On The Record: Joseph Ember

Joseph Ember (f.k.a. Ursa Major) is a young, emerging singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist heralding from Toronto. Ember is bringing a DIY mindset to the burgeoning scene in Toronto and is back with his brand-new single ‘Exit Society’. We had a chat with the 21 year-old talent and gained some valuable insight into his musical endeavours.


Could you give us some background on the project?

I used to make music under a different name. In that project, the sounds were based around synth heavy electronic productions. I’ve been playing guitar and piano my entire life and felt that I was slowly losing touch with my musical roots. The goal of the Joseph Ember project is to bring live instruments and analog sounds into said electronic production.

Where did the new single come from?

Quin Kiu and I were sitting in his apartment off Baldwin Street on a dangerously hot summer day working on some music. This was the second or third time I worked with Quin but our work flow was next level, as it still is today. I usually go to his place around 1 in afternoon and leave around 1 in the morning with 3 or 4 songs completely done.

The day we made Exit Society, we also made the songs Insane and Ping Pong, maybe they’ll come out, probably not. Anyway, Quin laid down a derivative of the bass line and we tracked some vocals, 15 minutes before I was about to leave, Quin was messing with the bass notes and i heard a change in the progression.

This note change inspired me to come up with a completely different melody for the vocal lead and song overall, we scrapped everything we had been working on and recorded what is now, exit society.

Do you feel like the city you live in impacts your music?

Definitely. People call Toronto “the most multicultural city in the world” and I think it’s true. Because of this, I’ve been exposed to so many different backgrounds and cultures that have shaped the way I think and by extension of that, create. My musical influences goes hand in hand with this as i’ve been introduced to sounds from around the world without having to even leave the city, why do you think Drake started making dancehall music?

What do Joseph Ember fans have to look forward to?

A new song early July and an EP in September that i’ve been working on over for the past few months. Outside of releases, i’m going to be playing shows in Montréal and Toronto. I feel like i’ve been dabbling in RnB and Psych Rock separately and I want this EP to be a chance to fuse the genres and claim my own sound.


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