There are probably a lot of musicians who are going to look back at 2007 and consider it to be a successful year career-wise and Emma Pollock is going to be up there with the best of them. Her debut solo album ‘Watching The Fireworks’ has received a lot of critical acclaim and she has managed to wow gig and festival audiences the length and breadth of Britain as well as hitting America, so all in all, its been a good year. R13 caught up with Emma and captured her thoughts on a busy year.

R13:Hi Emma, we here at RoomThirteen are looking back at 2007 and we think its been quite a good year for you. What have been your personal highlights of the year?
EP:Going to the States and playing with the New Pornographers was a great thing to do, we did that in October and November, me and the band for about five and a half weeks. It was my first real support tour ever, even in the Delgados days. We were playing pretty big venues and it was a really great experience, which was a big highlight. Of course, the biggest highlight was releasing the album.

R13:On the topic of America, at the album launch in Glasgow, you seemed to be a bit wary of the American trip but the rest of the band looked hugely excited by it, how did it all work out?
EP:It was really good and we were quite lucky as we thought we were having to travel in a van and that’s what I was worried about. Travelling for that length of time in a van can really stop you sleeping and that’s what concerned me but we were able to get a tourbus we shared with the other bands crew. The boys in the band loved it, they had a really great time but we were all really happy to get home.

R13: Have you or the band suffered any post US-tour comedown since coming back to the UK for the latest tour?
EP:I’ve done most of the UK tour now and its different doing your own headline tour but it was really nice to play in front of my own audience again, particularly as the album is out and people know the songs. The tour I did in May was in front of an audience where the crowd wouldn’t have known the songs so its been interesting to see the difference from that.

R13: Getting back to your debut album, ‘Watch The Fireworks’, when did you write it?
EP:Probably the majority of 2005, pretty much from the moment I knew the Delgados had split, I had a couple of songs but I really started writing after the band had officially split.

R13: Are there any plans for a follow up?
EP:Well, I am thinking about it but that’s pretty as much as far as its gone, I do have some ideas about it. I haven’t really had the chance to sit down and think about it but I think that’s the next step and next year is going to be about recording something new and hopefully finish it off quicker than the last one. To be honest, the last one was a fairly daunting task given I was in a band for about ten years and just the approach was different, a lot of time was spent thinking about how to go about it.

R13: Has there been much of a difference between being in the band and now being a solo artist?
EP:There has actually, yes. Its been great in some way, greater in others, the psychological thing is a major hurdle, I quite miss being part of a band and all sharing the same feelings and situations, particularly with the Delgados as it was very much a shared effort writing experience whereas as a solo thing, I’m sharing the experience with a band live but it’s a pretty different band to the one I wrote the album with. Things are changing quite a bit but I’m really enjoying playing with the band I’ve got at the moment.

R13: Are you going to use your current live band to record the new material with?
EP:Possibly yeah, its funny because I used a different band to record with that I eventually went out to play with and I’m not sure if I’ll try to do it all with the same people this time around. I’d quite like to do something quite different this time around.

R13: Do you want to be like Neil Young and change your backing band every so often for different albums?
EP:Haha, that must be a bit hair-raising and difficult at times. I’d maybe like to work with a bit more diverse instrumentation on the next one. My current album was very much like dipping a toe into the water and seeing how it feels but I think when I know what the songs are like, then I’ll be able to branch out a bit and see what shape its going to take. I’d like to do something with different sounds, I’m not sure what that means yet but I’m looking forward to it and it’ll come over the following months.

R13: You performed early on at Indian Summer and Connect festivals and managed to get good weather at both. Was this a deliberate part of your plan?
EP:I wish I could say I had the power to influence such matters but no, we were really lucky, even down South as well, we played Truck Festival and although it was rained off at first, we had a good time when we eventually played. I really enjoyed Indian Summer and Connect, they were smaller festivals and it was a much nicer experience. I’ll never forget when the Delgados played Glastonbury years ago and it took me half an hour to walk between stages and thinking “this is not fun.” Whereas at smaller festivals, especially at Connect when you have the location, that was a lovely place to put a festival although I heard that not many people enjoyed the walk from the car park to the camp site!
R13:We did it and it was definitely grim.
EP:Yeah, carrying all their camping equipment in that mud would definitely have been grim but the location was brilliant. I’m not sure what the future holds for that festival but I certainly enjoyed it. Also, we were a late edition to Connect, we were first on the second stage on Saturday and I only got the phone call the day before. We got a good crowd considering no one knew we were playing.
R13: I found out about ten minutes before your set started because it was written on a blackboard inside the site, so that was quite lucky for me.
EP:The slot had been left open and I don’t think they knew what to do with it and as I said, I got the call the day before and next thing you know, we’re playing at Connect.

