Exclusive: Emprss Premieres Moody 'Blue' EP, Talks Origins & Inspirations

Mike Selsky
Emprss photographed in 2014.

There's something sinister brewing in South England.

Meet Emprss, a new trio exporting melancholy across the pond.

On their four-track Blue EP, the English outfit channels the moody post-rock vibes of acts like Explosions in the Sky within more compact and vocal-oriented electronic arrangements. Opener "Down" is reminiscent of Miike Snow welded with skittish electronica, while standout closer "Blue" pairs distant swelling synthesizers over a sparse half-time beat. The Farnham natives recently toured the U.K. with Hundred Waters, with whom they share management, and will appear at SXSW this year.

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Listen to the full premiere of Emprss's Blue EP exclusively on Billboard

Billboard checked in with Emprss to discuss the origins of their project and the making of their record.

How did Emprss come together?

Leo was approached by a label to make an EP. He enlisted vocalist Ralph to collaborate. The pair had been working together on and off for nine years, so the EP didn't take long to come together. Four tracks were written and recorded over the course of two nights. Johnny came on board after reconnecting with the band while directing their first music video. They spent the next year writing, recording and touring the UK with Hundred Waters.

Talk about recording the Blue EP. What's the story behind it?

The tracks were written in over a stretch of two years and have gone through many transformations in that time. We demoed the songs in Leo's studio in wintry England, and flew out to Los Angeles in the summer to record with Eric Hoegemeyer. We were reunited with Eric in Leeds a few months later to mix these tracks. 

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We want this EP to give listeners a taste of what's to come. We chose these four songs to showcase our ability to write dark, meaningful and emotive tracks. While the EP overall feels dark and bleak, there is usually an underlining of hope or a feel of reconciliation in each song. 

What are your influences and inspirations?

Artists like My Bloody Valentine, The Cure, Portishead, Elliott Smith, Massive Attack and Postal Service heavily influenced us. We also find inspiration from cinema, our surroundings and the night.  

What does the future hold for Emprss?

We'll be playing SXSW this month, followed by a few club shows on the west coast. Our debut album will be coming out later in the year.