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If you haven’t heard of British rockers Embrace it’s only because they’ve spent the last three years quietly perfecting their craft and taking their music to the next level. Now the band, for whom Coldplay opened in 2000, is back with a brand new album and a first single that’s already a hit. The Record speaks exclusively to drummer Mike Heaton as Embrace gets ready to release their music all over the world.

WHO THEY ARE: British rockers Embrace formed back in 1992. Today the band has five members: Danny McNamara on vocals, his brother Richard McNamara on guitar, Steve Firth on the bass, Mike Heaton on drums and Mickey Dale who is the keyboard player.

SOUND: Anthemic, serene, melodic, soul-searching, energetic Brit-rock.

THE MUSIC: 2004 sees the release of a brand new Embrace album called ‘Out Of Nothing’. This record reflects fundamental changes within and around Embrace. To begin with, after seven years of basically producing themselves, they knew they needed a visionary, an outsider. They brought in edgy producer Youth. He took the band’s sound and turned it inside out. He made them change lyrics they’d been poring over for three years. Repeatedly Danny would be midway through a song and be asked to sing louder, or quieter with more passion. As the band puts it, Youth licked Embrace into shape. He wanted Embrace to make the truly great album he thought they were capable of. Says Mike, “We wanted to make the best record that we could. The last album was a bit rushed so this time we wanted to take as much time as we needed. The record took three years to make and we’d work sometimes 10 hours a day in the studio we built. We took our songs to another level, figured out alternate ways of playing them. The album took 12 weeks to record and we’re happy with it.”
The hard work is paying off – their first single ‘Gravity’ made its debut on the UK charts at an impressive number 7. And the fans are buzzing with excitement. Embrace has always had loyal and dedicated fans that supported the music tremendously. When you have fans like that, who needs the opinions of critics? Mike doesn’t entirely agree, “It would be fair in a way to say that – we have great loyal fans and we love sharing the music with them and getting their feedback. But you also can’t ignore the critics.”
The critics are definitely not ignoring the comeback of Embrace. Says Victoria Newton of British publication The Sun, “The new album has blown me away. The comeback single was written by Chris Martin. The other ten tracks on the album are equally as good – glorious, epic ballads. Danny (of Embrace) says: “The big tunes are back”. He’s not wrong. There is not a bad track on this album.” Virgin FM hosts say, “If you work for the record company, call the Brit Awards for next year; this band are going to need a few tables.”

THE COLDPLAY CONNECTION: The first song to be released from ‘Out Of Nothing’ is a track called ‘Gravity’ written by Coldplay’s Chris Martin. According to Mike, “The song was written by Chris Martin who is a friend. Chris felt that ‘Gravity’, a song he’d written, sounded more like an Embrace song than a Coldplay song. He then asked Danny if he’d like to record it for Embrace. Danny had loved the song ever since Chris had first played it to him in 2002 and so had we, so we took Chris up on the offer. It’s nothing unusual, in the ‘60s people passed songs around all the time.” Says Richard in an interview, "The way that we did it was, we had a download of it from a gig in Dusseldorf where Chris played it on the piano and there's this chord that I managed to put over it in the middle of the chorus that has a dissident sound to it, like the Death Star's tractor beam, that ‘Gravity’ kind of sound, that's one of my proudest moments".

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Embrace in the September 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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