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Artist On Artist: Down And Out & RedHook's Emmy Mack Interview Each Other

19 July 2023 | 1:32 pm | Mary Varvaris
Originally Appeared In

To celebrate the release of Lost [In Exposure], Down And Out and Emmy Mack interviewed each other and shared the result with Kill Your Stereo.

Down And Out & Emmy Mack

Down And Out & Emmy Mack (Source: Supplied)

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Last week, Adelaide-based pop-punk outfit Down And Out shared their new collaborative track, Lost [In Exposure], featuring RedHook vocalist Emmy Mack.

The catchy new number combines Down And Out’s glistening, bright brand of pop-punk with Mack’s complimentary singing and a wicked guitar solo – Down And Out sound ultra-inspired with their special guest, making for a fiery anthem.

Working with ARIA-Nominated producer Stevie Knight (Stand Atlantic, Yours Truly) and Grant Berry of Fader Mastering, Down And Out said about their new single in a press release: “Lost [In Exposure] is about realising I'm at a point in my life where music is becoming the only viable option. I was told by everyone around me that it was a pipe dream, so I went to Uni, then I got a job, and I did all the things I was supposed to do, and it always felt like there was a hole inside me.

“I got to a point where I looked around at what my life was one day and went ‘, If I have to do this for the rest it my life, I'm gonna kill myself’. Playing music, no matter how poor I am, no matter how little sleep I get, no matter how difficult and taxing it is, is the only thing that will ever truly make me feel alive and fulfilled. I always thought music was something I wanted to do, but once I put it on the back burner, I realised it's something I have to do.”

You can check out Lost [In Exposure] below. To celebrate the release of the new collaborative track, Down And Out and Emmy Mack interviewed each other and shared the result with Kill Your Stereo.

Down And Out: So, Emmy, you recently got back from a European tour with Stand Atlantic. Having considered that, if you lived in medieval France, what would your ideal job have been (assuming sexism didn’t exist and prevent you from doing anything other than staying at home and having kids)?

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Emmy Mack: Great question! I feel like anyone with too much influence during that time period was under constant threat of decapitation. So, I’d probably stick to something lowkey, like being a professional wine taster. That falls within my skill set!

Down And Out: I see you recently released an album! Do you think people can ever really change? 

Emmy Mack: I think it really depends on the person, but absolutely! I‘m living proof. I made a lot of mistakes in my early 20s and spent years hating myself as a result, but now I’m proud of the person I’ve become. Positive change is simple. It’s all about taking accountability for your past mistakes, forgiving yourself, carrying those lessons, and doing the work to do better. Anyone can change if they want to. The problem is. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t seem to want to. They take no accountability and seem content with blaming everyone else for their problems and playing the victim to leech sympathy from others so they can feel validated in their constant pit of misery. I feel sad for those people!

Down And Out: Who do you think would win in a fight, all of RedHook or all of Down And Out? 

Emmy Mack: Definitely you guys; Henry is basically the Incredible Hulk!

Down And Out: What’s the most important characteristic or quality for a front person to have, and can you teach me to have that?

Haha, that’s a tough one because I think different front-people all have different strengths and different things that make them special! I think the most important thing is to tap into your own strengths, figure out what makes you uniquely ‘you’ and drill deep into that, feed it steroids, and embody that version of yourself every single time you hit the stage. I think it’s something that will naturally happen over time after you play lots and lots of shows. I don’t think it even really happened for me until last year, when we came out of covid and played UNIFY; something finally just clicked. I know I’m never going to be the greatest singer or rapper, or screamer, but I can do all those things decently well and put on one motherfucker of a show while doing it! 

Down And Out: Can you play any instruments, and do you worry that because you aren’t seen playing any instruments on stage, people will think you can’t play instruments and that you’re less of a talented musician than the other members of the band because of that?

Emmy Mack: Hahaha, I do struggle with Imposter syndrome because I suck at other instruments! I used to be able to play basic keys/guitar/bass, but thanks to a pretty bad accident I had in 2018, I lost most of the movement and sensation in my left hand, so something as simple as buttoning up a shirt is now a big challenge, let alone playing a concerto! But again, it’s about focusing on your unique strengths. I might not be a multi-instrumental dynamo, but I can write a song. At the end of the day, that’s kind of the most important thing for any artist. Like, I see so many super-humanly talented buskers on the street who make me feel woefully inadequate as a musician. But can they write a song that people relate to so hard that they stream it 10 million times on Spotify? Maybe they can’t?

