The Creation Process

“I start at home.  I write songs and record them as demos.  They are quite rough.  I write all the lyrics, the chord progression, and the melodies.  What he does is take my very rough idea…he records it in the studio.”

As part of the process, Niklas will make suggestions that will polish the rough cuts into the finished product.

“He defines it.”

Linn will listen to the demos and notice the gap between their origin and their destiny.

“I’m quite weird in my way of songwriting.  I can have an intro that is 1 minute long.  He will be:  Why is that so long Linn?  It doesn’t make sense.  It doesn’t make it sound better.”

It’s that back and forth that smooths the rough edges and polishes the song till it truly shines.

“It all makes sense when I listen to it in the end.  It’s actually how it was supposed to be.”

1984

One of Linn’s favourite books is 1984 by George Orwell. 

“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” – George Orwell

Does Linn write songs to better understand herself?

“I do feel I am myself the most when I’m in my element of making music.  I really understand myself better when I’m making music.”

For Linn, it’s not like her songwriting is a diary into her life, it’s an exploration.

“I feel satisfied and happy with myself writing music.” 

She enjoys language and playing with words.  

“I’ve been writing music since I was 12.  I can’t imagine my life without writing music.  It’s a huge part of me and how I see myself…my identity.” 

Past VS Future

Linn had a very clear picture of who she wanted to be.  She looks forward, rather than backwards.

At the age of 12, she decided: “I’m going to be a Rock Star.  Music is going to be my life.”  

Since then, she has fulfilled that role incrementally on a daily basis, until the reality caught up and she is well on her way to achieving that goal.

Linn RIP

Maybe to get to your future self, one needs to shed some of the past self.  

“That song says something about me as a person.  Before this record, a lot of my songs were pure love songs, or miserable.”

For this record, her quirkiness or morose side is able to come through more clearly, letting us see the real Linn.  

“On this record, I let that side of myself shine through a little bit…to have a banter with yourself.  It feels good.  Music can’t be dark and sad all the time.  I tend to go up and down emotionally and my music does that as well.”

This is where Linn can play with language to elicit a response, using that quirky humor of hers.

“If you are going to sing about killing yourself or dying, it has to come with some sort of tongue in cheek.  Otherwise, it would just be too sad.”

Some have reached out to make sure Linn is alright, but of course, that is not the point of the song.  

Linn is shedding her past self to rebuild a better future self, like a snake shedding its skin to reveal its new one.

Blow My Mind

One of the rousing songs on the new album is Blow My Mind. 

What blows Linn’s mind?

“I love to be mind blown.  I enjoy that feeling.  I live for that.  Music is something that blows my mind on a regular basis.  Having a coffee in the morning and listening to a great song walking to the bus…that blows my mind.”

Linn will also cite reading and working on herself as mind-blowing.  That challenge of bettering oneself.

Her little sister also blows her mind, entering the field of Psychology.  

Both Linn and her sister, in a way, help people heal.  Music, like Psychology, can have this incredible healing effect on the soul.  

One is by making people talk while the other is by making people listen.

The Story Behind The Globe in Morning Lane June 4th

There is this mysterious 20-second track called The Globe in Morning Lane, June 4th.

Late June 3rd, 2017 was the London Bridge terror attack.

Before that fateful event, the Field Day Festival was being held in Victoria Park.

Linn made eye contact with a band member from the States leaving the stage that day.  They said hello but failed to meet later in the evening.

That’s when the terror attack took place near London Bridge.  

Even if Victoria Park is about 3 miles away, when such an attack takes place, you think a crowded festival would be a perfect target.

That same year, in October 2017, I would be in Las Vegas near the deadliest mass shooting in US history.  

Our plane would remain parked on the runway while terrorized Country fans climbed over the fence onto the tarmac to seek safety from the flying bullets.

There is this feeling of helplessness and confusion, not knowing if and where another attack might take place.

Yet, that fateful night, Linn met up with her new friend, amongst the chaos and started walking away from the crowded festival.

Next to The MOTH Club was a little place called, you guessed it, The Globe in Morning Lane.  

As they entered, they found themselves almost in another world, another time, as Karaoke night was filled with a mature audience mostly in their 60s.

“There were just so carefree because they didn’t have smartphones.  It was as if time stood still.  It felt really safe.”

As older couples danced, oblivious to what had just transpired, Linn and her friend entered their bubble world, if only for a little while, and left reality behind as the 4th of June began.

That night cemented a friendship that lasts till this day. 

“That little part on the record is actually the background sound from that night because I filmed from outside the pub, and accidently found it.”

Being the Girl

“I’m very proud that I finished and did that.  In a way, I’ve been doing music since I was quite young.  I thought by now, I would be on my 10th record or something.  But this is the first one, and I’m really proud of how it turned out.” 

Just a day prior, Linn listened to the whole album, to make sure she did not grow out of it.

“It kind of surprised me, that it was so good”, she laughs.

Lasershot is one of her favourites, a more laid-back song, along with Paralyzed.

“They feel like they are the most personal ones.”  

Listen here.

Conclusion

Linn has come a long way since that determined 12-year-old.

She’s created an album to be proud of.

She’s making waves in the Indie music scene.

She let old Linn go, RIP, and welcomed a new more powerful version of herself.

She forged bonds during one of the most traumatic events one could experience.

Unlike IKEA, Linn is a complex woman that will deconstruct and rebuild herself into a more powerful version of herself.

She is creating the dream her 12-year-old self would be proud of, creating powerful and catchy music that will stand the test of time.

She is blowing all of our minds.


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Writer: Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and MasterMind Facilitator with a passion for live music.  You can follow him on InstagramTwitter and YouTube. His Podcast RockStar Today helps musicians quit their day jobs with out-of-the-box advice from Ted Talk Speakers, Best Selling Authors and other interesting Entrepreneurs and Creatives. He created the Rock Star Today MasterMind Experience for musicians. Randal also is a collector of signed vinyl.

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