Emmure is an equally loved and hated band, that much is for sure. Same goes for their frontman, Frankie Palmeri.
However, I truly believe that with their upcoming album, ‘Look At Yourself’, the band will be winning over a lot more fans; both those unfamiliar with them and their many detractors. This will be due to the band’s solid new lineup, featuring members of Glass Cloud and The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza, but also because of the record’s actual music. Now, yes, it’s still an Emmure record at its core musically, but now it’s lacking those questionable lyrics of old and delivers a potent mix of their recent nu-metal elements and their older heavier, metalcore sound. ‘Look At Yourself’ is also a much tighter and a far stronger release, and it flows better than any other Emmure album to date. It also features some of their best riffs thus far, which is no real surprise considering that guitarist Josh Travis is now a member!
So, with this monstrous new record set for release on March 3rd via Sharptone Records, I spoke with the band’s frontman and key driving force, Frankie Palmeri last month during a huge slog of press for the vocalist (a hefty seven or so hours all up for the man.) In our brief but insightful chat, we discuss both the band’s new and the former members, ‘Look At Yourself’, Emmure’s future with this new lineup and record, and how Palmeri has done a lot of growing up over the past couple years.
Check it out below!
So, Frankie. When you were essentially mutinied in December 2015, I couldn’t help but think of the lyrics from ‘Like LaMotta’ where you say; ‘The whole game can change just when you figure out’. Because to me, it seemed like that where Emmure was headed with the last couple albums, you were really about to go places and that lineup fiasco really threw a spanner in the works.
It’s funny, I actually haven’t thought of it like that, but I can see how you would reference that song; life imitating art and what not. See, everyone had quit the band in September of 2015, but the world hadn’t heard of it until December 2015. So I had been dealing with it for a couple months until they announced their departure, and I started writing this album the moment they all quit. I was basically living next to my phone for a few weeks to piece my life back together, and I was very lucky to team up with some amazing people, both the new members as well as the new label. Everything’s just feeling really fresh and new for me right now.
That’s good to hear, Frankie. Regarding both Josh’s and Phil joining the band, I’ve heard some pretty succinct statements about it, but how did their joining of Emmure really come about exactly? Who approached whom first?
Well, Josh Travis and I have been friends for about ten or so years now and I always spoke with him about doing a project together, but Emmure was doing its own thing and he had a few projects he was working on. When this door opened for new people to come fill these spots in Emmure, he was my first choice. Like, if anybody’s gonna fill these shows, it’s gonna be Josh Travis – my favourite guitar player.
He and I already had a good repour and with so many members leaving, he mentioned he had a lineup going on that he could bring with him, so I trusted his gut. Now, we have Josh Miller and Phil in the band! I am really excited for the future with this lineup and ‘Look At Yourself’.
Oh, for sure, this is the best lineup the band has ever had. Business aside, where you a fan of Glass Cloud and Tony Danza?
To be honest, I always liked Tony Danza, but I do prefer the record that’s pre-Josh Travis. But he has been in so many bands now, and one of the older bands, When Knives Go Skyward, that was the band that I discovered him. Glass Cloud is cool too! You know, whatever Josh touches is insanely good. I’m more a fan of him, in general.
He was also briefly in Monuments too, so he’s got a great CV.
Oh, dude, I actually never knew that. That’s so cool!
There you go! While we’re on members still, have you spoken to any of the ex-members since the 2015 lineup changes? Because unless I’m wrong, ‘Torch’ is a straight up diss against those old members…
Yeah…I use our music to say things acrimoniously about people in life. Rather than causing even more shit in my life by being openly confrontational. But yes, you will hear some things about the members that quit. Naturally, each Emmure record is a new chapter in my life – like my own personal diary. It’s not what the entire album is about but there are pieces of that in this album.
But no, man, as far as being on speaking terms goes, I don’t speak to anyone who has previously been in Emmure.
I can totally understand why you wouldn’t. One point you just made that stood out to me is talking acrimoniously about people in your life, and I get that from another song, ‘Flag Of The Beast’, with the ‘Anti-Christ’ sample taken from Private Parts. Plus, with the song’s lyrics, whom exactly are you labelling the Anti-Christ in that song, or is that just you low-key discussing certain people you personally know?
Oh, that one is actually about me. I’m using myself as the archetype of the Anti-Christ, as I’ve gone through so much, I’ve survived so much, have fallen so far…and yet I’m still here. It’s basically saying that I don’t want to be the sheep; I want to be the goat.
Also, with the latest single release, ‘Russian Hotel Aftermath’, I really dig it, and the lyrics seem to be you opening up about where you thought you’d be by now in life. However, is the title in reference to your experiences in Russia and the perhaps aftermath of your on-stage electrocution back in 2014?