Down And Out: If you could only have one nationality of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Emmy Mack: Mexican food, please, but keep the salsa mild and hold the jalapeños to spare my vanilla bitch tastebuds.

Down And Out: And finally, what’s your favourite colour?

Emmy Mack: Ah, well it’d be pretty sacrilegious if I said anything other than red now, wouldn’t it?

Emmy Mack: Luke! Long time no see, my guy! Thanks for doing such a great job manning the merch stand for us on the Stand Atlantic European tour and keeping us company in the tour van! Of all the hotel room floors you slept on, which one was the least comfy and why? 

Down And Out: It was entirely my pleasure; thanks for having me! Oh, now that’s a great question! I had one pretty rough night on the hard floor of the Bochum hotel, but after I went down to reception and asked for some spare quilts and pillows and made myself a little fluffy cocoon, I slept well for the other nights. 

Emmy Mack: Congrats on the new tune; I’m so stoked to be a part of it. Did you know Potter from Stand Atlantic could shred guitar like that before you got him involved? What was your reaction when he first sent you back the take?

We’re so stoked as well; thanks so much for jumping on board for the song! We did know Potter could shred hard because of songs like Switchblade, but we gave him absolutely no direction for the solo on Lost [In Exposure] so we weren’t sure what he was gonna do. To be completely honest, when we first got the song back with the solo, my first thought was, “is it not a bit much?” hahaha. But everybody we showed it to loved it, so I reckon I was just used to the song without a massive, ripping solo, and then I had to get used to it with a solo. Now that I’ve known the song longer with the solo, I love it and couldn’t imagine the song without it! I think of it like when Van Halen comes out of nowhere and drops that face-melting solo on Beat It by Michael Jackson. You couldn’t possibly imagine that song without it. 

Emmy Mack: Follow-up question. If you had to join one 80’s shred band, which one would it be and why?

Down And Out: I mean, speaking of the kings themselves, I’d have to go with Van Halen. I’ve loved them ever since I first heard them. They’re an important piece of music history, and it would’ve been insane to be a part of a band like that.

Emmy Mack: Not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I can totally relate to the themes of ‘Lost [In Exposure]’. I spent about three years treading water trying to make RedHook happen before we released a single song. The industry can be so exploitative and exhausting! Thoughts on creating a new crypto-currency called ‘Exposure Coin’ for companies who insist on paying young artists in ‘exposure’? Patent pending.

As long as brunch cafes accept Exposure Coin™ so I can buy Eggs Benedict and iced coffee, the currency has enough reach for me! What weird nerd do we need to hit up to make Exposure Coin™ happen? 

Emmy Mack: Some people may not know that the Down & Out made a cheeky cameo in RedHook’s ‘Soju’ music video. Thanks again for doing that! Who drank the most Soju on the day, and who was the most annoying to deal with afterwards?

Down And Out: Thanks for having us; the day was an absolute blast! From my memory, Henry had a couple bevs for sure, but he actually chills out becomes less annoying as he drinks! Which made room for me to edge my way to the top and become the most annoying for the day. Feels good to be #1! 

Emmy Mack: I’m so excited to hear the rest of this EP you guys have got cooking! I’m a fiend for pop-punk music done well and with a fresh twist. Who are some artists you think are doing good things for the genre in 2023? Also, Machine Gun Kelly: rate or hate?

Down And Out: I think Waterparks’ latest album, Intellectual Property, is great, probably my favourite pop/punk album of the year. I think they do an amazing job of producing very polished, professional, poppy music while also pushing the envelope in various directions and not making it boring and cringe (most of the time). 

Ahh, you’re going to make me talk some shit now! Look, I actually quite liked Tickets To My Downfall, but I got over it pretty quickly, and I think ‘mainstream sellout’ was pretty average. I think a rising tide lifts all boats, and MGK is probably really good for the genre, and can be a great pop star level gateway for kids getting into more underground punk, pop/punk and hardcore-type stuff. 

But I find him and his music to be fairly one dimensional and ostentatious without substance to back it up. But having said that, I’m probably holding him to too high a standard. You don’t get that big having depth and nuance to your public ‘rockstar’ persona; it seems like he’s found something that works and is riding it as far as it’ll take him, and power to him for that, I’d do the same!

Emmy Mack: Stand Atlantic / RedHook / Down And Out Australian tour when?

Down And Out: Uhhhh, tomorrow? The day after? You say when and we’re there, boss!