INTERVIEW: E-Mence | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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If you’ve been paying attention to the thriving hip-hop scene in the North East over the past twelve months, you might have noticed Sunderland recently emerging as the region’s hotbed for rap and grime. If you’ve listened to almost any mixtape from a Mackem MC, it probably had something to do with E-Mence.

Daniel Smith’s bedroom has become the creative hub for Sunderland’s sub-scene of hip-hop artists. Better known as E-Mence, Dan produces beats, records artists, engineers music and edits videos too. He also happens to be one of the best rappers in the North East.

After a three year hiatus because of a management and label deal turning sour, E-Mence has returned as an active artist within the region’s hip-hop scene. E credits legendary local blogger Grant Seymour (Hash Rotten Hippo) for inspiring his comeback: “It wasn’t until I finally linked up with Hash and found out how much of a fan he was that I had the boost needed to come back. He pushed me a huge amount, bringing me to gigs and reintroducing me to the scene. I doubt I’d have come back the way I did if it wasn’t for him.”

Daniel Smith’s bedroom has become the creative hub for Sunderland’s sub-scene of hip-hop artists

I had just become invested in the region’s rappers as E began his hiatus, so to see this seemingly new face in the crowd earn such heavy plaudits so quickly within our mutual circles was almost jarring before being told he’d been a known artist since his early teens. Having listened to Live Fast, Die Young, his comeback album at just 20 years old – I now fully understand the hype.

E-Mence explains that most of his songs are deeply personal, and it’s this introspective insight into his life that makes Live Fast, Die Young such a gripping listen through its nineteen song strong tracklist. Never Be The Same is a particular highlight; a tale of broken friendships told with such raw honesty it evokes tremendous emotional resonance.

Even though E-Mence has plenty of musical mates who are quite often in his bedroom recording for their own releases, there are only two rap features on Live Fast, Die Young. 90BRO and Listaa both contribute to Patiently Waiting, a single to be released from the album.

The exclusively Sunderland collaboration was “totally coincidental” E explains. “The reason there are so little features is because I was in full writing mode with this album, there wasn’t realistically space for anyone.”

Live Fast, Die Young suffered a number of push backs from the original planned release dates. The delays were consequence of “not being fully happy with the final version, wanting to add more songs, having too many songs” and E found he was “constantly experimenting” until he found his sound. Did having so many artists around his creative space help or hinder his own manifestations?

“Both realistically. Seeing the drive behind the talent around here was a big boost for me to get the ball rolling and release the album, but I also got kinda caught up in it. I would get an equally big buzz from doing work for someone else as I would doing it for myself. The shows were more frequent and I ended up developing a busy musical schedule, but I’ve got no regrets about anything. It’s all been a great journey.”

Live Fast, Die Young will be available on all major digital platforms from 18th May. 


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