EMA Finds Empowerment In Druggy Tension For The “Breathalyzer” Video

Her new album Exile In The Outer Ring drops August 25.

May 24, 2017

Erika M. Anderson a.k.a. EMA jumps into the deep end of the dread pool from the very start of "Breathalyzer," her new song. "He wanted me to blow the breathalzyer / Out on his truck, 'cause he was going somewhere." Adding to the scene of a tragedy are her surrounding noisy electronics and vocals, stuttered like someone pushing out a confession. The song's music video, premiering today on The FADER, adds another ominous layer courtesy of director Alicia Gordon.

The clip is an observational piece starring two people who chat (though we can't hear what they're saying) and take drugs in the back seat of a car. If it's narrative you're after, follow the couple's looks as they await their destination.


Alicia Gordon described her video's concept over email: "It was crucial to establish the vibe. By utilizing vague human interactions, sexual nuances and subversive body language the rest of the narrative is left to individual viewers' devices. It was important to me to maintain a fairly high level of in-camera purity with lighting and lenses rather than rely on excessive filters and post-production. Thus illustrating one woman's chosen escape from reality and how it existentially functions beyond her experience."

This treatment dovetailed nicely with EMA's own ideas for the song and visuals. “The story in ‘Breathalyzer' is about kids getting fucked up in the back of a midlevel sedan and driving through suburban landscapes," she wrote over email. "I especially wanted to present a non-moralizing view of a woman deciding to take drugs. In most media representations, if a woman decides to take a substance she usually loses control and something bad happens. She is punished for her choices. I wanted to acknowledge that possibility of danger, but in the end she is her own judge as she confronts herself in the mirror while tripping heavily. The actors, Michael and Bianca, where in a band together before this called Bruxa so they already had a chemistry together. I think they did a great job."

EMA's third solo album Exile In The Outer Ring is out August 25 via City Slang Records. In a press release, she promises a work that's "political and incredibly timely, dealing with middle/working class alienation and resentment, feminist alienation, and what it means to be an American in 2017." Preorder the album here, and check out EMA's upcoming tour dates below.

EMA tour dates

9/19 - Aarhus, DK - Voxhall
9/20 - Hamburg, DE - Reeperbahn Festival
9/22 - Amsterdam, NL - De Nieuwe Anita
9/23 - Cologne, DE - King Georg
9/24 - Brussels, BE - Autumn Falls // Botanique
9/26 - Berlin, DE - Berghain // Certain People Festival (w/ Blank Mass & Forest Swords)
9/27 - Munich, DE - Kranhalle
9/28 - St. Gallen, CH - Palace
9/29 - Zurich, CH - Rote Fabrik
9/30 - Paris, FR - Le Batofar
10/2 - Brighton, UK - Sticky Mike’s
10/3 - London, UK - Oslo
10/4 - Manchester, UK - Soup Kitchen
10/5 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Games Room
10/6 - Glasgow, UK - Broadcast
10/7 - Leicester, UK - The Cookie
10/10 - Ljubljana, SI - Hrupni večeri Noisey Nights Series, Gala hala
10/11 - Budapest, HU - Dürer Kert
10/12 - Vienna, AT - Arena
10/13 - Prague, CZ - Meet Factory


Thumbnail photo by EMA.

EMA Finds Empowerment In Druggy Tension For The “Breathalyzer” Video