Emily Whitehurst - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Emily Whitehurst. We discussed her feature on Audio Karate’s new song, “Lovely Residence”, the lasting longevity of her music in Tsunami Bomb and some of her favorite songs with them, current musical ambitions with Survival Guide, what’s next, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.

Thanks for having me! Glad to be here. 

Audio Karate just announced a b-side and rarities record and you’re featured on the first single from it “Lovely Residence”. Can you tell me what you remember about recording that song? 

Of course it was really fun! I love having a chance to do some harmonies for friends, especially since I'm always singing lead for my own stuff. It's refreshing to get to focus on harmonizing for a bit. Audio Karate asked me to record whatever came to me at my home studio, so I basically sent them the whole song back as a harmony. Haha! I told them to feel free to pick and choose whatever parts they wanted to use, so I didn't really know how it would sound until it was all mixed and ready to release. I'm happy with how it turned out, and super excited to get to be part of it!

How did it work out for you to be featured on the song?

Audio Karate and I go WAY back. Way!! I toured all over the world with them in Tsunami Bomb, and I loved their album "Lady Melody". It's a timeless one for me, as it's still been in my rotation over the years. When AK started an instagram a few years ago and started doing music stuff again, I reconnected with them and we've been in contact since. Naturally, I said yes when they asked if I'd be interested in recording some guest vocals!

You have such an iconic voice and your albums with Tsunami Bomb are considered classics. When you were writing those albums and first starting to sing did you ever think your music would have such lasting longevity?

Thank you! And certainly not. Haha! I never could have guessed how far I would go with music, especially starting out as a teen. I've always had kind of a "whatever happens, happens" attitude about life (even while giving something my all), and I feel so fortunate to have reached as many people as I have with my music.

If you look back on those songs what are a couple of your favorite songs and why?

The first Tsunami Bomb song I wrote that I'm proud of is "...Not Forever", because it's the first song where I really challenged myself with the lyrics and the melody. I consider that song kind of a turning point for me -- the lyrics were very meaningful to me, the melody was difficult and I had to work towards improving my live performance, and it set me on a path of wanting more of the challenge. From our first album, I would say "Swimming Through Molasses" might be my favorite? I always loved the progression Mike (our guitar player) wrote for that one -- it almost sounds like a punk version of a classical song. And the melody I wrote over it was so much fun to sing. From the last album, "Jigsaw" is the one that stands out to me, because we went outside of our comfort zone as a band, which is always fun. And again, it's a fun one to sing! Now that I think about it, I just realized that all three of those songs were the last tracks of each release. Weird!

A version of Tsunami Bomb reunited and released an album a couple years ago. I’ve always wondered what your opinion is on the new line-up? Did you ever listen to the album at all?

Tough question! There's a lot of baggage there for me, and I can't say it's exactly the lineup I would have chosen, since we had so many different musicians throughout the years. BUT, at the same time, I've never been one who really wanted to reunite anyway, so they're free to go for it. I've been continuing with other music and branching out since my TB days, and for me it would feel like a weird step back in time to dedicate myself to a band that ended so long ago. Except for the one night in 2009 when we did reunite to raise funds for our musician friend's brain surgery, and I did get to pick the lineup -- that was a blast, and the surgery was a success! As for the new TB album, I've heard bits and pieces, but not really. Too much baggage for me to listen and enjoy it. 

I know you released some music last year with Survival Guide. What have you been currently working on musically?

Yes, last year I released an album of cover songs that were all requests from patrons! I have more of those to release at some point, hopefully this year, but I've also been working on new Survival Guide material. I've been gradually feeling more confident about writing songs on my own, since the last Survival Guide stuff was written as a two-piece. I've also been trying to become a better musician in general with my fairly new Twitch channel. I'm adapting songs from my whole music career (plus some covers) for piano and vocals, or just bass guitar and vocals. It's been a bit nerve-wracking, but a really great experience so far! And I have more cover song requests to record for my Patreon, which helps me learn to be a better producer and songwriter. I'm enjoying all of it. 

You released your first Christmas song last year and ventured into country music territory with it. I really liked your vocal performance on it a lot. Is there any chance that we’ll hear more country music from you in the future?

Thank you so much! I had a ton of fun recording a country song with The 501s for Christmas, and somehow, the song was easy for me to write. So yes, it's definitely possible that I may be writing more "M & the 501s" music at some point! I'd love to do more of that Patsy Cline type 50's/60's-esque stuff.


Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

No problem, thank you! I appreciate you interviewing me. I would love to invite everyone to come hang out with me on Twitch, then take a gander at my Patreon! I've been having such a good time playing live song requests for people. Go listen to "Lovely Residence", and stay tuned for new Survival Guide music before too long!

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