EMILE HAYNIE, WE FALL
- Falling Apart (featuring Andrew Wyatt and Brian Wilson)
- Little Ballerina (featuring Rufus Wainwright)
- Wait For Life (featuring Lana Del Rey)
- Dirty World
- A Kiss Goodbye (featuring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Sampha and Devonte Hynes)
- Fool Me Too (featuring Nate Ruess)
- Nobody Believes You (featuring Andrew Wyatt and Colin Blunstone)
- Come Find Me (featuring Lykke Li and Romy)
- Who To Blame (featuring Randy Newman)
- Ballerina's Reprise (featuring Father John Misty and Julia Holter)
- The Other Side
By: Roy Trakin
Emile Haynie has traveled a long and circuitous road that led him from making beats in Buffalo to a Grammy-winning producer/songwriter who has worked with such acclaimed artists as Eminem (Recovery), Lana Del Rey (Born To Die LP), Bruno Mars (“Locked Out of Heaven,” “Gorilla”), FKA Twigs, fun. (Some Nights), Kanye West (“Runaway”), Sampha, Pink, Ghostface Killah and Kid Cudi (whom he discovered and produced his first two albums for) among many others. Now, he’s ready to step out from behind the scenes as the auteur of his Interscope Records debut, We Fall, an epic concept album that chronicles the dissolution of a romance, recorded almost completely in room 39 of the historic Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles, where Haynie fled to recover.
Recalling such classic break-up albums as Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear, Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks and Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space with chamber pop classics like the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks and jazz artist/producer David Axelrod’s Songs of Experience, We Fall captures the rise and subsequent fall of a relationship from falling in love (“Little Ballerina”) and learning one another’s vulnerabilities (“Wait for Life” and “Dirty World”) to parting (“A Kiss Goodbye”), trying to reconcile (“Fool Me Too” and “Come Find Me”), who was responsible (“Who to Blame”) and, finally, self-acceptance (“The Other Side”).
Emile cast the album’s vocalists and performers as a director would a movie, using close friends like Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt (“Falling Apart,” “Nobody Believes You”), Rufus Wainwright (“Little Ballerina”), Lana Del Rey (“Wait for Life”), Charlotte Gainsbourg (“A Kiss Goodbye”), Nate Ruess (“Fool Me Too”) and Lykke Li (“Come Find Me”) as well as wish-listers who agreed to participate just because of their belief in the project, like Brian Wilson (“Falling Apart”), The Zombies’ Colin Blunstone (“Nobody Believes You”), Julia Holter (“Ballerina’s Reprise”) and Father John Misty (“Ballerina’s Reprise”). Others who took part in the production included Florence Welch, Mark Ronson, Roger Manning, Larry Gold, pedal steel guitar whiz Greg Leisz, The xx’s Romy Madley-Croft, Blood Orange’s Devonte Hynes, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark, Sampha, Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, Redd Kross’ Steven McDonald and co-producing pal Jeff Bhasker.
“These are mostly all my friends, and they knew what I was going through,” explains Haynie, who originally flew from his New York home to Los Angeles for the Grammys in January, only to stay until he finished the album in June. “I sat and talked for hours about these songs with the people involved. Before any of the songs were even written, Andrew (Wyatt), who is perhaps the biggest part of the album and my best friend, would have coffee and I’d pour my heart out to him. I wanted to put the relationship under a microscope and relive all my emotions, from being pissed off and hurt to a sense of relief. It wrote itself in chronological order.”
The collaborative nature of We Fall is rooted in Emile’s working method. A pre-teen fan of rappers like Rakim, Boogie Down Productions and N.W.A., he learned the ropes from his Buffalo neighborhood pal Cochise, who had inked a deal with New York’s OG PayDay Records, home of Haynie favorites like Showbiz and A.G., Gang Starr and Jeru the Damaja. He built his own home studio and started coming up with beats, then moved to Sunnyside, Queens, with his mom when he was 18, dropping out after ninth grade to pursue his destiny, attracting the interest of D-12’s Proof, who few him to Detroit, where he met Eminem and Obie Trice, producing a pair of songs for the latter, one co-produced with Em himself.
Earning a Grammy for producing Eminem’s Best Rap Album Recovery, Emile quickly became a go-to guy in rap circles, writing and producing many of his idols, like Kid Cudi, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Ice Cube, Mobb Deep, M.O.P., A.Z. and Snoop Dogg. From there, while in London, he was introduced to Stone Roses’ Ian Brown, producing his album and learning the ins and outs of songcraft, “how to write a middle eight and change the4 key, working on chord progressions. A chance meeting with Jeff Bhasker, working on a Kanye West album, led to producing records by fun., Bruno Mars, Rhymefest (with Jon Brion), Lana Del Rey, Pink and even Lady Antebellum (“Compass”).
Coming off his ill-fated love affair, Emile composed several songs in New York, just for himself, before heading out to Los Angeles to lick his wounds. His good friend, fun.’s Nate Ruess, played some of the original demos for Interscope head John Janick, who offered to put out the album. Emile settled into room 39 at the Chateau, and began recording, often inviting those staying at the famed hotel to take part. “It had hardwood floors covered by a rug,” says Emile. “And it was a remote corner room, so it didn’t bother anyone when we were up to all hours of the morning, drinking, playing and recording.”
The songs range from the sunny California vibe of “Falling Apart” and the Bowiesque “Dirty World” to the Britpop feel of “Come Find Me,” the New Orleans R&B of “Who to Blame” and the hip-hop/Spiritualized-inflected catharsis of “The Other Side.”
“My ability to work with other people is something I take pride in,” he explained. “I wanted to work with people I love and have fun with. I never wanted it to feel like a recording session. It was so cool to make music like that. I was content before, but this opened up a whole new sound, process and way of working for me, completely organic. The songs happened so naturally. It’s the first time I’ve had 100% creative control. I did it my way.”
Recreating the room exactly the way it was, complete with mics and recording equipment, for our conversation, Emile explains: “I was pretty miserable the whole time I was here, but on the other hand, it was so much fun, the best time ever… All these artists and weirdoes floating in and out of here, recording at 3 in the morning.”
When he wasn’t recording at the Chateau, Emile used some of the city’s iconic studios to supplement the work, recording strings at Ocean Way Studio B (“Because Brian Wilson recorded there”), getting the “Frank Sinatra reverb” at Capitol Studios or tracking Greg Leisz at Sunset Sound.
The result is an album, like classic vinyl long-players, separated into two sides, which tells an emotionally wrenching story that must be listened to from start to finish, a glimpse into a wounded psyche repaired by the power of creativity, hurt turned into beauty.
“I kind of got this out of my system,” he says. “I want to pick and choose the next project to dive in on, the perfect thing to do… and work with my friends.”