Interview: Emmure

During their recent European stint with Caliban, Faye caught up with Frankie Palmeri, front man of the notorious Emmure, as they discussed the success of new album Felony, the band’s relationship with Victory Records, why you should expect a bloody nose at their shows, their beef with The Acacia Strain, Kurt Angle, and, of course, boxing gloves…

Faye: How are you today?
Frankie: I’m doing ok, we’re in Newcastle, it’s kind of cold outside, so we’re trying to stay indoors.

Faye: You’ve been on tour in Europe for a few weeks, how’s that been?
Frankie: It’s been great, we were in mainland Europe for a few weeks and we’ve only been in the UK for about 9-days, but we’re almost done, we’re almost home. We play Newcastle today and in a few days we do London and then we’re home, so I’m pretty stoked.

Faye: How’s the UK leg of the tour been?
Frankie: Oh, it’s been great, everywhere we’ve went there’s been kids stoked to see us play and just being part of this package has been really fun too, so everything’s been pretty cool. We’ve never headlined anywhere in Europe ever, so to be headlining in the UK has been cool. Caliban are awesome, they’re good German dudes, they’ve been doing this for a long and they have quite the reputation for a metalcore band, especially for their longevity, so it’s been a pleasure to be around people like that.

Faye: You released your new album Felony this past summer, you kind of went in a bit of a different direction, there’s a lot more clean vocals, was that purposely to reach out to a different audience or was it a natural progression?
Frankie: I think everything is a natural progression when you’re an artist, no matter what you’re doing, I think a true artist doesn’t have a fourth thought, you kind of just do whatever feels good or right at the time, and Felon for us was just want we ended up doing at the time, so we’re all proud of it and I think the fans that are tuning in now, they may not have tuned in before, and will now be following us in the rest of the journey we’re taking.

Faye: Did you find that a lot of old school fans didn’t seem to like the new direction or you do think they adapted to it and accepted it?
Frankie: I mean, it’s all part of the process, it’s like people are going to find new facets or things they like in music or in their life, in general, and if our new record doesn’t seem to fit their personality or what they think is cool, then that’s their prerogative, it’s not our problem. We always try to cater to ourselves first and then, if you’re along for the ride and you can enjoy it, then we’ll make it worth your while.

Faye: Didn’t Felony sell like 8,000 copies in the first week and get into the Billboard Charts?
Frankie: Yeah, we’re really stoked that everyone went to get the record when it came out, 8,000 for the first week for us is a really strong number, considering we’ve only been a band for a few years and everything.

Faye: There’s been three albums in three years, and I heard your contract with Victory Records is to release a new album every 14-months, that’s mental.
Frankie: Yeah, every 14-months we have to put a release out, it’s part of our contract, but, personally, for me, I feel most comfortable doing that, regardless of whether it’s under contract or not, because a lot of bands I liked growing up, they put a record out that I loved and then two years will go by and they put out something else, but in that two years, there’ll be another band that put out a record and I’ll be like, “Oh, this is fucking awesome, I’ll listen to that.” I think it’s part of our job and part of our duty to the people who do enjoy our music, to consistently create and make them feel like they’re a part of it, because not only are we doing this for ourselves, but we really want people to feel like they can follow our career and be with us every step of the way, and why take a break?

Faye: Do you not feel rushed or forced when creating new material?
Frankie: No, like I said, for me, it feels good because I enjoy the act of creating something and I enjoy the fact that you’re guaranteed that we’re going to have something new for you every year, you’re not going to have to sit around and wait for what we do next, because the scene and people’s tastes are so fickle, any day, any month, any year, a new band will come along and it’ll be their new favourite band, and we’re not trying to compete with other bands, but we’re definitely trying to give people the chance to always stay fresh with us.

Faye: Have you got long left with Victory?
Frankie: No, we only have one CD left to make with them.

Faye: Are you happy with them? Because they’ve kind of got a bad reputation.
Frankie: Yeah, I mean, the reputation they have, they earned, but our relationship with them has been pretty much clear water, we’ve never really had any issues in terms of conflict of interests or anything. We’ve been touring heavily and all the records we put out with them, particularly this one, is doing very well for us and them, so one more to go and we’ll see what happened from there.

Faye: Like you said, you tour pretty much non-stop and with a record needing to be released every 14-months, are you not afraid about getting burned out?
Frankie: No, what’s the point? [laughs] There’s no point in being afraid in anything, I guess, right?

Faye: So, have you been working on your next record?
Frankie: We’re always writing, we’re constantly creating and our minds are constantly trying to gather and be on the same page to make something we all equally enjoy, so it’ll be like everything else we’ve done, we just cultivate these ideas and then whatever we feel is the strongest, we keep.

Faye: Do you think it’ll be more Felony-sounding?
Frankie: I don’t know, it probably won’t, none of our records really sound the same, front to back, so I’m sure our new record will be just as different from the other ones.

