North East Noise: An Interview with E-Mence

After a three year break from hip-hop, Sunderland’s E-Mence is back with a new album and a fresh outlook. Breaking onto the scene at a young age, a 16-year-old E-Mence could rock with the best of them. But after releasing his previous project, Welcome to my Home, through a management label didn’t go to plan, E-mence was left jaded with the hip-hop scene.
The young MC appeared back at an Obscene:open mic event only 2 months ago, performing live for the first time in years. Since then he’s been a prolific performer at Obscene:open mic events and at Sub:Level Underground cyphers, always bringing his A-game, or should we say his E-game.


Ride Music: So you took a break from the hip-hop scene for about three years, what made you come to that decision?

E-Mence: Things were going really good back then. I was touring up and down the country, going to places like Manchester and Leeds performing. I was opening for some really big acts; I opened for Mic Righteous twice in the space of a month, that was cool.

I was on a management label called TRU, from Manchester, and I was working on an album, Welcome To My Home, and that was getting promoted by them, it was meant to be my ‘biggest album ever’, it was going to do really well, we were going to go on a tour.

I was working with artists like Britizen Kane, producers like 3D. There was loads of sick people and when it came to almost finishing it, My manager, Claire, she just stopped contacting me. There was about 20 artsits on the label and she just stopped contacting everyone, I was messaging her saying ‘look, my album’s coming out, what are we gonna do’ and then I sent her a message saying ‘I’m leaving the label, it’s not working.’ Still to this day she’s not opened it at all, so she’s got no idea I’ve left the label, I’ve no idea what she’s still doing with the label.

Then when I released it by myself it got like 1% of the attention I was expecting and It just proper sucked. I was just really annoyed and it set me back, I just thought ‘ I really can’t be bothered’. I wrote a full album after that called Talk of the Town, but I just couldn’t be bothered releasing things, I released like one song and that didn’t go too well either. It did well…just not as well as I was expecting  and it sent me in a rut, I just had no inspiration.

So I stepped away and focused on other things. Still musical things, but things I knew I wasn’t bothered about releasing and I just had fun with it.

RM: What’s inspired you to come back to the scene and to hip-hop?

E-M: A lot of things really, I’ve gone through the process of making different types of music, totally un-hip-hop related. I was making EDM, I was making some sort of classical stuff, little jingles, just anything musical. Then me and my friend Tom, reignited an old band. I had already started hip-hop style production again with the band, I would rap the verses, Tom would sing the chourses. And that really got me back into it, then when we tried to put together the EP. Tom just wasn’t dedicated enough and didn’t have time for recording and listening to songs I’d done for him. It got to the point that I said I had to stop the band because I was just desperate to release music.

That’s what made me want to get back into hip-hop, I had basically already started hip-hop again with the band. In that time I just started making more and more beats then the album came in about a month or two.

RM: Your new album, Live Fast, Die Young is dropping soon, how much do you think you’ve changed since your last album, Welcome To My Home?

E-M: I’ve changed in a lot of ways, for one I make all of my own beats now. I used to make the odd beat here and there, but every single beat on this album is produced by me, that’s something I’m quite proud of.

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I suppose my skills have developed a lot in the sense I feel my delivery is a lot better, I feel I have more control over my rapping, I think I’m more clear when I speak. I’m happier with the general way my flow sounds and my voice sounds. I like to think the content of my lyricals has become more well structured too, they follow the sense of a story.

I feel that style wise, just like all of my projects, my sound has changed quite dramatically from my previous one. That’s what I love about music, you can always come at it from a different angle.

I just think I’ve improved since my last album to be fair, in my eyes, and I hope that other people feel that too.

RM: We first saw you perform at an open mic event, ObsceNE, do you think those sort of events are important?

E-M: I think they’re sick! The ObsceNE events, they’re one of the best gigs, not even locally just in general, one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. I really like the atmosphere, the vibe is just sick. I also like how you don’t have to go and perform an entire slot, you can literally just go and test out a song on a new crowd, it’s a good way to test out your skills and show some new material to an audience without feeling pressure.

I like the people that go! Every time there’s a performer on, everyone gets really into it no matter what’s actually happening on stage. Everyone just vibes to it and gives good feedback, it’s a good night, big up Hash Rotten Hippo.

RM: You’ve essentially been a part of the hip-hop scene around 5 years now, including breaks, what do you think of the state of the current North East hip-hop scene?

E-M: I wish that we got more recognition, in a sort of country wide scale. There’s a lot of people in the North East that I think definitely, definitely deserve a lot more recognition than they get and there’s a lot of people I’d like to see be successful from the North East.

I like the way that everybody seems to be connecting at the moment, theres a lot of collaborations going on, there’s joint EP’s coming out, there’s a lot of community in the sense of family in the North East at the moment. It’s good, it’s better than I’ve seen it in a long time in my opinion.

RM: What do you think the NE hip-hop scene could do to elevate itself to the next level?

E-M: Stop classing yourself as a North East scene, just be a part of the UK scene. Stop being too focused on the fact that you are the North East scene, it’s good to have pride and I’m proud to be a part of the North East scene, I’ll always be representing it, I love it to bits but, I do also want to be a part of the UK scene, and mess with rappers from Manchester, London, from all over the world. I don’t want to be apart of just the NE scene forever.

Listen to Live Fast, Die Young by E-Mence here as soon as it’s released

by Johnathan Ramsay