The sound of: Emma van Meyeren

“A feminist killjoy exploring the possibilities of radical vulnerability...”

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What role do sound and music play in shaping the thoughts and environments of young makers? And how do they relate to the formation of creative collectives? Inspired by Sonos, Glamcult embarked on a journey that delves into these questions. For the first chapter of our joint quest, we paid a visit to our own extended family: six of the many contributors that make Glamcult what it is.

From journalists and fashion photographers to a modelling agent breaking industry rules, we documented their natural habitats to discover where and how they create. But more than that, we gathered the many snippets of sound (and silence) that influence their daily work. Following our conversations with Laura, Robbie and Jasper, we’d like you to meet Glamcult regular Emma van Meyeren.

Can you introduce yourself to our new or unfamiliar readers?

A feminist killjoy exploring the possibilities of radical vulnerability.

Tell us about your contribution to our latest issue. How did it come about?

I talked to Glamcult covergirl Kelela on a warm September day in Brooklyn, New York. It was a special coming together of several ideas that had been up in the air for a while. Her debut album had just been released after some years of patiently anticipating the work, and I happened to be in the city at the same time she was doing her press rounds. My first ever interview for Glamcult (and in life!) was with inc., my all-time favourite band and lowkey all-time favourite interview. I probably read every word on the internet on them before showing up for the interview and found some pics of them in a studio with Kelela, somewhere hidden on a Tumblr page. She didn’t have any songs out at the time besides her single with Teengirl Fantasy. I asked the guys from inc. about her and we were all raving about her incredible vocals and the work she was doing with Night Slugs and Fade to Mind.

I’ve been bugging then editor and now editor-in-chief Leendert about getting in touch with her ever since, and I’m incredibly happy this came together with the release of her first full album and the evolution of Glamcult into a new format. Seeing her grow from an underground singer to a critically acclaimed popstar, Glamcult from a newspaper-magazine to a magazine-magazine and myself from a shy and scared interviewer to an equally shy but less scared writer feels like an incredible shared journey.

How do you define a “family”? Do you believe in having just one or more than one?

Fammmmmm, real relationships can’t just be about blood! I def believe in chosen family.

What role do sound and/or music play in your daily environment?

Music can be so uplifting. I guess when I’m writing or running or doing anything I need some affirmation in, the steadiness of a beat really helps me to continue.

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How does music affect your writing? Is there a relation?

For sure! When I write about music my text is supposed to be a conversation with the music I write about. That conversation begins before I start writing. I listen to the album or artist I write about in different contexts: at home, on the way places, with my friends. Most of the time it starts to click after a few listens. I write down thoughts and ideas for questions that I later work into interview questions. When I transform the interview from the original conversation to the story that gets published I try to listen to the music again—I think it makes me write as close as possible to the original work. Although I don’t know if that’s true, it might be the same as sleeping on your textbook the day before an exam, ha-ha.

What can society overall learn from listening to our generation?

I wrote something about our generation becoming more politically and socially aware but then I realized this might just be the answer I want to give, and not an answer I can give fully convinced that it’s somehow… true. I think society can learn a lot about the mechanisms of social inequality by just logging into Twitter and reading our generation’s tweets. That’s dope to me but I don’t think that what we’re saying wasn’t said already by a previous generation. The only question is: when will these voices be heard?

What characteristics makes one a good listener?

Being silent.

Aside from music, what should more people be listening to?

Their hearts and Democracy Now!.

What’s your favourite thing about enjoying music together with others—whether that’s in the club, at home or anywhere else?

I love shared fandom! OMG, nothing is better than finding out a certain song or album or artist has had as profound of an impact on someone you meet as it did on you. That’s an instant new friend, you know.

Which artists and/or tracks are you listening to (a lot) right now?

Right now I’m listening a lot to the new Kelela, Ibeyi and James Holden. I’m also exploring the work of buchla-pioneer Suzanne Ciani, Dutch rapper Yung Nnelg, and the edits by Fade to Mind-producer Leonce.

Read Emma’s conversation with cover star Kelela in the new Glamcult

Photography: Ramona Deckers

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