Danny will be co-hosting the Radio 1 Evening Session with Steve Lamacq between 8-10pm on Tuesday 22nd December. He'll be talking about the past year for Embrace and playing some of his favourite records from 1998.
The band have achieved high rankings in the NME reader's poll for 1998.
The results of the poll looked like this:
Best Single9th Embrace - 'Come Back To What You Know'
Best Band 3rd Embrace
Best Album 2nd Embrace - 'The Good Will Out'
Best New Band 3rd Embrace
Rather strange that last one, as the band have been deemed 'new' for two years now!
EMBRACE premiered material from their forthcoming third album at another of their secret gigs over the weekend, in a cave just outside of LONDON, NME.COM can exclusively reveal.
The band played a live set to 100 fans, 400 feet below the ground in the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe. Those who attended followed a trail of clues set by the band, which started when singer Danny McNamara wore a T-shirt on the BBC television show 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks' with the slogan 'SG5 It's On!' across the chest. Other clues included secret website addresses posted on the Channel 4 teletext messageboard 'The Void'.
During the performance, the band played new songs including 'It's Over', 'It's Gonna Take Time', 'I Hope You're Happy Now' and 'Make It Last'. As with the previous secret shows, the band followed their performance with a DJ set from Richard and Danny McNamara.
Speaking about the show, Danny McNamara said: "There was something almost womblike being in a cave that far underground, something welcoming. It seemed like an appropriate place to give birth to the new songs. The fans all seemed to rate the new stuff and the bats were certainly getting off on them!"
Pictures from the show are currently available on the unofficial Embrace website www.embracefan.co.uk.
This is the band's fifth secret show. Their last took place in a disused quarry in Somerset last September, following their performance at the annual Pilton Party, organised by Michael Eavis. All the other secret shows roughly coincided with the band's appearances at UK festivals last summer.
Embrace started recording their third studio album with Coldplay producer Ken Nelson this week. Speaking to NME.COM about the record, singer Danny McNamara described the material as "cinematic and three-dimensional". Other new song titles include 'Blackwater', 'Fear Fighter', 'Happiness Will Get You In The End' and 'Effortless Now'. The as-yet-untitled record is expected in the summer.
Embrace are Danny McNamara (vocals), Richard McNamara (guitar), Mike Heaton (drums) and Steven Firth (bass), a quartet from various towns surrounding Leeds, who have only just played their twelfth gig together but have already come up with a sound that is as all-encompassing as their name.
The foundations of Embrace were laid eight years ago when Danny gatecrashed the family store room where his younger brother, Richard, was playing drums in a hardcore thrash band. "I just got into it by going in and telling the rest of them what to do," he smiles "and that was it really."
The two brothers started writing their own songs, recruited Mike Heaton on drums, and Embrace was born. However while Danny was singing onstage at the Heineken Festival in Leeds in the summer of 1993, he had his big Damascus moment. "As I looked out into the crowd, I suddenly felt like Ian McCullough or Bono or someone" he recalls. In those few, fleeting seconds, he realised that he didn't have to sound like anyone else to succeed. He just had to be himself.
The following day, Embrace scrapped every single song that they had written and started afresh. They spent the next two years in their rehearsal room, practising four nights a week and all-day on Saturdays and Sundays. During this period, the original bass player got religion, the band replaced him with Steven Firth, and the songs just kept getting better.
"I stopped wishing I was good and realised I was," says Danny, simply. "Rather than being contrived about writing. I just let the songs come out. I mean, you've got no choice as to what songs you write, cos they just come out of the sky anyway, and if you start getting choosy when they're at the coming out stage, they'll never appear."
Over the course of the past three years, Danny has written almost 100 songs, while Richard has come up with twice as many pieces of music. "The best way to get songs is to fall asleep," reckons the guitarist. "You put your head down and, just as you're nodding off, all this music starts playing in your head and filling up the bedroom. And depending on whether you can be arsed to get up or not, you end up with a song."
Embrace were inspired to keep getting out of bed in order to put a demo tape together in time for Sound City, which was held in Leeds last spring. Of the 30 demos the band sent out, they got 18 replies from companies wanting to work with them. They subsequently set up three showcases at the Duchess Of York pub in Leeds and signed to the Virgin subsidiary, Hut, last September. "As soon as we went into Virgin it felt like home," says Danny. "And as soon as we went up to the loft where Hut was at the time, it felt like my bedroom."
Since signing to Hut, Embrace have no longer had to worry about local promoters refusing to give them a gig because they don't sound Britpop enough - "Someone actually said to us, 'If you sounded more like Shed 7, we'd put you on'," says Danny. Instead they have been busy paring their many songs down to the 15 which they think are great enough for their debut album, to be recorded over the next couple of months. Danny pinpoints "All you Good, Good People" as "the one where we really learned how to write songs" - a huge, uplifting anthem which will be released as Embrace's first single in February.
"'All You Good Good People' has got a bit of a Barry Manilow's 'Made it Through The Rain' kind of feel to it," laughs Danny. "I didn't realise that until I heard his song about a month ago - you know 'I made it through the rain and found myself respected by the others who'd got rained on too'. It's like that but not as tacky. Basically, I'm trying to find something good in all the shit that you go through in life and I want to share that with other people." 'All You Good Good People' is filled with the desire to succeed, the will to move onward and upward, the ability to dream yourself out of one place right into another. Themes which can be heard again in the celebratory waltz of 'Higher Sights', the psychedelic mayhem of "One Big Family" and the country-stained brilliance of 'Retread'.
The fact that Embrace are a Northern band, fronted by two brothers of Irish extraction, is bound to lead to unnecessary comparisons with Oasis. They restrict their genuine inspirations to Motown, Curtis Mayfield, the Beatles, Brian Wilson, the Stone Roses and Primal Scream's 'Screamadelica' , but Embrace's big spiritual music simply doesn't sound like it could've been dreamed up by anyone but themselves.
"When I listen to music it takes me somewhere, but it never really takes the wind out of me," says Danny. "But you can affect people in that way and that's what I want to do with our music. I want to have the hairs on the back of people's necks standing up, I want feet to be tapping, I want tears to be flowing, I want the stomach to be churning, the heart to be pumping and the floor to feel like its moving up and down. We want to get people"; just get them.
You don't get lost in the dark when you shine part 1
Well I said I would write a few days ago but I've been so busy I haven't had time to think. Fortunately (or not for me) I'm stuck on a train so not only have I had time to think but time to reflect on a few things...and there are going to be a few changes around here. I've just got back from an interview tour of Germany. It was really heart warming because they all raved about the new LP. The gap between completion and release can be a nerve-racking time. All new born babies are beautiful to their parents but not all new born babies are beautiful. Thankfully they almost all unanimously agreed that it was our best yet which is great because "Drawn From Memory " was in all the end of year polls there. Almost everyone we spoke to had visited this site and perhaps more surprisingly this diary page. They were asking me why I started the page and what this site was going to feature in the coming months. Well this band has about 10 crazy ideas for each one we end up doing. Time and money prevent us from doing everything our own way, but in so much as we can the next few months are going to be the wildest most surreal most fucking nerve shaking months of this bands life. There’s the next secret gig... The website kept crashing, but I think it's sorted now. We now have more room for people to come on but for SG#7 we're going to have to get NASA in ha! ha! SG#6 is going to involve an LP playback and a request slot and all kinds of things that would spoil the surprise if I printed them here. Good luck hunting for the codes, tell the people on those other websites what you think of Embrace when you go on. The "Wonder" video... We've just finished editing it together. Grant Gee’s original idea to get me to be myself seems to have worked. All my friends say it's the first time they've recognised me on screen. That in the past I’ve always put up a front that makes me look like an aloof, arrogant wanker. As you can imagine it was a bit of a shock to be told this for the first time by so many people over the past few days. Well all I can say in my defence is it's not easy been yourself when the record company are paying dozens of people thousands of pounds to make you look like a rock and roll star. I've always felt out of place and uncomfortable in front of the camera. I always think I look like one of those poor "ordinary" people who get wheeled out on local news items to talk about their skateboarding dog. I've never wanted to be a star. Doing all those star type things just gives me a splashing heart. During the day I was filmed in loads of different situations My girlfriend directed one Richard directed one They put me all alone with just a candle for company The paramedics gave me laughing gas They played the track at ear splitting level They used all kinds of different lighting and filming styles (night vision, "Britney" style ring lights, UV etc etc) But the one that ended up as 95% of the video was the very first one we did. In it Grant told me not to wash, shave, brush my teeth or hair or anything before doing the first take. So I literally got out of bed went to the studio and sang. I got the words wrong in a couple of places, I’m not great at miming, but I have to say I think it really works. I can't wait for you all to see it. At the end my face morphs into all the other takes one after the other which had a real "Godley and Cream" vibe to it. In the next entry it's going to start getting more personal. One of the things I realised in Germany is that I don't feel comfortable talking about my real feelings and motivations in interviews. I'm always worried that what I say is going to be taken out of context or turned into headlines and that shakes me a bit. From now on this is where I’m going to do all my talking. There’s one hell of a story to tell. One that journalists have been trying to get out of me for nearly five years..... Watch this space
You Don't Get Lost In The Dark When You Shine Part 2
Well SG#6 has to be up there with SG#4 as my favourite so far. It looks really cool on video as well. Although all the lights we rigged up didn't really work to best effect as it was daylight outside it still had a really nice atmosphere. I wasn't around after the gig as I had an NME interview to do but Mark Beaumont the journalist who did the interview promised he would give me the full transcript to put up on this page so expect that in the next few days.
Just got back from the final planning of SG#9. All of us gathered round in a secret location planning the events. This one is going to be the BIG one. It's also probably going to be the last one for a while as we are going to be on tour for the rest of the year. I'm not going to spoil the surprises we've got in store so I wont say anymore except that we would like you to wear fancy dress. There will be a golden ticket for the most imaginative costume, and bring some sunflowers.
A lot of people have been asking me about the extra tracks that come with Wonder. Particularly "Anywhere you go " and "Today". Well Anywhere You Go was initially going to be on Drawn From Memory. We felt at the time that although it was a good song we hadn't really done it justice Richard wanted to hold it back for this album, but we just had so many songs we never got round to reworking it. Today was written around the same time as Retread. I really like this track but Richard has always been a bit non-plussed by it. Me and Mick played it a lot on the press junket we did across Europe last year. At one crazy stage the LP was going to be called "Everyday, Someday Today". This seemed like a good idea for about an hour. I think it was a way of ensuring that Someday ended up on the lp. Pppffff fat chance.
Last week I saw U2 at Birmingham NEC. What a fantastic show....words fail me. I think along with The Flaming Lips at T In The Park, PJHarvey in Copenhagen and The Doves in New York that it has to be one of the best concerts I've seen in 5 years. I really loved them when I was growing up. I got to meet them before the show and this may sound like a naff thing to say but they were all so fuckin nice I was a bit overwhelmed to be honest. Bono said he really liked Drawn From Memory that they'd played it a lot on tour last year. But to top it all he dedicated "Out Of Control" to me. ME!!!! God I felt like a fourteen year old again. I've already rung all my mates to tell them so now I'm telling you lot.
Finally I'd like to say a big thanks to Flodd and everybody who's supporting his Wonder Campaign. The amazing thing is that it actually seems to be working. We've never been on the radio so much prior to the release of a single. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
You don’t get lost in the dark when you shine part 3
Well here it is at last the full transcript of my interview with Mark Beaumont from NME...hope you like it...
“I should say at this point that this is probably going to be the last press interview that I ever do.”
“I wasn’t gonna do it until I found out it was you coming along and I thought ‘well I know him, he’s alright’. If it was anybody else I’d have just refused. I’ve been on the internet and said that I don’t feel comfortable with how I come across in interviews. I’m not saying it’s the journalist’s fault or the press’ fault. It’s probably my own fault for being ever so naïve and idealistic in the beginning but I just came across looking like a monster and you know I aren’t one. Most of the time people come along and see us because they think we're a good band so ninety per cent of the time we’ve been written about by fans but little things have come up that’ve been taken out of context and not just hurt me but hurt my family, my girlfriend and my friends. I’ve just done about fifty interviews all across Europe and I found myself not really saying anything as a way of avoiding coming across badly. It left me feeling really, really fucking empty and a bit sad about it because I’m the last person in the world that’d wanna be mysterious or build up a mystique or all that bullshit, that’s just not me. But when my answers to questions are so party line and bland that I’m not really saying anything anymore I just think it’s pointless. I don’t have the personality to have the floor ripped from under me anymore.”
You don’t feel you have the personality to say the things you think pop stars should say?
“I never feel comfortable with the term anyway. I always feel like when I’m on telly or radio I come across like that local bloke at the end of local news when they’ve run out of stories, he’s got a skateboarding dog or something and he comes in and he’s always wearing his best clothes ‘cause it’s his first and last time on telly and he looks completely out of place, the real people. I always think I look like that. I can’t ever imagine going on the Brits for instance and performing, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. What we do is much more of a tightrope than that. It comes across as quite strident sometimes but it’s totally based on the occasion and the vibe you get from the audience and how that makes you feel larger than life for a few minutes and then I do feel that way, I feel like a star, but the rest of the time I don’t. I just can’t talk in headlines anymore. It’s a shame really because we’ve just made an album that I think is easily our best yet and that’s much deeper and more rewarding and much more what we’re about, stamping out the influences we might have had in the past, it’s completely us. I’d love to talk about it and then it occurred to me when I was writing my internet diary that that’s where I can say that. I probably will do interviews in the future, I might in a couple of months time, snap out of it, think I’ve been really stupid and I need to grow up or whatever. But right now I don’t wanna do that anymore really.”
Disappointed in what you say or that you don’t trust us?
“It’s the system really. Almost all of the stuff that’s been written about us has been positive when we’ve done features, ninety-nine per cent of it, but the headlines that get picked out usually aren’t indicative of what the feature’s about and you get asked about those bullshit headlines, which are fuck all to do with what you’re about or what you’re music’s about or what you’ve got to say or what you’ve even said, and that becomes your personality. It’s almost like your identity is stolen from you and I value my identity and I wanna hold onto it. That system swallows soundbites and puts any kind of substance on the back-burner. I think the system itself is intrinsically really bad.”
Maybe you got off on the wrong foot initially?
“I think probably, yeah. But then again we were from Leeds and they wouldn’t even put us on in the Cockpit, which isn’t big enough to hold one of our after show parties now. They said we didn’t sound enough like Shed Seven. So I was still the guy trying to get gigs when we were on the front cover, going ‘my band’s great, you should listen to them’. I didn’t realise people were listening. Everybody, almost for a year and a half, was constantly praising us and they kind of put you on a pedestal and then, like one of the songs goes, they shoot you down for looking at the view. When you’re that high you come out with amazing things. I real some stuff in the press and think ‘who is that guy’ and then read other stuff and think’ that’s really clever’. I was just totally free forming. I’ve always felt that if you speak from the heart and throw a thousand words at something then you get at the truth. Even though you could pick out any one of these lines and make me look like a wanker, you know what I’m trying to say. But speaking from the heart doesn’t work in interviews. I believe it works in real life but in print you’ve really got to think about every little thing you say. I’ve been called misogynist, racist, arrogant, insensitive and millions of things I won’t go into here just by stuff that’s been misinterpreted or put out of context in interviews. I’ve had to phone people up and apologise for stuff that it appears I’ve said. I just thought this time round, it’s not the best solution to this. There’s people out there that really wanna know about the band and going through the British press isn’t the best way. The best way is if all of this stuff I’m saying here, if I could take that tape and transcribe the whole fuckin’ thing onto the internet. Imagine the whole transcript. In fact, keep that tape and give it me when the feature’s run and I’ll transcribe all of that.”
The problem then is you can only reach the people who come to your website.
“That’s the thing. I realise it’s important to the survival of the band that I do these things. That’s the dilemma and I don’t know how to resolve it.
Most honest album?
“It is yeah. I look at the lyrics sometimes and it’s a bit near the bone. I feel more confident about that side of myself to be honest. I think I’m getting better at it. It took fifteen days to do the whole album, it all came together. Took me five days to get the first line of ‘I Hope You’re Happy Now’, which is "You don’t get lost in the dark when you shine" and as soon as I got that the rest just poured out. I were banging my head before that, I was phoning people up going ‘I can’t do this anymore, I’ve lost it’. Writer’s block’s an awful feeling to have for even a day but when you haven’t tried writing for a while and then you start and it takes five days before even a line comes, you think ‘oh no, shit’. But that came and then straight away, fifteen days later the whole album poured out really quickly. I left myself six weeks to do all the lyrics for the album while Richard was having his kid with Jo and I had it done in fifteen days. I was amazed. It just came out. I seemed to have so much to fuckin’ say. It’s like when you’ve been in a long relationship or something like that, or you’ve had a friend for a long time and you have a few beers and suddenly the truth behind how the relationship’s been comes out. The little resentments or stuff you wanna say. Sort of a three o’clock in the morning kinda vibe and you’ve had a few beers and you say ‘y’know I’ve wanted to say this for ages but I’ve never got around to saying it’. You might work with that person, you might be with them fifteen hours a day and talk about the little things, but you save all that stuff up because there’s never an appropriate time to say it. It’s almost like that with me and songs, all that stuff gets stored up there and when it comes to putting pen to paper it just pours out, the stuff I never get the chance to say in real life but is really true. It kinda makes me feel like that’s why I’m on the planet.”
You’ve previously claimed you write about old relationships – how much of this blew record is current?
“This is all going on now. It’s different doubts and demons in your head that are happening all the time. It might not necessarily be autobiographical in the sense that I haven’t just left my girlfriend or something, but I’ve thought about doing that and feelings dying and doubt about whether those feelings are gonna go on. It’s just constant niggle in your brain all the time every day. It’s all about what would happen if this happened. It’s full of all the different possibilities, if I’d taken a different angle what would I have been now. ‘Many Will Learn’ is about my best friend and I kinda saved his life really but in that song it’s what would’ve happened if I hadn’t done. What would’ve happened if I’d have taken drugs with him and we’d both totally have got off us faces.”
