Emmy The Great: Christmas Inquisition

Some festive questions...

Two single people, cut adrift from the world at Christmas time – how else do you expect them to fill their time?

Locked away, Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler fell for each other. Igniting a passion that could melt a snowdrift, the pair’s romantic liaison has resulted in a new collaborative album.

Recorded over the summer, ‘This Is Christmas’ is a fun, throwaway salute to the holiday period. The first joint project from the couple, Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler are obviously having the time of their lives.

Tracking down Emmy The Great, ClashMusic sent over a few questions about Christmas, the new album and that fateful meeting under the mistletoe…

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Why a Christmas record? Are you hoping one track catches on so you’ll be getting royalties every xmas for ever?
HA! We want to be like Hugh Grant in About a Boy. We want our descendants to be like Hugh Grant in About a Boy. And Tim wants to be the next Kirsty Macoll and I am obviously Shane Macgowan. Also I sometimes find December a bit quiet so hopefully we can milk this every year for a bit of email action.

What were the oddest/most surreal moments about doing an xmas record in August?
Hurricane Irene was pretty odd! Tim queued at the supermarket for about two hours and we had to buy crates of water and fill the bathtub with water just in case we got cut off. Then it sort of blew over before it began and we ended up just writing ‘Christmas Day (I wish I was surfing)’ and watching the film Christmas in Connecticut, eating houmous and cereal bars that we’d bought in bulk.

There are quite a range of musical genres involved – did you each bring particular ideas to the party?
Maybe because our Christmas theme was so tight, the song idea was what we started with every time, so the genre came secondary to that. Rather then setting out to write, say, a rock album, we set out to make a Christmas album.

Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler – Home For The Holidays

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The songs can be a bit anti X-Mas – what are your respective views on the X-Mas period generally?
My parents live in Asia now, so it’s the only time I know I’ll see them. I take it pretty seriously! Tim gets to see his family too in Northern Ireland. For people who live far away from their families like us, Christmas is vital. I don’t personally get too into the traditional side but it’s nice to have a framework to spend time with your loved ones, and I also like seeing my old friends in the village where I grew up. And I like getting drunk with my brother. He’s a complete lightweight.

Which musical couples would you happily take after (Patti & Fred Smith?) and which wouldn’t you like to be compared to?
I don’t know about us being like them, but some of my favourite musical couples are Johnny and June Carter Cash, Jenny and Johnny, John and Yoko, Thurston and Kim (RIP)…I would not like to be Justin and Selena. I would consider being Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey: the golden years.

Your X-Mas record rivals include Justin Bieber, Zooey Deschanel/M Ward and an Editors/ex-Razorlight duo – any thoughts on the competition? Why should we buy yours instead?
Urgh! I’ve used the Bie-word too many times this month. I swore I’d never use it on the Internet because it perpetuates it…We’re chums of Smith and Burrows and we already made a deal with Andy this summer not to be real rivals because we wish each other the best. And as a joke we were at one point considering calling the record ‘Me & Tim’ to rival ‘She & Him’. Thankfully we decided against that.

Any thoughts on other collaborative ideas, for the next time you miss flights?
A collaborative letter of complaint to the airline in question might be a more constructive use of our time.

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‘This Is Christmas’ is out now.

Interview by Si Hawkins

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