Find Out Why Charli XCX And Marina & The Diamonds Love Having Slumber Parties With Indie-Pop Creative @Emmieshouse
Remember how much you loved Lisa Frank, matching pajamas, and Ouija boards growing up in the 90s? Well, Emily “Emmie” Lichtenberg is basically all of your favorite things from the 90s, but in human form. The 27-year-old independent creative has an eye for aesthetics, nostalgia and up-and-coming musicians, which led her to create her show “Slumber Party @Emmieshouse” back in 2012. While she previously worked with Frenchkiss Records and Myspace for distribution of her show, Emmie Lichtenberg is going independent with the new season of “Slumber Party.” You may have seen “similar” video content appear on other platforms, but Emmie’s idea came first, and she’s ready to start the new season of her show on November 17th.
With past episodes featuring Betty Who, Melanie Martinez, Charli XCX and more, Emmie has an eye for pop stars who are down to pretend like they’re kids at a sleepover party (ready to get in trouble). “Slumber Party” is Emmie, with her emoticon tattoos on her wrist and her troll collection. It’s her personality, her creativity and nostalgia for a time where Lip Smackers collections was the norm and prank calling people was a weekend event. That being said, if you’re looking for someone to eat lip gloss with or play Truth or Dare, Emmie is ready to be your BFF.
Photos by Kimi Selfridge
You’ve been doing “Slumber Party” for the past three years now. How did you start your show?
I started “Slumber Party” back in 2012—the idea spawned from just me being on tour with my friends Marina & The Diamonds and MS MR. I had done a tour diary and gallery for Billboard Magazine, where I was working at the time. We were having such a blast. It was kind of like my version of the Spice Girls’ tour bus experience that i had always dreamed of…just a bunch of girl talk on tour. I knew I wanted to do video content, tell some sort of visual story and share some aspect of experience from girls that I’m friends with and bands that I’m fans of. Also, we share a lot of cultural appreciation of the same stuff since we’re all around the same age, so that was a big part of it too. I grew up going to slumber parties, and it was my favorite thing to stay up all night and do dumb shit. I wanted to capture that same fun, organic experience. After tour, I really wanted to show more of my creative side. I wanted to be doing more. I mentioned something about my idea to the video team at Billboard, but it didn’t really work out. I thought in my mind, it would be fun to do a “three-minute slumber party”. It came from there. MS MR was one of the first episodes we did. I figured, if we can’t make it work on tour, then we could do it in a different format. We did an episode with Marina. It became a word of mouth thing, but then Marina was like, “Charli would love this too you should do one with her.” It just sort of snowballed from there!
And I know Snapchat and Refinery29 created similar shows within the past few months…
Well, Snapchat was the first one. It was so insular in its own way because none of my friends or family were watching the Snapchat original content platform, but all my Internet friends and family—my lovely little community of trolls—were! They were very aware of the similarities and fired up about it! I was getting screengrabs from the kids that were tweeting it at me being like “omg Emmie this exactly like your show.” And then when Refinery29’s [take] happened, and of course the Snapchat show was still on, it spread further. Everyone else in my world was getting fired up too—I was getting outreach from bands who had been on “Slumber Party” and other bands that hadn’t been on my show yet, but are friends. Everyone hitting me up was super empowering!
“Being a creative and a woman—it’s not always easy. There are definitely instances that I haven’t felt that I was being taken seriously, especially because the show idea itself is pretty female-geared and zany.”
How did you feel about seeing your idea appropriated to other brands/platforms like that? Is there such a thing as an original idea anymore?
Was I the first person to do interviews in a bed? No. There’s “In Bed with Joan” and other interview shows like that, but aesthetically and culturally there were just so many things that were so similar to my show. That’s actually mainly what friends—on the internet and otherwise–were hitting me up about.I always put a lot of positive vibes out into the world, and especially in the creative industry, you’re constantly on the hustle and on the grind. You’re always networking. When you put those vibes out there, someone can take them. But that being said, a lot of positivity has come from it—weirdly a lot of validation in the “imitation is the highest form of flattery” type of vein. I was like “oh, they like my idea!” I think a silver lining with this whole experience is that it’s shown other people that I want to work with that my vibe and aesthetic is marketable and therefore I am marketable in that way. “Slumber Party” is something that I’ve been doing this a while and came from authentic experiences very near to my heart. But it’s just one piece to the Emmieshouse puzzle of what’s to come from me. Also there is no love lost of course—I use Snapchat everyday!