“It’s about that moment, that feeling, when you’re glad to be alive, scared to be alive. It’s all about that, it’s relentless, there’s no stop for a break on it. And I’m really proud of that. We set out at the beginning of the year and we had a bunch of songs that all had this kinda feeling about them and we wanted to put across a whole thing, a whole feeling that I don’t think you get the first time you listen to it. I’ve had people come up to me and I’ll say ‘what do you think of the album?’ and they’ll go ‘high pitched squeak' it’s good’ meaning they don’t really get it. Then a week later they’ll come back to me and go ‘you know that album, it’s good innit?’. Then two weeks later they’ll come back going ‘your fuckin’ album’s never off my stereo mate’. I think it’s a grower.”
Sounded like a journey from break-up through healing to redemption?
“There is that conclusion at the end but I don’t think it’s that strong a conclusion. This album is a lot less finished than the first album, which touched a load of bases and is quite a solid thing, this album poses a lot of questions and doesn’t give many answers.. It don’t really feel like there’s too much resolution. Things like ‘Happiness Will Get You In The End’, it’s like when you split up with somebody and they’re in bits and then two months later they’re fuckin’ fine! They’ve run off with some other bloke or something’.”
There’s a lot of bitterness in that song.
“Yeah, too right. Hur-hur! You think to yourself ‘oh, I’ve been awful doing this to somebody, how could I do this to somebody I love so much, it’s really terrible and there’s all the guilt and recrimination. Two months later they’re with some other fuckin’ bloke and you’re there two years later still fuckin’ single still pining for how stupid you’ve been for leaving them!”
any of the outcomes on the album you’re particularly worried about?
“I think the exciting thing is you never fuckin’ know. From one week to the next you’ve just got to enjoy and love the moment and live in the moment. I’m not big on seeing into the future or predicting what might happen in the future. That annoys a lot of people that know and love me no end but I think as soon as you start predicting what you’re gonna feel there’s no fuckin’ point. You’ve just gotta follow them as they’re there, enjoy them while they’re there. They’re so fleeting you can’t predict how you’re gonna feel in a year’s time about somebody. I admire people who have the commitment. A lot of people fall in love and a year later get married just on that feeling that they had. To have a commitment to that feeling that lasts and the friendship grows. I suppose I’m in love with love so I always wanna be in that honeymoon period. I’ve been going out with the same lass for four years and it’s been pretty great all that time, but who knows if it’ll last five or six years from now and I don’t think she does either.
How do you see love?
“It’s as much about fear as well. It’s all just stuff that means something. On ‘Satellites’ I had this picture of me lying on a boat out to sea, the sea is black because it’s night time and the sky is black ,there’s really bright stars and the sea is quite calm. I’ve got no motor on the boat, I’ve got no paddle, I’ve got none of that. The sea could change at any minute and I imagine there’s loads of sharks in the water that I can’t see. There’s no land for miles, I imagine there’s no contact or help, nothing, and just feeling completely at peace with that. I imagine that I’m there within all that feeling warm and strong and safe, even though I’m not strong compared with what can happen in the sea, and I aren’t fuckin’ safe either. But just feeling that way but realising that you’re not as well. That’s kind of how it all is. It’s like ‘I’m in love but you don’t know, it could go wrong in a minute’, ‘oh this job’s great but you could get the fuckin’ sack any minute’ or ‘I’m really happy about my family but anybody could die at any minute’ or ‘I’m really happy in myself but suddenly one of those fuckin’ thoughts that’s like hitting a pit of black tar that comes out of nowhere and you feel shit for fuckin’ weeks and you don’t know why. Life’s always like that, it’s fuckin’ teetering all the time, all the time it’s like yellow alert.”
Stop yourself enjoying things?
“I wrote a line in ‘I Wouldn’t Wanna Happen To You’, "I feel like a fake if I feel any feeling". It’s almost like as soon as you feel something real straight away the feeling comes ‘nah’. As soon as you’re in a situation that’s amazing you imagine looking at yourself in that situation. As soon as you start crying real fuckin’ tears, you think ‘yeah, I’m crying!’ and then you think’ oh no, I’m chuffed I’m crying!’ and you stop crying. You’re too busy double checking yourself that you never actually get to fuckin’ live. Sometimes when you’re singing a song – when I was singing ‘Over’ I went through all kinds of shit. I’d smash stuff up in the studio. It was really fuckin’ stupid, it was the first song we recorded and I think it freaked Ken out to be honest. I just wasn’t getting the song. I was singing it and while I was singing I was thinking ‘this doesn’t sound very good’, this voice in my head going. ‘It’s too overwrought!’ and I was like ‘shut up, let me just bloody sing the thing!’ I’d start again and it’d be like ‘well you didn’t do it last time so there’s no fuckin’ way you’re gonna do it this time’ ‘Shut the fuck up!’ I literally got to the end of my tether, shouting ‘shut the fuck up!’ and everyone was going ‘what’s he on about?’ I tried sitting down and turning all the lights out and not concentrating on what I was doing and that wasn’t happening. For a whole day I did about thirty takes, they had to spend a whole day editing it all together so it sounded somewhere near. Next day i came in and said It’s fuckin’ awful that. ‘I don’t like it, I’ve gone off this song and this whole recording session, I don’t wanna be in a band anymore, I fuckin’ hate it’. I was really fuckin’ gutted. Then Ken says ‘just take all the music out and you just play your acoustic guitar and sing like you’re in your bedroom’. And he then said ‘that sounds fuckin’ wonderful, that’s the best singing I’ve ever heard you do, you get the rest of this album sounding as good as that then we’re fuckin’ made. Now do one more for safety’. So I did and he goes ‘that’s even fuckin’ better!’ I still think it sounds a little bit emotional, that song, you could very easily go ‘y’know, you’re supposed to make us feel emotion, not go through it all yourself’. I’ve always been a firm believer in that. The most emotional singers make you feel emotion rather than make you feel like a spectator watching emotion. It’s a fine balance with that song. It depends what mood I’m in. Sometimes I really get it and other times it’s really obvious that I mean it and that smells a bit to me. At gigs it’s alright to do that because they can see you, but on record I want to be a bit purer. My best singing on the album is probably ‘Satellites’ or ‘Wonder’, when it’s quite light.”
Still worried about the way you sing?
“Yeah. I’ve been fuckin’ torn to bits about the way I sing. I still do, I still get asked about it. You just asked me. Even the best singers in the world really care about how you perceive their voice. When any singer listens back to their voice there’s an element of doubt as to whether it’s any good or not, even the best singers listen back and go ‘that’s not my voice’. You listen to yourself on a tape you go ‘is that me?! I don’t sound like that! When I’m singing in my head it’s miles better, honest!’ There’s a certain element of that. People have been really really nasty about my voice, said it sounds like a dying animal and all kinds of stuff. All I’m trying to do is something worthwhile where people get something from something that I feel I’ve got to give.. There’s thousands of people out there who really love what we’re doing. And it’s alright to not like it, I don’t like Simply Red songs but millions of people like that. If I was gonna criticise it I’d say his voice was a bit too clean and perfect but I wouldn’t go ‘the ginger c---, he’s fuckin’ awful’, I’d just leave it like that. I read the music press a lot and I’ve always found it really entertaining, it’s just not all that entertaining when you’re on the other end of it. I know that sounds like double standards and it probably is.”
Message of the record?
“Just get that feeling, and I once got it at a concert, I think I was watching PJ Harvey at some festival and I was just stood there and there was night sky and all that and I just thought we’re on a ball whizzing round and all these other people are on a ball whizzing round with me and then we die and that’s it. I started thinking all this stuff and I felt as light as air, I felt like I could lift a car, I felt really strong, I felt like I could sit there and chill and tell the truth, I felt really ace. Also, almost right next to it there was like this spinning, you know like a car wash but made of hooks, spinning that close to my nose (puts hand next to nose), something ready to whip you out of that feeling that only ever lasts a few seconds. I’ve noticed that whenever you feel fucking amazing, and it happens after a lot of gigs, you immediately get whipped into feeling complete shit. The joy of contrasts is yours when you feel great after feeling really shit but the fucking awful pain of the contrast is there when you’re feeling great and then suddenly it occurs to you that you’ve got no fucking right to it all. It’s subtle. You’ll think something and you won’t like that thought so you’ll try not to think that so you’ll think something else and you won’t like that thought and then you’ll be in a fucking cage again. Then you don’t feel a part of anything, then everybody else feels like they’re at the other side of some flypaper, that gluey fly stuff, you feel like you’re swimming in that and everybody else is getting on with their life and your heart starts palpitating and you have to do two or three things just to get some distance from what’s going on in your head so you can look back in ten, twenty minutes or an hour or five hours or three years, whatever it is, look back and go ‘you were an arsehole for feeling like that’. But it just happens to you, You feel the shittest it is possible to feel, you feel like nobody else understands how bad that feeling could be and it just happens like that, right next to feeling great. So whenever I feel great I’m aware of the fuckin’ car wash on either side ready to whip me out of it.”
Are you a depressive or pessimistic person?
“No, I'm not. I never get down but I do have anxiety. Fear is a major thing in my life. I fuckin’ worry, I could worry for England. When I forget to worry there’s nothing worse than the feeling, the reminder to worry. It comes at you ‘hey, you haven’t been worrying tonight, have you? OH NO! FUCKING HELL! SHIT!’ I think the reason I don’t get down is because I fight it. If depression is that side and feeling alright is that side and then there’s a razor in-between, I always feel like I’m on that. In some ways it’s as bad as being down there because you can see all the shit that goes on down there and being on a razor is not that great, having to walk that all the time. But I’m always fighting it. I’ve had some really close friends that have got clinical depression and stuff but I’ve never given up hope. Hope is a fucking bastard. Hope is the worst thing in the world. I remember Carrie Fisher saying that being mad is totally cool but becoming mad is the worst thing that could happen to you in the world, it’s the worst hell you could ever experience because you’ve got hope that you might not be. Once that’s gone, it’s cool. That’s what depression is, all your hope’s gone and you just become a drone. I’ve got so much hope inside me. I get all that shit as well but my hope rises to meet the occasion so I suffer, I fuckin’ suffer.”
Do you ever worry that Embrace might have gone wrong?
“I dunno. I feel kinda the same way now as when we got signed. The excitement of new stuff and people being into it, the feedback we’ve got. When you pull a song out the feeling you get when you pull it out is much greater than anything you ever get back and I still get that, more so even now because I think I’m getting more and more pertinent at it, more poignant at it within myself. At the beginning I kinda said ‘who knows where we’re gonna be in two years time’. I don’t think I ever said we were gonna be the biggest band in the world but I’ve always felt we were the best. Now, a few years down the line I’ve come to believe that we’re the best at what we do and what we do is different from other bands. If I’d had the wisdom I’d have said that from the start, but I’ve always felt that. There’s no-one out there who’s as good at being Embrace as we are. There’s nobody that does it better. There’s a lot of bands that are trying. And that’s cool, I feel really good about that. I feel really important and worthwhile as a human being. But I still have that doubt, I had at the start and I have now. One of the most pertinent pieces of criticism came from a fan who said ‘if he really does have all that self belief that he keeps prefessing in interviews how come I saw nothing but fear in his eyes when he was singing?’ That’s so bang on, that’s so fuckin’ it mate. That really rung true with me. I’ve got to get on with what’s going on and stop running from it. That’s what the interviews were about, avoiding the hooks, ‘they’re not there, I’m looking this way’. Now on this album I’m staring at them, watching them whizz by. It’s like when you’re driving and there’s walls on either side of you, if you look at the walls you think ‘oh shit!’ So you have to keep looking forward. But now I am looking at the walls and thinking ‘no problem’. I’m not looking where we’re going, I’m looking at what’s going on around.”
You’ve just made your best album yet your chart positions are on the slump: are you worried you’ve failed?
“It makes me feel a bit frustrated but I always look at the Flaming Lips when I think of that because I think they’re a better band than us. In a sense if there is a band that’s better at being Embrace than us then it’s them. We used to get compared to them all the time before people cottoned on we were brothers. I think part of it was that neither me nor Wayne are particularly well endowed in the singing department, and also there’s a sense of wonder and a sense of fighting the fear thing through having a big heart and being prepared to fight cynicism. In my ideal world you’d get locked up for cynicism. We played T In The Park, we played in front of whatever that tent holds, five thousand, ten thousand, fucking massive crowd whatever it is, and it was the most amazing gig of my life, the crowd were absolutely fucking stunning. We’ve done gigs at Glasgow Barrowlands, we’ve been Number One in Thailand for five weeks and we’ve had mental crowds, but there was something Nelson Mandela style crazy. It was ear-splitting screaming, all of them, it was amazing. Then straight after that the Flaming Lips were on and Travis were on the main stage. I went to see the Flaming Lips and there were two hundred people in this tent and half of them were there because it were pissing it down. Nobody gave a fuck. Me and (UNNAMED CELEBRITY) and he was nearly crying and I felt like crying. So when anybody asks me if we’re not as successful as we deserve to be, I think that isn't how the world works. The world is cruel. You write one hit and you’re sorted, you write great moving albums and you touch people’s lives and you’re not. I’ll never want for anything because I never want anything. I never spend money, the only thing I spend money on is cabs. We got a massive publishing deal because we signed it just as the first album went to Number One and that money will take care of my family for the rest of our lives. But then you see all these other bands and the world seems like a cruel place. But then you play in front of crowds like T In The Park and tonight and you just think ‘I love my life’. I don’t love it all, it’s up and down and there’s the hooks there, but this element of it is pretty fuckin’ spot on. I’m being true to myself, I’m singing from the heart about things that are connecting with people, they’re getting it, and that’s why I’m here. Other people do fuckin’ shit jobs, I’ve got an ace job, it’s not even a job! Who knows what the future’s gonna bring. I know our next album will be better again and we’ll keep doing it whether people follow us or not and to be honest you kinda do care, but it’s not top of your list. Top of your list is getting it out.”
The Strokes are here, a new broom: are you the dinosaurs they’ve come to make extinct?
“When we came along we were a new broom, we were a clean sweep for all those Britpop bands, that was what the whole thing was about ‘Britpop’s over, this is the new thing, they’re not singing about Camden bus rides anymore, they’re singing about stuff that means something to them. I think the good bands survive those waves and the bad ones don’t. (laughs) I’m not scared. But I love The Strokes.”
Many thanks to Mark for sending me the full transcript.
You don't get lost in the dark when you shine part4
I've just written a great new song.....Fuck it's cool when that happens. Needless to say I'm very excited about it...I don't know what else to say about it that wouldn't sound like either insane rambling or boasting ,and i don't want to get prematurely excited before i play it to the rest of the band. But it ROCKS!!!! I haven't got a title for it yet but the chorus has the line, "There's only nine people in the world" so at the moment I'm calling it "Nine People". It's very different from what you might expect. It's one of those that came out of nowhere, like all my favourite songs.....cool.
Okay first I've got to say thanks for all the letters and emails saying how much you enjoyed the last secret gig. We were a little concerned that the size of it might somehow dilute the overall feel of the concert, thankfully that doesn't seem to have been the case. I must admit i came offstage feeling that it could have been better, but it was a steep learning curve for me. We tried to do things very differently from how we've done them in the past, some of it left me feeling a bit foolish while other bits of it i thought we shone brighter than we've ever done before. I suppose if you're not prepared to fall off the high wire now and again you've got no business up there.
The upcoming tour is going to be informed by what we've learned from doing the secret gigs over the last year. I want to leave any pretence or "performance" behind and just give and give and give again. We're going to mix up the set a bit more, and while i don't plan on spontaneously giving away any more £1300 guitars (What was i on), you can expect some more surprises, the gloves are off now it's time to raise the bar again.
After much deliberation we've finally decided on the support band for the tour. The Cooper Temple Clause. Their new single "Let's kill music" and it's accompanying video are excellent. I think along with The Music and The Coral they are one of the most exciting new bands of the last year, and if you look at the list of people who we've had on tour with us ,we ought to know. They are supporting us on all dates apart from Cardiff.
For Cardiff University on the 10th Nov we are looking for a local band to support us. Your band can be newly signed or totally unsigned, as long as you are based in Cardiff. It's a big concert so it could be a real chance for your band. All you need to do is send us a demo with your 3 best songs along with a brief biography and photograph of your band to Embrace at: P O box 7 , Brighouse, HD6 4UR. You need to get the demos in as quickly as you can but no later than 26th of October, in order to give us time to sort things out. If you are reading this and you work for a magazine,website or radio station i would appreciate it if you could give out these details it would be nice to find a great new band. GOOD LUCK!!!
The next single is going to be a rerecorded version of "Make it last". The new version has a kind of rousing grace to it that I'm really proud of. Mick played these really cool harp flourishes on it, i also think i sing it better than the lp version, and if this isn't a contradiction ,it kind of rocks more as well. The other extra tracks on the single are some songs that we've been holding onto for a long time .
Giving Forgiving And Giving In... Was originally going to be the title track of Drawn from Memory, until we wrote DFM. We never really conquered it as a song. I reckon peak period Jackson Five would have pulled it off but not us.
What You've Never Had You'll Never Have... Was written for the fist lp. It was left off when Richard wrote "I Want The World". Again like GFAGI (come on I can't always type in the full titles) it's a bit of an epic. It was written in the same afternoon i wrote Come Back To What You Know. And while it's not as good a song you can definitely see the lineage.
Fight Yer Corner... Has a cool lyric "i'd fight your corner just to save you from yourself" If you'd known how many years i had that line and how many songs I've tried to get it into you'd be as glad as i am that it's finally coming out.
It's You I Make It For... Was one of those "Love It Takes" moments when i wrote it. But the standard of the slower songs was so high for the last lp it had to be left off.
We are also releasing a DVD for the first time. So many people said they wanted us to release some of the secret gig footage that we thought it would be cool. So we picked "Over" "The Good Will Out" and "Make It Last" from sg#6 .If people like it we may put out some more video footage with the next release.
