Emily Doom came down from the clouds without any real frame of reference. The only context I initially had for their debut EP was that Philly rock group Cold Foamers backed it; in a charming and totally elusive move Emily Doom had only listed their members as “Lil Spotlight,” “Total Dog,” and “Tommy Fala from South Jerz” on their Bandcamp. The music, though, is immediately entrancing, with high-energy pop melodies and an atmosphere that at times feels plucked from an old Western film.
Later I discovered that the project was the result of a collaboration between Cold Foamers’ Cameron Kennon and Shelf Life’s Scotty Leitch, at which point the whole thing made a lot more sense. Between Leitch’s tight melodic sense and affinity for country music, and Kennon’s woozy 90s alt-inspired progressions and vexing lyrics, Emily Doom’s vision extends pretty far. The opening track pairs a sludge of guitar and bass with funky organ and theatrical string synths from Tommy Fala, and Leitch’s vocal part is magically catchy as he rebukes someone whose energy is toxic and affirms triumphantly, “I’m living the dream.” The song that follows takes us into a darker place, replacing that manic energy with a somber march. A chorus of multi-part harmonies narrates a lonely feeling—Kennon and co. sing darkly of “catapulting into unknown frames of mind”—and a full orchestra echoes behind the slinking guitars, to melodramatic but unnerving effect. “News Breaks” pulls out of the swampy muddle, if barely, making way for a lilting melody. Kennon’s voice is deeply affected as he sings, “If this news breaks, we die.” The lyrics are at once heartfelt and cryptic against the nuanced world the trio have created, and something always seems to be lurking beneath the surface—which leads me to believe that if there’s any group that warrants a bit of an elusive mythos, Emily Doom is it.
Emily Doom’s E.P. is available now on Bandcamp, and you can stream it below. Scotty Leitch and Cameron Kennon were happy to clear the air with us, and you can scroll down to read their answers to our questions.
Introduce yourselves—who is Emily Doom?
Hi, Amelia and the folks who are reading this! We are Scotty Leitch, Cameron Kennon, and Tommy Fala. Emily Doom is a total collaboration. It started accidentally one night, when we all got drunk and watched the Brian Jonestown Massacre documentary, subsequently huddling up for a jam sesh in Scotty’s room. This was more of an Animal House-esque party than a simple writing of a song, or some trivial band practice. These were the modest roots of that special thing which we call Emily Doom. “And He thought that it was good…” That sort of thing.
How does this project differ from what you’ve been doing in your respective projects, Shelf Life and Cold Foamers?
Scotty Leitch: EMILY DOOM is a collaboration as opposed to my normal strict regime of creative isolation. Like many artists, I feel inspired late at night and in the early hours of the morning. It helps having talented friends that are willing to contribute.
Cameron Kennon: This EP or at least the process of it is almost identical to what Asher Dark and I do in Cold Foamers, by which I mean somebody has a chord progression or an idea for a song and then the two of us sit down together to hash it out melodically and structurally, then one of us breaks off to write the lyrics or otherwise we come up with them together. The recording and production end of things is the absolute most fun. I love doing that with my best ever friend Scotty, whether it be a Cold Foamers or an Emily Doom session. He’s Total Dog.
The EP feels pretty poppy, especially the first track—but it’s also got a kind of theatrical intensity to it in parts. Anyone you’ve been especially influenced by?
Gotta say that the major influences for this one are Gary Busey, Peter Popoff, Jeff Lynne and his magical Electric Light Orchestra, and lastly, your local daytime news co-anchors, because they need love like you and I.
These songs have a note of defiance and even isolation in the lyrics—brazen lines like “You, you’re the curfew to suburban teens” and “These friends of mine, they’re no friends of mine” stick in my head. What were you thinking about while writing?
SL: I’m a free soul, a spiraling spirit. “Livin’ The Dream” is about the toxic behavior someone who lives in constant fear can exert upon those around them.
CK: I was confused when I came up with the lyrics to “Life Sentence”. Scotty and I were in the kitchen one morning when he essentially attacked me with a riff, saying “MAKE SOMETHING UP!” I had to oblige because we have a special relationship. I think the lyrics are supposed to be funny but I’m not sure if they are.
What’s next for Emily Doom?
Emily Doom is going to continue to crank it out. We feel we have a commitment, not only to our friends who happen to hear the EP, or even the city of Philadelphia, but the music industry at large. We can’t really be stopped, and couldn’t if we wanted to. Please, Enjoy!