About Emma Kupa
As the leader of U.K. bands like Standard Fare and Mammoth Penguins in the 2010s, Emma Kupa drew on both British and American indie inspirations from the '80s and '90s, perhaps most conspicuously the C-86 sound. With her solo debut album, 2020's It Will Come Easier, she combined a typically bouncy, rough-hewn demeanor with a more intimate approach and a stronger folk influence than that of her bands.
The daughter of Bella Donna, a one-time bassist for anarcho-punk group Poison Girls, Sheffield native Emma Kupa started writing songs and learning guitar by playing in bands with friends when she was 15. Filling the roles of bassist and lead singer, she formed the indie pop/rock group Standard Fare a few years later in 2005 after meeting guitarist Danny Howe at a gig in Manchester. Drummer Andy Beswick rounded out the trio. After receiving some national radio play on early songs, they presented their debut album, The Noyelle Beat, on Melodic (U.K.) and Bar/None (U.S.) in March of 2010. The follow-up, Out of Sight Out of Town, was recorded with producer Alan Smyth and issued on Melodic in early 2012. Standard Fare disbanded the following year.
Kupa responded to the band's breakup by making a point of becoming involved with as many music projects as she could. She soon collaborated with American "twee-punk" outfit Gold-Bears, and with Nat Johnson and Rory McVicar under the band moniker Without Feathers. They released an EP called three songs in mid-2013. After relocating to Cambridge, she also formed Mammoth Penguins with bassist Mark Boxall and drummer Tom Barden, singing and playing guitar for the project.
In early 2015, Kupa released the solo EP Home Cinema, about her family, on the wiaiwya label. Mammoth Penguins delivered their debut album, Hide and Seek, that July on Fortuna Pop! Her project with Darren Hayman, the Hayman Kupa Band, put out a self-titled album in 2017, the same year Mammoth Penguins offered up the ambitious concept album John Doe (wiaiwya). It featured guests including Haiku Salut's Sophie Barkerwood, Alto 45's Joe Bear, and Russell Lomas. Mammoth Penguins invited Bear back and added guitarist Faith Taylor for early 2019's There's No Fight We Can't Both Win. It marked their debut for Fika Recordings. Returning to Fika, Kupa made her full-length solo debut with It Will Come Easier in September 2020. It included contributions from McVicar, Boxall, Taylor, and others. ~ Marcy Donelson