Eat the dark, and show where I stood: a 2017 ramble/round-up

I was thinking about doing another Songs Of The Year post like I did this time last year, but decided against it – this year my listening has trended much more towards mainstream pop or at least bigger artists (the ones who aren’t were also on last year’s list!), and it sort of feels like it defeats the point when I’m not signal-boosting people you wouldn’t know about otherwise. If you do check out one record on my recommendation, though, make it Romaplasm by Baths, and if you want a realistic listening experience a la Emma Deerful, put track 5, ‘Adam Copies’, on repeat until you feel physically sick, as if you’ve eaten too much of something delicious.

The last few months have been slightly fallow ones for me musically speaking. I gigged myself out a bit by playing six? seven? shows in October and then went dark to work on my thesis. It’s funny how a little bit of distance from music made me think ‘oh, it’s been a quiet year, I haven’t done much with Deerful’. That’s not really true.

I released my first album. It got some press coverage, it got a tiny little bit of radio attention, it seems to have made a few people very happy and more people quite happy, and that’s not too bad a result overall. A very dear friend recently told me all you need for an album is three hits and the rest will work itself out. I’m not sure if that’s true, but if it is, I don’t think Peach was quite there. I’ll let you know if the formula works for album 2.

I played 22 shows, according to my Facebook events. That actually doesn’t sound like a lot. If you’d like me to play a show near you in 2018 please get in touch and let’s see if I can outdo myself. Of those 22 shows, a few stand out – Blissfields was my first ‘big’ festival as a solo artist and to have been asked to play by Beans On Toast of all people was a huge honour. I also played a full set at the Union Chapel, under the Daylight Music banner, for the first time as Deerful rather than in somebody else’s band, and it was just a beautiful thing. I’m still amazed at how many people came and how I didn’t feel too tiny for the stage in the end after all.

I blew up on YouTube a bit this year, which still surprises me – by YouTube standards a thousand subscribers isn’t ‘blowing up’, not really, but by my standards it’s unbelievable and I can’t believe that many people want to watch me cover songs I like on my weird boxes with lights on.

I did some of my favourite interviews ever this year. I also repeatedly confirmed to myself that if you ask me about my work (or anything, really) I can’t shut up. I’m sorry. It’s who I am.

I submitted my favourite piece of production I’ve ever done, ever, to a compilation which was meant to be out by now but has been pushed back, so I’m afraid you’ll all have to wait to find out what it is.

I did a lot of thinking this year about creativity, and work, and art-as-labour, and being a beginner, and how your brain can facilitate that or get in the way, and how sometimes you can do something about that and sometimes you can’t. If you follow me on Twitter you will know I occasionally discuss this stuff there but lately I’ve been mulling over it more internally. I’m not sure what I’m going to do those thoughts yet. Something.

It has been a dark year, politically and globally speaking. I can’t really do a Taylor Swift and say that it’s been the best year ever for me personally in spite of that, though there have been some very bright spots. As of the last few months I’m in the best health I’ve ever been in, which opens up more possibilities for the future, and that’s a really brilliant thing. I am very grateful that despite the darkness of the outside world you have all been here with me, listening and feeding back and attending shows and chatting to me. I hope you’ll stick around for the rest of it.

🍁🎃 Autumn Deerful shows! 🦊🍂

Image featuring a list of Deerful show dates, reproduced in text below

Image featuring a list of Deerful show dates, reproduced in text below

I booked a bunch of shows in October (and one in September – I’m being a thesis hermit right now so it really is just the one), so I thought it might make sense to put them all together in a list. Here they are.

Sep 8 – LONDON – The Finsbury – Get In Her Ears Live at The Finsbury with REWS – free
Oct 2 – BRIGHTON – The Prince Albert – Campfire Live: Lianne Hall + Deerful – £8
Oct 20 – MILTON KEYNES – OU Cellar Bar – The Leaf Library + Deerful – £7
Oct 27 – READING – The Rising Sun Arts Centre (Facebook event coming) – £5
Oct 28 – LONDON – The Betsey Trotwood – Karla Kane, Deerful, Fun of the Pier and Richard Youell – £5
Oct 30 – LONDON – The Finsbury – Blogtober Festival / For The Rabbits: Night Flowers + Guests – free

A full stream of Peach, and a live show

The brainchild of Emma Winston (quite literally: she wrote, played, recorded, produced, and mixed the record, as well as making the sleeve art – “Peach” takes that aforementioned decadent touch and sculpts it in to something that flickers between a cluster of romanticised sentiments while always bending the boundaries of what we think pop music is and should be. Streaming here from today, you can listen to Deerful’s brilliant new album in full while reading Winston’s own detailed track-by-track guide beneath. Dig in below…

Peach is now available to stream over at GoldFlakePaint, alongside my track-by-track commentary! Consider a click if you like: bleepy sparkly electropop; public amateurism; Chris Kraus; Super Mario; Twitter bots with recording jobs; girls kissing; artistic visions explained through the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror.

The album will be going up on Spotify on Friday 9th, so currently GFP’s stream is the only place you can hear it online in full.