It’s not actually about the electrocution at all. That song is detailing my feelings about the time when band was breaking up, as it all happened while we were in Russia on tour. It was September 9, 2015, when they decided to quit. There was a lot of ugly shit being thrown around behind closed doors about the band and myself, and it was really shitty. You have a relationship with people for so long but you can still just get thrown under the bus. So that song is about that time. When I say ‘Russian Hotel Aftermath’, I’m talking about the experience of being in Russia during that time in our band.
Well, that makes a lot more sense to me about that song now. You know Frankie, despite the public image of yourself, I find it commendable how over the last couple years and with this new album you’ve been able to open up, really mature and admit certain flaws about yourself. Do you think that that reflection has come about due to you being a teenager when Emmure first started and because you had to grow up in front of the eyes of the world, so to speak?
Absolutely! It is strange coming to that point in my life where I can look back on my life in that, but I strongly agree with you. I’ve done so much growing up and learning about life in general. I’ve had to find ways to navigate through the mess of my personal life and be in a band and travelling full time. I’ve experienced many up and downs, and I think there were times in my life where I didn’t cope correctly or treat certain moments appropriately. At least, at the end of the day, I can learn from it, and I’m much wiser and happier because of it.
I totally admit to being a fucking lunatic in my 20’s. Without question, I was out of my fucking mind. To me, it’s better to live that out than to spiral out later in life, which could have happened if I hadn’t come to the realisation that I can be a dick sometimes.
Well said. On yourself and Emmure, you are of course the first member that people think of when they think of this band. So would I be right to say that you will never leave Emmure and if you do, that will be when the band ends?
At this point, absolutely. There will not be another incarnation of this band after this lineup, so I will take it as far and as long as possible now. I am so happy with the relationship I have built with these three new guys, and I’m going to hang onto it as long as I can. I would not feel comfortable filling those shoes.
I mean…let’s say that tomorrow Josh’s arm got blown off, I may consider getting another guitar player but I’d have to think about as we all have such a good connection.
Considering how solid this new album is, you don’t wanna let that shit go!
I really appreciate that, man. There’s a lot for us to accomplish in 2017!
Well, with ‘Look At Yourself’, with both its nu-metal and older deathcore sound, and this lineup, it’s like a win-win combination. I think many new and old fans will love it.
Oh, that’s awesome. It’s so reassuring to hear that, thank you. You know…you try to please everybody and you end up pleasing no one so we just aim to please ourselves. So when I please myself in the music, I am pleasing our fans as we connect with them on that level. When we did this record, it was so awesome to sit and cherry pick everything. Which is why it slams from front to back!
I think that a lot of people, with this new lineup, are expecting a really Glass Cloud or Tony Danza sounding album. But as you said over Twitter a little while ago – this is Emmure and it’ll sound like Emmure.
Yeah, regardless of whether you heard us back on our first album or this is your first Emmure record, this will sound like Emmure. I would never tamper with something that isn’t broken, and I just generally don’t want it to sound like another band. Tony Danza and Glass Cloud aren’t bad or anything, but that isn’t the vibe I’d want for my own band.
There is definitely some of those bands in here, and I was able to utilise as much of Travis as I could here. He loves to perform, and he loves to play dope, challenging riffs because he’s so fucking good. But he also understands that this is Emmure and this had to follow suit; which is making live, tenacious and fun heavy music.
Yeah, there’s an expectation that had to be met in terms of style. On the guitars, I think that Josh has helped produce some of Emmure’s best riffs to date, though.
I would say that too! It’s so good to be with such competent people who really understand the vision. On our previous records, there was a lot of shit I had to let fly, as there were certain members who were so passionate about the material. It’s like having a friend who loves Star Wars but you hate Star Wars and they make you go see it anyway – the same thing happens with writing an album. There can be a song I hate, but as everyone else loved it, it would end up going on the album.
Now, there’s none of that fucking bullshit. I didn’t have to compromise at all, and I think it’s now straight bangers all the way through. I am super amped.
Love that analogy, and this is easily the most cut the shit Emmure album. Now, finally, the last time Emmure was here in Australia was just under four years ago with The Ghost Inside tour. So… dude, we’re long overdue for an Emmure tour!
Yeah, you’re right. I talk to my manager about it nearly every week about our plans for Australia. Hearing Australian interviewers like yourself asking when we’re back and digging the record really helps our cause, and we’ll be back in Australia hopefully this year! I’ll have to get back to you when that happens, man.
Sick! With that Frankie, we’ll have to leave it all there. Thank you for your time today, take it easy, mate.
Oh, it was a great talk, have a good one man!
‘Look At Yourself’ is out March 3rd via Sharptone Records. It’s damn solid stuff! Pre-order it here.