Rising pop icon OhEm teams up with renowned producer and DJ Tarquin for the release of their new single ‘Bumps’, out now. The track is taken from their upcoming full EP of the name, set to drop on 25 August. OhEm and Tarquin also announce a show at Bermondsey Social Club on 14th September.
Congratulations on the release of Bumps! Can you tell us a bit more about the track?
Tarquin: “Thank you!
It’s a swinging jigsaw of my favourite bass sounds, creating an elasticated push and pull type funk. I’m particularly happy with the Rhythmically chopped sound recordings from a dentistry office: drills and whirs etc. Vocally it feels tongue in cheek, referencing dance music vocals of yesteryear. Simultaneously daft and self aware.”
Oh Em: “ Bumps was the first track of the EP we wrote actually. When I heard the track I said something along the lines of “Oh my god. This is so great, let’s write on it” I guess in some ways that became the sentiment of the song, that’s how Bumps was born, I literally was amazed and thought that the track was sick.”
How did you meet and how did this collaboration come about?
Tarquin: “After having previously collaborated on tracks of various styles before in London. We would occasionally share tracks with each other. I played Em my folder of old bassline tracks I was sure were too angular to put vocals on. But gladly she was inspired and Bumps I think was the first to materialise. The tracks had never found a home and I may have never put them out. This project feels unique so it would be a shame if they never saw the light of day. It’s a cocktail of styles that I don’t think I’ve heard before. Despite disparate worlds colliding I think the instrumentals and the vocals work in harmony. It’s a new and exciting mix.
I’m pleased to see bassline is having a bit of a resurgence it feels good to be releasing it now. I think dancefloors deserve a bit more fun. We all could do with it.”
Oh Em: “It was just a happy accident really”
How would you describe the sound of this project?
Tarquin: “I think Em and I were both inspired by the energy of ‘Bad Babysitter’ by Princess Superstar”
Oh Em: “Oh for sure. If I remember correctly we talked about Princess Superstar at LENGTH. I think she’s kind of a master of cool and silly. Everything she makes is fun and I wanted to envelop that style into what we were doing.”
Tarquin: “I first heard bassline in Sheffield at some house parties there as well as in the clubs. Something clicked. It was equal parts hilarious, hard and danceable. I was Particularly taken by Burgaboy as well as Londons Champion.
At the beginning I was looking to emulate what I was hearing but the lack of experience generated an unusual style.
I was also making Grime at the time in a similar playful cut up fashion. That may have permeated into the bassline productions.
I think my bassline approach has emerged through a penchant for chaos, humour and funk.
A WTF reaction in the club is something I look for.
I looked this up and it sounds hella pretentious but I think we could describe this project as seriocomic! Its outer layer is overtly silly but there’s a seriousness there.
Im always so in awe with Ems imagination. The concepts and the worlds she creates give the basslines a humanity. Theres a track about Lara Croft!”
OhEm, you say that this EP is a way for you to create your own femme pop space in Bassline. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Oh Em: “I think when I first started writing the toplines for the songs on the Bumps Ep I definitely had to think about how much to immerse myself in the genre as a vocalist, I think I felt a bit unsure of how to bring OhEm’s voice to it, I didn’t want to do an imitation of the more well known MC’s (who are mostly men) and I really wanted to write songs for these tracks and not just vocals that would loop and/or act in the place of vocal samples.
A lot of the lyrics come from a place of being quite a silly girlie, One song is about being a hot girl with loads of boys on their phone, one is about being Lara Croft (my hero,) one is about hearing your mates track and loving it. I try to joke around with myself a lot with these songs and I guess be introspective about how I exist in the Bassline space. It’s always been the most fun music to me and girls just wanna have fun, ya know? I know that makes some people a bit uncomfortable but whatever, haha”
What can we expect from the upcoming EP?
Oh Em: “Honestly, just straight bangers. Tarquin and I have become a bit of a lethal weapon on this EP. It’s Fun and a bit weird. We want people to laugh a bit, to dance a lot, to play them all the time on repeat. I’ve had these tunes as demos since about 2021 and they’ve been some of my favourite tracks I’ve written. I’m so excited for everyone to get to enjoy them as much as Tarquin and I do.”