London-based, Leeds-born and Edinburgh-raised composer Esther Joy recently dropped her debut EP ”Psychic Tears” along with the music video for the single ”Friendless Necessity”. Owner of a very particular and ethereal voice, Esther writes, records and produces her own music, we had the chance to catch up with her somewhere in Shoreditch for a relaxed chat. Oh and Esther also plays in Charlie XCX band!

Esther, a first and very cliché question, how did you become interested in music?

In loads of different ways… I never studied music at school, I wasn’t a music person, for me it was just several weird things that came together. When I look back at it, I had this DVD with EJAY on it, with a lot of loops and stuff, I took it home and started playing with it making songs and rapping on it, but it was awful… I also played guitar for a bit and when I was 18 I wrote my first song, and it was really sad, so I showed it to my friend, she really liked it and I started to make more music and that’s how it all started.

I was listening to your debut EP ‘Psychic Tears’ and really got connected with the song ‘Samgel’. I googled it and discovered that it’s actually how you named some kind of dark presence you feel, could you tell me more about it?

Yeah, I have different parts of me that are like very vivid characters. There’s this 5-year-old Brockley she’s the best person in the world and she always makes me happy. Brockley will have conversations between her and Missy which is me as well, Samgel is a really bad person and I don’t really like her, it’s just that sometimes her presence overwhelms me. It’s something that happened very naturally, I discovered these characters and just named them.

Did you see M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Split’?

Yes, but it’s not that extreme. It’s like fractured, but not entirely split, we kinda keep each other together. It sounds weird saying ‘’we’’ but it’s the truth!

I hear you! One can hear several ‘’witch house’’ hints on your debut EP, I was a lot into it and still listening today, are you into stuff like CRIM3S and SALEM?

Yeah! CRIM3S are amazing, the girl is nuts, I love her! I like them and Salem as well, but I feel there’s no scene for it as much anymore. I like Mr.Kitty and Crystal Castles as well…

I remember seeing CRIM3S about 6-7 years ago in Lisbon in a tiny post-punk bar, it was crazy, I guess I was lucky…

Amazing, you were lucky! I saw on Instagram something happened with the boy right?

Yes, he was in the hospital recently…

It’s sad that this industry romanticises serious issues, I remember reading his post on Instagram about this, he was like ‘’Guys, this is not fucking pretty, this is real life, many people on Instagram think that having mental issues it’s cute, but this is my life and I tried to kill myself’’.

It makes me angry that people have difficulties to distinguish what is real or not… you can distinguish reality from fiction, I can as well… it’s like this ‘’artist’’ recently who mocked workers at Greggs, what’s her face?

Oh yeah, Hetty Douglas! If you like to wear boots and workwear it’s fine, if you appropriate someone else’s culture, respect it, don’t shit on it… Man, it’s a scary world, social media is insane. You get drunk, you go out and you say something stupid and then you have to deal with the shame and regret your life choices. You have to be careful all the time, otherwise, people will tear you apart, it’s hard, but if you’re in the public eye, you have to deal with it, I guess…

If you like to wear boots and workwear it’s fine, if you appropriate someone else’s culture, respect it, don’t shit on it…

What are your earliest memories of listening to music as a child?

Well… I remember my dad playing ‘’Simply The Best’’ a lot… classic! Cruising in the car with him with no particular destination, listening to this song, it was the best time of my life! My dad was a lot into Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, my mom was more into Abba and disco, pretty much my dad was this dark emo and my mom a sunshine! Also, I grew up in a Christian household, so a lot of the music I listened to was Jesus songs… ‘’Simply the Best’’ and Spice Girls, imagine that on the loop forever…

My dad was obsessed with Barry White and Black Sabbath… my mom was more into The Cars and Madonna. I’m curious, what are your creative triggers?

It’s the urge to write music… I normally start with a beat or find an interesting sound and start building a song around it, lyrics would come later and then I record vocals, I usually hate that part. Sometimes I don’t want to make music… just sometimes, but I have to do it because I fall into habits of just doing nothing so easily, just mindlessness… I can end up watching 4 hours of DJ Snake live performances… *laughs*

What about your upcoming live performances?

We are thinking about something in the beginning of next year, maybe. My only request is two girls whining and crying, then I can cry too and then all the public can join us and cry, that’s my vision *laughs*

Watch ”Friendless Necessity” below: