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A Dirty Dozen with EMILEIGH ROHN from CHIASM – July 2020

 

According to a recent press release: “Industrial-electronic act Chiasm today releases the provocative music video for new single “Away,” premiered exclusively via Synthpop Fanatic. The project of Detroit-based musician Emileigh Rohn, Chiasm has become known for cultivating lush, eclectic, eerily dystopian sonic landscapes with delicately balanced vocals for the past 20-plus years. The 5-song Away EP, led by the title track single, also features writing and musicianship from collaborator John Fryer (Black Needle Noise), the noted producer whose credits include Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, 4AD, Cocteau Twins and Love and Rockets.” We get Emileigh Chiasm to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

This latest Chiasm EP, titled Away, is the first behind the upcoming album Missed the Noise. It was co-written with collaborator John Fryer and has been released on COP International Records. It features remixes by Interface, Warren Harrison, GW4, and :10:. The experience of creating this album was super personal, as writing music usually is for me. There are all kinds of hidden nuggets for people that know my work well, and some relate to earlier songs, and that’s what keeps it intriguing while listening to everything together. I enjoy when each part of the story can give insight to something new based on perspective.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I’ve enjoyed music for as long as I can remember and was always singing along. I could probably give some credit to PBS because I watched their programming a lot as a kid. I started piano lessons at a young age, but didn’t realize I wanted to seriously pursue writing my own songs until I was inspired by some stage performances and later purchased my first pro keyboard. It began at a time I truly needed a creative outlet and everything glued together from there.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I grew up listening to quite a few artists that my collaborator John Fryer actually did production work for (NIN, White Zombie, Jesus Jones, Depeche Mode, etc.), and they all had a huge influence on my taste. I also listened to a lot of Project Pitchfork and Skinny Puppy in school. Closer to when I started writing, there were some live performances that had quite an impact (Mentallo & the Fixer, Attrition) in that they were intimate yet full of passion and emotion and it snapped the potential of such a project into a reality for me.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Today we’ll go with Kraftwerk, Orbital, Skinny Puppy, Bjork and Public Enemy.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

John Fryer was pretty awesome, I’d go for that again.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I guess the best description is to say it’s personal. I usually start off by calling it an industrial-influenced electronic solo project with female vocals. This new collaborative album has a lot more live instrumentation and guitars than my previous work, along with some amazing production, so the overall feeling is pretty intense. As for odd, I once had a reviewer compare a song to The Residents, and it cracked me up.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I usually do none of those things, but sometimes alone in the studio I wind up doing all of them. I’m pretty sure my acoustic guitar singalongs scare the cats, rightfully so.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I’m sure it was the first time I got on the phone with John Fryer, he’s pretty spectacular.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

For me it’s about self-expression, process and the feeling of being heard. I’m not sure I would survive well without music in my life and would have to be creating art of some kind. I currently work in science, which at times can feel similar as far as experimentation goes, just with more rules to follow.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

How are your cats doing? Wonderfully. Why don’t you travel and play shows all over the world? Cats.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Nope, time travel gets messy.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Again, that’s a little scary. It would be cool to watch John in action on our upcoming collaborative album Missed the Noise, which was recorded separately in our respective studios. But of course it would have turned out differently had I been present, and I’m super happy with how it turned out. Right now that album means everything to me.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

I miss predictability. It’s been quite a ride!

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Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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