Friday, 12 December 2014

Emma-Rosa Dias

Shipwrecked and washed ashore on a lonely island in the sea is my latest guest castaway, the wonderfully talented television producer, presenter and director, Emma-Rosa Dias.

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Emma-Rosa moved with her mother to Germany in 1990 and her media career began in the German music industry in 1992. Her first TV media venture came when she was recruited to work for Germany’s landmark children’s TV series 'Die Sendung mit der Maus' for WDR Television. 

Emma-Rosa first found fame from having starred as a cast member in the second season of long running British reality television show, Channel 4’s 'Shipwrecked' in 2000. This was the same year as 'Big Brother' launched in the UK, when reality TV was a breakout phenomenon. Viewed as a social experiment by Emma-Rosa, before reality television became a tool for self-promotion, her experience on. 'Shipwrecked' stimulated her interest in pursuing a career in television production. 

Her television career started by presenting BBC's factual entertainment series 'Dinner Next Door', produced by BAFTA award winning Alison Miller. Emma-Rosa heralds Alison has a mentor and teacher in her television career.

Taking a year out, Emma-Rosa embarked upon a round the world trip and, while working in Sydney, had an unusual and memorable introduction to actor Hugh Jackman. Impressed by Emma-Rosa and recognizing her talent, Hugh Jackman sponsored her to take a three-month intensive television production course at Actors Centre Australia in Sydney.

Returning from her travels, Emma-Rosa began both freelancing as a television presenter for BBC and UTV, and also began a production career behind the camera at Street Monkey TV, Belfast. Her behind the scenes work developed her experience of commercial production, eventually leading to role as an In-House TV producer and Assistant Creative Director at Ardmore Advertising. Emma-Rosa produced commercials for many companies including Subway, Coca-Cola, Heineken, Stena Line and Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

Emma-Rosa fronted the ‘Backin’ Belfast’ campaign, winning the Tourism Think Tank Awards in Berlin, 2013, and the Digital Communications Award, beating competition from over 600 contenders.

Drawing on over 13 years of international experience of producing, presenting and directing, Emma-Rosa founded her own company, Afro-Mic Productions, in September 2013 and her first project was ‘Belfast is Happy’, a unique version of the Pharrell Williams music video Happy, which was shot featuring members of the public in Belfast dancing in the street. 

With her passion for music and subcultures, Emma-Rosa Dias produced, directed and presented a series of documentaries on Mod subculture, including 'Faces In The Crowd' and 'For The Love of Mod: London', where Emma-Rosa's relaxed and warm interview style allowed her to access Britain’s leading players in the underground Mod scene to learn about their life experiences as a Mod. The success and wide reaching appeal of the film led on to Afro-Mic Productions being awarded funding by Northern Ireland Screen for a third and final Mod documentary For The Love Of Mod: Tokyo, filmed recently in Japan.

The series has garnered Emma-Rosa with international acclaim. Despite its low production budget, reviews have praised both the film’s portrayal of what Mods love about their scene and, in particular, have applauded Emma-Rosa’s relaxed, friendly and engaging interview technique that brings out the character of her subjects, which gained her the trust of an underground scene known for a dislike of media attention.

"The ironic thing about doing this blog is that I actually have been stranded on a desert island! Although it was with 15 other people and in front of the TV cameras for Channel 4’s ‘Shipwrecked’ back in 1999 it still got very lonely at times! Having music would have been such a luxury!"

Joan Armatrading - Love and Affection

"I was truly lucky when it came to my early music education as my mum managed a record shop called ‘Blinkers’ in the students union at Queens University Belfast. From 1978 - 1986 (I was aged 4 - 11) I spent everyday after school in the record shop and as soon as my homework was completed in the back office I was able to explore and help my mum around the shop. Pricing the records, changing the posters, counting the concert tickets, and best of all listening to all sorts of music! 

Watching all the customers come and go was an experience in itself at that age - Punks, Skinheads, New Romantics, Goths, Hippies and Mods, it was a place they wanted to come to and hang out so the vibe was always great. My mum brought me up on her own and she really loved that place so I have nothing but fond memories. 
I got to hear thousands of albums like The Sex Pistols, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Thin Lizzy, The Police, ABBA, The Supremes, there's one song that brings back all those feelings and it's by musical genius Joan Armatrading. ‘Love and Affection’, it’s an absolute classic."

Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime

"I watched my first music documentary in 1984 (aged 9) when my mum and her friend Ellis brought me to see Talking Heads - ‘Stop Making Sense’ at Queens Film Theatre. 

I’ll never forget that night because both my mum and Ellis feel fast asleep during the film and I watched the lot! Don’t get me wrong it was a little bit out there and loopy for a 9 year old but the energy throughout the film and frontman David Byrne kept me entertained! 

