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Interviews: Ludus


Wellington is a potent creative place and one never knows what may be discovered quite by chance. I was chatting to a young barista in a café the other day who promised to send me a link to her Bandcamp page. Opening the link the next day I discovered a lovely five track ep titled Happier Places by said barista, Emma Bernard, who creates beautiful ambient/downbeat electronica under the moniker of Ludus.

Emma is one of the current wave of electronic producers who have grown up with electronica and are ensuring the culture of creativity continues to bloom. We invited Emma to take part in an email interview……….

Hi Emma. Your tracks are lovely without sounding cloy or cheesy- not an easy achievement- and they breathe a quiet confidence. Are you a trained musician and what initially inspired you to create electronic music? 

Hi John, your kind words really mean a lot, I’m so glad you enjoy Ludus! I’ve played piano throughout my whole life and was classically trained for 11 years. When I stopped lessons I really wanted to try something new, so when i was introduced to synthesisers and beat making it completely changed the way I approached music. It’s like a piano but with endless possibilities!

Any favourite artists or influences?

I’m totally obsessed with Nicolas Jaar. His music is so funky and diverse and I’m always fascinated by his creativity and unique sound. I also really love Grimes. She’s so independent and insists the best way to create something the way you want it is to do it all yourself, from directing to producing and everything in between and I really admire that. 

Has Ludus ever performed live?

I’ve performed as Ludus at a couple of venues around Wellington such as Caroline and San Fransisco Bath House, and I DJ frequently on a weekly Techno show on RadioActive. Recently I’ve bought some new hardware that I’m currently learning to play live with and can’t wait to share!

What software/instruments do you use?

I first started off using Reason, and still use it today. I totally love the built in synths such as Thor, and the visual aspect of the software is a really fun addition to making music. I’ve learned Ableton more recently which is an amazing DAW so I now rewire Reason through Ableton. Best of both worlds! In terms of equipment I got my first synthesiser a couple of years ago which is like my little baby, it’s such a big door opening to learning about creating sound and I use that to incorporate my own sounds into my songs

How long do you spend on a track on average/ what is your creative process?

It varies a lot. Quite often I have a few tracks on the go and the more inspired I am for a track the less time it takes because I’ll sit down for hours and keep working at it until it’s finished. Otherwise it sits in messy folders on my laptop until inspiration hits- which can be a while haha 

Any projects in the pipeline?

At the moment I’m working on how to play live, but there’s a few co-labs in the making and new songs.

Do you have any creative dreams and aspirations – rational and realistic or otherwise? 

Always dreaming! There are so many amazing creatives all around New Zealand that put on unique shows and events, I would love to be a part of them more and more as time goes on. 

Any words of advice for aspiring bedroom producers?

Always be hungry to learn! For everything you learn whether it be a new audio effect or an entire new instrument, it serves for a whole new dose of inspiration and a door to learn new things that give you another dose of inspiration, and so on. Also everyone knows something you don’t.

Thanks Emma .

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