JBL Emerging Interview: The Rise of Emily Nash: From Tesco To Creamfields

Her second ever DJ gig was at Creamfields, and she only quit her job at Tesco this June. At only 21 years old, Worcestershire-born DJ and producer Emily Nash has made an instant impact with her dance music, racking up millions of streams and getting major radio airplay in a very short space of time. In this Emerging Headliner interview powered by JBL, the rising electronic talent explains why not getting her maths GCSE was the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

It’s been a whirlwind year for you so far: DJing at iconic venues including Printworks and The Warehouse Project, as well as performing at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, Ibiza Rocks Opening, Creamfields and Hideout Festival. What has that experience been like for you as a newcomer to the live scene?

It’s been insane! I jumped straight into the deep end. I'm not the sort of person to get up and dance so I didn't really know what I was gonna do when I was on the decks; I didn't want to throw my hands up in the air or anything, but during the first gig I did it and it just came naturally. 

Creamfields last year was my second ever gig, so it was pretty mad. After playing there I was like, “This is what I want to do; I want to carry on with DJing”. I love it. 

My next gig is Creamfields at the end of August, actually, and I'm really excited to see how it's gonna go the second time around, now that I've got more confidence.

You’ve remixed artists from Navos to Little Mix, have racked up plays on BBC Radio 1, Capital and Kiss and have been included on both Beatport and Amazon’s ‘Ones To Watch’ lists for 2022. Is it correct that you only handed your notice in from your job at Tesco in June 2022?

Yes! I'd been there for just over two and a half years. Then things started picking up so much, so it was the right time to hand my notice in. I was in stock control, so I’d be the one reducing stuff and putting it back on the shelf. I'd have to run away from the people who quickly come over to you to get everything! 

It got to the point where the music side did become a lot – I’ve got gigs left, right and centre – so now I can 100% focus on music and smash out all the tunes.

I think Annie Mac was the first female DJ I ever saw, so I was like: let's see if I can do it

How did you find your way into music production and DJing?

I've always loved dance music. I mean, I love any kind of music, but dance music has always been the one. I grew up going to Glastonbury, literally! I don't know how we did it, but we got tickets every year. 

I went with my mum and dad since I was around 18 months old. I'm pretty sure my mum even went when she was pregnant with me, so they gave me a lot of inspiration. 

Each year I'd go and I'd find something new or find a new genre I liked, and I was just like, “This is so cool!”

How have other female DJs inspired you in a male dominated scene?

I saw Annie Mac play and I was like, “Oh my God, there's a female DJ!” I think she was the first female DJ I ever saw, so I was like, “Well, if she can do it, let's see if I can do it”. 

Shortly after that I was meant to go into sixth form, but I didn't get my maths GCSE, so I couldn't get in. That's when I went to my local college and they were like, “What do you like?” I said, “Well, the only thing I actually do enjoy is music”. So they put me into a music production class. 

Ever since then, I’ve loved it. Alongside doing that, I retook maths three times and I still have not got it [laughs].

How has Spotify helped you as an emerging artist, and what are your views on the money artists actually make through using the platform?

Being supported by Spotify, Amazon and Apple Music and getting playlisted definitely helps a hell of a lot. I get so many messages, whether it's from my friends or just random people saying, “Oh my God, I've just gone on Spotify and seen you're on this playlist”, so it's something they listen to every day and then my name comes up; they just can't get their head around it! 

It brings in a lot of fans from that area as well, because so many people listen to all these playlists that are already made and that have all the new music on them. Yeah, the money is lovely to have, and I think maybe it could be a bit more. 

But to me, what I care about the most is getting my music to the fans, the audience and just pushing out my music to people.

I knew Chemical Embrace was a banger. I like to describe it as an emotional dance track.

Did you learn everything you know about music production from college?

Mostly it was from going to college because the main class I did was music production. They threw me in this class on the first day and they were like, “Make a track of whatever genre you like”. They showed me through the few steps of doing it. I did it and I was like, “Wow, I can get the grasp of it quite easily”. 

After that I got back home and I used GarageBand, which is the cheaper, free version of Logic, so I was using that for a while, and then I realised I needed the actual, proper version of this. My dad lent me a few pennies to buy it and since then I’ve kept working on the tunes. I didn't want to do anything else. Then I went on YouTube, which taught me everything I needed to know.

