A Year after Retirement, EMEFE Resurrects for One Weekend of Music

EMEFE launched from an afrobeat foundation into galaxies of musical exploration, orbiting around experimental beats and manipulation of sound throughout the spectrum of their six album releases.  

Miles Francis Arntzen, then a Sophomore music major at New York University, patchworked the band from fellow friends and classmates. Their rhythmic expedition stretched the span of seven years, where they not only played together, but grew up together.

“We just let ourselves evolve into whatever we were feeling at the time,” Arntzen said. “I feel grateful that I had a band that followed me through different experimentations and then brought my music up to such a great level.”

Arntzen plays center as EMEFE performs at Madsummer Meltdown 8, photo by Karl McWherter

EMEFE hatched such a dynamic of mental and musical growth that it’s musicians gravitation towards new and different melodic directions was as organic as it was inevitable. In order to pursue these new worlds of sound, EMEFE was put to rest. They played their last official show in their birthplace of New York City (listen here) August of 2016.

“Since we announced that we were breaking up, we have received an outpouring of love. We’ve put in a lot of work and pushed ourselves as a band, and we definitely feel like we had an impact on some people. It’s not like we were playing to a vacuum; there were people listening, and that is what it’s about 100%,” Arntzen said.

It was the offer to Jibberjazz’s annual Madsummer Meltdown 8 that brought EMEFE out of retirement for just one weekend almost an entire year after their last show.

Backstage bubbled with pre-set conversation and laughter. Their energized connection had not dulled with time nor space, and this carried with them on stage. EMEFE showcased a display of their “greatest hits,” including one of their most popular songs “Good Future.” For as precise as their communication was on stage, their songs and transitions were flexible and jammy, something that Arntzen mentioned he especially enjoyed with EMEFE’s music.

“We love what we’re all pursuing, but [EMEFE’s] music has a relaxed and more open setting. I feel like my songwriting has moved to another world for me, so it’s still fun to be able to go back and revisit. It brings back only good memories,” Arntzen said.

Their set at Madsummer Meltdown unraveled a capsule of their musical endeavors— a  premier example of what musicians can do when they put their trust in the wonderful wild of it all, and invite us along for the ride. Crash landing into Schuylkill County Fairgrounds, EMEFE rose to take to flight for just ONE weekend, leaving their music on a final note: raw and rare. 


Published by Sarah Kate Gittleman

An English and Writing graduate of Kutztown University, Sarah has fused the two passions discovered through her years of study: writing and live music. Her creation of NEPAudio provides a very public love letter dedicated to the local jam scenes stretched across Eastern and Central Pennsylvania.

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