Brooklyn-based artist Emily Reo’s new split, Spell, carries a lot of emotion | Music Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Brooklyn-based artist Emily Reo’s new split, Spell, carries a lot of emotion

“All of my feelings just started pouring out.”

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Emily Reo’s dreamy, electronic pop is meant to be an otherworldly exploration. Admittedly obsessed with the moon, her newest split, Spell, is an emotional confession inspired by natural landscapes and struggles with mental illness.

Released in October, Spell is vastly different from Reo’s 2013 full-length, Olive Juice. The split represents an attempt at growth, with Reo focusing on the “engineering” of her music for the first time.
“I hope my sound is always evolving and changing,” Reo says. “The basic elements that I started using while figuring out how to write songs are still things that I gravitate towards, and will probably always be present in some way in my sound. The main difference in the approach to Spell was that the technical side was all in my hands.”

The hallmarks of Reo’s music can be heard in her playful use of drum machines and organs. She started playing piano and singing at 9 and later studied music theory and performance in college. It wasn’t until she started writing her own music around the age of 20 that she decided to make music her priority.

“Although not every song is an exact mirror of an experience I’ve had, my songwriting definitely comes from a personal place,” she says. “That can include a real life spark that inspires a fictional idea or something that I’ve gone through myself.”

Spell’s inspiration is particularly personal. Reo details a mixing process that included a lot of crying. “All of my feelings just started pouring out,” she says. “Revisiting ‘that place’ and listening to the track repeatedly really cut through to me. But I was glad it cut through because it meant I was able to finally come out of ‘that place.’”

Despite the emotionally exhausting period that Spell represents, it’s a message worth sharing. “It seems to resonate with a lot of people,” he says, “and that’s the whole point of doing this.”

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