Interview with Magic Island, a retrospective on “Like Water”


After putting out a string of well-received EP’s Magic Island recently released her first full-length album, Like Water on the Mansions & Millions label. According to Magic Island, Like Water represents her plan to “return to a sensitivity, a delicate state; to become soft again”

Born Emma Czerny in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Magic Island relocated to Berlin, Germany where her creativity blossomed and the “Magic Island” concept began to take shape.

Her music is described as “lo-fi dream pop” but has sprinklings of R&B, new age, and electronic music. Island’s unique vocals and eccentric lyrics perfectly complement her synth-heavy sound. Magic Island will soon return to North America to perform her new album at SXSW.

SS: For those that don’t know, who is Magic Island?

MI: Magic Island is something sensitive and honest. The name came from an old traditional Berlin bar called ‘Zauberinsel’ which means Magic Island in English. This place was a big part of my life when I first moved to Berlin. It was owned by two wonderful, open-minded Berliners in their sixties. One day I noticed they had a full PA/sound system so we asked them if we could do concerts there. They were totally into the idea, so we started a show series. GENTS played there, Jaako Eino Kalevi, Promise Keeper, Chikiss, Better Person, a lot has happened at this spot, its very special to me.

SS: Why did you title the new album Like Water?

MI: Like Water was first just the name of one of the tracks. But then as I wrote new pieces I found they all had a similarity, like water. Several of the songs even have direct references to water. There are many different textures but when all the tracks came together as the album I found they still flowed in a way, a natural progression and decline. Like water ebbs and flows.

SS: What led to you making the move from Toronto to Berlin?

MI: I actually first moved from Canada back to Poland, to a city where my family was from. Stayed there about a year before Berlin. Poland is beautiful but still quite repressed in its social structure and mentality. It’s still a country very controlled by the conservative, Catholic system. So naturally, when I visited Berlin for a weekend I was shocked and obsessed and never went back to Poland, well, eventually a few months later.

SS: What do you have in-store for fans at SXSW this year?

MI: Well, I’ll be performing the new album. I performed the release show with a choir of backing vocalists, would love to bring this tour to the U.S. but no chance at the moment. Maybe next year with a headlining tour!

SS: What do you hope to achieve with Like Water?

MI: I’m not trying to change the world, I’ve given up on that. But my music is therapeutic to me. It helps me to deal with anxieties, accept myself, and heal a broken heart. If anyone else feels the same therapy from experiencing my music, then that’s enough.

Photo courtesy of Moritz Freudenberg

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