The director Jonathan Demme made the film with such passion during a three-day concert gig at the Pantages Theatre in Holywood and it is still one of the highest rated music documentaries of all time. Therefore my next song is Talking Heads ‘Once In A Lifetime’."

Orbital - Chime

"Now to the start of my clubbing days which was in 1989 (aged 14). Yes, I know, I was far too young! 

My uncle owned a sound & lighting company and DJ duo at the time David Holmes (Homer) & Ian McCready used to hire his equipment for their ‘Sugar Sweet’ rave nights at the Art College. I’ll never forget the first night they brought ‘Orbital’ over to Belfast, it was simply electric the atmosphere was like nothing I’d experienced before. Orbital’s ‘Chime’ and 'Belfast' are the tracks that bring those memories back for me. 

For me the Dance Music days continued for many years after that. My mum and I moved to Cologne, Germany in 1990 and at 17 I left school and started working at ‘Line-Up’ a DJ Booking Agency which was part of an underground techno club called ‘Warehouse’. By 1993 I was managing the German & Austrian bookings for DJs such as Carl Cox, Laurent Garnier and Ritchie Hawtin. 

I remember my friend and very talented house DJ and producer Hans Nieswandt complaining that there wasn’t enough female DJs on the circuit and offered me his old mixer to try it out. He tried to teach me how to mix, but I didn’t have the patience. One of the tracks was 'Bizarre Inc’s ‘Playing With Knives’ which I still have the odd rave to in my living room!"

Ocean Colour Scene -  Lining Your Pockets

"Dance music obviously played a big part in my life as my career very much started in the music industry when it was rife. I went from managing DJs to promoting a indie record label to managing bands and club nights. Great times but by the time I was 23 I’d had enough and went home to Belfast! 

Even when living in Cologne for those 8 years I used to fly home to Belfast every other month or arrange to meet up with all my friends in London and Glastonbury Festival was a must. I was very much in touch with what was going on outside the dance music scene plus I religiously bought NME, remember the times without the internet! 

Ocean Colour Scene, Massive attack and The Stone Roses were constantly being played on the decks at house parties but I never got to see them live until recent years. One band I often seen live though (8 times in total) were Oasis. Yes I was a huge fan but I wasn't heartbroken when they split because I enjoyed what Liam did with Beady Eye and what Noel is producing now, he’s a master of his trade. The best Oasis concert for me was in 2002 at the Witness Festival in Dublin when one of the security guards thought I was one of the singers from the dance tent and I managed to get on the main stage and stand at the side and watch the whole show. The crowd were going crazy and it was nice to experience it all from that angle! 

The big tunes that bring those years back to me are Massive Attack ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ The Stone Roses ‘I Wanna Be Adore’, Oasis ‘Little By Little’ and 'OCS’s ‘Lining Your Pockets’. Simon’s voice in this live version on Jools Holland is simply breathtaking..."

Nora Dean -  Barbwire

"Now I’ve spent the past two years documenting my journey into Mod subculture and that has hugely broadened my music library! 

I’ve been so lucky to have DJs like Eddie Piller, Paul J Hallam and Dave Edwards introducing me to all sorts of music that comes under the Mod umbrella, a’broad church' indeed haha! Jazz, Ska, Northern Soul, Latin, Motown, Rhythm and Blues it’s going to be hard to pick out just one track but I suppose I have to!

My ‘For The Love Of Mod - London’ screening was in Brighton, which was my first ever screening and very special indeed. Eddie played a track for DJ Wendy May Billingsley (Locomotion) that got everyone proper grooving on the dancefloor, it was Jamacian reggae singer Nora Dean and her classic ‘Barbwire’ (Oh Mama)."


The final in Emma-Rosa’s Mod documentary trilogy ‘For The Love of Mod - Tokyo’ is available from Amazon & eBay.

In the final film in her Mod trilogy, producer/director Emma-Rosa Dias explores the Tokyo Mod scene and discovers how a British subculture thrives in the land of the rising sun. 

Emma-Rosa Dias's Mod trilogy comes to an enthralling conclusion in Japan. Exploring the modernist scene in Tokyo, Emma discovers first hand how a British subculture thrives 6,000 miles from its spiritual home in London. Meeting some of the faces in the Tokyo scene, we learn exactly what fashion, music, scooters and the modernist lifestyle means to these people. Stylish, classy and as entertaining as the mods who are featured, this documentary is an honest portrayal of the passionate Japanese Mods.


If you've not seen the first two parts of Emma-Rosa’s Mod documentary trilogy, you've certainly been missing something in your life !

Available now on Amazon, click on the picture below to link.