Let’s be Embraced: Embrace talk ahead of Birmingham gig
The Good Will Out was the debut album from Yorkshire rockers Embrace. But that title was more than just words. The Good Will Out was also a philosophy, a sentiment that has applied to them in recent years.
Their glorious return with the self-titled Embrace in 2014 marked a creative re-awakening for brothers Danny and Richard McNamara, Steve Firth, Mike Heaton and Mickey Dale. It propelled them back into the top five of the British chart while they repeated that feat with this year’s follow-up, Love Is A Basic Need.
The shows that followed its March release were triumphant and fans can enjoy another chance to watch them when they play a whistle-stop tour, including a show tomorrow at The Mill, in Birmingham’s Digbeth.
Love Is A Basic Need was produced by guitarist Richard, like its predecessor. And the opportunity to get back on the road with a round of December gigs is welcome. “We always look forward to being back on the road. It’s like a weekend away for us.”
Richard and his older brother, singer Danny, grew up in a small village near Halifax. They attended Hipperholme Grammar School with their brother Jonathan and Richard earned the nickname Firestarter because he was always playing with boxes of matches.
He made an early entry into the world of music, playing drums for a thrash metal garage band called Gross Misconduct. Embrace started soon after when Danny barged into a session and started telling him and his bandmates what to do.
The band took time out following the 2006 record This New Day, a gold-selling number one hit, as band members focused on solo projects. But they gradually re-emerged from 2011, when they reconvened to start work on their sixth album, which featured the brilliant single Refugees. The record took three years to make and fans across the UK were glad they were back.
“It kind of started with the Embrace album a few years ago. We’d got back into the spirit of being a band again and it’s just carried on from that. It’s carried on. We get together for a week here and there. When we made Love Is A Basic Need, it was broken down into little blocks when we had time. We weren’t trying to make a record. We were just making music for the love of it.”
Embrace no longer have the vaunting ambition of youth. There are no plans to take over the world, play bigger venues than Coldplay or shift more units than whoever the press lauds as Britain’s next great hope.
“I think we’re realistic about where we sit nowadays. We’re not trying to fill stadiums, we’re just happy with where we are. We have a strong, loyal fan base and we’re able to keep going.”
It’s a healthy place to be than when the band was starting out. When they released The Good Will Out back in 1998, there was huge expectation. The band delivered, reaching number one and securing a platinum disc, though it was a topsy-turvy experience.
“I think we felt quite a lot of pressure on the first album because everyone was trying to make us out to be the next Beatles. On Out Of Nothing we’d been dropped and we were trying to turn it around. I remember a massive release when we finished the album in New York. We put it to bed and went for a drin.
“This New Day (the band’s 2006 record) was a collaborative effort with our producer Youth being a sixth member of the band. That was a good experience in some ways and not in others. But we’d been playing together for so long that we got bored and the break we took afterwards got longer and longer. It looked like we weren’t going to get back together.”
Richard immersed himself in production work, putting heart and soul into bands other than Embrace. So when the band finally got back together, things were on a more even keel.
Embrace plan further live dates and festivals next year.