Faye: The album before Felony, The Respect Issue, you had Kurt Angle on the cover, but I heard you never actually met him?
Frankie: Yeah, people think that we met him and stuff. I don’t know, it’s funny that, even to this day, people wonder if we had some sort of relationship with him, but it was merely just a marketing ploy to get a certain demographic of people into the band and, whatever, it wasn’t my first choice, in terms to market the band, but it was pretty cool to be a part of that, we had our song on the pay-per-view special on TNA and everything, little things like that were really cool and accomplishments for the band, certainly. If people recognise us for it, regardless, they’re recognising us, so I don’t really care if they think it’s cool or whatever, to us, if people notice it, then that’s what matters.

Faye: Whenever I see Emmure mentioned, people’s first responses are usually ‘Boxing gloves!’, in regards to you selling boxing gloves as a part of your merch during the release of The Respect Issue, how do you feel about that and how did the whole thing come about?
Frankie: It was another thing for people to talk about, kind of like how you’re asking me right now. If we can make a product that people will think is obscure or is a little off the mark, then it’ll probably work for us in some way. There’s some people who bought them for a collector’s item or, I don’t know. It’s just another thing with our band name on, we could have made anything, we could have made sneakers, we could have made underwear, we decided to make boxing gloves, because why not? It’s just something probably no one else was doing that year.

Faye: Did anyone actually wear them to the pit?
Frankie: No, I never saw them, I mean, they were pretty cheaply made, so I wouldn’t suggest anyone to wear them anywhere. [laughs]

Faye: Your music is pretty aggressive, is there much violence at Emmure shows?
Frankie: I advocate for there to be violence at our shows, because I feel like people on an everyday scale are so pent up and so scared to act upon things, and I want our shows to be an outlet for people who feel suppressed and feel like they are constantly having to fight those feelings, that’s what it’s there for. That’s what I think aggressive music is there for, in general, it’s for you to completely let go of your inhibitions and be whatever you want to be. I mean, whether it’s you screaming all the words or you’re in the back with your friends head-banging, whatever it is, that is the release for you, I think you should do it, and if violence is one of those thing, I completely advocate it.

Faye: So, you advocate bloody noses?
Frankie: Yeah, I definitely don’t oppose to any sorts of outlandish behaviour at our shows, I allow it all. [laughs]

Faye: You’ve kind of got this tough guy image and sound, as well as some pretty explicit lyrics about women, would you say there are many female fans of Emmure?
Frankie: Yeah, there’s females who enjoy our music, and I would hate and be disheartened for people to think that certain people can’t enjoy our music for some things I say or because of the image we portray. It’s really about the music, if you hear something you enjoy, that’s all that should matter, it shouldn’t really be anything more than that, you shouldn’t base your opinion on the music because of the artist. It’s like, when you look at a beautiful painting, you don’t wonder if the guy who painted that is a bad person, you just think, “Oh, that’s a beautiful painting.” It’s all about the feeling you get, I think, there’s definitely aspects of our music that both men and women can enjoy, but to evens start to think of it as like these two separate entities is ridiculous, people are people in general, you’re going to either enjoy something or you’re not, that’s really it.

Faye: You’ve been known to have some long-standing beef with The Acacia Strain, and I read you had a punch up with their vocalist Vince a couple of months ago, is it all settled now?
Frankie: Me and Vince, we had a little confrontation, but it’s cool now. It’s old news to me and everyone now, anyone who asks about it now, I’m just like, why are you asking me about this? It happened so long ago and neither of us really care about it, it’s a dead subject.

Faye: What is it about Emmure that generates so much drama?
Frankie: I don’t know, I think people just care about what we do, I don’t really think it’s us because we could be nobody and no one would care or listen to what we did, but when you stand on a pedestal, everyone is going to listen to what you say, people are tuning in, we’re not asking them to be curious about what we do, but if they are, then that’s at their discretion. I made a point one time, if you hate me or if you think that what we’re doing sucks or whatever the case is, the bottom line is that you’re totally submitting yourself to something you’re telling yourself you don’t enjoy, it’s such a strange thing. People like to confuse themselves, they tell themselves they hate things, but then they turn their back on their own opinion and check it out, it’s natural, though. It’s fun for the band, because we know people are watching what we do, so if we do something, not only are we creating a moment for them to stare at, we’re standing behind them, looking at them watch it. So, it’s like anything else, artists love to do that, artists love to create a moment that everyone’s going to be stuck on, just so they can stand behind and watch how they react.

Faye: So, what’s next for Emmure? Aren’t you going to Mexico after this?
Frankie: Yes! We’re going to Mexico for four days, I can’t wait to do that, and we’ll be back in the States for most of the start of 2010. We probably won’t come back to Europe until next tour, hopefully we can get to support from awesome bands, if not, we will headline.

Faye: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Frankie: Yeah, listen to Monsters, they are from Illinois and they’re currently on tour of America, and they’re the new shit, they’re the shit you should be listening to and they’re the voice for a whole new generation of bands, definitely check them out.

Faye: Do you have anything else to say?
Frankie: Thanks for the interview and I hope to anyone who’s reading has a good time. [laughs] That’s it.

Faye Turnbull.

For tour dates and more information on Emmure, visit: www.myspace.com/emmure.

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