Emma Ruth Rundle’s atmosphere-heavy guitar work is a lynchpin of Sargent House favourites Marriages and post-rock behemoth Red Sparowes, but her solo material displays a raw, more personal side to the LA native.
On second album, Marked For Death, Emma’s love of atmosphere and alternate tunings is paired with an increased focus on her nuanced vocal delivery, resulting in an album that is more intimate and, as a result, emotionally heavy than past material.
Here, Emma lets us in on her unusual picking technique, the intimate relationship she holds with each of her instruments, and - of all things - time-travelling violins…
1. What was your first guitar and when did you get it?
“It’s hard to recall whose instruments were whose during the time in my life when I started playing. I was spending a lot of time at McCabe’s in Santa Monica. It’s most likely that the first guitar I was playing was a really cheap (but playable) nylon-string. I do remember having that around and eventually destroying it years and years later. I must have been 12 years old.
"The first guitar that was mine was a 1973 Sunburst Fender Mustang. I was 13 then - someone at McCabe’s took kindly to me and sold the guitar to my father for almost nothing. I played it through my stepmother’s bass amp along to Hendrix, Nirvana and of course Smashing Pumpkins… badly…
"A Mustang is actually a good choice for a young person because of its small body and short scale. Once I started playing more seriously, I sold the guitar (for a good price, ha), as I couldn’t stand how twangy it was or the intensely radiused neck. I thought it might be bad luck to let go of one’s first ride, but I needed something with humbuckers.”