The SG#8/Make It Last video is also on there as well. It was pretty funny phoning people up to tell them that they'd been chosen for the concert. We gave them a pretty gruelling questionnaire and I think they were really surprised when "The Men In Black" bundled them into an unmarked blacked out van at Kings cross. They were then driven to the middle of a massive forest where we dumped them in the pitch black with nothing but camcorders and some supplies. What follows is what happens in the video. In spite of the fact that i had flu and it was absolutley freezing and pissing it down on the night . I reckon the director did a great job of making us all look good. Hopefully they'll show it in it's entirety on MTV but if they don't you get it with the single.
Finally i want to say what a great time me and Mick had doing the Tim Buckley tribute concert at the Royal Festival Hall . Probably the biggest negative of all the next big thing hype we had in the beginning (Good luck Starsailor, good luck Strokes) was that most of the chattering classes formed an opinion on us before we released our first lp. We've kind of grown and got a whole load better since then. I think it's fair to say that we surprised a whole bunch of people and we intend for that to continue over the next few months. Damon from Badly Drawn Boy was cool as well. He managed to condense the whole spirit of his 3hr show into 2 songs , he's a very clever bloke.
I've read too much stuff to list here since i last wrote but Harlan Cobens "Tell No One" is probably the most fun. And the new Spiritualised lp is fucking excellent, especially "Out Of Sight" .
Todays a good day...See ya!!!
You don't get lost in the dark when you shine part 5
Well that has to be the best tour we've ever done. It's the first time I've come home from a tour and felt totally happy with how the band came across. You lot really are the noisiest crowd on the planet. Especially Liverpool and Glasgow at which even the cynical old promoters were speechless. The main stage at T in the park next year i reckon. I even enjoyed playing "Come back to what you know", something i haven't enjoyed in a long time. Over the next few weeks we are going to be filming a lot more footage for the screens so we should have a whole load of new images by the time we start the second leg of the tour in February. I really liked the set we did on this tour but i want to try and change it a bit for the next leg so if there are any favourites you particularly want that we didn't play this time let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org .You can write to me about whatever you want ,i read them all though i don't have the time to reply to most sorry. Please don't send me any spam mail though, my computer can't handle it. Can i just say thanks to everyone for their support. I know it sounds a bit corny but the last few weeks have been among the best of my life. Between now and the next leg of the tour we're going to start working on the next lp. I've already got a handfull of songs i'm really excited about. The tour has been like an adrenaline shot in the arm. Expect to hear more from me about all this very soon. Thanks again. Danny
Happy New Year
Thanks for all the birthday cards and emails, I'm going to have to get a better computer, it took ages to download them all. But thanks a lot. It means a lot. We go into the studio on the 2nd to attend to some unfinished business. I can't say anymore than that at the moment, but expect a lot of news VERY soon. Sorry we didn't do anything special on this board for Christmas but we were busy, all will be revealed soon.
I've been waiting to post this message for a couple of weeks now but it wasn't actually official till yesterday. We've just signed a new record deal with Independiente. I met Andy the boss of Independiente just after he came to see us at the Albert Hall, and of all the people who wanted to work with us he was the nicest. He saw us at that mental T in The Park concert we did a couple of years ago and is a massive fan of the band.
While I've been down in London writing songs for the next lp the rest of the band have been building us a studio. It feels like a fresh start for us. I want to take on the whole fucking world again, and this time that includes America.
If you're a fan of the band today is a day to celebrate.
I'll write on here again soon.
1. What is it about Embrace that you think first appeals to people?
On their debut album, The Good Will Out, they managed to cover epic (All You Good Good People), rock (One Big Family), delicate (No You're Nobody)... And that's what people love - that ability to touch the listener in so many ways. And with their follow up, Drawn From Memory, they did the same but added in some of the fun and funk that was badly missing from TGWO. Look at Save Me - the muppet of a number one that never was. And Over from their third album, If You've Never Been - a huge, complex song, but at the same time it retains that resonance which get straight to the heart of their fans. They always have that extra little personal touch which strikes home with whoever is listening, and that's why they are so loved by their fans.
2. Early on they were often written about as if they were a new Oasis. When and how do you think they shook that tag off to be regarded in their own right?
When Embrace first started out they played off that whole Britpop and Oasis vibe; the fact Danny and Richard are brothers made that easier. People came for that bluster, but they stayed for the emotion, the beauty. When it came down to it, Embrace were nothing like Oasis. They had more range and more creativity. I think that as people listened to The Good Will Out they realised that there was a lot more to this band than rock 'n' roll mad fer it attitude. Oasis could never have done something like That's All Changed Forever - a swirling ballad that swoops through, foregoing verse - chorus - verse for something a lot more compelling. The similarities were always superficial - and Embrace remain relevant today while Oasis plod on with their rehashed albums.
3. They've developed quite the reputation for performing secret/event gigs. Could you share some of your memories of these and say what you think the thinking behind this is?
Looking at the bigger bands around today, they're playing to more than a thousand people at every gig. No matter how good that gig is, it's not going to match being in a tiny space with 50 other people seeing a cracking band play your favourite songs within arm's reach. That's what the Secret Gigs are about - retaining that sense of closeness between the band and the fans. And that's one of the things that makes Embrace special - the fact they are willing to take that extra step for the fans. SG#6 took place in sunny Gloucestershire, in the manor house where they recorded Drawn From Memory. Imagine the songs that you've grown to love being played in a beautiful, intimate setting. Imagine a band who care enough to let you see that. Embrace do.
4. They've endured and remained considered relevant even though a lot of the bands that turned up at the tail end of Britpop (and even since) have struggled to carry on doing that. Why do you reckon that is?
Embrace are one of the few bands that I'm familiar with who have actually managed to progress throughout their career. TGWO and DFM couldn't be more different - the first is serious epics, straight for the heart. Orchestras, overdubs and fourteen tracks. The follow up's first single was Hooligan. Few bands could have released such a brave comeback single. Keyboard player Mickey Dale came to the fore on this album, injecting some killer hooks into a fantastically produced album. And then the third album, much maligned but still damn good. Very chilled, very together. Very different. And now Out Of Nothing, which contains some of the most unexpected twists in the Embrace tale.
5. It's a little while now since they last enjoyed a top ten single, which means there's virtually a whole new generation out there waiting to discover them for themselves. How would you introduce those people to Embrace, and what do you imagine their response'd be?
I could make up a couple of Embrace compilation CDs that would each have a totally different mood, simply because they have that ability to write outside of a particular style. I suppose it helps that the entire band chip in, and that both Danny and Richard write songs, rather than having a single guy leading the path of the band. So I could hand one of these compilation CDs to anyone, and I could be sure they'd like it. Your mum? All the ballads. Rock Chick? One Big Family, Yeah You, New Adam New Eve, a B-side such as Brothers and Sisters. A Beach Boys fan, someone a little more chilled? Hooligan, Save Me, and the B-side Get On Board. Embrace have a fantastic range, and they can appeal to everyone. It's just a matter of getting the word out and getting the music to the people. After that, the hard work is already done.
6. In the early days, Embrace used to talk themselves up to a magnificent degree. Do you think they're still prone to this? If not, why not? And did you prefer it when they were walking around as if it was their world and the rest of us just lived there...?
At their recent Leicester Square Secret Gig, Danny proclaimed that they are the comeback kings. I've also heard him say that Embrace can still be the biggest band in the world. He has his confidence; in fact I think he always had. It's just a little hard to talk about how good you are when few are listening - and that's what happened when Hut stopped giving them such good support for their second and third albums as they did for their debut. They've always known they've had greatness in them, it's just that some people around them couldn't see it. Sometimes I feel that even they couldn't see it. But the producer of Out Of Nothing, Youth, has shown them the door to that greatness. They're taking the first steps through now, and Danny's relieved. He can see that with the support of Independiente and the fans they can do anything. That's why he's becoming more vocal now.
7. Embrace's early rise - from a Fierce Panda limited single to a number one album in slightly over a year - was nothing short of monumental. What would you put that down to? And how do you think they could replicate those early successes today?
I think that Embrace's debut was released at exactly the right time. The sort of music they were making then was perfect for the climate of Britpop - the singalong chorus and the huge string accompaniments and the touching lyrics. When a band catch the public imagination in that way then there's nothing they can't do - Embrace proved that. But the climate is different now, more cynical I think. In order to succeed they've made a great decision - release a trojan horse in the form of Gravity. Lift themselves up on the coat tails of Chris Martin, get a head start and then blow them away with material such as Someday, a gospel soaked epic from their new album, Out Of Nothing. If it's done properly, then Embrace have a better chance to be huge now then they ever have.
8. What difference do you think it'll make to them now that there's something of a Coldplay connection going on?
As I mentioned, the Coldplay association is a great idea. A little cynical, but I think that's necessary. Chris Martin has a knack for writing songs for everyman, which worm their way in and after a few listens, you find yourself whistling them. So I think it's good - I'm all for methods of getting this band the attention they so badly deserve.
9. How do you think they compare to the latest crop of bands that have broken through from the live circuit to the top ten this year (Libertines, Franz Ferdinand, Snow Patrol, Razorlight, Keane, et al)?
The record industry has a tendency to try and hype up the bands that they want to see succeed. Franz Ferdinand, Keane, both have just released really weak albums that are succeeding on hype alone. That's because the public does want this sort of music - they are just starved of quality releases. I think that's where Embrace can fit in. They've managed to create an album in Out Of Nothing that stands head and shoulders above their contemporaries, and when the public are given a chance to see that.... well, it should be plain sailing!
10. And what can you tell us about the new album?
Out Of Nothing... Gravity isn't representative. It's a good track, and a great choice for first single. But the sheer creativity and love that's gone into OON just puts it in a different class. Ashes, the first track on the album sounds like Born To Run combined with Where The Streets Have No Name combined with Pounding by Doves. It's a jaw-dropper. Spell It Out is a Christmas carol, a pop song, a song with a melody and beat and riff that never lets up until the very finish, when you're left wondering what on earth you've just heard that could sound so good. And the title track, Out Of Nothing, is like all of the Embrace songs wrapped into one, and infused with something new. It's the incredible sound of bitterness, and sorrow, and then as the track lulls, as Danny's pitch-perfect voice fades, it's the squall of feedback and the anchoring bass-line that takes the song to somewhere you couldn't imagine... to the sound of optimism, and new ideas, rebirth. It's the sound of Embrace.
Following the announcement that the band's comeback single will be the Chris Martin-penned 'Gravity', Embrace have confirmed the tracklisting of their new album 'Out Of Nothing' as well as a set of tour dates around the release.
Set to kick off in Newcastle on September 29, the tour follows the band's already sold-out show at London's Shepherds Bush Empire (September 3). As previously reported on Xfm Online, the band will release their fourth studio album 'Out Of Nothing' through Independiente on September 13 and will precede it with the single 'Gravity' on August 30.
The band left their former record company Hut after three albums in 2002, before signing to Independiente for the release of 'Out Of Nothing'. The record was produced by Youth, who was also responsible for the group's early hits 'All You Good Good People'and 'Come Back To What You Know'.
The full track listing for 'Out Of Nothing' is as follows:
4. 'Looking As You Are'
5. 'Wish 'Em All Away'
7. 'Spell It Out'
8. 'A Glorious Day'
9. 'Near Life'
10. 'Out Of Nothing'
Newcastle University (September 29)
Glasgow Barrowlands (30)
Manchester Carling Academy (October 1)
Nottingham Rock City (3)
Sheffield University Foundry (4)
Bristol Carling Academy (5)
Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall (7)
Embrace have announced that they will mark the release of their new single ‘Gravity’ by premièring the video on their website today.
The band's comeback single ‘Gravity’ hits shops on August 30. However, to get a sneak peak at the video,
As previously reported on Xfm Online, the song was written by Coldplay's Chris Martin, and Danny McNamara says the song was just what was missing from the album. "There was no out and out love song, something there'd always been in the past. You could say there was a ‘Gravity’-shaped hole waiting to be filled."
Set to kick off in Newcastle on September 29, the band are also set to tour around the release of their fourth studio album 'Out Of Nothing' on September 13.
Embrace show heart to succeed
MAKING an album isn't easy for any band, but for Embrace it's harder than most. For a start they have frontman Danny McNamara's heart condition to worry about.
"I have to take beta blockers when I'm in situations that are likely to involve a lot of adrenalin or stress," explains Danny as the band prepare to release their new album This New Day. "That way I don't end up in casualty."
The condition, called tachycardia, has been a problem since the band started, not only in the spirited atmosphere of the studio, but more particularly on stage when Danny is putting his all into performing for thousands of fans.
"But I've always been like this so I don't know how different things would be," he says. "What I do is not, I suppose, an ideal lifestyle, the amount of adrenalin you get when you're performing.
"But you just deal with it the best way that you can. I can't see myself doing anything else with my life. I feel like I was born to do this. The heart thing is just a part of life, I suppose, I've just got to face it."
In fact the 34-year-old remains remarkably unfazed by his affliction. Even though he realises there's a good chance he won't live past the age of 50, Danny is decidedly untroubled by the thought.
"I know a lot of men with heart conditions tend to die in their 50s and if you make it past your 50s then you're likely to live into your 70s," he says. "But I don't know, I think I'm probably one of the first bunch.
"I'm not planning on living long so I'm enjoying every day as it comes, probably treating life as though it's even more precious than I would if I thought I was going to live longer, which is probably a good thing."
His attitude no doubt helps when spending time in the studio with the band's exacting producer, Martin 'Youth' Glover. Youth is highly respected in the industry thanks to his influential work with the likes of U2, Wet Wet Wet and Texas.
He knows his stuff, and Embrace - also made up of McNamara's younger brother Richard on guitar, Steve Firth on bass, Mick Dale on keyboards, and Mike Heaton on drums - have been put through their paces working with him on the forthcoming This New Day and their previous comeback album Out Of Nothing.
"He just likes to get everything right," says Mike. "Dan will bring lyrics in, and Youth will say they're too this or too that. Danny's not been used to that - before when he finished lyrics they were finished.
"But Youth picks every single part of his performance to pieces and then puts it back together again. They had big fights about it, and sometimes Youth was wrong, but most of the time he was right."
Youth is, in part, responsible for helping Embrace make their triumphant comeback 18 months ago - after three years in the wilderness, Embrace came back with Out Of Nothing and went straight to No 1.
It was also down to one Chris Martin - a friend of the band since Coldplay had supported them back in 2000 - who gave them a song he'd written which he always thought "sounded like Embrace".
Gravity was a huge hit for the band and set them back on the path they'd first started on in 1998 when they went to number one with their debut album The Good Will Out.
Despite (or perhaps because of) Danny's arrogant bluster about his band - "now I'm a little bit more thoughtful about what I say," he admits - the following albums saw diminishing sales, and in 2002 they were dropped. But they decided to carry on.
"There were times when individuals in the band would be really despondent," says Danny. "But we still believed in ourselves and each other. If one or two of us were feeling down at any point then the others would be feeling up. We just carried each other through it."
"It was a very lean period," agrees Mike. "I've got a family and had bills to cover so I was out painting houses and stuff. Steve went out and got a job, as did Mick. We were selling the band's gear to keep the band going."
Now they're fulfilling the promise that many music fans saw in them when they first arrived at the tail-end of Britpop. Tours sell out, album sales of Out Of Nothing are double platinum, and the band are at their most prolific.
"Out Of Nothing took three years to write," says Danny, "and when our record company said they wanted us to go straight back into the studio, just to see what happens, I was running into a corner making a crucifix sign. I wanted a break," he laughs, "but we went in anyway.
"They said not to take in any songs or anything, which was lucky because I didn't have any written, and they said just plug in and play and see what happens. On the first day we got three new songs, and from then on it all just poured out."
The result is This New Day, their most assured and satisfying album to date. So confident are the record company that they have a success on their hands that lead off single Nature's Law is being talked of as a possible number one.
"I'm not even going to let that thought come into my head," laughs Mike. "I'm not saying it won't happen, who knows? But I just can't believe it will."
This wary and philosophical attitude is typical of the band's new attitude. They may be enjoying their most successful period to date, but Embrace aren't taking anything for granted this time.
"We promised ourselves after we got given this second chance that we'd enjoy the ride more," says Danny. "When we first got signed, even though we were successful, we were always looking at what was coming over the hill. This time round we're appreciating things more."
"When we first got signed we expected to do really well," adds Mike. "It was blind naivety - we just thought, we've got signed now, we're going to be number one. Whereas we realise when we look back that we were very lucky to be in that position.
"Now, whenever we get pIssed off with something, which you sometimes do, we just stand back and look at the alternative. Then you go, fair enough. This probably is the best job in the world."
By now, we hope that you've heard the message: Embrace is once again on American shores. This time, not only on CD, but also in person. The gentlemanly Danny McNamara took a few minutes to sit down with David DeVoe and chat about the tour, the new record, the expectations of American audiences and the greatness of the Dave Chappelle Show.
Hybrid Magazine: So, how are things? How's the tour been going?
Danny McNamara: It's going really well. You know, I didn't know what to expect, really. We haven't played in America for all our career as a band… so that's 8, 9 years we've been waiting. We had tours booked for the first album, but then when we got dropped from Geffen, just as "All You Good Good People" became second most added to radio that week, right behind "Intergalactic" by The Beastie Boys… we got dropped and so that tour never happened. Since then, we've always wanted to come out here and ride in a silver single-decker across the desert… which is maroon, incidentally. I'm a bit disappointed by that. I didn't know what to expect… the first little tour we did this year was all sold out and the second tour we did with Snow Patrol, you know, we were received well. And this tour, it's been a mixed bag. Places like Seattle and Portland and San Francisco, it's been sold out. And then places like Reno and Sacramento and stuff like that, it's been about half empty. But the crowds have all been well up to it, and much more than we were expecting. Much more than I was expecting. I was expecting about five men and a dog, which I wouldn't mind if they were all singing along. The crowds have all been great. I was told as well by friends that American crowds are slightly more aloof and a bit cooler than they are in Britain, where it becomes a bit more of a rabble, you know? But that hasn't been the case. I can't really tell the difference.
HM: I think that depends on the band a lot. I think there are certainly shows that it becomes like that, and certainly genres of music that support that kind of deal. I would expect that a bit more with you guys as well, as the music tends to be a bit more subdued at times. But that is very good to hear. I had forgotten that you had gone out with Snow Patrol.
