Friday, April 19 2024

Today, we delve into the enchanting world of The Amanda Emblem Experiment and their latest musical venture, the ‘Farmtime‘ Original EP. Hailing from the serene landscapes of Kandanga Creek in Australia, Amanda Emblem’s journey takes us from the chaotic energy of punk rock to the tranquility of a rural lifestyle, all while incorporating tales through her heartfelt songwriting. Join us as we explore the diverse influences that have shaped this EP, from the rustling rainforests to the bustling market garden that forms the backdrop to Amanda’s musical odyssey.


Thanks for joining us Amanda. The Amanda Emblem Experiment has a diverse range of musical influences, spanning from 90’s rock to modern acoustic guitar pop. How did this eclectic mix of genres come together in the creation of the ‘Farmtime’ EP?

Songs come to me like small miracles and often. I liken them to children with different fathers, and I feel like I’m a conduit, giving them life. Sometimes I wonder if I have any influence at all, especially when songs seem to come instantly, because they come so easy at times, you might think they write themselves. I let them breathe. I give them freedom to be whatever they are. Out they come and I’m not really conscious or judgemental of their genre.

I cannot just write songs in one genre. I have learned to care less. For years I yearned for a hit song but now I’m indifferent. I’m not sure it’s even possible. Streaming has changed things and there’s no going back.

There are two different recording sessions in this EP which might have added to the eclectic range. Three of the songs have been in waiting for quite some time. I have a large volume of songs cued up in the studio, like patients waiting for surgery. When I can get my drummer into a studio it is a small miracle and I tend to put down as many tunes as I can. Sometimes I can wait and spend my days in front of a mic, putting down new ideas.

Three of these tunes come under the first category and they are the most “produced” tracks on the EP. The other two were instantly ready to go pretty much after the bed tracks were done. My producer is a musician and he is the best musician I have ever worked with. Ever. 

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Amanda Emblem has transitioned from her punk rock roots to a more serene and acoustic sound in her solo career. How has her lifestyle on a rural property in South East Queensland influenced the themes and moods explored in the ‘Farmtime’ EP, especially considering the underlying menace hinted at in some tracks?

It’s pretty obvious I have found a home living on the land. I really love having endless space and bushland around me. I grow lots of veggies in a large market garden and supply my local community. I have found a way to combine my time between music and gardening. It does reflect in my songs and my writing. Before I came here to live permanently, unknown to me, my life was full of stress and anxiety. I had to pay rent, bills and steer a career that led me to be constantly on the road, constantly seeking opportunity. Back and forth I went. I moved cities, went overseas looking for “the right path to success” pushing, pushing, pushing… Unfortunately, I relied on others and was always let down. My retreat to the country came as a shock to many of my friends and associates. I took control.

Then, when the pandemic shut down touring my whole self-worth needed re-evaluating. Who was I if I wasn’t a performer? I was still a musician. With performance choices “taken away” I had to cease an obsession with booking the next run of dates. I instantly lost the anxiety about getting prepared for the next gig, the logistics, which musicians would accompany me, how I could afford to pay them, the fuel money, where I would sleep that night. I didn’t realise how stressful it was until it was gone. Then, I felt such relief. The burden of ambition lifted. I took a breath and finally got some oxygen. Now I am what I am which is proud I was brave enough to change.

Underlying menace is reality. From the animal predators that stalk my chickens to the human predators that stalk their victims the world is full of something or someone that can harm you or your livelihood. I have a healthy fear nowadays. I am a cautious person. I never used to be. I have suffered from being gullible and too trusting of others. Everyone wants something. People are so willing to pull you down to get what they want, even those you love. 

Farm life is just as brutal but in different ways, and much easier to comprehend. I’ve had to witness the reality of farm life, from the fruit bat tangled in the barbed wire to snakes eating my baby chicks. Farm time is never wrong. You do what you have to do. Then there’s the weather, the sun that burns my skin yet makes my garden grow, the rain so much needed when its dry, to the floods that wipes out three months of cultivation. 

The EP concludes with the track ‘Aphrodisia,’ which seems to encapsulate the overall theme of the collection. Can you delve into the inspiration behind this track and how it ties together the various themes explored throughout the ‘Farmtime’ EP?

Aphrodisia is a song on a few different levels, and it has inspired the overall concept of the EP. Whereas it’s hard to define what some of the songs on the EP are about exactly (even for me) this song tells a story and is the least metaphoric. It has evolved significantly since it was written and first recorded in 2021, and sat idle for some time. I re-recorded it in August of 2023 with a completely different feel. 

It has four lyrical themes.

1. Wild Deer – These animals frequent our property late Summer, early Autumn and during the Easter period are hard to ignore. The females and young deer all hang out together and sleep in the long grasses near the creek. We see them early in the morning and they are just beautiful. The Stags roar during the night calling for females and it is quite the competition. Often there’s up to five Stags and we hear them in full surround sound, especially on a full moon. It’s quite something and at times they come very close.

These majestic animals have become quite the sport around these parts for hunters. Often gunshots are also heard which is distressing. We don’t allow deer shooters on our property. The Antlers fetch a good dollar along with the meat, but the whole neck and head with antlers of a big Stag is quite the shooters trophy, and can be found on the walls of many homes and also in licensed establishments. In fact, the glorious creature on the cover is one such animal, looking on forever over the drunks in a town in a place called Toogoolawah where I performed recently.