How have high profile ‘bedroom artists’ like Billie Eilish and Finneas, Charlie Puth and Alfie Templeman shown you just how much can be achieved from a home setup?

It definitely makes you feel better about yourself because when I first started, I was thinking, “Oh my god, I'm going to need all this fancy equipment; I'm going to need to spend thousands of pounds,” – but you don't. All I've got is two speakers, my laptop and a MIDI keyboard and you're good to go. 

I mean, you don't even need the keyboard, you can use your keypad on your laptop, but it is a bit harder, obviously. To see Billie in her bedroom with Finneas…it's crazy what they can achieve without having any fancy equipment. 

You can have basic equipment without having to spend loads and you can still make a hit.

Creamfields last year was my second ever gig, so it was pretty mad!

You’ve linked up with south London singer-songwriter Olivia Sebastianelli on your new single Chemical Embrace. How did that track take shape?

I got Olivia's vocal during lockdown, and they were like, “You can use it to make a track, but it can't get released”. And I was like, “Okay, let's see how it goes”. I was just playing around, and the first thing I started with was the main bass. 

I built it all around the bass and the vocal, then added in all the drums and the synths. I sent it back, and they said, “Wow, this is really cool. Do you know what? Let's get it released”. I was like, “That's good news” because I really, really loved it, and I didn't want to change the vocal on it. 

I knew it was a banger. I like to describe it as an emotional dance track. It just had the right feel to it and everything worked so well.

What is your process when working on a new track?

Last week, I got sent probably 20 vocals and – it might sound bad to some people – but I literally listened to 10-to-15 seconds of the vocals. If I'm feeling it, I'll go straight in with it. 

But in those 10-to-15 seconds, if I'm not feeling it already, then I won't, because I feel like that's the main part of the song at the start. If I'm not feeling it, then is anyone else going to be feeling it? 

From a dance perspective, I always go for something catchy or something that draws you in straight away. I do get fussy over my vocals.

If you could collaborate with any vocalist, who would it be?

I think it's always gonna be Becky Hill, just because she's obviously the dance queen for vocals. I think it'd be good to have a female dance producer and female vocalist put together and see what we can make. 

Plus, she lives in Bewdley and I live in Kidderminster – they're about a 10 minute drive from each other, so it would almost be like a little hometown collab, if anything did happen.

My JBL monitors have definitely sped up my work because I've been dying to use them every day.

You’ve recently welcomed a set of JBL 3 Series Monitors, AKG K240 headphones and an AKG C212 mic into your home studio setup which you’ve been using to work on your tracks. How have these monitors transformed your music production?

Before I had these, I was using two other well known speaker brands for monitors. Then I had these JBL ones sent to me and I was like, “Wow, the sound quality on these are so good!” 

They're that good, I've actually got rid of the other two sets and I now just use these all the time. They're top quality compared to my other ones – there's no tinny sounds anywhere and it all sounds really nice. 

They're some of the best speakers I've ever heard and I won't be changing them anytime soon, that's for sure!

How do they allow you to concentrate on making music and stay in the creative zone?

They're really easy to set up, which is always a good thing. They've got a volume button on the back, which is very helpful too, so you can just adjust that from the actual monitors, not all from your laptop. 

They've definitely sped me up with my work because I've just been dying to use them every day. Because of the quality, I just want to try them on every single track I've made. It sounds 10 times better than what I was using before, especially the purity of the bass. 

Using the speakers for Chemical Embrace…the bass definitely hits on there! It sounds great.

How have you found the AKG headphones and mic?

I do like the AKG headphones, right now on this call – they're very clear. The mic is really, really good – it’s crystal clear. Before, I was using a different well known mic brand, and I'll definitely be swapping that for the AKG now. 

I've just used it on Logic to do a voiceover and it sounds perfect. It's great. I don't really use my mics too much because I can't sing! So it's normally down to whatever singer I have. But you can just hear the crispness in it a little bit more and it sounds more top quality.

What’s next for you in terms of new music?

Chemical Embrace has just come out, and I might have a cheeky drum and bass remix about at some point. I'll probably have another single out towards the end of the year with Ministry of Sound. Plus loads more festivals and gigs!