Emarosa is a band that I had heard talk of but had not actually taken a moment to experience. You see, a close friend of mine had told me many months ago that I should check out their music, and maybe it’s just me, but I couldn’t help but think "what if it sucks?" I didn’t want to disappoint my friend by not enjoying their music, so I did what any other weird human being would do; I refused to listen to Emarosa. Man, do I regret that now.
Upon being offered to write this piece I was skeptical. Again,what if their music sucks? How can I do an honest piece if all I’m doing is writing negatively? But like any other adult I sucked it up, locked myself in my room, and hit play on their latest album, '131.'
Within the first thirty seconds I was stunned, cursing myself for not listening to my friend all those months ago. The first track, Hurt, had me mesmerized; the raw vocals, pure harmonies, and natural rock essence of this band is captivating; and I was hooked. And as the second track started I felt as if I were sat in a garage listening to the band myself, my surprise growing as I found the title of the song, ironically enough, to be One Car Garage. As the album progressed it only got better and better. Track eight, Never, holding the sole duet on the album, the harmonies coming together perfectly to form a heart wrenching love song that will move you. Track nine, Young Lonely, has one of my favorite lyrics on the entire album “you will find out you are strong;” leaving me with a sense that everything will be okay. And as the final track Re played I was left speechless as it tied together the entire album lyrically and musically in a phenomenal, indescribable, ending.
The entire album is powerful and moving, showing things from the struggle of battling with inner demons, to the strain those inner demons can put on a relationship, to the feeling of pure heartbreak. 131 is therapeutic in the best way, providing an escape and showing that no matter what you may be going through, you are not alone. This album is diverse in the best way possible, each song having it’s own unique tone; and as I sat in my basement, listening to 131 over and over again I couldn’t help but think, "I need to know everything about this band."
Emarosa is made up of four members: Bradley Walden, ER White, Jordan Stewart, and Matthew Marcellus. As a band, Emarosa has had many hardships and many transitions throughout their career. Lead singer Bradley Walden recalled that "originally I turned down the position in Emarosa because I knew I was walking into a situation with negativity,” the singer says, recalling the uncertain time surrounding his first release with the band, 2014’s Versus. “Facing that at first was absolutely miserable. I put a lot of pressure on myself to sound like what people wanted on Versus.” That was changed for this latest album however, “for 131, I definitely didn’t care what anybody else thought. I just wanted to make a record with my band that we all loved, and that’s definitely what we did” Walden states.
In April 2016 Emarosa announced they signed with Hopeless Records, a change from the previous record company Rise Records. In early 2016 Emarosa entered a Nashville studio with producer Casey Bates to create 131. Walden explains, “Casey was so open to everything. It was definitely the most creative vibe I’ve ever been in, and it was so inspiring, and I think that’s why the record turned out how it is. With Versus I knew in my heart it wasn’t what I wanted to do. But with 131, I’m so proud of this. It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done. This is the record we wanted to make.”
But you see it isn’t just the music and amazing creativity behind this band that makes them fascinating to me, it is also the relationship and connection they have with their fans. I had the chance to talk with long time fan, Ashley Long, and ask her some questions as to why she loves the band so much.
Maranda: You’ve been a long time fan of Emarosa, when did you first discover their music?
Ashley: I actually discovered them when they were still with Rise Records. I was doing some promoting for Rise and won an Emarosa prize pack with posters and CDs. After listening to their newest- at the time- album, Versus, I was hooked. I fell in love with their sound and the lyrics.
M: What was it about their music that drew you to them?
A: Initially it was because I had a free CD, but as time went on I kept listening to them because I felt this raw connection to it. Their music inspired me and I didn't want to loose that feeling.
M: As a fan, did you have high expectations for 131?
A: Waiting for their new album was torture! I would have done anything to get it earlier than I did. I had such high hopes because Versus and Versus Re-Imagined were such great albums, I knew that 131 would have to be as well.
M: Did It live up to those expectations?
A: Thankfully it did live up to my expectations, it's actually my favorite story to tell. I got the album early while working Warped Tour in Nashville, and since it’s a four hour drive back home I bought tons of new albums to listen too and 131 was one of them. I listened to the album probably like three times through and bawled like a baby driving back home.
M: What is one of your favorite songs off of 131?
A: My favorite song is Young Lonely. Something about the lyrics and how Bradley sings them gets me every time I listen to it. The first time I listened to the song I couldn't even actually make it through the whole song because it hit me like a ton of bricks. The lyrics ‘you’ll find out you are strong’ are special to me because when I heard this song it was during the time I was starting to admit to myself that I had an eating disorder and I needed help, and hearing the song made me realize that I will be okay, I will make it through this. It was a kind of fate moment. I needed to hear it at exactly that moment.
M: You’ve seen them perform live, what were those experiences like?
A: It took about two years before I was finally able to see them live. I loved the moment. I saw them two days in a row during this past summer’s Warped Tour. I worked both dates, but I wouldn't let myself miss their set. It was the one I absolutely would not miss. It was almost like listening to the album, it sounded that much alike. They all have such an awesome energy when they perform. It’s surreal because when I was watching them it was as if nothing else existed. I will never forget that experience ever again. The third time was on their first headliner this past month. It was exactly the same as Warped just less burnt skin and I was probably more emotional this time too. My favorite part of their shows is when Bradley flips Matthew while he’s still playing; and I love how Bradley literally climbs on everything including the crowd. They are so involved in their shows, it’s wonderful.
M: You’ve mentioned that Emarosa is one of your favorite bands, why is that?
A: I love them because whatever I’m feeling I can turn them on and instantly feel better. I can always relate to their lyrics and the band has been such a help inspiring me to write and create more. They’re like a little escape into my mind; I can turn them on and write a school paper or poetry and I love that they can get my creativity flowing.
M: You've met the band, what was that experience like?
A: I’ve met them three times, and each time they are as humble and nice as before. They are such sweethearts. I can tell how much this means to them. They’re also laid back and chill. Each of them had conversations with some of the crowd after the show, and during the meet and greet they left it open to just have casual conversation. Like they’re honestly one of the best group of guys ever.
M: Overall, how does their music make you feel?
A: Gosh their music makes me feel so many things. Listening to their music kind of forces you to feel something. I think their music is emotional, it feels like your heart is pouring out, you can’t belt out an Emarosa song without having some hard core emotions. But mostly I feel empowered by them. Their music makes me feel as if I can do anything, I may struggle or I may get hurt but that cant stop me from being happy and being me. Emarosa has taught me to love myself again.
Overall Emarosa has become one of my favorite bands in the short time I have listened to them. Their creativity and ability to touch and move you is unfounded and I highly suggest every person reading this take the time to listen to them. Do not be like me and wait, I promise you will not regret it.