Maria Korkeila, aka Emkay, is a fashion designer, photographer, music producer and dj. Korkeila’s Together Alone project, music and video collection A Room With a View, combines these disciplines in quarantine conditions.
How did you come with the idea for this project?
I have wanted to collaborate with Niko Hallikainen, Aapo Nikkanen, Sansibar and River Yarra for a long time and this project has made it possible. I wanted everyone that has been part of this project to have the opportunity to express themselves with their own styles and ways. Hopefully, the different music styles will form our collective understanding of the quarantine and the feelings around it.
What kind of background research have you done for this project?
I did visual research in movies and books that have reflected my experience of the pandemic. For example, Wong Kar-wai’s movies and Nan Goldin’s photos reflect very well the feelings of loneliness, being isolated together and being at home. I collected these visual materials in a pdf and sent it to my collaborators. I didn’t want to explain more as I wanted to give them room to use the material to reflect their own experiences.
The music and sound collection consists of both your own songs and songs recorded together with other artists. How are they different from each other?
When the songs will be launched they will be mixed. I was planning to first record my own songs and the collaborations later, but I realised quickly that it was better to record them at the same time for more cohesiveness. For some songs, I’ve sent the collaborators the research material and some I have started on something that they later have continued.
How was the process of composing, recording and producing the whole work yourself?
Very organic. With Niko Hallikainen it was very clear that the music needed to leave room for him to speak. With Sansibar we were going for a more club music feeling. Overall, it was important to leave space for different elements and follow the process organically.
How is the pandemic visible in this work?
In the lyrics, in feelings and melodies. One song is about how we are stuck and cannot see each other and that we long for other people. There are also lyrics about the situation in general.
How have you created the music video?
I’ve used animated humans and stop motion 3D figures. I have also edited the animations both manually and with filters in editing programs, so the original animations have become blurred out.
How is your fashion background visible in this work?
Since the whole work is a mix of different songs, it feels like I have tackled this project in the same way as I design a fashion collection. I’m trying to match different parts together and create some kind of cohesiveness between them.
How is the pandemic overall affecting fashion?
Many things in the fashion industry have been on break during the pandemic. Factories have been closed and fashion weeks have been cancelled. My own work hasn’t been disrupted in the same way as some of the big brands’.
The final work will be published in Bandcamp. Who do you hope will see it and in which situations?
Obviously, I wish that as many different people will see it. I don’t have any particular audience in mind but I think people who are interested in electronic music, poetry, art and culture will find it interesting. However, I hope it won’t be just be seen by only people working within the culture field.
You are also working as a dj. What is the first song you’ll play in your first gig when the clubs will open?
Probably the song that I did together with Sansibar for this project.
Listen to A Room With a View on Bandcamp
Watch the music videos: Emkay & Sansibar – Simulacra y Simulation and Emkay & Niko Hallikainen – Lust
Text: Sara Nguyen Photo: Jussi Kantonen