DM: They've become really good friends. I got a text from Gary today, actually. We really hit it off. Sometimes you do with a support band, and sometimes you like them, but they're really not your cup of tea as people, or whatever. But with Snow Patrol, I think we've made some new friends. They're really nice guys.
HM: Are those guys younger than you guys?
DM: I think they're about the same age… spread a bit through the thirties.
HM: It seems to me, in thinking about what I was going to ask someone from Embrace about, you know… When I got the first record, there were a bunch of us on a Catherine Wheel list that kind of discovered you at the same time, and so we always talked about you guys, but it didn't seem like anyone else in the world knew. But looking back, I think that The Good Will Out was the precursor to bands like Coldplay and Snow Patrol. I don't know that that music would have existed in the same form had Embrace not been on the scene already. It draws from other places as well, obviously, but…
DM: I suppose it's uncool for bands to name check really… It's kind of like U2 suffered the same fate until recently. A lot of bands that liked U2 secretly, sort of, are now coming out of the woodwork. But they all speak to me, you know. I understand why they don't like name checkers really… But Chris [Martin] has been really open about it, I think. He's said that we inspired them and they wouldn't have written XYZ if it wasn't for us… Actually, not the album X&Y, I'm just talking a figure of speech. They wouldn't have written this song or that song, had we not been around. They're definitely post-Embrace, or whatever.
HM: Well, that's one of the things I thought about on their first record… Oh, it's Dave Matthews mixed with Embrace. It's a nice fusion…
DM: He came to see us at a gig we did… just about three years before Coldplay got a record deal, and we gave him tinnitus, apparently. And he still blames me for it now.
HM: He's doing just fine with it! You might have helped him out.
DM: Me and him… Again, I mean, he's probably my second best friend in the whole world. He's a truly inspiring human being to be around. He's always, like, all switched on. I imagine that when he's brushing his teeth he does it on one leg to keep it more interesting, you know? And I love being around him, he's just really invigorating to be around. And he kind of looks at me like an older brother or something, he's always asking me for advice. We have a lot of late night chats, and we've written songs together. They're not very good. I suppose if we were to write a good song, it would come out… It's too many chiefs, not enough Indians.
HM: I don't think a lot of people who are just beginning to get into you, from the Snow Patrol gigs and such, are obviously not going to know the history of the band. With Geffen dropping you after The Good Will Out, there were two records, or was it three…
DM: There were two records. Drawn From Memory and If You've Never Been.
HM: Cool, I wanted to make certain I wasn't missing one. When they came out, those of us on this side of the Atlantic, we all had to pay thirty dollars for them, and they were completely worth it.
DM: I know, I know. That's the other weird thing about the gigs as well… We get people chanting for songs off those albums… probably more than songs off the new album.
HM: Well, the new album's not out yet…
DM: Yeah, but… They've all got it already.
DM: They're all in for a shock.
HM: That's a big part of the whole Internet thing. I did the same thing with Drawn From Memory. I couldn't find it here, so I found three or four tracks on the Internet, and then finally…
DM: The website that we've got is really cool, I think. My brother does it, and it's really like… Whenever I want to know what we're doing I just go on there, because it is more up to date than I am. It's a pretty cool website.
HM: There was never a time when Embrace did not exist, right?
DM: Obviously, like when we were kids… but [laughs]
HM: Well, since the band has been going…
DM: Since we formed? Absolutely. Not even for a second.
HM: And with the same set of guys. That's pretty amazing.
DM: Well, we get on pretty well. I think if anything I'm a slight outsider in the band. But no less loved or whatever than anyone else. I don't get up so early like everyone else does, and I don't drink as much as they drink… and I stay out a lot later. I'm single and they all have long-term partners… And, I'm quite intense, and they are all, for the most part, really laid back. But, you know, that's the thing… In the mix, you compare us to most other bands, we're all so down to Earth. Have you ever seen a program called Auf Weider Tzen Pat[?]?
HM: No. [shakes head]
DM: It's this program, these bricklayers go and live in Germany and get this little hostel… It's just like that on the road. We're just all so… it's just a gang of lads going out and having fun. When we're in the studio, we're just like five kids messing about. See what that button does, or what that button does. I don't think technically any of us are very good at what we do compared to… take for instance Long-View. The singer in Long-View is a classically trained guitarist and could run rings around any of us, you know. We're sort of… the technical side of it, and that takes a back seat to: do we get on? And we do. And that's the heart of the band. That's why we are still together. It's like, do I like the guy? Yeah. Can he drum? Well actually he can… but you know, it was in that order.
HM: It's the Neil Young Syndrome. That's what I call it.
DM: A little bit, yeah. I love the album Harvest. The first song on that…
HM: I mean, he can't play guitar, and he can't sing. But he's one of the greatest guitar players and singers of all time.
DM: Absolutely. I completely agree with that. You could say the same about Bob Dylan or Lou Reed, or you know… The ones that are technically good, sometimes actually leave me behind a bit. It's like they're not singing to you, they're singing at you. And I like… I used to sing a lot like Ian McCulloch… I used to do all the inflections and everything. If you had seen us in 1992, you'd have said yeah, I compare them to Joy Division, all those bands… U2. But I sat down with an acoustic guitar and wrote a song called "Retread" and it was just me singing on my own in my bedroom, really quiet so I didn't wake my mom and dad up… and I gave it to my brother on a tape. There were some songs on the other side, the Echo And The Bunnymen ones, and he put the tape in the wrong way around, and heard me writing this song on my own and was like "What's that?". And I told him I'd just been writing this song on my own, and it's not that good. He said, "You what? It's fucking great!" I thought it sounded too country and western, or Tammy Wynette, or too commercial or… something put me off of it. It was too tuneful or something. And he was like, "No, man, we've got to work on this" And that's what became us. I felt like we were something no one else was. It felt quite special at the moment.
HM: Growing up, were you exposed to a lot of American country music?
DM: It's like my mom and dad would always play old Motown and soul and northern soul. Just a lot of American stuff. Beach Boys was in there as well. Never really country western, really. I don't know where that's come from. Some people in the early days said I had a deep voice a bit like Glen Campbell or whatever. And I'd never heard him, and I went and listened to him… and that's a very flattering compliment, to be honest. His voice is amazing.
HM: Yeah, he's the king.
DM: Just stunning, yeah. Particularly on "Wichita Lineman"… and "Galveston" is like, whoa. There's songs in that genre that just take my breath away, but 90% of it leaves me cold. It's all a bit honky tonk, and a bit… it's too kind of rootsy, and it excludes me a bit. Even something like "She" By Gram Parsons or something. You know, it starts out [sings] "She, la la la" and then suddenly it goes dang-da-lang-da or something. Oh! What've you done? You know…
But those beautiful moments where you've got like some white guy singing from the heart. You know, someone like Glen Campbell or Gram Parsons, you know me, I put them in the same sort of ballpark, it's the most beautiful thing you can get as a white person. And then you look at people like Marvin Gaye and Al Green that run rings around us all, but you know, I suppose that's as good as it gets from a white person. I always liked Carole King when she did her stuff. Man, I love Aretha Franklin, but there's something special about the original Carole King versions of some of those songs that she wrote. They were just like… I don't know… Makes me feel more…
HM: I think a lot of people would be surprised by how many of their favourite songs were actually written by Carole King, you know? Because she did write a ton of songs. It's like, every year I discover a new song that I had no idea Bob Dylan had written. Pretty much, without fail, one a year.
DM: Neil Diamond's a funny one for that, as well, actually. [laughs] He did that Monkees song…
HM: Yeah, that surprises people the first time they find that out… So, for me, I'd like to kind of know what part of England you guys are from, because your accent is very northern…
DM: Well, the nearest sort of big town is Leeds. Which is sort of thirty miles east and north of Manchester. And there's loads of little satellite towns around there… We sort of live between a bunch of those small villages. But Leeds is kind of the one that people would know. But whenever anyone in America asks me and I say Leeds, they say "Where's That?"… In England.
HM: Yeah, American geography pretty much knows London and Manchester, and that's it.
DM: Yeah, maybe Edinburgh or something… But we're about 30 miles east of Manchester.
HM: How was it playing in the early 90's, with the whole Manchester scene… musically it's kind of disparate, but with the Happy Mondays, the Charlatans…
DM: Absolutely. The Stone Roses were the kings. Yeah, you know that first album by the Stone Roses is still in my top five albums of all time, even if it weren't for sentimental reasons. They were just… for about a year and a half in that late 80's early 90's thing… completely untouchable. And I think the heights that they reached is equal to Nirvana or any band since, really. They were just absolutely phenomenal. And any band that was coming up at that time hoped that they had even a small percentage of what they had. They were just an amazing band. And the Happy Mondays… Shaun Ryder is just a fantastic lyricist. Fair enough, he has a certain amount of freedom because he doesn't really sing melodies, he kind of raps, and so that gives you the freedom to kind of do what you want… but not a lot of people use that. Particularly in rap. A lot of rap acts just tell you how good they are in their lyrics. The best ones don't, you know? But a lot of them do. And Shaun Ryder kind of invented this new style of rap, really. A Manchester rap style, really, that no one has copied because it's so unique, you'd just get called a copy of him. He's such a one-off. And then the other bands, great bands like James, Inspiral Carpets, and Charlatans, that you mentioned, that whole thing. But even before that it was like New Order, Echo And The Bunnymen, Joy Division…
HM: All that Factory Records stuff.
DM: Yeah. The Smiths… you know, Manchester and the north of England, most of my favourite bands are from there. There's really only U2 that I'd add to that mix, really.
HM: I always kind of placed Manchester as kind of the Motown of Great Britain.
DM: To a certain extent, you know, if you'd say what's the musical capital of England? It would either be Manchester, or because of the Beatles, Liverpool. But you would probably say Manchester.
HM: I would definitely say Manchester.
DM: Yeah, I think that's probably right. And there's great towns in England… you know, Glasgow's a fantastic music town, and Leeds is becoming one now. Manchester's still really cool. It's kind of funny because London, til the Libertines came along, was always seen as a place you kind of go if you want to be a press darling. And then the Libertines came along with so much heart in what they did… There's nothing about them really, but something… people have taken them to their hearts, you know.
HM: They're just a very good, solid rock band.
DM: They're just really true, I think. And I really like that thing again, that's like bands that are technically not the best songwriters or whatever… just what they had was so good. It's a shame they're not together any longer.
HM: Okay, you guys have the new record coming out… So, what are the plans? Obviously, you're touring for this record…
DM: We're going to keep coming back. We finish this tour in a few weeks and then we're in England for about two weeks recording album number five, and then we're back here for about another month. Then we've got about two weeks off, probably mixing album five, and then back here for another six weeks. We're doing the VH1 tour; we're headlining it with Turin Brakes…
HM: That should be amazing. That new Turin Brakes album is very good, as well. They're another band that should by no means be popular. They're a weird band with a weird singer, but whatever that chemistry is, they've got it figured out… So, the fifth record is written?
DM: Yeah. We're about 70% of the way finished with it now. I think we still need to do a bit more writing. It's already sounding more immediate than the last one. It's going to be a good one for playing live, cause it's a lot more kind of jumping up and down, drums and guitars. It's quite raw as well. It's quite exciting really; we started writing songs as a band towards the end of the sessions for the last album. "Out Of Nothing" and "Near Life" were both written that way, but they were only sort of prototypes. On this album, 90% of it's written by the band as a whole, and we've really hit our stride. It's really exciting.
HM: So previously, songs were written by…
DM: Me and Richard.
HM: And then taken to the band and see what happens.
DM: Yeah, jam it out and see what happens. But these have all just come from scratch, just with the band, and they sound a lot more inspired… a lot more varied as well. Also, a lot more original sounding… a lot more sort of pushing the envelope a bit. But no less tuneful, which is kind of a surprise to everybody, including our record company. They want us to try to put it out this year, because they think there are some good singles. Our record company says you've got all the singles, they just want us to tally up the album so they can sell it. But I want the album to be the best album we've ever made, and it's going to take a bit more than two weeks in between tours to get there.
HM: So was Out Of Nothing a longer process?
DM: Three Years. We wrote over 500 songs and picked the best fifteen. And then eventually narrowed it down to the best ten… and eventually lost one of them to put "Gravity" on. And the song that we lost, a song called "Everytime That I See your Face"… I think that Aimee Mann might do it, actually. She's said she wants to work with us, and so we sent her that song. That's a bit of an exclusive, actually, since I only found out this week. We're doing this thing called the Forest Sessions, which is going to involve collaborations with other bands and stuff. Hopefully, she's going to get involved in that. Magnolia is a fantastic album… except for the three tracks by someone else. [laughs]
HM: She's pretty amazing.
DM: Yeah, she is. She name checked us as one of her top ten albums of last year. And so I wrote her a letter asking if she wants to work with us and she wrote back saying yes. It should be good. I always wanted to hear one of our songs sung by a beautiful female voice.
HM: Well, you can't pick a much better voice than that.
DM: Yeah. Well, if not Sinead O'Connor… Aimee Mann will have to do. [laughs]
HM: well, since Sinead's kind of tied up doing the family thing…
DM: Yeah, Sinead O'Connor's busy. [laughs] It's a fucking honour, really. I'm very flattered. When our manager sent me the email, it changed my week.
HM: Well, that's pretty fantastic. I know people that would kill for that… or be killed for it, either way. What have you guys been listening to on the bus this tour?
DM: We actually haven't really been listening to music very much. We've been watching the Chappelle Show… We've got it on DVD, and we've just been working our way through that from start to finish, because we'd never seen it before. And it's fantastic… truly amazing. I hope it comes to Britain.
HM: We'll wrap up with this: If you could tell the world one thing about Embrace, what would it be?
DM: Hmmm. That's a really good question. I've never been asked that before. The whole world gets to know one thing about us… it would have to be something like, check us out, you might like it! [laughs] because anything else sounds arrogant… You're addressing the whole planet. I'd probably want to talk about something else if I was addressing the whole planet. I'd get them all to hold hands… I don't know. I think if you see us live, you get it. I think we've hit certain heights on records, but when we play live it kind of all makes sense. If I was going to be selfish, I would say come check us out live.
Embrace To Replace Jet At V Festival
added 20 August 2004 at 12.46
Following the announcement that Jet have been forced to pull out of the ninth annual V Festival due to a family death, Embrace have agreed to step in last minute.
As previously reported, Jet were forced to pull out of this weekend’s UK festival appearance at V2004 due to the death of the father of the band’s brothers Nic and Chris Cester.
While initial reports claimed there would be no replacement band, Xfm can now announce that Embrace will be stepping up to fill the slot left by the Aussie rockers.
This is one more incident that will see Embrace returning to the public eye after two years in the record company-less wilderness. Having been donated their forthcoming single new ‘Gravity’ by Coldplay’s Chris Martin, their new album ‘Out of Nothing 'will be released on September 13.
For an exclusive interview with Embrace singer Danny McNamara click here.
Last night (August 26) saw hundreds of fans and bemused onlookers turn out for an unannounced ‘guerrilla gig’ from Embrace right outside Xfm’s offices in Leicester Square in central London. And Xfm Online was there to bring you an exclusive interview with the band.
Following an anonymous tip-off, Xfm ventured out into Leicester Square last night for an impromptu set from comeback kings Embrace. The band strolled into the square shortly before 6:30pm brandishing instruments and proceeded to form a ring around singer Danny McNamara. Danny then lead the crowd through a half hour, five-song acoustic set standing on a box and singing through an amplifier hanging around his neck.
“Well, as a band, we started all this guerrilla gigging way back,” Danny told Xfm. “And so we decided we’d do another one. I just can’t believe we pulled it off. We’ve wanted to do one in London for ages, so we picked Leicester Square as it’s somewhere everybody knows. And what a buzz, we pulled it off.”
Beginning with ‘All You Good Good People’, the band continued with forthcoming single ‘Gravity’ releasing a hundred white balloons skyward as the song reached its climax. They followed this with a rapturously received ‘Come Back To What You Know’ and new track ‘Wish Em All Away’ causing Danny to announce,
“Who’d have thought we’d still be here doing this, eh? I bet all the rest of these people [in the square] think we’re here for the premiere of The Village. But we’re not – We’re Embrace – The Comeback Kings!”
However disaster struck during ‘Wish Em…’ as Square security arrived to disperse the crowd. In no mood to leave, the crowd urged the band on with chants of “One more tune "and they complied (under the watchful eye of the security) with a rousing version of ‘The Good Will Out’. Just as Her Majesty’s finest began to descend in a panda car.
It was at this point Embrace decided the best way to avoid the Law and the assembled crowds would be to make a dash for the Xfm offices and began hammering on the locked doors to be let in…
“The police arrived in a car half way through with all their sirens going,” Danny continued as various band members hang out of windows waving to fans, “And they want to interview us afterward but I don’t think they minded really – we were spreading the love, we didn’t want any trouble.
“We’ll be doing some more like this in the near future including one you’ll need your passport for,” he hinted. “We can’t say any more than that, but the best way to find out more is to go to www.embrace.co.uk. It’s so good even I go there to find out what we’re doing next! We have about 15 crazy ideas for every one we use, like we’re trying to do one under water, 10,000 leagues beneath the sea where all the fish are fluorescent. I bet the police’ll still turn up in their little yellow submarine though, won’t they?”
Embrace officially release the single ‘Gravity’ on August 30, followed by their new album ‘Out Of Nothing’ on September 13, both on Independiente Records
Following the success of the band's comeback album 'Out Of Nothing' and the Chris Martin-penned single 'Gravity', Embrace have confirmed they will be heading back out on the road in early 2005 for more UK shows.
Embrace have announced plans for an 8-date headline tour of the UK kicking off in Newcastle on February 23 before winding up in London on March 5.
The band will release the infectiously upbeat 'Ashes' as a second single from the album 'Out Of Nothing' on November 15 backed with the tracks 'Maybe I Wish' and 'Flaming Red Hair' on the flip-side.
