For more than four years now, Alex and Saskia have been crafting dreamy soundscapes under the peculiar moniker of Just Emma. Spreading a driving but deep, melodic yet playful sound, they channel their main message of harmony through soundtracking sunrise, sunsets, and everything in between.
While Saskia’s musical skills developed during early childhood through piano lessons, Alex first made contact with electronic music via his “Minimal Lounge“ solo project. The duo have been releasing on labels such as Katermukke, Hanse Hertz, Plötzlich Music and Connaisseur Recordings. But it is their own imprint at Underyourskin Records that’s been causing a buzz around the globe lately, as that’s where Just Emma releases their dark and melodic interpretation of the electronic realm.
We had the chance to interview them before the Underyourskin Records showcase at HNGR this coming weekend. Check it out.
1. We’ve been watching Underyourskin flourish over the past few years, releasing some of the most eclectic dance music in the world today. How would you define Underyourskin and its purpose?
For us, Underyourskin Records is a label for music lovers. We wanted to be a platform not just for big names, but for good music. Music that goes right under your skin. That was our approach at the beginning and we’ve tried to keep it that way.
We also wanted to be independent and show the world that good music and quality wins in the end. In 6 years and 54 releases, we’ve always tried to choose tracks in which we see a certain vision and timelessness.
2. Tell us a bit on the story of how it all came to life.
Actually it all started with our own music. We felt that our art was not respected by big labels as they asked us to change our music in order to fit into their box.
One day we were sitting together in the studio with Yapacc & Wittmann listening to their songs and we just fell in love. During that time we’d also been thinking about creating our own platform, so we started the label and lo and behold, our first release was born.
3. Just Emma is a name (and sound) that goes hand in hand with Underyourskin. Can you tell us about that personal journey and how the sounds evolved into their current form today?
When it comes to sound, we have a certain vision which applies to both projects. We choose music we love.
When we met each other, we found a certain sound we both love. Every song we play, produce or choose for our label is a fusion of us. During that time, we lived in a small village on the coast of northern Germany, after years of big city life. So that was also an influence for the label. We were not really part of any crew or clique, so we were able to freely develop our own understanding of electronic music and music in general. In the very beginning we started with all kinds of music. We wanted to be open and just focus on good music. After some time we got quite a straight line and found our way. Now we’ve gotten to the point where we play every release ourselves.
4. How would you define the warm, other-worldly sounds of Underyourskin?
For us it’s more like a certain feeling we want to create. It has to touch us emotionally but not just in a sad or happy way. It’s actually really hard to describe.
5. We’ve seen many established names and many new faces on the Underyourskin plate. What’s your criteria for choosing artists to release?
As I said, it’s actually not about names, more about quality and taste. That is all.
It’s part of our ideology. There has to be a connection, on both a human and musician level. We have some artists we really believe in, so we want to help them to grow.
6. The hype is high preceding your showcase in Beirut. Lebanon has many talented artists on the scene, what is your take on this?
It’s actually our first time in Beirut. So there is a lot for us to discover.
We contacted some musicians in Beirut in the past, and our friends Shkoon also played there. They told us a lot about the crazy event scene. Now it’s our turn to explore it.
7. How does Underyourskin stay that fresh and original in the cluttered industry of dance music?
It’s something we don’t really think about. We just do what we love. And it seems to be going in the right direction at the moment. Let’s see where it takes us.
8. Tell us a bit about the future of underyourskin.
More showcases to present the artists we love to the world. As far as the style of music, we want to keep it open for the future and see where it takes us. That’s how it started, and hopefully that’s also where it will end. We want to be open when it comes to genres, not build borders.
We have quite a good family of artists around us and we just try to build a community of good musicians and great souls. I think that’s also our main goal. Good music, good people.
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