2. Aphrodisia – Apparently, part of the mating sequence of the animals is that the stags fight for supremacy to mate with the females. They lock horns until one gives up, or dies, and afterwards the scent of the felt on the horns apparently encourages the Doe to mate with the Stag. Humans collect this felt from the Antlers of the Stag to take as an aphrodisiac, proving Humans are truly the most bizarre creatures of all. 

3. The Hound Dog – At the same time this was happening (when the song was being written) a feral wild dog attacked our chickens, and the Rooster took off and a chase was on. The dog caught the Rooster but Jimmy got to it just in time to save its life. Poor thing was pretty badly hurt, but survived to become a complete bastard, but that’s another farm story. Anyhow the dog continued to lurk around the area and cause mayhem for days and was eventually tracked and hunted down. Dog Gone!

4. Farmtime – The lyrics give a glimpse of the gardening cycle during this season of true abundance. Right now figs and mangoes are ripe, okra and cucumbers need picking daily, there’s about 1,000 bees in the flowering basil. Whist wondrous, this season is usually when the bizarre unexpected stuff happens, as explained by the lyric “you gotta take it as it comes… Farm time is never wrong”. It just is. You do what you have to do to protect what is yours.

Amanda Emblem’s career has seen her involved in various projects, from mentoring young musicians to leading all-girl garage rock/punk band Legless. How have these diverse experiences shaped her as an artist, and do you see any specific influences from her past ventures in the musical landscape of the ‘Farmtime’ EP?

Past musical partnerships, the bands I’ve been in and the projects sure have shaped the musician I am now. Teaching and mentoring is something I do with intent, mostly because it saps my energy and creativity. I only invest in people I believe in.

Trying to improve the culture of female musicians is an endless deep cause that is on a cycle. Deep down females are in competition with each other mostly. I was a very young naive person thinking I could make a difference, and maybe I did, but it was to my own detriment in the long run. What was great can sour very quickly when ego is involved. I’ve always been the band leader trying to put it all together, a difficult role in an all girl punk band. A steep learning curve.

Legless gave me a freedom. I was able to confront the female stereotype I’d been trapped in as a young serious indie rocker by having an “alter ego.” Some of the members took this too far, and it would always end in a drama I had to fix. I have had little regret, except for during this time in my career when I should have stood my ground instead of being democratic with other band members.

I have a comic element to a few of the tracks I write now, a style that likely developed during the Legless years. Writing songs in a punk rock genre, collaborating with others came easy to me, almost formulaic. I still occasionally perform the songs I wrote with Legless, but due to personal conflict they are not available on Streaming platforms. 

As far as where these influences sit with this group of songs, I can’t really pinpoint anything specific, in fact, it’s mostly the opposite.

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What can fans and listeners anticipate from The Amanda Emblem Experiment in the future? Are there any upcoming projects, collaborations, or new directions in the works that you can share as a glimpse into the next chapter of Amanda Emblem’s musical journey?

I have a lot of songs waiting for a chance to be recorded and even more half-finished. I love recording and I expect that I’ll be releasing a body of work once or twice a year. Right now I am getting interest again as a live performer which is interesting but not as important as it used to be. Plus, I have a release to promote which is foremost in mind.

My newer songs have a distinct “ocean feel” as lately my partner and I have been spending a bit of time at the coast with a new boat. Jimmy, my partner, is learning harmonica, and loves nothing more that to jam with our beach buddies on guitar and bongoes. Some really cool vibes have resulted, some outstanding, I couldn’t resist taking to the studio. There is one song that has came about during such a jam called ‘Calm Seas’ and its inspiration comes from an instrumental track I love by Van Morrison called ‘Caledonia Soul Music.’ 

And, finally… Fun question time – If you could choose a movie director to create a visual representation or a music video for one of the tracks from the ‘Farmtime’ EP, who would it be, and why?

I admit I’m not much of a movie buff… I’d have to choose Baz Luhrman. Firstly, he is an Australian innovator, often harshly critiqued by his countrymen but loved by everyone in other places! He is not afraid to really go hard on a new concept and present his movies in a way no one could have ever imagined. In so many ways he has taken Australian culture to the world. I was really impressed by the way he used retro visual animation in ‘Elvis’ and respect his artistic involvement in art and fashion, as well as music.


And there you have it, the captivating story behind ‘Farmtime,’ a 5-track EP that encapsulates Amanda Emblem’s evolution as a musician and as a person. From the nostalgic vibes of ‘Waterfall’ to the haunting melodies of ‘Aphrodisia,’ this EP is a musical journey through the harmonious collision of genres and emotions. Keep an eye out for The Amanda Emblem Experiment’s future projects, but until then, get yourself into the sounds of ‘Farmtime’ and keep up to date with them via their social channels.

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About Author

Matt Warren

Matt Warren is a Cheshire based musician who studied contemporary music and composition. When not writing for The Indie Grid he enjoys watching 'Breaking Bad' on continuous loop and going to gigs. Since a youngster his fave band have been 'The Beatles' (with 'Cardiacs' in at a close second)... and this still applies to this day.

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