R13: It was funny at Indian Summer because it was very similar to seeing the Delgados playing at Glasgow Green in brilliant sunshine opening the day. Do you ever get flashbacks to previous festivals?
EP:Yeah, I do, I cant say I remember too much about Glasgow Green, its such a long time ago but the weather was amazing. I think you either love or loathe festivals, it can be such a gamble but yes, the two Scottish ones this year were really enjoyable.

R13: What about the festivals in England, how did you find them?
EP:Truck was amazing, I played the Barn, which is in fact an actual barn and supposedly in previous years it has smelt really badly of cow dung but it wasn’t so bad this year, I think they’ve cottoned onto it and sorted it out! There were a lot of people there and it was the first UK shows after the album had been released, so that was great.

R13: I’ve also read that you’ve been nominated for Female Artist of the Year in the Independent Music Awards
EP:I didn’t know that! Really? That’s hilarious.

R13: Yeah, congratulations. What is your general take on awards, do you get excited by them?
EP:Thank you, wow, I wonder why no one has told me about that, thanks. Yes, I do get excited by them and I hope most people do. The music industry has a lot of people who try and appear as aloof as possible but I think they’re important, they’re not necessarily the best way to sell music but as long as its done in a reasonable manner and non-cheesy way, then its cool. I mean, the Mercury Music Award is still credible and that was terrific for the Delgados to be nominated for that and on the plus side, it does raise awareness in the media and with a certain audience who are on the lookout for bands who are nominated. However, that transient audience may not stick with you, they’ll buy one album and they might not buy the next album if it isn’t nominated and that’s why people talk about the curse of the Mercurys but its common sense that this spike in sales happen but hopefully you’ll keep hold of some of the crowd.

R13: As we’re in a look back type of mood, whats been your favourite album, gig or thing of 2007?
EP:I find these things really difficult as I’ve got a bad memory. See, I listen to so many albums that haven’t came out this year and most of the books I read are of a different era. A book I’ve really enjoyed reading is ‘The Glass Castle’, I don’t know when it came out (later research suggests 2005) but its an American book and its about a really bizarre childhood, and it’s a fantastic book that I read throughout the UK and American tours and its an amazing account of this girls childhood with her family. Her parents were at one, the most dreadful from a lot of practical point of view but they seemed to be the most positive and inspiring and educational parents, it proves that people are fairly resilient and can come through any situation. So it may not be this year but its one that I’ve really enjoyed in 2007.

R13: This time last year, did you have any plans or hopes for 2007 and if so, have you achieved them?
EP:I guess these things are difficult to quantify, especially in music because what makes a successful album can be judged in so many ways. All I really wanted to do was try and out the album out as effectively as possible and reach as many people as possible. The album wasn’t mixed until the end of January but I had a good idea of what it would sound like and I was happy with it and I just wanted to get out there and play and spend as much time on it as possible. I’ve certainly did that, I’ve been to America a lot, played a lot of UK shows and I’m happy with it all.

R13: And do you have any for 2008, and if so, are you willing to tell us?
EP:At some point in 2008, I’d like to get a better car, I really love classic cars. I’ve got quite a boring car at the moment and I’d like a BMW.

R13: We could make this into a Christmas wish list if you want?
EP:Okay, a BMW 3002, that’s the model, it’s a 70s car. Also my genuine ambition for 2008 is to rebuild my broken G4 iBook because it failed last week and I had to go buy a MacBook. I’m really happy with everything but I’d much rather that I didn’t have to buy a new computer and because Apple Mac charge ridiculous amounts for fixing computers, I’m going to try and load a logic board on my G4, which will probably make me sound like one of the geekiest lady musicians you’ve ever spoken to! That’s quite an achievement!

R13:Are you a fan of the cartoon ‘Family Guy’?
EP:Oh yeah.

R13: Peter broke his television so he started making up his own sitcom and he decided to give it an 80s upbeat intro. And the piano intro sounds very much you’re your album track ‘Adrenaline.’
EP:Hahahaha, really? Unbelievable! Wow, when was this Family Guy episode created or aired?

R13: I think I heard the Family Guy song first and then your version but I’m not sure which was created first, you might want to get your lawyers involved!
EP:Or perhaps their lawyers may be looking into me! Okay, I’ll check that out.

R13:Emma, thanks for your time and again, congratulations on having a great year and hopefully there will be more from you in 2008.
EP:Thank you very much, lets hope so and the same to yourself.

With a selection of UK dates to play before the year comes to a close there is still plenty to occupy Emma Pollock’s time but it can only be hoped that 2008 carries on in the manner that 2007 has.