Emoh opens up on the future after the split of What So Not, announces new solo tour
What So Not has become one of the most recognizable brands in the current dance music spectrum. The former Aussie pair now prepares for the future ahead as Emoh adopts the project as a solo act just as festival season begins to finally get underway.
When it was announced that Emoh would be taking sole creative control of the What So Not Project, waves of emotional responses to the sudden news of this new and unexpected one-man dynamic began to flood in. But splits are normal, and all good things come to an end. The partnership that Flume and Emoh had built together clearly blew up much larger than either of them had anticipated, catapulting the two young Australian producers into their careers nearly overnight.
We reached out to Emoh Instead to talk a little bit about the split, but to find out more importantly what all this means for What So Not, what the future holds for the project, and what we can expect from the new What So Not moving forward.
You and Flume had previously wrapped an EP together as your last piece of collaborative work together. Tell us a little about that. What can we expect this EP to sound like?
Yeah this EP, it’s been such a journey because originally we wanted to have it out for our European tour back in October of last year. We had it ready quite some time ago.It was the first time I was going to go to Europe to represent What So Not in that world, which is much different that America or Australia, you know? This EP is sort of a different creative direction to where What So Not was around 2012 or 2013. We feel like we tried to make it a little more mature. The concepts we were throwing around were more matured than things like ‘Jaguar’ and stuff like that. For me this EP is probably the most exciting thing I’ve worked on so far.
So when the EP was being finished, was the idea of you and Flume splitting up already a conversation?
It kind of became a conversation midway through the creation of [the EP]. But I mean, you know… things like that happen. But now I am just glad that everyone is cool with it and we are just sort of working towards the common goal of just putting good music out there that we put so much energy into and we are all just looking forward to the future in our own ways, on our own paths.
So now you’re taking on the What So Not brand solo. Expand on what sorts of different avenues you plan on exploring. How do you plan to make the project your own?
I mean I think the most important part is that I love what the What So Not brand is. I love the core of it and I think what I’ll do first is expand on that idea. In fact, I have already been working on that sort of behind the scenes. In the last few weeks since this all became quite official, just with the people around me, we’ve tethered together more progress than the project has seen in the last year. We are developing so many different concepts with amazing artists, musicians, visual techs, collaborators, and we’ve gotten something together that is really cool. Sort of the new/old What So Not and a taste of what I hope to bring to this in the future.
Now you’re booked to play Coachella this year. That is a huge show for What So Not, tell us about how you plan on factoring in the live set into this new chapter.
So I’ve just been developing first and foremost this Coachella set that we are doing. And I mean, I look at acts like the Gorillaz, Daft Punk. Even Flylo. I see that as the potential. And you can even go beyond that with the right people around you. You can facilitate that kind of show, that kind of aesthetic. It’s more than just about the music, it is about art. It’s about creating a world, it’s about visual stories and even characters that you can develop in this world. And people can come into that along with you. It is about redesigning a whole stage or even a festival tent so that fans can feel involved in your show and interact with it.
All three of those acts abide by completely fictional personas. Can we expect something similar come out of the new What So Not project?
Yeah totally. I mean, I think that if the music is right it opens the door for something like that and it doesn’t end up feeling so fabricated. It feels natural. And thats ultimately what I plan to do with this project. What So Not has always been a collaborative project and I plan to keep it a collaborative project. I plan to collaborate with artists, musicians, people who work in strange video concepts, and I just want to bring that all together and continue this collaborative undertaking, maybe in a more extensive way that it has been before.
Along the topic of collaboration, tell us a little bit about your experience with Sonny and Toto in the studio, which is a wildcard to say the least. Any more exciting collaborations under the hood?
Well on the Toto thing, that was probably one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life. Those guys are insane, it was an amazing project. They’d never worked with anyone from the current dance world and I never worked with anyone of such high musicianship. It was sort of two completely opposite musical worlds coming together, but it was absolutely incredible. We all just got in there, had a bit of a chat and just started playing some music, you know? It’s kinda like we were all jamming as a band together. New age jamming. But I really don’t think it is about what era you’re from or what style of music you make. I mean you look at Sonny and what he did with the Doors. I mean, he sort of opened the door for this sort of thing. In this current age of dance music I feel like being a part of his label is an amazing way of continuing that concept. But yeah, I don’t like to spill the beans too early on. I mean this EP is a prime example. It has been done for 9 months now but sometimes it is best to keep things hush-hush. Sometimes it is best not to show your cards until you’re absolutely ready.
Fair enough. So the precedent in the current dance music space has seemed to shift closer to full-length studio releases. Is there a full length What So Not album in the woodwork for sometime in the future?
I think that What So Not project could definitely facilitate that sort of release. I mean, sometimes I worry though. The dance music world, the way it is now, is that an artist, even myself, has a sound and you’re sort of bound to that sound and a full length album might not be interesting enough. But my hope is that What So Not can facilitate a whole album and people will be open to some diversity. But yeah, with everything going on, I just decided to buckle down and write music because at the end of the day, that is all that really matters. It doesn’t matter what happened with your project or whatever you’re doing. If you have music that you love and you hope other people will love it as well, thats the greatest thing you can have. I mean… I probably wrote 50 songs last year, collaborated with nearly 30 different people. I am just so excited to start putting this stuff out through the What So Not project.
So we are announcing the Gemini EP North American Tour you’re setting out on. The tour includes the Coachella shows and a handful of shows in other cities around the country. This is the beginning of the new What So Not, so what is the plan from here?
It is about developing What So Not into more than just music and to have a story, a world, characters. I mean putting this EP out first and foremost, but also creating the live show and looking forward to what the future holds for this project.
What So Not has evolved from its infancy, through the project’s breakout, and into the limelight in just a few short years. Now, with OWSLA’s continued support as Emoh takes the reigns and moves into his next adventure, expect the forward-thinking collaboration juggernaut that What So Not has become to evolve once more, only this time around Emoh’s creative vision, as he takes What So Not into an exciting new chapter ahead.