Warm up party featuring funke and the two tone baby, deerful and jack francis, at the monarch in chalk farm. Wednesday 7th June

I’m also going to be playing a London show the day after tomorrow (Wednesday 7th June), at the Monarch on Chalk Farm Road, at Beans On Toast’s warmup show for Blissfields Festival. It’s free, and you can enter a draw there to win tickets for the festival itself (which I will also be playing). I am very much hoping to have copies of the album with me for sale but there are currently none in my house so this is contingent on me being able to collect some in time. DIY!


Album cover - watercolour peach on a pale green background

My debut album, Peach, is available for pre-order!🍑

You can get it on limited-edition cream vinyl, CD, or as a digital download, by clicking here, and it will be sent to you around the 9th of June when it is released.

In typical Deerful style it’s a sad pop album, I made it on several extremely small synthesisers in my front room, and recorded and mixed and painted the cover for it myself. The only voice on it other than mine is my Macbook, on the two title tracks, reading out names of fruit and flowers I was streaming to it live from Twitter, because I appreciate oddness. Despite that it’s maybe a little softer around the edges than Staying Still, and it’s eleven tracks long, all about life and connections and moments between people and memories. Clash were kind enough to premiere the first single from it, Subjects Of Our Love, yesterday, if you’d like to hear a little of it.

I hope you enjoy it.

Deerful keychains and ACLU

deerful cross stitch keychain

Hiya. From midnight EST (which was about 8pm UK time) Bandcamp have started donating their profits to the ACLU for 24 hours and lots of artists are joining them including YOUR GIRL DEERFUL. Any money I get from you lot in the next 24 hours will also be donated to the ACLU (with the exception of Without Borders which will still go to JCWI because I also believe in continuing to act locally).

There are new keychains in the shop which have been hand cross-stitched by Citizen Helene, who is a very dear friend and also terrifyingly good at everything. There are only eight of them. You know what to do etc.

If you want to know more about the Bandcamp campaign check out this link.

Emma’s Unprecedented Favourites of 2016

I’m doing an end-of-year round-up list. I can’t believe it either. I’ve never done one before. I’m usually so out of touch I haven’t even heard anything released in the current year. I’m not sure if this is a one-off or just a sign that I’m finally becoming slightly less out of touch. It might never happen again.

These are the songs that inspired me the most this year. The songs that made me want to keep writing and making stuff, that I put on repeat a million times, that I sang for hours out loud in the flat on my own, that I’m still not tired of. The songs that mattered the most to me. They’re not in any order because it feels like ranking my children.

Noah Hafford – That Way

OK, I know I said these weren’t in any order but this is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard full stop, let alone this year, and I’m starting the list with it for a reason. Noah showed up in my suggested links on Soundcloud over the summer, and I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a song with such UTTER DISTILLED FUN concentrated into it. I want this song at number one in the charts. I want it played by every DJ alive.

I genuinely, out-loud squealed the first time I heard the synth solo at 2:54. Everything I’ve ever wanted in a pop song.

Continue reading “Emma’s Unprecedented Favourites of 2016”

Music Against Bruises – tonight

Music Against Bruises poster

I’m not very good at staying up to date with this, am I? Please do like me on Facebook if you want to make absolutely sure you’re not missing shows, since I seem to be better at updating them there than on the live page here. I’m trying to stay organised but I am only one person :)

Home has had some lovely press, being shared by the likes of Teenage Engineering (my favourite synth company in the whole world) and Beautiful Freaks, who did a lovely First Listen premiere for it alongside a slightly embarrassing and very long interview. On Monday just gone I supported Laetitia Sadier and Giorgio Tuma, to a very warm reception, which was wonderful – thanks so much if you came.

Tonight I’m playing the Music Against Bruises Fundraiser for Solace Women’s Aid at DIY Space for London, alongside Dream Nails, ¡Ay Carmela! and Party Traitor. Solace do incredibly valuable work for abuse survivors in London, and I’m beyond grateful to be able to do something useful for them, especially at the moment when everything feels utterly messed up for women and other vulnerable people in the UK (and everywhere else). I’d love it if you could come and dance and sing and cry and drink coffee-cola-lemonade at the bar with me. Please consider wearing black as a mark of respect.

The Home EP is out!

The Home EP is out! It features versions of three of my songs in the style of old-school 8-bit video game music, and a Mountain Goats cover. You can get it either digitally or on a USB drive here.

The USB edition includes a papercraft model of me(!), some desktop and phone wallpapers, and a mini-game, which you can also play online here.

This EP was intended as something a little different. It features two old songs, a new song, and a cover, all arranged in the style of old-school video game music, or chiptune. I have a real soft spot for old games and their soundtracks; I remember playing through Kirby’s Dreamland, Super Mario Land and Ducktales (of all things) on my old brick-style Game Boy as a kid, listening to the music and wondering how they did it, thinking, ‘I wish I could do that!’. Well, now I have, sort of.

The Home EP was created entirely in my front room in Clapton and is a homage to both the digital and analogue things that make you feel like you belong somewhere. I hope you enjoy it.