Emmure are a band that seem to cop a lot of flak with each album cycle. Whether it be for song titles, lyrics, merch designs or the off/on-stage words of frontman Frankie Palmeri. This year is no different, however this time, the band is more energised and prepared than ever before. With the release of sixth album, ‘Eternal Enemies’ looming, rhythm guitarist Jesse Ketive talked with Killyourstereo.com about the album, Victory Records and the dream of one day sharing the stage with Slayer.
How have you been finding the reception for the ‘Nemesis’ and the other tracks you’ve released so far?
Oh, it’s been awesome, I’ve been really, really happy about it. We pretty much recorded the record, went home, relaxed and then met up a few times, practiced and started banging them out and people are loving it so far. It’s getting more and more comfortable and fun to play the new stuff so it’s nice getting a really good response from it all.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but you guys are on the Mosh Lives tour at the moment with Thy Art Is Murder and Sworn In, amongst others?
Yep. We’re currently doing another Mosh Lives tour.
How has the tour been going so far?
It’s going awesome man. Like we were just talking about the new songs and how they’re going down live. We’re playing hour long sets, with like fifteen, sixteen song set lists, the longest we’ve ever played. So it’s great to play songs off every album, and everyone’s being really stoked about it along the way. We’ve even sold out a lot of the shows as well.
Good to hear man. On the topic of touring, last year the band supported The Ghost Inside for the Destroy Music tour, but I noticed that you weren’t with the band, due to a few injuries, so is there a focus to get back down here again this year or even next with the full Emmure lineup?
Of course, it’s always a real focus to make that happen but right now we don’t have any plans. Hopefully, we can make something happen soon. A lot of American bands have to really go out to you guys a lot to help build fans up and we’re friends with Parkway Drive, Amity Affliction, Deez Nuts. So hopefully doing something with either of those bands would be great. Especially since a lot of people, once they see you touring with a lot of the same bands they like, start to gather some respect for your band and check you out more.
Like Speaker of the Dead, ‘Eternal Enemies’ has fifteen tracks on it, what are your thoughts on where it stands within Emmure’s discography?
Every record is a different piece of artwork and you know, we’ll try to write an album one way, or another way to try and make things happen. But I do think that this one came together the best. Everyone really got more inputs, and everyone’s ideas were really put out more on here. I think this one is the best, as far as the quality of writing goes and how we feel about it.
Now one track in particular, ‘E’, is a very different track than what you guys normally write especially with its nu-metal vibe. Is this the band trying to move into other, more mainstream markets?
That’s one way you could look at it. That track is definitely more of a bouncier song, and it’s got an album and radio version too. We’ve done stuff like it on past albums but this time it’s just a culmination of those ideas and feelings.
Now you guys have recently renamed the opening song to the album, ‘Bring A Gun To School’, right?
Yes we did, it’s being released as ‘Untitled’. Long story short, some people would perceive it as a bad thing, or as if we’re trying to knock on school shootings, which is how it started out when we released it or maybe that stores won’t put our CD in there store, or that certain sponsorships might not want to deal with that, so we just changed up. And this just drives us more when people talk about us, even when it’s bad talking.
How did you initially feel about the song title and its lyrics? Did you think it was going to be received badly, or did you see it as just another Emmure song to start out the new album?
Yeah, that’s what I thought as I didn’t know what to expect. At first I did take it as offensive because I didn’t understand, and then I read the explanation and see what it is and where it’s coming from and how it’s pretty much just testament to how people get sore to anything you do or say. He [Frankie] decided "Well I’m just gonna say this" as it was more personal, about getting bullied, and not about knocking on school shootings, which is what most people would think at first.
To coincide with ‘Enteral Enemies’ release, you’re also releasing a DVD titled ‘Enemy Lines’, what promoted the move to bring this doco to life?
We figured that making a DVD would be a lot of fun as we’ve never got to do anything like that. So many bands have DVDs out and we thought it was always hard to replicate so we never put out something together. But after a lot of time on the road, we’ve got enough to really show people things that you can’t see on YouTube. This is definitely more behind the scenes, which I think is really cool and more valid nowadays.
What was your favourite part of recording the new album?
I think it was the fact that we were really tight with each other and knew exactly what we wanted to do. Frankie already had the vocals done, he had a bunch of songs demoed already for me so I tracked all of the songs over those demos, re-did them and then went and recorded the album. So it was all super muscle memory and I think we all performed really well on it.