Newcastle City Hall (February 23)
Doncaster Dome (25)
Carling Apollo Manchester(26)
Leicester De Montford Hall (28)
Wolverhampton Civic Hall (March 1)
Cambridge Corn Exchange (2)
Portsmouth Guild Hall (3)
Brixton Carling Academy (5)
As Embrace come back with their best material ever, I Like Music caught up with Embrace's guitarist Richard McNamara to talk Gravity, gifts and great music.
''I like music because... it gives me something to do in the day.'' Richard McNamara, Embrace
Embrace have always taken the organic approach to songwriting. They believe in writing what comes naturally. And what comes naturally are songs that are life affirming, heartfelt and all embracing. These themes have remained a constant throughout Embrace’s career and hence it’s no surprise that they recur once more on the band’s latest album out in September.
Heralding the album’s release is debut single Gravity, a song that bears all the hallmarks of a Danny McNamara composition.
Expressive, panoramic in scope and featuring McNamara’s most powerfully emotive vocal to date, Gravity would sit comfortably alongside any one of Embrace songs. And yet it was written by Coldplay singer and songwriter Chris Martin. The decision to record another artist’s song might seem surprising were it not for a long standing friendship between Martin and McNamara dating back to when Coldplay supported Embrace at the Blackpool Empress Ballroom in 2000.
Danny and Chris Martin are quite close friends. The first time we ever heard Gravity it was played down the phone. Danny got a phone call Chris and he said 'Dan, I've written a song and played it to Danny, and the next day Danny came into the studio and told us about it. And we asked what it was like. Usually you're in a critical frame of mind just as part of the creative process, and he said, 'It's absolutely amazing'. So we were like, back to the drawing board then? He played us the song and I said 'It sounds quite a lot like Embrace to me,' and Danny said, 'That's what Chris said' (it was written three or four years ago) and we thought no more about it, until about a month before we'd finished recording the album.
Chris came down to the studio to hear what we were up to and catch up with Danny. And he sat at the piano and started playing some new songs off the next Coldplay album and we said, 'Play Gravity' and he played it and we were like, 'wow, that's a great single man' and he said 'yeah' and then about a week before we finished the album, he rang Danny up and said 'Danny, do you want Gravity?'
So he came to the rest of the band and we weren't sure, we don't do covers, it's not really what you do in the Indie fraternity or whatever. I don't think we should do it. So we all went home that night, came in the next day and thought, hold on a minute, and thought it's an enormous gift.
The way that we did it was, we had a download of it from a gig in Dusseldorf where Chris played it on the piano and there's this chord that I managed to put over it in the middle of the chorus that has a dissident sound to it, like the Death Star's tractor beam, that Gravity kind of sound, that's one of my proudest moments, smiles Richard.
Chris Martin originally wrote the song for Coldplay but as it developed it became clear to him that the song might be better suited to Embrace. As Chris explains, “We’ve always loved Embrace and Danny is one of my best friends. When we wrote Gravity we thought it sounded far too much like them for us, but not too much like them for them, so I asked Danny if he wanted the song and that was that.”
On hearing the song, Danny felt it was just what was missing from the album. “There was no out and out love song, something there’d always been in the past.” he says, “You could say there was a Gravity shaped hole waiting to be filled”. And whilst he admits to some reservations about covering some one else’s song he’s had to concede that Gravity sounds like “the best ballad I never wrote”.
So how did the arrangement with Oxfam via BigNoiseMusic.com come about?
To be honest it all came in an email to us as an opportunity and we jumped at it, explains Richard. The whole thing with the song is that it was a gift from Chris - and a big gift if you know how hard songs are to write. Maybe three times a year you'll get a great song and he passed one over to us, so it kind of felt good to be giving something back really.
As a band you project a way of life to people and a willingness to be charitable, and go out of your way to be thankful for what you're given. I don't want to get too soapboxy about it, but it feels good what we're doing.
The new album Out Of Nothing is out on Independiente on Sept 13th and features some of Embrace's best material yet. It took three years to write and 3 months to record with Youth, and they had some fun laying down the tracks.
Near Life was the most fun to make because it was just a jam, recalls Richard. We didn't spend weeks pouring over writing it. We just went into the studio. Youth played us a couple of songs he thought we should play around with and we went from one bit to the other, got pretty caned and just went in there and did it, and he came back in and was like, 'wow'. So it's got a nice rock sound to it.
And Embrace have made sure there are plenty of all-embracing anthems and live hits on the new album.
My favourite track to play live? Well, we haven't actually done the song that I think is gonna be my favourite, and that's Ashes. I think we're going to start the next tour with it. There's a band called Cloud Dead - a west coast US hip hop band, very original and they've got this sound on the end of their album which is like this massive white noise, but it's ultra major, it sounds like it's God screaming at you it's so noisy, and the intention is we think to come on to that and kind of build it up ourselves and kind of augment it and go mad, and Ashes is a four to the floor song and Mike's going to give us like eight kicks and we're going to come in with this tune. So I'm kind of living in a daydream of what we're going to do and how that's going to feel and I'm so looking forward to playing Ashes, and I've never really felt like that about a song before.
When we spoke, Rich was also looking forward to playing V festival that coming weekend - a last minute replacement to Jet, who sadly had to pull out of the festival when a family member passed away.
I got a phone call from Danny last night at 10pm and he said 'Rick you're busy this weekend! 'And I just thought he meant more phone interviews and press or another rehearsal and he said, 'We're doing V mate.' But, because we've just done two days rehearsing this is the last one before we go on our promo tour, so we're ultra ready for it and just can't wait.
[Embrace went down a storm at V and dedicated a track to Jet - see our V2004 review link below.]
Of course, this is second time around for the mighty Embrace, who've encountered some major obstacles, including being dropped by their Virgin label, [boo!] despite being makers of incredibly brilliant music.
We found ourselves without a deal and kind of rapidly running out of money, so we thought, right, what are we going to do? explains Rich.
We can either turn over and die or we can get back up on the scene, we know we've got more music in us, we know we can make a better album than we've ever made before, so we built a studio. So we overcame it through positivity rather than lying down and taking it. And now it's like being a new band again, which adds fuel to the fire.
We could have signed the deal and the label could have asked us to get the album together in a year to make their money back, but Martin Macdonald at the label he knew we had a classic album in us and our best music in us and wanted us to make the definitive Embrace album, so he said to us, 'however long it takes is however long it takes, there's no compromising.'
So three years we've spent toiling over this record, and it's really paying off, as we're getting such a good response from it we're loving it.
When we started and got the new deal we spent a few months working out what we were gonna sound like, like a band in room, like a U2 garagey five-piece, rather than the big production sound. So we kind of endeavoured to write the songs like that and make them sound effortless, although it took a year to write them, not effortless one bit. We spent only 12 weeks recording it though, which is the fastest album we've ever done.
The songs that we took to the studio were massively different from how they've turned out, and that's all down to Youth's genius really, so a big thanks to Youth for that one.
So what advice does Richard have for young artists coming through?
Enjoy it to the max. The thing about us - our first album we got signed and we were straight to doing press and radio and TV and all this attention, and we just thought to ourselves, 'oh this must be what happens to signed bands, but it's not what happens to signed bands, it's what happens to good bands. So on this new album we've had such a really warm positive response from so many people, we're feeling that new band buzz, and we can appreciate better this time round. Now we want to do everything and are keener than before when we'd get a press invite and think, oh no!
Embrace have been around since 1997 so have seen the music industry change for good and bad, so what does Rich think is good about the music industry in 2004?
Our albums coming out :) But seriously, the best thing about the music industry is you can't relax. In some countries you can have a record out and that record will last you for ten or fifteen years because you're the guy that did that record people come to your gigs. The US is a bit like that, but in the UK you've got to be on your toes, there's no let up, no relaxation, you've always got to be on top of your game, and that's the best thing about the music industry.
There's a fast turnover of new bands and new talent and everyone's vying for space and it produces a competitive, creative feel.
The band certainly enjoy the creative process and know that quality needs to be high to compete in the modern day chart.
We'll write songs with a band and we'll have 10 or 20 songs each and we'll kind of all go through them all and put them down to DAT, explains Richard of the Embrace music-making process.
After a couple of weeks of that we'll go away back into the writing process, and meanwhile listening back to the stuff we've got so far and making a shortlist of what's good. And once the songs have gone on to the A list (out of lists A, B and C) then we start looking at them more seriously, so I'll try to write some guitar lines and Mick'll start trying to write string or keyboard parts, and everyone will be consciously thinking about those songs so when we come to work on them again we can do really good versions of them.
The quality control bar is right up there. We know how good we've got to be, we know we're not competing against local bands but against international bands, because this isn't battle of the bands anymore. But when you're a young band that's your mentality. When you write a good song it's so quick between writing it and you being on at the Grammy Awards ceremony, and it's so fast, so that's where you're aiming.
Q&A Richard McNamara - Embrace Guitarist
Q: What's the best and worst thing about your brother Danny?
A: The best thing about Danny is he's a very loyal, loving, honest, open, emotional guy and the worst thing about Danny is the same list but for different reasons.
Q: Describe your favourite place on earth?
A: The place I'd most like to be at the moment is New York City, because my brother in law lives over there. But when I'm not at home, obviously my favourite place is home. I'm a bit of a homeboy really and I like my home comforts.
Q: What's in your CD right now?
A: I'm playing our album more than any album I've ever played actually, which is a good sign. I really like the White Stripes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. My favourite band is the Flaming Lips, I like U2. I've also bought the latest Metallica DVD Cunning Stunts and I've actually got this new Avril Lavigne album that I really like. It might seem a strange choice to some people, but she's consistently good.
Q: What is your favourite tune to make you... smile?
A: Voodoo Child by Jimi Hendrix, because his guitar playing is audacious and cheeky. Or White Is On The Moon by Gill Scott Eran. I was listening to that with my brother the other night and I was cracking up. It's not meant to be funny though.
Q: What is your favourite tune to make you... relaxed?
A: I don't generally listen to music to chill out, that's not the reason I listen to music. To chill out I just put the TV on and veg. But mellowing out music... the Joshua Tree I guess.
Q: What is your favourite tune to make you... dance?
A: Some metal track or Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Following their long established tradition of playing guerrilla gigs in the most unlikely of places (caves, town centres, fields, shed, buckets) Embrace played a gig this week inside the Big Brother House. And Xfm has the pictures…
Three days ago a group of Embrace fans who’d accessed the bands secret gig website, received a message saying “Meet in the Enigma pub near Elstree and Boreham Wood Station at 5.30pm on Tuesday October 26. And wear dark clothes.”
That evening the band arrived at the pub to meet the fans who accompanied them in a blacked out transit van and whisked them to a Big Brother house site. After pretending that they were illegally breaking into the site (cutting through the padlocked gates with bolt cutters, sneaking into the house, setting off the alarms etc) the band revealed they had been given exclusive use of the house for the evening.
After a short tour of the house, the band then set up and played a seven song set of‘ Someday’, ‘Gravity’, ‘Come Back To What You Know’, ‘Ashes’, ‘All You Good, Good People’, ‘Wonder’ and an encore (prompted by the Big Brother voice itself) of ‘The Good Will Out.’
Embrace will release 'Ashes' as a second single from the album 'Out Of Nothing' on November 6 backed with the tracks 'Maybe I Wish' and 'Flaming Red Hair'.
Embrace’s Danny McNamara has been speaking exclusively to Xfm about his plans for the bands most impressive and potentially dangerous guerrilla gigs to date, plus news of an Embrace DVD expected before Christmas.
Following on from their recent secret gig for fans in the Big Brother house, and a series of surprise busking gigs in town centres, it appears Embrace are in the process of planning two more performances in unlikely places.
“The next ones?” singer Danny McNamara exclaimed when Xfm asked him exactly what the band has in mind, “Well, I think we’re gonna do something around Christmas time, but it’s gonna be in a totally different style, they’re not gonna be like the other ones.
“And in the New Year we've started planning our most ambitious gig yet. I can’t believe we’re gonna try to pull it off and we’ve got to sort out all the security concerns first, but when that’s sorted, it’ll take place in February or January next year. That’ll be the big one, that’ll be the one we won’t be able to top.
“I’m not sure if it’ll come off, but it’s looking more likely than not right now, there are security issues we have to address, and that’s all I’m going to say. The best way that people can pick up the trail is through our website. That’s where you can find out about where these things will happen.”
McNamara also gave some secret information away, when he mentioned that after the success of Embrace’s recent comeback album ‘Out Of Nothing’ the band are planning an impending DVD release.
“We’re doing lots of mixing for a DVD that we’re putting out around Christmas time, if we get it all done in time. [it’ll include] all the guerrilla gigs and stuff. I don’t want to talk about it too much as it’s all a bit of a secret, but our Richard [McNamara – guitarist] is working on it as we speak.”
Comeback kings Embrace have announced they will being playing their biggest ever headline show in May. The event, under the banner ‘A Glorious Day’ (see what they did there?), will feature the band and a host of guests playing in Leeds town centre.
Embrace have confirmed they will be playing a special open air show in Leeds Millennium Square on Saturday May 28. The event will run from 4:30pm and will feature a full supporting bill to be announced nearer the time.
Commenting on the gig singer Danny McNamara said, "We've always wanted to put on a big open air gig in Leeds but we've never really been in a position to do it before. We want to make it a really special day and one to remember for our fans."
Tickets are priced £20 (plus booking fee) and go on general sale from 10am this Friday (February 4). Following this time, click here for availability.
Embrace release a third single ‘Looking As You Are’ from their ‘Out Of Nothing’ LP on February 14.
Embrace have confirmed the collection of promising up-and-coming newcomers who will join them as support for their pair of Glorious Day events. The gigs take place in May in Leeds City Centre and kick off at 4:30pm on each day.
Embrace have announced the bands who'll be supporting them for their Glorious Day shows in Leeds Millennium Square on the weekend of May 28 and 29.
The Saturday has support from The Ordinary Boys, The Subways, Hard-Fi, and local band Anechoic, while on Sunday Danny and co. will be propped up by Thirteen Senses, Longview, Engineers, and Infrasound.
Saturday's gig is sold out, but tickets for the Sunday are still available priced at £20.
Singer Danny McNamara said: "We’ve always wanted to put on a big open air gig in Leeds but we’ve never really been in a position to do it before. We want to make it a really special day and one to remember for our fans."
Clearly not interested in waiting for more hand-outs from Chris Martin, Embrace have revealed they considered giving up (again), but instead have written a new album in just over a week. Despite saying they’d never top ‘Out Of Nothing’, ‘Exploding Machines’ will apparently render their back-catalogue obsolete. Strong words, Mr. McNamara…
Embrace have confirmed they have a new album in the pipeline entitled ‘Exploding Machines’ recorded in just over a week during a recent recording session in Spain.
Writing on the band’s website, singer Danny McNamara explained,
“When we finished our last album I really thought it was going to be our last. We were really proud of what we'd done but ultimately I thought it was too late for us. Bands rarely get a second chance. But this year has been without doubt the best the band have ever had.
“I said when we finished ‘Out Of Nothing’ that we wouldn't make a better album. I didn't know how we were going to be able to do it. After spending three years hunched over an acoustic guitar I couldn't face a blank page again. Just as we were at our most successful I was seriously considering giving it all up.
“So when Andy our label man said that we should go into Youth's studio in Spain and start album five I wished I lived on the moon. I've no idea what happened in Spain but basically we wrote most of the album in nine days.
“For the first time in my life I felt like I was born to do this. In those nine days we started writing as a band and something changed. I won't go on about what it sounds like, it's too easy for bands to say the newest thing they've done is their best. But what I will say is that in nine days we've rendered almost all our back catalogue obsolete.”
Embrace play Alexandra Palace on Thursday December 15. Tickets for the gig are available from the Xfm Xchange on
Embrace are set to mark the release of their first live DVD with a special signing session in London on Monday (November 7).
The band will be appearing at Oxford Street's Virgin Megastore to put their signature to 'A Glorious Day - Live In Leeds' from 6pm.
Filmed at the city's Millennium Square gigs earlier this year, the DVD includes all the band's hit singles and most popular album tracks performed in front of an ecstatic sold out crowd.
A limited edition digipack that also includes a special three track audio CD from the concert and an exclusive poster will be available for a short time.
The full track listing on the DVD runs:
'All You Good Good People'
'Looking As You Are'
'Wish 'Em All Away'
'New Adam New Eve'
'Come Back To What You Know'
'Out Of Nothing'
'A Glorious Day'
'The Good Will Out'
Bonus features include original videos for 'Gravity', 'Ashes', 'Looking As You Are' and 'A Glorious Day', a behind the scenes documentary and interview, a fan film and a hidden "Easter egg".
Embrace round off their most successful year to date by playing their biggest headline gigs ever in December.
Dates are as follows:
London's Alexandra Palace (December 15)
Manchester Evening News Arena (16)
GLASGOW SECC (17)
The question that was glossed onto everybody's lips like Bet Lynch lippy, was can the down to earth Yorkshireman pull it off in front of a large crowd in an arena? The early utilization of the steady and favourite 'All You Good, Good People' embodied the crooning spirit and uplifting nature of the band and it rubbed off on the crowd early on.
Despite teething technical difficulties that had the amps cackling at each other, as if to say; "what the f*@k are we doing here?" The Danny McNamara led quintet fought off these Gremlins to produce a vibrant and heartfelt version of 'Someday' from the gripping 'Out Of Nothing' album. This song gave the first impression that they may just pull it off in a strange surroundings for them, as no matter what people say about Embrace, no one can claim that they don't put heart and soul into everything they do.
Not content to rest on their laurels having managed to bag a gig in a venue that Danny himself thought would never be possible for a band like Embrace, it turns out that this has given the band renewed vigour. They proudly paraded a new number; 'No Use Crying' that was as frenetic as Embrace get, serving as one of many examples of tight and faultless guitar stroking from Richard McNamara. The Chris Martin penned 'Gravity', featured catchy angelic imagery on the monitors to create a serene mood to a peaceful song. Another new offering 'Nature's Law' that was doused in Manchunian influences from the Smith's to the haunted cries of Ian Brown; implying that the doomsayers may have a little longer to wait before they see the end of Embrace.
