Emancipator (musician)

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Doug Appling.jpg
Emancipator in Istanbul. (October 26, 2013)
Background information
Birth name Douglas Appling
Also known as Emancipator
Born (1987-05-27) May 27, 1987 (age 30)
Virginia, United States
Origin Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Genres Electronica, trip hop, downtempo, ambient, chill-out
Occupation(s) Producer, DJ
Instruments Drums, violin, guitar, keyboard
Years active 2006-present
Labels Loci Records, Emancipator Music, Hydeout Productions, 1320 Records
Website emancipatormusic.com emancipator.bandcamp.com

Douglas "Doug" Appling (born May 27, 1987), better known by his stage name Emancipator, is an American producer and DJ based in Portland, Oregon. He launched his music career by self-releasing his debut album Soon It Will Be Cold Enough in 2006 while he was still a college student.[1] He has released eight albums, including five studio albums, two remix collections, and one live album. He has also founded his own record label, and formed a live band, called the Emancipator Ensemble.[2]

Early life[edit]

Doug Appling was born and raised in Virginia, where he studied violin from ages 4 to 12, progressing to electric guitar, drums, and bass as a teenager. He cites his father's "eclectic music collection" as sparking his interest in electronic music, while his mother "who'd volunteered in the Peace Corps," exposed him to "African thumb pianos and sounds from beyond the Western palette."[1] He played drums in a post-punk group in high school that won their prom's "battle of the bands" competition.[1] On how he got his start producing, Appling stated, "I got hooked on [producing electronic music] when I started chopping up loops in Acid Pro for fun in high school."[3] After high school, Doug attended the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, completing an undergraduate degree in psychology. While there, he took a number of classes in music theory which influenced him as an artist.[4] He self-released his first solo album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, under the name Emancipator in 2006. Distribution was limited since he burned the CDs at home, sold them via his MySpace channel and "hand-delivered them to the post office every week."[1]


In late 2007, Emancipator came to the attention of Nujabes' Japanese label, Hydeout Productions, who re-released Soon It Will Be Cold Enough in April 2008. Moving to his current home of Portland, Oregon in 2009, he played his first live U.S. show as the opening act for Bonobo, who Appling admits is "one of [his] favorite producers."[4] This, together with a tour of Japan in 2008-2009, helped to provide exposure to larger audiences both at home and abroad. During this time frame, he switched from using Acid Pro and Reason to using Ableton Live as his music sequencer and digital audio workstation software for all of his productions.[1] His second album, Safe In the Steep Cliffs, was released in January 2010 on the Hydeout label to some acclaim.[5] Remixes, an album of reworked versions of Emancipator tracks by Blockhead, Big Gigantic, Tor, and others, was self-released in 2011.[6][7] Around this time, Doug began touring live with violinist, Ilya Goldberg; the duo drew positive critical attention.[8] In 2012, Appling founded his own label, Loci Records, and released the album Drum Therapy by Tor as the label's debut album.[9]

2013 saw the release of Emancipator's third studio album, Dusk to Dawn, his first album on Loci Records. Significant touring and studio work followed the release of the record and a four-piece full-band, Emancipator Ensemble, debuted for live audiences.[10]

In 2015, Emancipator released his first live album, Live from Athens, in June; his second remix album, Dusk to Dawn Remixes, in July; and his fourth studio album Seven Seas, in September.[11][12]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details
Soon It Will Be Cold Enough
  • Released: 19 January 2006[13] (re-released 25 April 2008[14])
Safe In the Steep Cliffs[15]
  • Released: 19 January 2010
Dusk to Dawn[16]
  • Released: 29 January 2013
Seven Seas[17]
  • Released: 25 September 2015
  • Released: 17 November 2017

Remix albums[edit]

Title Album details
  • Released: 21 June 2011
Dusk to Dawn Remixes[20]
  • Released: 8 July 2015

Live albums[edit]

Title Album details
Live In Athens[21]
  • Released: 4 June 2015
  • Recorded live at the Georgia Theatre in Athens Georgia on 22 February 2014


Title Song details
Shook (Sigur Ros X Mobb Deep)
  • Originally released as a track on "Soon It Will Be Cold Enough" in 2006, this song was omitted from Nujabes's remastered version of the album in 2008.[3]
  • Re-released: 20 April 2011
Father King
  • Originally released as a track on "Soon It Will Be Cold Enough" in 2006, this song was omitted from Nujabes's remastered version of the album in 2008.[3]
  • Re-released: 20 April 2011
Elephant Survival
Kids/Truman Sleeps
Ghost Pong
  • Released: 22 August 2017
  • Released: 20 September 2017
  • Released: 23 October 2017


  1. ^ a b c d e Greenwald, David (25 March 2014). "From violin to Ableton: Inside Emancipator's evolving electronic world". The Oregonian/OregonLive. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  2. ^ Osorno, Allie (25 Oct 2015). ""Emancipator" Review". The Vermont Cynic. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "IAMA with Doug Appling: "Hey Reddit! I'm Doug Appling, better known as electronic artist Emancipator. Ask me about life, production, owning a record label, and everything in-between!"". Reddit. 24 Sep 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Carelli, Alexandra Marie (7 May 2010). "Interview with Doug Appling: Emancipator". SFGate. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  5. ^ Fisher, Tyler (17 Feb 2010). "Emancipator - Safe In The Steep Cliffs (review)". SputnikMusic. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  6. ^ Simpson, Paul. "Artist Biography - Emancipator". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  7. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Emancipator-Remixes/master/630254
  8. ^ Pareles, Jon (3 Feb 2012). "Laptops and Hip-Hop Hang Out With a Violin: Emancipator Plays at Highline Ballroom". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  9. ^ "Tor new album 'Blue Book' announced + premier of first single "Days Gone"". Loci Records. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  10. ^ Womeldorph, Zane (21 Nov 2013). "Emancipator Ensemble review / Boulder Theater (Boulder, CO)". The UNTZ. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  11. ^ "Emancipator (artist bio)". Loci Records. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  12. ^ Greenwald, David (25 Sep 2015). "Emancipator releases new album, 'Seven Seas'". The Oregonian/OregonLive. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  13. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Emancipator-Soon-It-Will-Be-Cold-Enough/release/1613410
  14. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Emancipator-Soon-It-Will-Be-Cold-Enough/release/1368240
  15. ^ https://emancipator.bandcamp.com/album/safe-in-the-steep-cliffs
  16. ^ https://emancipator.bandcamp.com/album/dusk-to-dawn
  17. ^ http://www.emancipatormusic.com/announcing-seven-seas-album-tour
  18. ^ "New Album 'Baralku' Out Now! - Emancipator". Emancipator. 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2017-11-18. 
  19. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Emancipator-Remixes/release/5076200
  20. ^ http://www.emancipatormusic.com/dusk-to-dawn-remix-album-out-now
  21. ^ "Live In Athens - emancipator". emancipator. 4 June 2015. 

External links[edit]