Magic Island is Canadian musician Emma Czerny, currently based in Berlin. She was interviewed by fellow Canuck and musician Beaver Sheppard.
BEAVER SHEPPARD—Where do you get your energy?
MAGIC ISLAND—I steal it from the children. I’m a big child. I don’t know; I just am.
BS—What pushes you internally (soulfully)?
MI—It sounds dinky, but I think I just really want everyone around me to be happy. Putting out good energy is so important; energies are contagious. And drive I guess. The hardest part of doing something is just… doing it. So just do it. Nike. Will I get some euros for that?
BS—The DIY sound is very few and far between in Berlin… There is definitely a scene trying its best to be heard. Tell me about that… and where do you think that’s coming from?
MI—I think simplicity is underrated. I think the DIY scene is becoming a thing because of the endless possibilities now with music software, digital production, etc. too many options can be more demanding and can confuse basic emotions. Less is more, and with lo-fi production you can really feel raw emotion more clearly, and this is what music is about for me. I’m tired of pop music where so much is done to the vocals that the singer just sounds like my GPS navigator. Sometimes my voice cracks. Sometimes I’m flat. Sometimes I’ve smoked too many cigarettes. But when I want you to feel me honestly and openly, those things are purposeful and not mistakes that need to be pitched and auto tuned. Or maybe I’m just lazy. But usually I always end up using my first take of vocal recordings because I find them the most raw.
BS—More lovers the merrier? Or less is more?
MI—Quality over quantity! I think this is something I am slowly realising more as I grow into a young lady, you know, now that I’m turning 18… More lovers is difficult internally because it forces you to spread your love thin, and then disaster strikes, usually equally for yourself as well as the others involved. But then if you are a superhuman and can have quality and quantity… why not!
BS—What is love?
MI—Baby don’t hurt me; don’t hurt me, no more.
BS—Twin Towers? Who did that?
MI—Fear and greed; those evil bastards. But ugh, this world is too messed up now; I don’t want to live here anymore. I want to move to that ‘Magic Island’ Titan that they found on Saturn’s moon.
BS—Why is Arab Idol important?
MI—Hey, everyone’s got to have a voice, non?
BS—What would you do for your live show if you had $2,000?
MI—Build a massive cloud and have a sprinkler rain sparkles onto everyone.
BS—Same question: $2 million?
MI—Have it really rain sparkles. Would God do that for $2 million? Is there God? Oh God.
BS—Duet with either: Dolly Parton or Grimes?
MI—Dolly Parton. I might have said Grimes a few years ago, but now I’m just not so into dubstep. Plus Dolly Parton’s voice is just so raw and rugged; it pains me with beauty…
BS—Ninja or doctor?
MI—Ninja for sure. If music doesn’t work out I hope I have a future career with the CIA. I feel like I would be quite the unsuspecting secret agent.
BS—What’s your biggest regret so far?
MI—Leaving my daddy so far away from me. Love you, Daddy.
BS—Are you more Monopoly or Pictionary?
MI—Oh, Monopoly! Going to jail always makes me feel naughty and I like the safety of passing ‘Go’ just to get your easy 200 bucks. Nothing wrong with an easy 200 bucks.
BS—What’s the best thing about living in Berlin?
MI—Berlin is so weird. I love that about it; full of freaks. We’re all just freaky. It’s high quality of living for cheap; Al Pasha on Sonnenallee; amazing artists coming through or living here, and definitely our little music community. Promoters like Shameless/Limitless, bookers, shops like Rag and Bone Man, our artist family… everyone has each other’s back, solid and takes care. Liebe Deutschland
BS—When/how/where/why does your best music come out of you?
MI—Late nights in my bedroom. Feeling pain and being overly emotional. My recent relationship had me so confused for a while but without that suffering I wouldn’t have had anything to write Wasted Dawn about! I think that’s why all the tracks are lyrically simple but emotionally sung. It’s a cool phenomenon; most of my tracks I don’t really remember working on. I think I sort of black out and something happens and then I wake up to do the boring editing and mixing. That’s when I need my head again. But until then I just let it take me.
MI—In general, Motown and rap music. Motown as a genre is the perfect example of how simple lyrics and over-emotional singing are everything. And there ain’t nothin’ like a hiphop beat.
BS—What would be your ideal date?
MI—Drinking some Prosecco to get the bubbles flowing, maybe at a party or a show. I think when you are surrounded by a lot of other people you can get to know someone best, interesting characters always stand out in a crowd and then I fall in love. I fall in love a lot, way too much. Or maybe just lust, but either way, it’s distracting.
BS—Ideal world tour – with whom and where?
MI—I think I’d like to tour with Lil Spook. I’m vibing his style so much right now. Or Drake.
BS—Fly or invisible?
MI—Fly. I have recurring flying dreams where I go through the process of flight so realistically. When I’m starting off, I feel the strength and struggle it really takes to get off my feet, and I worry that if I don’t make my next moves right I’m going to plummet back down. Then the first 100 metres are difficult, but once I’ve made it past the peak my flow is so smooth and freeing. I can even feel the butterflies in my tummy from being up so high. I like those dreams. I want to be free.
BS—Beaver Sheppard might be the greatest living musician alive today… How much do you see of yourself in him?
MI—I see that sparkle in the eyes, his ‘I don’t give a fuck’ mentality, and adventurous soul.