Feature: Emma Volard – Alibi

 Emma Volard’s sophomore album ‘Alibi,’ represents years spent honing a signature sound that encapsulates Naarm/Melbourne’s experimental neo-soul and jazz scene. Emma has never shied away from being a warrior for inclusivity, and these themes are often at the forefront of their storytelling.

Alibi sees Emma stepping confidently into their own sonic world, expanding further on their introspective storytelling and pushing the limits of the future soul sound.

Having studied both contemporary and classical music, Volard met their bandmates once graduating from Monash University. Their classical background continues to inform their compositions today, pushing their unique sound to new heights. Singing has been a tool for Volard to navigate emotions, conditioning, experiences and self. Having grown up with a sister who is non-verbal, Volard never took for granted their ability to express themselves and share their voice. At the forefront of Volard’s compositions and performance is using the voice to fight for others who don’t have that privilege or who don’t feel they can speak up. This authentic and powerful perspective has seen Volard invited to perform at Big Sound, WOMAD, Melbourne Music Week, as well as support slots for celebrated artists like The Bamboos, The Teskey Brothers and Kyoto Jazz Massive. Further achievements has seen them shortlisted for Best Soul/RnB/Funk Gospel Act in Music Victoria’s Industry Awards 2021 and nominated for the Soundmerch Australian Music Prize 2022 for debut album ‘Deity’.

Opening track ‘Minds Eye’ boasts broken beat style drums, ethereal guitar textures and an uplifting chorus over syncopated rhythms.

 ‘Shinin’ keeps the gritty bruk style drums, and a percussive chunky 90’s bass which elevates an instantly hand-raising chorus made for the rough edges of the dancefloor.

Downtempo ‘Two Sides’ is a head nodding neo-soul track which speaks to embracing your authentic gender, and ‘Brooklyn Loft’ takes us back up to a dance ready tempo with freaked out fusion guitar. Title track ‘Alibi’ steps into breakneck speeds with spacious and minimal verses that lead perfectly into maximalist solo spaces for Volard’s band to truly shine, the outro taking us into darker territories full of layered effects. The album showcases Volard’s exploration into fringe genres such as broken beat, proto fusion and house, whilst maintaining the rawness of the live band. This signature sound is woven throughout most of Volard’s compositions, which has seen the band’s shows often sold out with fans ready and waiting to move their bodies. 

Of the new album, Emma reflects “Alibi is an album that I used as a means to dive into my own experiences head-on. Gravely real and at times confronting, it debates the wholly complex and resilient growth of finding oneself and grieving the life I once thought I needed. I wanted to write an album set for the intimacy and darkness of the dance floor. Music and dance are so deeply moving, and give the space for collective healing and self-expression. That’s what this album was made for; connection, expression and restoration.”

Alibi is available now via The Operatives.

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