Emotive and reflective rockers, Embrace, have built a reputation for writing intelligent music which touches those who listen. With new album ‘Love is a basic need’ already sounding like a career best, Damian Robinson caught up with bassist Steve Firth a few weeks before the album’s release to find out more about the songwriting process and the forthcoming tour.
We’ve heard the new album ‘Love is a basic need’ and think it’s an incredible piece of work; really emotive and filled with interesting musicianship. Appreciating the album’s not out yet, how’s the reaction been so far to the album?
Thank you. We’ve not really had much feedback as yet, but we’re really confident with the album. We’ve been writing music for a long time and we feel strongly that if we like what we’ve written, other people will do too. We’re feeling really confident and creative and think the albums up there with the best we’ve done.
The album feels like a concept album of sorts, based on the fragility of relationships.
It is in a way, but I think that’s what Danny writes best about in any case. He’s very much an honest songwriter, always approaching his writing with the belief that you shouldn’t worry about what other people think. So perhaps the albums not a concept as such, but there’s definitely a theme in the way we’ve tried to write songs which touch people, the way that good music should.
Music wise, there’s a lot of space in the music as well as the intricate layering of sounds. Was that a deliberate choice?
There’s a lot of space, I’d agree, I think the final sound came mostly through Rick who produced and mixed the album. He’s a really talented producer who knows what Embrace should sound like better than anyone.
A track, for example, like ‘Where you sleeping’ has a fantastic sound, full of orchestra and yet very personal at the same time.
That’s a personal favourite of mine, and as it happens a one which Rick sings. That’s more a synthesised orchestra than string one if I remember correctly. Rick does a great job with the singing.
I thought ‘Snake Oil’ was a standout as well, particularly in the interesting journey the song takes from it’s quiet opening. With tracks as intricate as Sleeping and Oil, are you nervous about replicating these songs live?
To be honest we haven’t started playing them live yet. We’ve allocated a week before the tour to work together as a band and discover how we play the songs live. That’s not the usual approach, which has tended to be only a few days of practice. I think it’ll be interesting to find out which songs are easy to replicate live, and which ones will take a little bit more time for us to get right. In the past we’ve tended to go to the pub after three days, I can’t see that happening this time.
And we’ll hear some of the new tracks on your next tour?
Certainly. I think people who come to an Embrace show are very open and like to hear new songs, as well as the songs which they’ve known for a longer amount of time. We’ll work that challenge out together as a band, finding out which of our entire catalogue of songs work well together to form a whole show.
I think Embrace do a great job of being as emotive live as they are on record. Is it a challenge to get into that headspace every night?
Thank you, we try not to over think anything, though we always have a group hug before we go on stage and that always helps us remember what our music means to us and how we want to present it to an audience.
Love is a basic need is released on 2nd March. Embrace will play Newcastle Riverside on the 29th March.