Everyone rose up in the encore for 'Ashes' that saw 10,500 people yelling with all their might, to visibly touch the humble Mr. McNamara. The floating and sombre 'The Good Will Out' put a lid on one of the most important and dare I say it: successful evenings in Embrace's intriguing career.
Embrace have announced their plans for a summer open-air tour of the UK.
The band, who this week play the biggest headline shows of their career with sold out arena dates at London’s Alexandra Palace (December 15), Manchester MEN Arena(16) and Glasgow SECC (17), have announced a series of massive open-air gigs across the UK in June 2006.
In conjunction with the Forestry Commission, the group will be performing seven outdoor shows in forest locations across the UK next summer.
Singer Danny McNamara said: “We’ve played in some unusual places over the last few years; caves, beaches, even the 'Big Brother' house. But next year we’re trying something special even for us. In the past we’ve done secret gigs in forests giving the fans a map reference so they can find us, but these gigs are on a much bigger scale, they are going to be something else.”
He added: “The new album will be out by then and it gives us a great opportunity to play our new songs in really spectacular settings.”
Embrace will play:
Suffolk Thetford Forest (June 10)
Kent Bedgebury Pinetum (11)
Gloucestershire Westonbury Arboretum (16)
Cheshire Delamere Forest (17)
Nottingham Sherwood Pines Forest Park (23)
Staffordshire Cannock Chase Forest (24)
Yorkshire Dalby Forest (25)
Embrace have finished recording their new album 'Exploding Machines'.
The band, who celebrated the launch of their first live DVD 'A Glorious Day - Live in Leeds' with an instore signing in London (November 7) yesterday, are currently in the process of mixing the follow-up to their 2004 comeback album 'Out Of Nothing'.
No release date has been set for the LP yet but fans can get a taster of what is to come when they play four dates in the UK in December.
Drummer Mike Heaton told XFM: "The new album’s recorded and it’s being mixed. The rest of the band are down in London finishing mixing it. And we’ll be definitely playing some of the new stuff [on the tour] in December. We’ll play a few warm-up dates and some of the new tracks and see which ones fit best, and then we’ll play those at the arena dates."
Hold the front page and wipe those tears from your eyes. despite the national media storm, Danny from Embrace called Xfm in Manchester this morning to clear up the rumours surrounding the band's mooted split.
Early this morning various radio stations and websites reported the news that indie stalwarts Embrace would be splitting following their next album. However, frontman Danny McNamara called Xfm Manchester to set the record straight.
Apparently his quotes were taken out of context and, in news that will make Embrace fans leap for their copies of 'This New Day', confirmed the band aren't splitting.
Hear the whole interview with Xfm Manchester Breakfast's Sunta Templeton and DJ Adam Cole right here:
Embrace split exclusive Singer Danny tells 6 Music: "Next album is our last"21 Sept 06 - Embrace are planning to split after the next album, 6 Music can exclusively reveal.
Frontman Danny McNamara told us the shock news just a couple of hours before he and the band were due to take the stage at Hull City Hall tonight (Thur) - kicking off the first night of their latest UK tour.
Speaking on the phone from the venue, he said:
"I think our next album will be our last ever album. If we get as far as making it and finishing it, I want it to be a masterpiece and I want to take as long as it takes."
"I think our next album will be our last ever album."
Danny, Embrace singer
He added: "We've worked solidly since I was 17 - that's half my life - and I've done nothing except look at the bigger picture. I haven't stopped to smell the flowers along the way at all. I spend all my time cooking and not eating and I just want to spend a bit of time doing that."
Danny said he has other plans in the pipeline, which he "didn't want to talk about". But he did hint that it's likely to be outside the music world.
He also cut short any suggestion that the likely spilt was due to tensions within the group:
"I wouldn't want to make music without the band. They are my best friends. They are the reason I have stayed in the business for so long. They are just beautiful people."
Embrace are currently riding the second wave of success, having first topped the charts back in 1998 with The Good Will Out. The following two records were poorly received among critics, despite both making the Top 10, and the band were then dropped from their label.
They returned with their fourth album, 2004's Out Of Nothing, which topped the charts. They repeated this success with their current record This New Day, followed by two Top Three singles, Nature's Law and World At Your Feet - the official 2006 England World Cup anthem.
Embrace released new single Target last week, which reached 29 in the charts.
Full tour dates:
Hull, City Hall - 21 Sept
Norwich, WEA - 22
Cambridge, Corn Exchange - 23
Cardiff, University Great Hall - 24
Exeter, Great Hall - 26
Bristol, Colston Hall - 27
London, Hammersmith Apollo - 29
Folkestone, Leas Cliff Hall - 2 Oct
Brighton, Dome - 3
Portsmouth, Guildhall - 4
Reading, Hexagon - 6
Derby, Assembly Rooms -8
Carlisle, Sands Centre - 9
Glasgow, Academy - 10
Manchester, Apollo - 13/14
Blackburn, King George's - 15
Leicester, De Montford Hall - 16
Birmingham, Academy - 18
Newcastel, Academy - 19
Middlesbrough, Town Hall - 20
Liverpool, University - 22
Doncaster, Dome - 23
Embrace are to release their new album in April.
‘This New Day’, the Youth-produced follow-up to 2004’s chart-topping ‘Out Of Nothing’, is released on April 3. It’s preceded by a single, ‘This New Day’, on March 20.
The tracklisting is:
‘No Use Crying’
‘You Will Hit the Target Every Time’
‘I Can’t Come Down’
‘Even Smaller Stones’
‘The End Is Near’
‘This New Day’
The band celebrate the release of the album with a Scottish tour, calling at:
Oban Corran Halls (April 8)
Stirling Albert Halls (9)
Dundee Fat Sams (10)
Aberdeen Music Hall (12)
Glasgow Barrowland (13)
Edinburgh Corn Exchange (14)
Rock band Embrace will perform the official World Cup song for England later this year, capping a remarkable resurrection for a band who were on the brink of obscurity.
It is almost a decade since rock band Embrace first emerged with their epic indie anthems.
After stints of success and despair, they have now established themselves in UK music's premier league.
They have fought their way back to the top after being dropped in 2002 and have released a new single, Nature's Law, currently at number two.
"We promised ourselves after we got given this second chance that we'd enjoy the ride more," singer Danny McNamara says.
The band's first spell of success came in the late 1990s, thanks to anthems such as One Big Family, All You Good Good People and Come Back To What You Know. But their popularity waned and they were dropped in 2002.
"There were times when individuals in the band would be really despondent," says front man Danny McNamara.
"But we still believed in ourselves and each other.
"If one or two of us were feeling down at any point then the others would be feeling up. We just carried each other through it."
The members of Embrace were forced to find work after their label dropped them from their roster four years ago.
"It was a very lean period," says drummer Mike Heaton.
"I've got a family and had bills to cover so I was out painting houses and stuff." Keyboardist Mick Dale and bassist Steve Firth also got jobs.
"We were selling the band's gear to keep the band going," Mike says.
[[PASTING TABLES IS NOT SUPPORTED]]
But they returned to the Top 10 when Coldplay's Chris Martin wrote their 2004 comeback single, Gravity.
They started writing their latest album, This New Day, straight after they finished recording their double platinum-selling disc Out Of Nothing.
Danny did not want to go straight back to the studio, but their label asked them to "plug in and play", he says.
"On the first day we got three new songs, and from then on it all just poured out."
As Embrace singer Danny McNamara is recording and performing, he knows too much adrenalin or stress could be dangerous for his heart.
He takes beta blockers to combat a condition called tachycardia, an abnormally fast heart rate.
"What I do is not, I suppose, an ideal lifestyle, the amount of adrenalin you get when you're performing," he says.
"But you just deal with it the best way that you can. I can't see myself doing anything else with my life."
"I'm not planning on living long so I'm enjoying every day as it comes," he adds.
"I know a lot of men with heart conditions tend to die in their 50s. And if you make it past your 50s then you're likely to live into your 70s."
So he treats life "as though it's even more precious than I would if I thought I was going to live longer," he says.
"Which is probably a good thing."
Embrace have shot the video for their new single 'Nature’s Law' in Poland.
However temperatures on the shoot plummeted to -24C. It proved so cold that the band could only film for five-minute bursts before having to defrost between takes.
“It was so cold I'm sure I've gotten frostbite in my feet,” front man Danny McNamara said. “As night fell we could hear wolves howling in the forest! That was when I decided enough was enough - freezing to death is one thing but I'm not going to get eaten alive by wolves for any video!”
The band have also confirmed that Morning Runner will support them on their June tour
Embrace have announced a short tour of the UK for April.
The band will hit the road in celebration of their upcoming new album ‘This New Day ’which hits the shops on March 27.
A single, ‘Nature’s Law’, will precede the LP when it is released on March 20.
Six more live dates in Scotland are expected to be scheduled for early April and will be announced shortly.
Embrace will play:
Preston Guildhall (April 15)
Halifax Victoria Theatre (17)
London Shepherds Bush Empire (18)
As previously reported, the band are also set to play a run of open-air gigs this summer at seven forest locations across the UK.
The dates are:
Suffolk Thetford Forest (June 10)
Kent Bedgebury Pinetum (11)
Gloucestershire Westonbury Arboretum (16)
Cheshire Delamere Forest (17)
Nottingham Sherwood Pines Forest Park (23)
Staffordshire Cannock Chase Forest (24)
Yorkshire Dalby Forest (25) 2006
Embrace are to record the official England World Cup song, ’World At Your Feet’.
After speculation linking the track with bands including Kaiser Chiefs, the Football Association has this morning (March 28) confirmed Embrace will record the track, to be released prior to the World Cup.
The band were approached by the FA earlier this year and jumped at the chance to be part of the traditional World Cup preparations by writing a track for the team.
Lead singer Danny McNamara said: "The band can't wait to get into the studio and record the new track. We think we've got a really good song and hopefully it will repeat the success of previous songs like New Order's ’World in Motion’."
A spokesperson for the FA added: "The official England World Cup song has become something of an institution and it is really important that we have an original and exciting track. We're confident that Embrace's song will capture the imagination of the fans and players alike.
"With only 75 days to go until England's first game against Paraguay everybody has been asking who will get the gig. We'd like to think we've pulled off something of a coup by bagging such a great band and keeping it secret... until now."
Bookmakers are making the track 1-9 to hit the number one spot when it is released. Embrace are currently at Number Two in the UK singles chart with ’Nature’s Law’.
Embrace have spoken for the first time about their England World Cup song.
The song was premièred on Radio 1 this morning (April 21) , and the band have spoken to NME.COM about the track, ‘World At Your Feet’.
With the football world anticipating the track, front man Danny McNamara admitted he felt the pressure writing such a high profile song.
“We were nervous about getting involved with it,” said McNamara, “but my dad put it best when he said, ‘do you think you’re up to it if you do it? Or, if you don’t do it?’ Collectively we decided we were definitely up for it.”
He added that with New Order setting the benchmark with 1990’s ‘World In Motion’, Embrace decided not to ape the Manchester band.
“When I was a teenager in Leeds I was a big Joy Division fan, so I loved New Order too .‘World In Motion’ was great, it was a bit subversive in a way,” explained McNamara. “We didn't try to be subversive - we were looking to produce one of those communal moments that brings everyone together.”
Not obviously football chant friendly, ‘World At Your Feet’ sounds more designed to soundtrack the television montages that will accompany coverage of the summer’s tournament, although chorus is optimistic about England's chances, boasting the following lyrics:
“With the world at your feet/ There’s no one you can't beat/ Yes it can be done/ With the world at your feet/ There’s no height you can’t reach/ This could be the one”
However with soccer set to dominate the summer, McNamara added he hoped non fans would find something to in the song as well, explaining: “I wanted to write a song that you could appreciate as having nothing to do with football too.”
'World At Your Feet' will be released on June 5. Though can currently be heard via Embrace.co.uk.
Embrace are to go on a massive UK tour this autumn.
The band, currently riding high in the UK singles chart with the official England World Cup anthem ‘World At Your Feet’, hit the road for a month-long jaunt, with the dates kicking off in Hull on September 21.
The dates are at:
Hull City Hall (September 21)
Norwich UEA (22)
Cambridge Corn Exchange (23)
Cardiff University Great Hall (24)
Exeter Great Hall (26)
Bristol Colston Hall (27)
London Hammersmith Apollo (29)
Derby Assembly Rooms (October 8)
Carlisle Sands Centre (9)
Glasgow Academy (10)
Manchester Apollo (13)
Leicester De Montford Hall (16)
Birmingham Academy (18)
Newcastle Academy (19)
Middlesbrough Town Hall (20)
Liverpool University (22)
Doncaster Dome (23)
Embrace have added five dates to their massive autumn UK tour.
The band hit the road for a month-long jaunt, with the dates kicking off in Hull on September 21, and now confirmed they will play extra shows in Folkestone, Brighton, Portsmouth, Reading and Blackburn.
The full list of dates is:
Hull City Hall (September 21)
Norwich UEA (22)
Cambridge Corn Exchange (23)
Cardiff University Great Hall (24)
Exeter Great Hall (26)
Bristol Colston Hall (27)
London Hammersmith Apollo (29)
Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall (October 2)
Brighton Dome (3)
Portsmouth Guildhall (4)
Reading Hexagon (6)
Derby Assembly Rooms (October 8)
Carlisle Sands Centre (9)
Glasgow Academy (10)
Manchester Apollo (13)
Blackburn King George’s Hall (15)
Leicester De Montford Hall (16)
Birmingham Academy (18)
Newcastle Academy (19)
Middlesbrough Town Hall (20)
Liverpool University (22)
Doncaster Dome (23)
Embrace have announced details of a new single ahead of a major UK tour.
'Target' is the second single to be lifted from Embrace's Number One album 'This New Day', and is out on September 4.
The band will follow up the single with a massive UK tour beginning later in the month, culminating in a show at Doncaster Dome on October 23.
The future of Embrace has been thrown into confusion, following contradictory statements made by singer Danny McNamara.
BBC 6 Music reported that McNamara announced the group would part ways following the release of their next album.
On Thursday (September 21) he said: "I think our next album will be our last ever album. If we get as far as making it and finishing it, I want it to be a masterpiece and I want to take as long as it takes."
McNamara went onto say that he wanted to settle into a more normal way of life: "We've worked solidly since I was 17 - that's half my life - and I've done nothing except look at the bigger picture. I haven't stopped to smell the flowers along the way at all."
He suggested that he wouldn’t be venturing into a solo career explaining, “I wouldn't want to make music without the band”.
However, when questioned by Chris Moyles today (September 22) he said: "We're going to make our next album as if it's our last, but we always do that anyway, because that's how we go into these things, you've got to be wholehearted, you know."
Moyles said: "You implied that you were jacking it all in."
"That definitely not the intention," McNamara replied.
"This tour that we're on might be the last for a while as there's some stuff that I want to do. But our next album's got to be amazing and it needs a lot from me to do that."
Embrace are currently touring to support ’This New Day’.
Embrace have begun work on their sixth album, their first since releasing 'This New Day'in 2006.
Singer Danny McNamara told NME that band had assembled over 150 song ideas, and were currently trying to whittle that down to a more manageable size.
"We're about three quarters of the way through the writing process," said McNamara. "We've got eight really killer songs. I want to get to 12 or 15 before we start recording. Musically it's more inventive than what we've done before. We're champing at the bit to get back."
The singer also explained that he felt the west Yorkshire band – whose debut album 'The Good Will Out', released in 1998, is one of the fastest-ever-selling debut albums by a British artist – still had much to prove.
"We've never been stadium-filling monsters," said McNamara. "I think we're one of those bands that's forever overlooked and underrated – a bit like Elbow were a few years ago. I heard 'All You Good Good People' in a bar the other day - it still sounds really good. If a new band came out with a song like that now, people would be getting really excited."
Embrace are currently enjoying a boost to their profile thanks to a cover of their 1997 single 'One Big Family being used on the soundtrack to a KFC TV advert. The folky, radically reworked rendition is by Temple Cloud, and has sparked an online campaign, with people calling for the song to be released as a single.
"We usually say no to these things," explained McNamara. "But we had a listen and everybody loved the song – it brings out a totally different flavour. We thought, 'wow – let's do this'. And so far everyone's been really into it. Everyone seems to like it."
However, the singer was quick to deny any suggestion that the ad campaign would make him rich.
"Most of these things just go towards paying off our debts to various people," McNamara said.
"At one point on our third album we had to get day jobs because our money had run out. As for people accusing us of selling out, I think as musicians we have the moral high ground. If you want us to keep making records, we need to make money somehow."
BRIGHOUSE indie band Embrace have confirmed they are still working on a new album.
The band haven’t released any material or gigged for more than five years.
But in a new blog online frontman Danny McNamara, right, revealed they had been working on their next release for more than three years and were enjoying the recording process for the first time.
He said: “I’m not in this for money or power or fame. I’m writing songs again because it’s really the only thing that makes sense to me...”
The blog goes on to say the band are closer than ever and Danny reveals they will not be rushed into finishing.
He says: “We’ve been written off as a band so many times our obituary is becoming dog-eared.
“Well put it away again. The five of us are in the process of making our best album… A landmark album of fearless melody and fearless music.
“When will it be out…. WHEN IT’S READY!”
Embrace drummer Mike Heaton has revealed the band is demo-ing dozens of tracks in a bid to produce their best album ever.
The popular Brighouse band, whose 1998 debut album The Good Will Out topped the charts, have been lying low since their 2006 release This New Day.
Last week, frontman Danny McNamara posted a blog which vowed the indie five piece would produce ‘a landmark album of fearless melody and fearless music’ and said they would not be rushed into releasing it.
But speaking to WoW at the Centre Stage charity event in Leeds, Heaton revealed the band were currently working through up to 100 different tunes and were hopeful their sixth studio album would be out next year.
The indie five piece are currently holed up in a West Yorkshire studio and Heaton said while they were hopeful for a 2012 release they would not be rushed.
“It’s got to be the absolute best before it comes out, but we’ve got some definite tracks for the album already,” he said.
“It’s a great move forward, great energy, great power and great soul.
