What So Not on his new album ‘Not All The Beautiful Things’, staying grounded and coping with the hype
Electronic artist and producer What So Not (also known as Chris Emerson and Emoh Instead) has been under the pump lately, thanks to a hectic touring and promotional schedule ahead of the release of his highly anticipated debut album, Not All The Beautiful Things.
He’s also just announced an Australian leg of his upcoming Beautiful Things world tour, set to head down under in June.
We recently caught up with the Sydney artist to get the lowdown on the new album, which is a poignant venture borne of Emerson’s personal philosophy.
“The name Not All The Beautiful Things is really a tribute to the things we lose along the way when we’re striving for things,” he says.
“We’re going through our lives spending all this time thinking we want to get that promotion, thinking we want that relationship to get more serious, we want to buy a house.
“We set out with all these grand goals and forget everything that’s right in front of us at all times: family, friends, even nature itself.”
Lead single ‘Be Okay Again’ projects this mindset; the collaboration with Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns giving Emerson the confidence to sing on a track for the first time in his career.
“It was really exciting working with someone of [Johns’] calibre and knowledge and wisdom,” he says enthusiastically.
“I’ll always just catch up with someone, see what the vibe is, and jump in and see what happens. It can be magic.”
The track serves as a spearhead for the album, anchoring the theme that flows throughout the work.
“To be okay again is just to go through an experience you might find traumatic, and try and work everything out and rebuild everything you thought was your life and come to a newfound place of rest and peace,” he says.
Despite the joy that comes with living the dream of making music and touring, the potential toll is a heavy one.
To cope with the stress, Emerson ensures he makes time to disconnect from the musical scene, abstaining from alcohol and exercising regularly.
“Most importantly, I try to always have a positive outlook on things,” he says.
“I don’t mean that in the sense of always being happy and always pretending to be happy; if there’s an emotion weighing down on me I just let it happen, let it exist for whatever period of time it may be.”
One of the important lessons Emerson has learned is to take an objective view of his work.
He found himself in this mindset when working with American powerhouse Toto (of ‘Africa’ fame) to produce ‘We Keep On Running’. Refining his own skillset allowed him to look upon his craft with fresh eyes.
“I knew at that time, my abilities as a songwriter and producer weren’t at a level to match guys that are recording on Michael Jackson records and in Ringo Starr’s band,” he says reflectively.
“Just taking that time out from it and coming back with the fresh perspective and fresh things that are exciting me, I think, is a great way to get around any roadblocks you get in your creative sphere.”
What So Not has just released a third song from the album, ‘Beautiful’, featuring Swedish newcomer Winona Oak. Check out the track below.
Not All The Beautiful Things will be released on March 9.
‘BEAUTIFUL THINGS’ AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
Presented by BBE, Maker and triple j
Tickets from beautifulthingstour.com
SATURDAY JUNE 16 | METRO CITY, PERTH | 18+
FRIDAY JUNE 22 | HQ, ADELAIDE | AA
SATURDAY JUNE 23 | THE FORUM, MELBOURNE | 18+
FRIDAY JUNE 29 | HORDERN PAVILION, SYDNEY | 18+
SATURDAY JUNE 30 | BRISBANE SHOWGROUNDS, BRISBANE | AA