Australian Chris Emerson (also known as Emoh Instead) mans a standalone project called What So Not that will grace Life Is Beautiful’s Troubadour stage on September 26. Although What So Not is now a solo project (formerly a duo with Flume, a.k.a. Harley Streten), Emerson has been collaborating with numerous other artists to roll out a ton of new music that we anticipate hearing very soon.
What have you been up to lately?
Just a stack of [new] music. I’ve been jumping in and out of studios with so many different rappers and vocalists and producers the last year or so, sort of building a catalog that I’m going to start moving out quite soon. It’s all very exciting.
Care to namedrop?
I did a track with A$AP Ferg, which was awesome. I’m looking to have that come out soon. Mainly, I work with people down in Philly, my homies like Tunji Ige and Noah Breakfast. I was jamming with Jahlil Beats the other week. That was really cool.
Are you working on an EP right now? When will that hit?
It’s been finished for some time. I’m just sort of waiting for it to come out. We’ll get there eventually.
What can we expect to hear?
There are some collaborations with some good friends. A bunch of tunes that Harley and I worked on this time last year, and finished up a few months later.
Is there a certain vibe you were going for on this EP?
The vibe was just us working together again. We hadn’t worked together for quite some time. [We brought] what we both learned to the table and combined it again.
Will we get to hear some of those tracks during your Life Is Beautiful set?
Oh, definitely. That and more. I’ve been playing a lot of this stuff. It’s really cool seeing people’s reactions before they know [what it is].
What are three tracks that are not your own that you like to play in your sets right now?
Future’s “I Serve the Base.” It’s been destroying everything lately. That’s a great one. I usually play that as one of the first few songs to just kind of switch up the expectations. There’s a really cool Mr. Carmack remix of “Sanctified” [by Rick Ross, Kanye West and Big Sean]. That’s an interesting flip on the original. One more: I worked with this guy High Klassified in Montreal a few months back. He gave me [a currently unreleased] track. That one as well is really awesome.
Where do you find the best music for your sets?
I travel a lot. I work in the studio a lot. I used to be one of those kids living on Reddit and Soundcloud, trying to find the coolest, latest thing that’s come out. Now, I feel like the resident DJs of the world are the ones that have the coolest songs. The artists who are doing a lot of the international touring aren’t able to keep up with that world. I have a bunch of friends all around the world that I ask and that I produce with and work with. I’m usually just like, “Hey, what’s been going on on the Internet?” I have a bunch of really awesome friends who send me folders of interesting music. Then I go through it all and usually get pretty inspired and play something that I think is appropriate for the show.
How can unknown producers get you listen to their music?
The best way is to bring a USB stick to a show and give it to me. Then it’s just there, and I have it in my pocket. I’ll usually check it the next morning. You can send me stuff on SoundCloud DMs or Facebook DMs. [But] they’re sometimes hard to keep up with. If someone goes through the effort of physically giving me a stick, I will always check it out.
What should up-and-coming artists do to get noticed?
Think outside the box. Use sounds and samples that are completely different from the genre you are trying to make, so that you sound unique and stand out from everyone else. You’re going to have to work really hard and put up with the good times and the bad. Just always keep your head up. Always be good to people. Always respect people. You’ll usually come out on top.
What So Not will perform on the Troubadour stage at 9:55 p.m. Sept. 26.