“Songwriting wise it’s gone through the roof and playing wise, I think the break’s been great as we’ve done other things.
“I’ve been doing the drum school and Micky (Dale’s) been doing his other band, Talk To Angels.
“And Rick (McNamara’s) in the production seat, he’s producing the album, he’s had four years experience producing some really great young bands.
“He’s done an amazing job helping us to push the album forward.”
Heaton said while the band’s time off had been great he was gagging to get back on stage.
He said: “We’re just really eager now.
“It’s not about being in the limelight, it’s about playing live because that’s why I got into music in the first place, and that’s why I want to get back out there and play because that’s what I love doing.
“Everytime I come to Centre Stage and see these bands playing I want to be back out there doing it.
“We want to get on with it and get it out.
“Next year hopefully is when it’s going to come out but we don’t know if it’s going to be early or later in the year, just when it’s ready.
“We’ve waited this long, to push something and rush it out would be foolish.”
Heaton also made no apologies for the lengthy hiatus and said he thought it had made them stronger.
“It was the first time in 13 years that we had a break so it was nice to do it,” he said.
“We all went away and I got involved with teaching and The Hop (pub).
“Rick went into production work with bands and had a bar himself.
“The six months we said we’d take off expanded into three years.
“But then we said this is what we love doing so we got back in the studio and started writing at the beginning of last year.
“Now we’ve got a massive bunch of songs and we’re just filtering them, demo-ing them all.
“We’ll bring it down to the final 10, because we always want to do the best we can.
“We’ll go through 70, 80 or 100 and filter them down to the best 10.”
The question that was glossed onto everybody’s lips like Bet Lynch lippy, was can the down to earth Yorkshireman pull it off in front of a large crowd in an arena? The early utilization of the steady and favourite ’All You Good, Good People’ embodied the crooning spirit and uplifting nature of the band and it rubbed off on the crowd early on.
Despite teething technical difficulties that had the amps cackling at each other, as if to say; “what the f*@k are we doing here?” The Danny McNamara led quintet fought off these Gremlins to produce a vibrant and heartfelt version of ‘Someday’ from the gripping ‘Out Of Nothing’ album. This song gave the first impression that they may just pull it off in what are strange surroundings for them, as no matter what people say about Embrace, no one can claim that they don’t put heart and soul into everything they do.
Not content to rest on their laurels having managed to bag a gig in a venue that Danny himself thought would never be possible for a band like Embrace, it turns out that this has given the band renewed vigour. They proudly paraded a new number; ‘No Use Crying’ that was as frenetic as Embrace can get, serving as one of many examples of tight and faultless guitar stroking from sibling, Richard McNamara. The Chris Martin penned ‘Gravity’, featured catchy angelic imagery on the monitors to create a serene mood to a peaceful song. Another new offering ‘Nature's Law’ was doused in mancunian influences from the Smith’s to the haunted cries of Ian Brown; implying that the doomsayers may have a little longer to wait before they see the end of Embrace.
Everyone rose up in the encore for ‘Ashes’ that saw 10,500 people yelling with all their might, to visibly touch the humble Mr. McNamara. The floating and sombre ‘The Good Will Out’ put a lid on one of the most important and dare I say it: successful evenings in Embrace’s intriguing career.
Last night I saw the brilliant Embrace live on their final night of their latest major UK tour, with support from indie newcomers Four Day Hombre, whom I'd never heard of before, and the incredibly underrated Delays. So I thought I'd write my thoughts and post it here!
Being the less famous of the two support bands, Four Day Hombre were on first, and delivered an extremely impressive set. With amazing melodies, heavy moments and some great guitar work, the band sounded brilliant and I hope that they can become big in years to come - after all, once upon a time, it was a little known band called Coldplay who opened for Embrace... anyway, the band were excellent, and as they were selling copies of their debut album at the merchandise stand, I picked up a copy. If you like anthemic melodic rock, I recommend them very highly!
Delays were up next, and as a bit of a fan I was very excited to see them. Opening with 'Wanderlust', the band could have used the opportunity to plug their new album, but to their credit they played a good set of tracks from their two albums, including most of their singles. Highlights included the gorgeous 'Nearer Than Heaven', 'Long Time Coming' and 'Lost In A Melody'. They even played a new song - apparently more new stuff is on the way - and ended with the funkier single 'Valentine'. Delays sound good on record, but live they are amazing and so full of energy and passion: so again, if you don't know much about them, then go and have a listen to some of their songs.
Finally, the real stars of the show - Embrace. Beginning with the opening track from current album 'This New Day', 'No Use Crying' was a great way to kick off. Next it was a massive singalong for 'All You Good Good People' - maybe it would have seemed better at the end, but then, Embrace have so many classics that they can afford to blow a big hit like this early on. And so the hits keep on coming - 'Natures Law', 'Looking As You Are', 'Save Me' and the recent single 'Target' which I love even more after hearing it played live. In my opinion though, it was the new material that really shone... my favourite Embrace track is 'Sainted', and the live version was absolutely sensational! Singer Danny got everyone on the balcony to stand up, and he even asked the tall people to crouch so that the short people could get a better view!!! People were bouncing like crazy, and then, just when you might expect things to calm down a bit, the band played another rockier track, 'Exploding Machines' which also came across brilliantly live.
The audience were even treated to a brand new song, expected to be on their sixth album. 'Heart & Soul' has the makings of another Embrace classic, and the response to it was absolutely brilliant. Then Danny announced that it was his brother Richard's birthday (that's the guitarist!), and he even got a cake and blew out all the candles. Danny got everyone to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Richard, then he grabbed some birthday balloons that some hardcore fans had brought, and hit Richard with one of them whilst he was playing! Richard still played on though, what a pro.
The encore got another brilliant reaction, with a heartwarming performance of 'I Can't Come Down' and then finishing with 'Ashes', another surefire crowd pleaser that got everyone moving again.
Embrace sometimes get a bit of stick, but last night they truly rocked - and if anything, they sounded better than they do on their albums. My only criticisms of the gig weren't their fault at all; for example, not allowing drinks on the balcony, but not telling you that until you tried to get to your seat! However, the venue itself was great and all three bands gave it their all. If you're an Embrace fan and didn't go to see them on this tour, you've really missed a huge treat!!!
Victoria Theatre, Halifax
Monday 17 April 2006
Halifax may not be a regular stop on most tours, but Embrace have chosen to keep the first live airings of their new chart-topping album "This New Day" on the small side. The Yorkshire town also happens to be where they hail from, so anticipation is high amongst the 2000 capacity crowd for a band who formed the best part of 20 years ago.
As on their current release, "No Use Crying" begins proceedings, but far from in spectacular Fashion. The translation to stage lacks the polish it holds on record, and it isn't aided by a sound system in a venue perhaps not designed with a rock concert in mind. "Nature's Law" also loses its epic touch, but sandwiched in between the two is "All You Good Good People", a sure-fire way to get any crowd going. Danny McNamara explains that his voice has been playing up, but that the band will strive on and play an extended set for their homecoming, which means a great rendition of "My Weakness Is None Of Your Business" and the first performance on the tour of "Exploding Machines". Of the other new tracks, "Target" retains its brilliance and "The End Is Near" shimmers to the high heavens, thanks to Richard McNamara's guitar skills.
The indie anthem "Come Back To What You Know" remains as popular as ever, with McNamara being out-sung by the entire audience, and the crowd participation on "A Glorious Day" is intense enough to make the hairs on your neck stand on end. Proving they can turn their hand to full-on rock, "New Adam New Eve" and "Save Me" feature bouts of crowd surfing and mass-pogoing, to the point where the floor threatens to give way. Everyone is clearly having a fantastic time, not least the band, who can't erase the grins from their faces for a single moment. It's only right that such an enjoyable night is finished in high spirits, and the "la la la"conclusion of "The Good Will Out" is perfect. Few, if any, of the audience leave disappointed, and for Embrace, it proves there's just no place like home
Preston Guild Hall
Embrace ended last year on a career high, following an Arena Tour, but on the Manchester leg of it, singer Danny McNamara admitted that it took a little while for them to get the technicalities right and to get into the feel of things. However, tonight, with help from opener and surely to be a future single? 'No Use Crying', extracted from their latest album 'This New Day', they immediately settled into a comforting groove. This epitomises Embrace's positive outlook through tough times and is, as you might have guessed, soaked in melody and meandering vocals. Previous single 'Natures Law' takes on new life in a live setting, possessing an almost psychedelic feel and continues to display the confidence that the band has in their new material.
The Idelwild-esque 'Looking As You Are', is performed with a longing touch that is highlighted in the cushioning percussion of Mike Heaton. The sincere and down to earth, Danny McNamara displayed amazement at the band's rocketing, recent rise that has been topped off by their selection to record the forthcoming England World Cup song. That was the last we heard about that feat, it was a noticeable omission from the set list. Maybe they thought it was enough of a treat for the crowd to witness what is now an intimate gig for Embrace. 'Gravity' kept the middle of the set on a high, making it easy for the band to take off later on, with the poetically uplifting 'Ashes' taking on more meaning and power with each live show. 'The Good Will Out' has an increasing autobiographical vein and instigated a heartfelt sing-a-long. With a potentially momentous Forest Tour and their voices accompanying the England team passed more obstacles than a Krypton Factor contestant in Germany, it is all set up to be a sizzling summer for the melody crafting Yorkshire men.
Embrace - Manchester Apollo - 13.10.06
When Embrace returned with "Gravity", penned by Coldplay's Chris Martin nothing could stand in their way as their comeback was as spectacular and unexpected as that of El Mozfather. Their rise continued and continued until their fall from grace at the MEN Arena, which will possibly go down in history as second to the Stone Roses playing Reading Festival as the most misjudged manoeuvre in musical history.
Back on form in these more intimate settings the anthems empower the whole venue rather than getting lost in them. "No More Crying" and "All You Good Good People" bookmark the opening before leading into "Nature's Law", proof if anything that amongst the bluster Embrace have a soulful element embodied in every tune. Leading up to this gig there had been talk of this being Embrace's last ever tour, a rumour they dispelled fairly early on as a misquote, but touching on all bases of their career it certainly seemed like the end of an era as if the band had pushed their current sound as far as they could.
Looking around at tonight's audience it's hard to gauge just how many old fans there are and how many new ones, but there's no partisan split in the crowd as everyone comes together. As the aforementioned single "All You Good Good People" signalled Embrace are a band of the people who came together for the people and each twist and turn in the life's of the McNamara's is something we've all lived through but never been able to express. Even the fact that Danny McNamara has calmed down the mouthy proclamations that dwarfed that of Johnny Borrell's is sign of the bands growing maturity and letting the music speak for itself.
You get the feeling that after tonight Embrace will be out of action for a while possibly moving in a more experimental direction as seen on their 2nd album, but this band have it all in their hands right now with a devoted fanbase eagerly awaiting their next move and prepared for a magnificent career defining record
Nature's Law - Embrace Live Review @ The Guild Hall & Charter Theatre (Preston) - 15 Apr 2006
Embrace ended last year on a career high, following an Arena Tour, but on the Manchester leg of it, singer Danny McNamara admitted that it took a little while for them to get the technicalities right and to get into the feel of things. However, tonight, with help from opener and surely to be a future single? 'No Use Crying', extracted from their latest album 'This New Day', they immediately settled into a comforting groove. This epitomises Embrace's positive outlook through tough times and is, as you might have guessed, soaked in melody and meandering vocals. Previous single 'Natures Law' takes on new life in a live setting, possessing an almost psychedelic feel and continues to display the confidence that the band has in their new material.
Fresh from their summer gigging in forests around the country (as you do), Embrace are back on the tour bus once more. This time it’s business as usual, no more forests for them, no sir. Supporting them is indie/glam/rock outfit theDelays. Their hour and a half set is raucous, thrilling and seriously cool. Lead singer Greg Gilbert’s voice is mesmerizing as he effortlessly reaches notes that no man should be able to reach. The Delays’ high-octane glam indie was the perfect for getting the party started and, when they eventually rocked out at eight forty-five, the undercurrent amongst the revellers was palpable.
Time for the main event. Embrace’s entrance was heralded by an aural cacophony. Despite all the cynics, there’s no secret that Embrace fans are a fiercely loyal bunch, and the reception the boys received as they strode across the stage spoke volumes. The fans love Embrace and Embrace love their fans: it’s that simple.
From the second Danny McNamara picks up the mic, he owns the stage. And he knows it. Opening with the belting ‘No Use Crying’ he grips the crowd from the offset. The set is a clever melee of old favourites and spangly new hits. The old school exhilaration of ‘Save Me’, ‘All You Good Good People’ and ‘Come Back to What you Know’ churned up with the shiny newness of ‘The End is Near’, ‘Celebrate’, and ‘Sainted’-which was quite possibly worth the ticket price alone: under Danny’s direction the crowd’s instructed to stand up, hold hands and basically mosh for all their worth. Ever seen a balcony filled to capacity with people leaping up and down like acid fuelled Duracell bunnies? It’s a wondrous sight to be sure.
‘Gravity’ -the that literally saved them from the dole queues-takes it down a notch with its ethereal vocals and dreamy melody. Danny reassures those gathered that Embrace are not (read his lips) planning on splitting anytime soon, contrary to the rumours that have been flying round. A couple of ‘hell yeahs’ from the faithful later, and it’s on with the show.
Tonight was textbook Embrace: rousing, sweaty, raw, passionate and honest. Closing with barn-storming‘ Ashes’, the boys ensure they go out with a bang, bringing to a close a gig that has quite literally: rocked.
Embrace: Thetford Forest
By Frankie Moore, June 2006
Embrace, singers of the latest official world cup song, performed on a very hot Saturday night at the High Lodge Visitor Centre in Suffolk. Despite the slightly obscure setting for the concert, it suited their anthemic indie-rock perfectly.
With the crowd of 6,000 in great spirits after England's 1-0 World Cup victory over Paraguay a friendly banter erupted between Embrace's singer Danny McNamara and the crowd.
The Yorkshire band kicked off the evening with ‘No Use Crying’. This is the first track from their new album ‘This New Day’ and from the moment the first chord rang out the crowd sang along religiously to every song.
Despite the hot weather the crowd still obliged when asked to jump around, unless of course you had bad legs, then you had to wiggle your hips! This went on and on till Embrace made sure everyone was moving to their songs.
They performed a fantastic set with songs from various albums, combining their ballads and pop-rock songs - and of course that England song. Despite the band admitting 'World At Your Feet' isn't sing-along enough, the crowd and in particular the football-shirted clan at the front, went mad for it.
It really couldn't have been timed better. Towards the end of the set Danny McNamara burst into his own version of ‘I'm In The Mood’ getting huge applause.
He seemed very genuine when thanking the audience and saying how pleased he was that so many people had come and that people were singing to his music. This of course got another huge cheer from the crowd applauding themselves!
Despite the pushing, jumping and beer-throwing, everyone left the concert in great spirits. Embrace were far better than I think most people had anticipated and they truly engaged with the audience and created a fun and laid-back evening.
Embrace @ Delamere ForestBy Lisa Dawson 2006
With a new World Cup single and more to come, Embrace's outdoor concert at Delamere Forest in Cheshire on June 17 was definitely one to remember....
I heard Embrace chatting to Chris Moyles on Radio 1 recently about the fact that they’re playing at forests around the country, and how brilliant it was ‘playing to the trees’ as they described it! They weren’t wrong.
Being a Cheshire girl myself I know Delamere Forest fairly well, but my memories were of bird spotting rather than large scale gigs - I just couldn’t imagine how it would work. Where would they go - in between the trees? Ignorant maybe but I bet I wasn’t the only one, having never been to a gig in a forest before it was going to be a new experience.
A mini outdoor festival
Arriving at the site on Saturday, we were directed to park in a field where there were very official looking signposts, floodlights and trails of people headed along winding footpaths to where we presumed the concert was to take place. Still slightly unsure to what to expect we found ourselves walking into what looked like a mini festival, much bigger than I expected, with various beer tents and marquees selling food in an open space on the edge of the forest.
Thousands of people were sat drinking and chatting on a hill that sloped down towards a huge festival style stage. By the time we arrived the place was already pretty full and we had to squeeze next to a group of guys to grab a spot on this natural stadium, and wait for the support act ‘Morning Runner’ to begin.
Relatively new band on the scene Morning Runner, had a good amount of support which isn’t really surprising as the band have had a lot of airplay recently - and are favourites of presenters such as Jonathon Ross and Colin and Edith, not to mention that their top 20 hit. They started with the heartfelt ‘Be All You Want Me To Be’ which woke the crowd’s up and got the real fans dancing crazily in front of the stage. (You can tell the support is good when the fans look as though they’re there to see them rather than the main act!) They played ‘Burning Benches’ and ‘Work’ among others before announcing their new single ‘In The Ocean’, released on July 17 - a terrific start to the gig.
The pause between acts is usually pretty tenuous when you’re stuck in a dark, sweaty venue with not much to look at, but outside on a warm evening at Delamere Forest we just sat back and enjoyed the upbeat atmosphere and green surroundings with a drink - not a bad way to spend an evening after a sunny day, the fact that Embrace were coming on seemed like a bonus!
Embrace arrived on stage - and it got serious
The band arrived and it got serious - everyone abandoned their organised blankets and cooler boxes and stood up ready to dance and push their way to the front of the crowd to get the best spot possible. I’d consider myself an Embrace fan but having not acquired the new album (yet!) I was concerned at how many songs I’d really know. As soon as they started playing ‘All You Good, Good People’ I knew I needn’t have worried.
They followed up with the amazing ‘Natures Law’,‘ Looking as You Are’ and ‘Come Back To What You Know’ interjected with a couple of their new tracks including ‘Target’, and the brilliantly soulful ‘The End is Near’ the crowd singing all the woo woo’s was one of the moments in the night I’ll remember, along with Danny McNamara pointing everyone to watch the sunset whilst singing ‘This New Day’.
The band introduced ‘Gravity’ like an old friend, as their first big hit and the song that really made them back in 2004 - whether I agree with that or not I’m not sure, but it’s emotive lyrics ‘Honey it’s been a long time coming, and I can’t stop now’ sent shivers down the spines of everyone in that field, and they sang their heads off.