Is that how you’ve worked in the past, with you tracking everything yourself?
Everything that Emmure has ever recorded, from the early demos, the EP, all the albums, I’ve tracked all of the guitars and bass and a couple of other things here and there, Mike [Mulholland, guitar], will track or he’ll send me songs that he’s written and tracked and cut or edit parts. But for consistency’s sake, I try to track it all and keep it all sounding the same. Just to get that strong Metallica, Pantera sound so that when you listen to one of their albums, you’ll know exactly who you’re listening to. That’s the vibe I really like to keep with Emmure.
I’m sure you’ve been asked this plenty of times as of late but nevertheless, were the band’s spirits hampered by former guitarist Ben Lionetti trying to file a lawsuit against the band and your label?
See, the story with that is once we got out there and people were talking about us and about the new album, all the old members started coming out of the woodwork trying to make something happen. If we were gonna get sued, we would have gotten the paper work already or it would have happened years ago when this started, and it’s been going on and on and just never seems to end. It’s just never ending circle chasing. But it didn’t hang anything over us, it was just something being said and it was just gonna go right over us, and we just see them all as being silly, trying to get money from people and doing all this wacky stuff. People are starting to get it that they’re not doing the right thing.
Another business question, but with label mates A Day To Remember having issues with Victory Records of late, how has Emmure’s relationship with the label been?
It’s been great, we signed for a fourth album contract years ago. Finished the fourth album and resigned on for another one, released that and then we signed on for another one album contract, the one coming out now. We figured each other out really good and knew what needed to work. Tiny and the gang at Victory, just everyone there is doing right by us. They’ve got ideas, we’ve got ideas and we both just keep it all moving and moving. Especially for this record cycle, they’re doing. [They’re doing] so much for us and we couldn’t be happier.
I suppose it’s good to hear that it isn’t a global issue with bands and Victory, more like isolated incidents.
Yeah, it definitely is. You do have to play ball and understand that you’ve got different people with different feelings, who all want to do different things from time to time. Sometimes bands just lose their minds and think this and think that and create this big argument off nothing, and it’s just not worth it. It’s more important to just try and make things happen smoothly and thankfully, Victory and us do that really well.
One thing that’s always been apparent on the last few albums is that there has been loads of comic and video game references in the lyrics and song titles, is that merely just Frankie’s personal interest or are all of you into comics and video games and the like?
Yeah, that’s more of Frankie’s thing, with all the video games and comics. He writes all of the lyrics and song titles, so basically that’s where that derives from. This time, we did something that’s going to connect to people a little bit more than that. I don’t think that that connected with a lot of people on the last CD. So what Frank has to say now is just fucking unreal, and I’m really excited for it.
What’s a goal that you personally or even Emmure as a whole would like to achieve or cross off the list this year?
We just really want to step it back up I guess. We kind of flounced on the last album, like we did a lot of touring for the cycle but it got tedious and we thought it was all goning to pay off, but nope. Which became really stressful as you start to wonder what’s going on, and then the next thing you know, we’re on a different page with this album. We’re very excited to have the rest of the year to try and hopefully sell more records because of the different crowds we’re reaching to with being on magazine covers, having songs in a video game, just really exciting stuff like that, which is going to be the difference.
Glad to hear that dude. With a less serious question, are you excited for any other bands albums to come out this year?
I know it’s not coming out, but I would love a new Meshuggah record, that’d be so sick.
That would be sick, Meshuggah are great. Last question, are there any bands that you would love to share the stage with one day?
Pretty much any band that’s still out there still doing it that we loved growing up. Deftones would be number one, Meshuggah, Limp Bizkit, even Korn. There are a lot of bands out there that would be sick. And it sounds crazy but I’d love to tour with Slayer. We’re good friends with their guitar-tech and he loves the band and he tries to push our name over to them [laughs]. You know, you hear the stories of bands being booed off stage but as far as I’m concerned, that would be a huge stab in the world of music if Emmure ever opened up for Slayer. I wouldn’t care if we just got paid a dollar, or if we had to pay a million dollars just to play the tour, the bottom line is if that ever happened, that would be unreal! I think it’d be good for us and for them even in a weird way [laughs].