As an independent creative, what challenges have you faced?
Being a creative and a woman—it’s not always easy. There are definitely instances that I haven’t felt that I was being taken seriously, especially because the show idea itself is pretty female-geared and zany. For it to be taken seriously in a lot of ways, that’s probably deterred, even though we’ve had male guests on before. He for she y’all!
So, you started “Slumber Party” by yourself, then joined forces with Frenchkiss Records and following that, it was picked up by Myspace. Now, you started your own YouTube channel, and you’re going independent again. Who can expect as guests on the upcoming season?
Kate Nash, Shamir, HOLYCHILD, Phoebe Ryan and Icona Pop will be starring in this season. Icona Pop is one that we’ve been wanting to do for ages. Timing-wise it never worked out, so i’m really glad we got ‘em in bed!
That’s a nice roster. Any other ways you’ll be reinventing the show?
I don’t know if it’s “reinventing” so much because I always feel like me! However, I do feel a continued drive to find and show different sides of myself creatively and push myself to try new things. One way that “Slumber Party” will be different this season is that it will be living amongst all previous episodes and other videos I’m creating. This also includes a super, super fun collaboration with my new favorite director duo Anthony and Alex—they’re equal parts gross and glam in a John Waters type of way, and I’m obsessed. So, I feel like going forward it’s easier to see all of me and what I make in one pink, fluffy, glittery, smiley-faced, emojified place! But, hands down the biggest change from the start is my hair!
What’s the goal of “Slumber Party” for you now especially since you’re doing this independently now without Myspace? What do you see for the future of independent creatives making their own shows?
It was great having the support from a big company like Myspace, but I’m excited to see where the show goes independently and what else I can do as my own brand—it’s empowering to watch as other web series like High Maintenance and Broad City are brought to network TV. It really reinforces my belief in the potential for my bizarre world I’ve created.
“It was so insular in its own way because none of my friends or family were watching the Snapchat original content platform, but all my Internet friends and family—my lovely little community of trolls—were! They were very aware of the similarities and fired up about it!”
Speaking of bigger shows, in the future, do you want a talk show like The Ellen DeGeneres Show or The Rosie O’Donnell Show?
Yes, totally! I grew up worshipping the cheeky chat show that are in actuality really just hangouts. Graham Norton is one of my absolute heroes—I used to sneak-watch So Graham Norton. My mother would be like, “I don’t think you should watch that show—it’s a little campy. It’s a little seedy.” It was very sexual and gross but I loved it. I have a vivid memory of an audience member telling a story about how she got gum stuck in her pubes. My show doesn’t go THAT dark, but we prank call Skrillex, (which I did with Kitty Pryde), prank call my mom or literally eat lip gloss. I feel like it’s stuff that’s zany and hairbrain that I wasn’t seeing people do, which I used to watch Graham do, and that I myself wanted do. So, yes, one day I would like my own longer form show that incorporates “Slumber Party” and beyond. I’ve already been working towards that—other than writing about it in my dream journal/diary every damn day.
I feel like shows used to be more unique and people used to have bigger ideas. Ellen [DeGeneres] obviously does zany things sometimes and so did Rosie [O’Donnell]—it would be cool to bring that back.
I grew up watching all of those shows—especially Rosie and Graham. I am so in awe of their warmth and familiarity, and I try and channel that in what I do—with a little Amy Sedaris, John Waters, and Pee Wee Herman thrown in there of course. Those are also the people that I really look up to. It all kind of makes sense together if you really squint. I’m forever a Rosie O’Donnell apologist. I would be so pumped whenever I was home sick or if there was a snow day because I could watch her show. I’ll never forget a story she told that always stuck with me, about how she was on vacation with her entire family, and they used up all the hot water. So, she had to take a cold shower and she got all these goosebumps because of it so when she shaved her legs she bled everywhere. It was really a grotesque story, but I remember being like, that’s fucking cool. It was really honest. I guess I miss that.