World Cup song ‘World At Your Feet’
Everyone started jumping when the 2006 World Cup song ‘World At Your Feet’ was played just before the band left the stage for the first time, and football shirts and scarves were waved in the air in true patriotic style! I had thought this was going to be quite a chilled out quiet gig - but to be honest was very wrong and there were as many people getting drenched from hurtling plastic beer bottles, sitting on shoulders and dancing crazily near the front - as in any other gig I’ve been to!
We weren’t sure if the band would return for an encore, or be offended by the crowd singing just about every England song from ‘Football’s coming home’ to ‘Vindaloo, vindaloo naa naa’ and not World At Your Feet! But Danny and the boys seemed to take it in good spirit and returned to the now fully lit atmospheric stage to sing ‘Ashes’ and ‘The Good Will Out’.
The band said at one point that when they first arranged all the forest gigs, they were worried that there would be less atmosphere with no roof or way to contain the noise. They went on to say that they’d been wrong and that it was even better. Walking back to the car we could hear everyone around us commenting that it was the best venue they’d ever been to, it was certainly different and one that’s changed my views of Delamere Forest a fair bit!
Embrace @ Brixton Academy, London5 March 2005
The cavernous Brixton Academy is full to the brim with expectant twenty and thirtysomethings – many of them couples – when the lights go down and the strains of What A Wonderful World and then, rather strangely, Down To The River To Pray (from O Brother Where Art Thou?) come over the sound system. Embrace troop on stage to healthy applause, which quickly intensifies when the first bars of recent single Ashes are unleashed.
Anthemic, with an uplifting chorus to sing along to (“Watch me rise up and leave / All the ashes you made out of me”), this had live crowd-pleaser written all over it on the album, and does not disappoint in the flesh. The only surprise is that they didn’t save it for the encore.
As if to gently remind the crowd that they were in the music game for quite a while before Coldplay‘s Chris Martin lent them a friendly hand to make them the comeback kings of 2004, Embrace swiftly move into All You Good Good People from their 1997 album, The Good Will Out. The crowd roar appreciatively.
It’s then into slower, ballad territory with latest single Looking As You Are. Among sections of the crowd, hands start wafting above heads in time to the music, although fortunately lighters remain firmly in pockets – we’re not at a Cliff Richard concert guys! Danny McNamara manages better than expected on the high notes, since even on the album there appeared to be a few wobbly moments. In fact, the only dodgy notes appeared on the faster numbers when he was obviously taking less care to get it right.
Gravity, the Martin-penned hit, made an early appearance in the set when again it might have been expected to be an encore. Although I had found the single rather clunky, obvious, and irritating, played live it was significantly more appealing.
The pace was then stepped up with Spell It Out, a rockier number with Richard McNamara able to show he knows his guitar. Some of the excitable members of the audience managed to unglue their feet from the even-stickier-than-normal floor to have a bit of a boogie.
Live, Embrace are very much a “front man and the rest” kind of band, although Danny does introduce the other band members in one of the instrumental sections, and draws attention when his brother Richard does some particularly good backing vocals or guitar-playing. As the gig progresses Danny also starts chatting with the crowd more, telling of passing the 500,000 sales mark in the UK with Out Of Nothing; talking about their upcoming debut US tour; and their recent songwriting. He also comments on the beaming faces in the front section of the crowd.
The remainder of the set and the rather excessive four song encore is a mix of mainly old (including My Weakness Is None Of Your Business, Save Me, Wonder, and a singalong version of Come Back To What You Know), with some new (Out Of Nothing, A Glorious Day) and some even newer (the not yet finished, provisionally titled, New Song Number 1, and “this one is slow, and sad” Opposites).
Whilst to many, Embrace’s music is on the verge of dull and Danny’s vocals are not quite all they could be, tonight they have triumphed in the eyes of the Brixton Academy crowd, with plenty for old fans and recent converts alike.
Live at The Refectory on Thursday, 31st January 2002
The last few years have hardly been a triumph for Embrace; set up as "the next Oasis" their debut album reached the number one spot and, while not selling 'shed loads' ('tent loads' anyone?), did seem to set them up nicely for future records. Unfortunately sales have been downhill ever since, despite the fact that both follow-up albums urinate from a great height over the 'bombast-on-a-stick' (over) production of their more well known predecessor.
From the outside at least the band currently seem to be in a state of limbo. While the 'kazoo-agogo' 'Drawn From Memory' wasn't a commercial success it did at least succeed in exorcising the sullen faced ghosts of Britpop cool that had hovered round the band ever since four twenty-somethings, straight outta Huddersfield, appeared in the pages of the music press trying to look disinterested in photos, shouting about how they were going to be 'the best band in the world, mate' (© every indie band '94 - '98). However despite the quality of new album, 'If You've Never Been', it does mark something of a retreat to the rent-a-ballad Embrace of yore and as such is a bit of a backwards step, suggesting both a drying up of ideas and acquiescence to the record company cattle-prod; HMS McNamara, once so resolutely steered towards 'The Land Of Rock N' Roll Greatness' by her fresh faced captains appears to be floundering in rough seas off the coast of 'General Apathy Island'. Will Danny and Richard ever have another encounter with the friendly daytime radio dolphin? Will the many tentacled Octopus of 'what-the-fuck-do-we-do-nowness' be slain by the band? And what does wild-eyed janitor Mr Peters want with bass player Steve Firth? Stay tuned for more adventures of the indie kind as we 'Embrace the University Refectory'! (ahem).
There is, however, the small matter of Witness to take care of before we can rejoin our heroes... Only now managing to shake off the tag 'Nick McCabe's mates', Lady Luck has stubbornly refused to uncross her legs in the direction of Wigan's second best band. First album, 'Before The Calm', was sporadically brilliant but then came last years 'Under A Sun'. Described by the Sunday Times as 'one of the great rock albums of the year' but by any sane person as 'a load of fucking shite' listening to this record is like discovering your parents laughing at Jim Davidson, the feeling of disbelief, the burning sense of betrayal, the desire to never see them again; all present and correct.
Thank God then for Witness live! Gone is the 'pleeeease can we be R.E.M.' desperation of recent single 'Here's one for you' (er, no thanks you keep it), back are the sheet metal guitars and pounding rhythm section. 'Cause And Effect' in particular sounds amazing but just when I'm thinking of rushing home and putting 'Before A Calm' on they decide to finish with the most appalling country and western (!) tune ever. Bollocks. Somewhere in the heart of the beast that is Witness there's a good band trying to get out which makes it all the more frustrating that they seem to have lost the plot recently. Most of tonight's set does, at least, give a modicum of hope for the future.
Back to Embrace however; this is a band with plenty of material to choose from so you'd naturally expect them to pick an upbeat number to start the show and get the crowd going right? Er wrong, instead we get a solo Danny doing a partly cappela version of early single Fireworks - riiiight. Strange start to a strange gig then; the new album is almost entirely ignored in favour of a set that relies heavily on 'The Good Will Out'. Rather than mix songs up we are given three or four songs from a particular album in a row - an admirable attempt to stop the mood from fluctuating too much but one that results in things coming over 'a bit 1998' at times.
That said we are treated to scorching versions of songs such as first hit proper 'All You Good Good People', 'My Weakness' and 'The Love It Takes' (a hidden gem in the Embrace back catalogue). Sadly, as the famous phrase almost goes, too many ballads spoil the broth; no 'One Big Family', 'Blind', 'Last Gas', 'Yeah You' etc mean that the crowd have only limited opportunities to fully show their appreciation in the time honoured tradition of 'jumping up and down like a muppet'. Only when the band play 'New Adam, New Eve' and the Richard McNamara penned (and sung) 'Save Me' does widespread 'moshing' break out.
Although one could never accuse Embrace of being lacklustre tonite (or any nite), the celebratory feel of previous gigs was missing, a distinct air of uncertainty present in its place. The band really need to find their feet again and learn to be less reliant on old material. As 'Drawn From Memory' proved they are capable of recreating themselves successfully and this is something Embrace seem in dire need of repeating at this stage of their career should they wish to stay relevant. As for Mr Peters and the bass player, you'll just have to tune in next time - let's hope there is one.
November 21, 2001
Embrace : London Brixton Academy
No one looks more surprised at how popular Embrace are tonight than Danny McNamara himself. Since the band's last album, 'If You've Never Been', received a lukewarm reception, it would be understandable if spirits were a little low all round.
Instead of being their usual unassuming selves, frustration seems to have given them a spark that no record sales ever could. Tonight McNamara rants about radio play lists ("all r n' b and boy band bollocks") and music press editors.
The songs have a new vigour too, especially upbeat tracks like the rarely played 'One Big Family' which tonight is brash and celebratory.
More interesting still is the gorgeous acoustic, Evan Dando -styled half-song Danny treats us to that he only wrote that day and which promises a more subtle, contemplative future.
Overwhelmed by the exuberant reaction, the band fall silent half way through 'The Good Will Out' and Danny folds his arms with a determined war cry, shouting: "We're not fucking splitting up!"
The last few months may have been disappointing and anyone could be forgiven for wondering if there was still room for Embrace among the Coldplays. Tonight, in the most moving and plain noisy way, any doubt is unequivocally shattered. Danny looks shocked, touched, and most of all, vindicated. Embrace may be down, but they're certainly not out.
Live at Leeds Town Hall on Saturday, 22nd September 2001
Welcome to SG #9 and welcome Embrace, virtually the only 'Leeds' band to achieve success since god knows when. Seen as the pinnacle of what a local band can attain (hate), even yer mam likes them (hate), and perhaps that's the reason why many people love to denounce Embrace.
But look at it more closely. No one can disagree that Embrace have written some amazing energy-charged stadium rock tunes in, for example, "All You Good Good People" (love). For every radio-friendly tiring acoustic warbler (hate) they counter with a song oozing serious rock'n'roll attitude (love).
"Treat this as a real gig, not a secret gig", suggests Danny, "go crazy, jump up and down... Come On!" (love) before "New Adam New Eve" sees the thousand-strong crowd do exactly that. "Now then, no stage diving, that's shit. We don't like that", (hate) announces Danny straight afterwards.
The whole Embrace issue really is a love-hate affair.
Regardless of what you think of Embrace's music, the idea behind the secret gigs and the amount of band-fan interaction is applaudable. The band was reported to have been serving behind the bar before the gig and the venue was opened up to all-ages. A guy even walked out having been handed a guitar. More bands should take a leaf out of the Embrace book and take their music back to the grass roots.
"This will be the last secret gig of the year. We can't afford another one, we're skint". It's a touch ironic that Embrace, a band that are making their music more accessible to their fans, lose out by doing so. Remember, the good will out.
Live at Glastonbury Festival on Sunday, 25th June 2000
Despite the obvious talent that Leeds has on offer, only one band has really made into the national eyes in the past few years, and that band is Embrace. With a number of centre spreads across music and non-music magazines alike the Uk is beginning to come around to the Leeds boys. Embrace are at Glastonbury. Embrace are on the Main stage. Embrace are the second-last band on the Main Stage at Glastobury.Embrace, tonight, are second only to David Bowie and get to play to a glorious sunset. And like Embrace themselves put it, "Why are we here? We haven't even had a hit yet!". True words, and ones I was thinking myself. For Embrace aren't exactly what I would call a major band. Perhaps I could understand an appearance on the "Other Stage", but such a high profile gig can only mean they are reaching out to the right people. Many years ago now, Oasis were a top-notch band playing new, original and cracking tunes. They headlined Glastonbury and shortly afterwards they turned to the commercial side of their recent, talentless music in order to become mainstream and liked by a wider audience - turning their backs on the fans who'd seen them through the small venue years. Then there's Travis, another band who began by playing and releasing excellent music. This years Saturday headliners produced "U16", one of the most amazing tracks I heard when it was released. Then what have they done...began playing commercial, middle-aged mainstream MOR music that appeals to all, but bores the hell out of anyone who's looking for original music, or music with any kind of song-writing ability. Add Stereophonics to that list. Why am I going on like this? Because I can see Embrace shortly joining the list of bands I have turned away from. And for the same reasons. Their recent publicity has me worried. Anyway, back to the music, and all being said, despite me not being that interested, Embrace played a cracking set to 10,000 people or more. They kept the audience on their toes, with their "hits", and even knocked out some amazing covers, such as "3 Is The Magic Number". They claimed how they were "pretified of being there", then went on to play "All You Good, Good People" with an enormous reception. Musically Embrace are sound, just please keep to the right tracks, not the commercial, mates-of-NME, mainstream track that would appear to be opening its arms.
JJ72 sneak on stage as if they shouldn't be there - WRONG! This band belongs at the top. With Mark Greaney's songs and vocals I do so hope they get there too! When he yells, he sounds like an aggressive Brian Molko; when he sings quietly, it makes you yearn for that girlfriend you should never have let go; when he sings sweetly, its reminiscent of a youthful Puressence. Second song in, they perform 'Snow', which is probably my fave single this year, and yet it wasn't the best song they did. The new single 'Long Way South' swiftly followed, and will be in my collection as soon as its released! The divine Hillary Woods on bass, and Fergal Matthews leave the stage for 'Undercover Angel', leaving Mark to his own devices. And what devices!! This song made every hair on my body, let alone the back of my neck, stand on end. Glorious! I can't remember the last time I saw a band command near complete silence in the quiet bits of their set (especially a support band), as did JJ72 this night. Ending the set with the sublime 'October Swimmer' and fantastic rendition of 'Algeria/Bumble Bee', this was a delight from start to finish and something to really stir the soul. GO SEE!!!
Next were Doves, a band I have a lot of time for. They only played 5 songs - but what songs. The first time I saw them I just didn't get it, and was pretty non-plussed. This time though, I had a better idea of what to expect. Starting with 'Catch the Sun' (the next single I believe), they basically blissed me out! As well as the track 'Lost Souls', they played a new one called 'Water [something]', which was also pretty ace. But of course the supreme moment was 'Cedar Room', tonight's closer. Its one of those songs that seems to grow in stature every time I hear it - especially live, where all the power and grace of the song hit you where you really feel it, certainly much more so than on CD (though that is powerful enough). If you've not seen them live, you must rectify that situation. They play sweeping guitar music for those who care. A must see.
Embrace played most if not all of their crowd pleasers from both of their albums; 'You're Not Alone', 'My Weakness', 'Come Back To What You Know', 'Good Good People' from the first album, nimbly mixed in with the newer stuff, such as 'Hooligan', 'Save Me' and 'Yeah You'. The closing track had the crowd trying to reprise the fantastic atmosphere that was generated at the Astoria last January, when Danny had to stop for over 2 minutes as the crowd cheered during the pause in 'The Good Will Out'. Unfortunately they failed, as many tried to jump in at the wrong point. The encore was a strange mixture, a bouncy b-side, followed by 'Magic Numbers', then Danny's fave 'Retread', the audience's fave 'Fireworks', and a real quiet one, 'I Had a Time', to close the set. Good stuff, but not as glorious as that Astoria gig.
SOUTHAMPTON GUILDHALL 14/9/98
Review By Baj, (seen em twice before, Soton Uni dec '97, glasto '98)
The Last Gas
All You Good Good People
You've Got To Say Yes
Come Back To What You Know
The Way I Do
I Want The World
One Big Family
Thats All Changed Forever
You've Got To Stop To Get Better
The Good Will Out
Danny strode out onto stage as only Danny knows how and they ripped into the now familiar "starter for 10!" "Blind", the crowd going bananas.
As that finished Danny began shaking his fist by his side, as he always seems to do, maybe he watched to many Nescafe adverts as a kid, thats what it looks like to me, and screamed "come orrrn" with Richard pumping into "The Last Gas."
"Dry Kids" seemed to lack that extra something tonight, oh well... It was more than made up for by "..Weakness..", Danny, guitar in hand, gloating with 1000 ish people shouting "Danny....Danny...."
"You gotta say yes", live? you gotta leave it out.
"Come back...." seems also to have lost that edge, maybe it's too famliar.
"Retread" was amazing, will you fight? will Danny stay in tune? yes he did!
Then came the moment of the gig for me, Richards first solo singing performance is on this tour, having shaken off the nerves from the last couple of gigs, he beautifully sang "The Way I Do". was I the only one in the audience that knew the lyrics?
"I Want The World"....hm....another live dud (if that ain't a contradiction in terms!) leave it out boys.
Seeing Mike pick up his brushes, I knew "Higher Sights" was next, and bloody smooth it was too, sounds much better with strings, but oh well...
A strange keyboard intro summoned in "One Big Family", and pardon my French if I don't say that the mosshers, me included, went abso-fucking-lutley ape shit!!
Carried over from there 'Glasto' appearence, which I also saw in the flesh ;-p a hooj sodding sign "EMBRACE" lit up the stage. Also stolen from 'Glasto' the extended version of "..Family.." which lasted about 6-7 minutes, waaa baaabaaa baa baa, bab baa baa baahhh. sorry.
Then they left....then they returned.
Can't say I really enjoyed "Thats all changed...", my girlfriend on my shoulders I was a little strained, but she enjoyed it, apparently Danny kept staring at her, made her evening, even though she fancies Mike.
A past reviewer on the tour mentioned that their was an air of silence when they played songs not on the album, this was so true during "...got to stop..", it was still chuffing great though.
The beauty of Fireworks exceeds words, see them live and you'll see why.
Then they finished with "The Good Will Out", I'm sure this song is a mish mash of ideas they had, can't stand the bugger myself, but sang along anyway.
Overall, not as good as December last year (Southampton Uni), but thats probably cos the sound quality is kack at the Guildhall.
If you saw the last tour but cant make this one, dont panic, you ain't missing much new, same old genius!
Sorry if my review seemed slighlty down, I'm just being honest, not the kiss arse fan!
And the important info for you peeps about to go see them.... T-Shirts are ok-ish, couple of skinny fit, coulpr normal range from 13-16 quad, got some of those kinky 'ski-hat' things if that paddles yer boat, for about 7 quid.
Support "Delakota" was alright, nothing to write home about, watch for the lead guitarist singing though, he's much better than the vocalist!