Interview by Graham Finney
With a new album, ‘Love is a Basic Need’, out in early March, TotalNtertainment grabbed a few minutes with Mickey from Yorkshire favourites Embrace.
Hi Mickey, how’s things going for the tour?
Things are going lovely thanks. We’re getting ready to go out on the road again so we’re just preparing now. At the moment I’m looking at new ideas for merch to see if we can come up with something interesting. Merch is one of those things that gets left to one person to do so this time it’s me. We’re trying to come up with something interesting because a few years ago we came up with stuff like Embrace aprons and we couldn’t keep up with the demand.
Not sure what we’re going to do this time because the thing is that you’re always worried that you’ll end up with boxes full of stuff.
We’re really excited about going out on tour though as we’re five really good mate, five loveable idiots who get on really well and we’re touring just after a new album has come out. I wish we could do it all the time.
What can fans expect from the show?
Well, with six albums worth of material and the new album it’s always difficult as you’ll never please everybody but there are plenty of what Embrace fans would call “the bangers”. It’s hard to pick a set but we’ll all sit in a rehearsal room and pick a set that we hope has dynamics and diversity.
We’ve got a pile of songs to go through and I really enjoy looking back for the gems from all of our albums like Wonder from the third album or Keeping from the fourth album or Drawn From Memory the title track from the second album.
Twenty-two years into your career, what do you put your longevity down to?
I’d put a lot of it down to our lovely, wonderfully loyal fanbase. I’d also say Danny and Richard’s song-writing has a lot to do with it. You can listen to those songs and they’re timeless and it makes them a joy to play. They’re songs that fans have played at weddings, funerals and when you play them to people you can see the reaction on their faces. The other thing as well is that we’re five best mates.
I remember once we went out on tour with Snow Patrol and they said to us at one point that they thought we were like a five-headed beast because whenever they saw us we were all together. They said it was quite charming that, while they were all off doing their own thing, every time they saw us we were together. If I’m being honest, I didn’t realise bands didn’t do everything together.”
Before the tour though, you’ve got the small matter of the new album Love is a Basic Need. What can you tell us about the album?
Firstly, you’ve probably not heard but the album release has been brought forward a week. Apart from that I think on our last album we pushed ourselves to try things like programming and synths whereas this time we would work on a song and if it wasn’t quite right or it wasn’t working, we’d leave it and move onto something else. This time around it was the most enjoyable process we’ve gone through writing an album. It is definitely the most relaxed and the most natural as I think we trusted our instincts more and didn’t overthink everything.
The album has been described as having that “classic Embrace” feel. Where would you say it sits in with your other material?
Hmmm… good question. I think it sits very well alongside the first and fourth albums. There is one particular song on the new album, All That Remains, that sounds like classic Embrace. It’s a very bare song which, combined with the lyrics builds up into this massive song. We’re all immensely proud of this album.
You’ve had the chance to road test a few of the new songs in recent months as well putting out a few singles. What has the reaction been like from fans?
On the whole the reaction from the fans has been really strong and really supportive. Radio as well, that’s been really strong so we’ve no complaints so far. I’m personally looking forward to seeing the reaction of fans when we finally get out on tour.
Twenty-years down the line, what do you think you’ve learned as a person and a band?
To worry less! I’m a born worrier as is Danny and I think we’ve learned to live in the moment even though that is easier said than done. Last year me and Danny stopped at a service station for a bite to eat and we were stood in the car park and Danny looked at me and said “we haven’t had the artwork back and it was due four days ago”. We looked at each other and said “what’s the worst that could happen other than the album is a few days late? Fuck it, it’s not like anybody died!”.
Looking back there must have been plenty of high and low points?
Oh there have been plenty of great moments. We played the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff recently for two nights supporting our friends in Coldplay. We haven’t spoken to them a lot recently but Chris phoned Danny up and asked it we wanted to support them in Cardiff. It’s in the run up to the new album and we got the chance to play in front of 60,000 people a night. We’ve played there before as well at a Tsunami Benefit in 2005 that was amazing as well. At the same time though I think those really sweaty gigs in front of 150 people are just as magical.
As for low points well, anything that involves a tour bus and food poisoning isn’t particularly pleasant.
New album and tour already in the bag, what your plans for the rest of 2018?
Well, we’re booking festivals for the Summer so we’ve got a few lined-up which is pretty much it for the next few months.”
Finally, you’re finishing this run of UK shows back in Yorkshire, any message for the Yorkshire fans?
Nothing specific as we don’t really want to single any crowd out. Oh, I hope they don’t do that “Yorkshire!Yorkshire!” thing, it happened once at a show and it sounded like a football match. Seriously though, we can’t wait to see everyone at the shows and hope you all have a great time wherever you see us.