Post-hardcore Emarosa has gone. This is a new era.
We caught up with Emarosa frontman Bradley Walden to talk through the massive changes the band have gone through in releasing their brand new album 'Peach Club'.
WHAT WAS IT THAT MADE YOU WANT TO CHANGE THE DIRECTION OF EMAROSA IN SUCH A DRAMATIC WAY AFTER SO MANY YEARS?
"The thing is that whatever legacy the band had, it was from so long ago. It wasn’t my legacy. I think that we tried to ride that and embrace it and build on it and it didn’t feel like the natural progression that we should have done. We were doing what we thought we were supposed to do, considering the history of the band. Now we are doing what we want to do- and I say we because it is all of us. I didn’t just grab the reigns and say ‘ok this is what we are doing now’."
TO YOU WHAT WAS THE TURNING POINT?
"On our last record we had a song called ‘Helpless’ which was the poppiest song that we have ever put out. That song was actually written with the original line-up. It was one of the first songs that I wrote when I joined the band. We kept it away because it didn’t feel like the right move. So the seeds have always been there. They have always been planted. Then we wrote ‘Versus’ and then we wrote ‘131’ and we got a lot more creative. We got a little bit looser with our sound and our approach. Then it did great. It became our most successful record, which is huge considering the history of the band.
"Following that record we toured for a year and then when we sat down to write we said that if we make ‘131 Part 2’ we are just going to be in this same space and not broadening and reaching a bigger audience. We’re not going to be happy playing the same record again. We didn’t want to just be this small legendary Warped Tour band, and I think even that is giving this band more credit than it deserves. Personally I wouldn’t consider Emarosa a legendary band or a legacy band. They have a history and because of the accessibility of the Internet and every band’s past is much more public."
IT’S INCREDIBLE HOW MUCH PRESSURE COMES WITH A NAME. THE BAND IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TO WHAT IT WAS BEFORE BUT THERE IS STILL AN EXPECTATION BECAUSE OF THOSE 7 LETTERS.
"Exactly. We aren’t responsible for what other people want this band to be. It’s either for you or it’s not for you or that’s absolutely fine. We’re not apologising for making ‘Peach Club’ because it’s fucking great."
SO WHAT WAS THE FIRST TRACK YOU WROTE THAT SET THIS STREAM OF INSPIRATION INTO MOTION?
"The track that was written was ‘Don’t Cry’ and that was with our producer Courtney Ballard. Then I believe the first song we sat down and wrote as a band was ‘Givin’ Up’. The first two singles we have released are two great aspects of this record. There were three songs that I wrote when I was in Los Angeles and they were ‘Don’t Cry’, ‘Hell Of It’ and then I wrote ‘Get Back Up’ with this hip-hop producer called Alex Hitchins. We took those songs and brought them to the band and then we made it feel more like an Emarosa song."
CO-WRITING HAS BECOME SUCH A HUGE PART OF MUSIC IN THE SCENE AND SOME PEOPLE STILL LOOK DOWN ON IT FOR SOME REASON.
"The problem is that is it’s looked down on people who don’t know the industry. Musicians and writers have been writing with producers for so long, even before we were born. I guess the only reason that people talk more about it now is because it’s so much more out in the open because of information being out there. I love writing with other people. Some of my favourite pop songs of all time have been written with producers. Michael Jackson for example. When people say “oh you don’t write your own songs’, the point is that it’s a collaborative effort. I guarantee they have a favourite artist who does the same."
IT’S JUST A CASE OF PEOPLE TRYING TO FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO BE ANNOYED ABOUT THAT CONCERNS YOU.
"There’s an ignorance that breeds this self-entitled opinion that I just don’t have any time for. It used to really get me down, and sometimes it still does, because when you’re passionate about something you feel like you need to defend it because it’s yours. I guess from that standpoint you can’t argue with the people sitting in their parent’s basements telling you how much you suck."
SO WHEN YOU HAD EVERYTHING TOGETHER, WHAT WAS IT THAT BROUGHT YOU TO CHOOSE ‘PEACH CLUB’ AS A TITLE TO REPRESENT THIS NEW ERA SO PERFECTLY?
"When we were making the record we sat down to eat dinner with our label and our producer at this place in Los Angeles called Mohawk Bend. They had a drink there called The Peach Club. I may or may not have had too many Peach Clubs that night. So every time somebody would say something I would shout ‘PEACH CLUB’. We were all basically having the time of our lives and laughing and joking and it made us feel like we were in the exact spot that we were supposed to be. We were making a record we wanted to, we were where we were supposed to be, we were doing what we were supposed to be doing. It all kind of lined up. This is who we are and this is the level of happiness that we are achieving by making this record and by being in the exact place that we are.
"It’s really all about being in this club and mind-set where you can do whatever you want and you don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks. There’s not really a word out there to actually describe it, but being a part of this kind of club is very freeing. It feel likes you belong no matter what anybody says."
WHO DO YOU FEEL YOU AS A PERSON IN EMAROSA NOW COMPARED TO THE PERSON YOU WERE WHEN YOU JOINED THE BAND BACK IN 2013?
"I think coming in I was a bit naïve. I was extremely ambitious but I didn’t really know who I was as a frontman and a performer so I was trying lots of different things. Those were some tough years because I was trying to find my place in this band that already established themselves and had a fan base with a certain expectation of what they were going to see and what they were going to hear. That was five or six years ago. I have been in this band much longer than people may actually realise.
"Looking forward, I’m just as ambitious but I feel like I’m a bit more jaded because I feel like this band is critiqued much harder than most other bands. I got years and years of ‘you’re not good enough’ so you get very jaded by all of that. You have to persevere though. I think a lot of people are afraid to admit they feel that way because that makes people think ‘oh my god what’s going to happen’. It’s a human feeling to think ‘this sucks’ one day and then have other days where you’re reminded why you love this. I think that should be normalised by people more rather than always going ‘oh tour is great’ all the time. I think over the years from joining to now, I have a better head on my shoulders and let way less negativity in. I know who I am now as a performer. I don’t feel like I need to be anyone else. I’m not afraid to show off my personality more these days. I feel more apart of the club."
THAT’S KIND OF WHAT MAKES THE FUTURE SO EXCITING FOR YOU AND THE BAND. BECAUSE YOU HAVE MADE THESE CHANGES YOU HAVE A WHOLE CLEAN SLATE TO WORK ON NOW.
"It really is. We’ve had the opportunity to rebrand and reintroduce ourselves in a way which a lot of bands don’t get the chance to. I also think that they often choose to stay in a safe place whereas we took a really big risk with this record."
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO SAY 2019 HELD FOR YOU AND THE BAND WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON IT IN YEARS TO COME?
"You can always have specific goals but I would say our overall goal is to shift into a bigger world of music and not be pigeonholed. There are a lot of assets of music and genres that are blending in the way of the Fickle Friends' and the Pale Waves'. There’s almost a shade of colour on bands and we are just trying to change ours to a colour that represents us more. We want to blossom from our old colours. We want to play for more people and we want to sell more records and we want to play bigger rooms but ultimately I just want to change the conversation from the past of this band to the future of this band. I want us to talk where this band is going, not where this band has been."
Emarosa's 'Peach Club' is out now through Hopeless Records.