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Warped Tour: 5 Questions With Emarosa

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Emarosa has been through hell and then some in the past few years. With the departure of former vocalist [and now frontman for Slaves] Jonny Craig, Emarosa took the time to plant their roots and blossom into their full potential as songwriters. With the help of now vocalist Bradley Walden, Emarosa has exploded back into the music scene with their vivid and impressionable album, Versus. We were able to catch the Bradley Walden, keyboardist Jordan Stewart, and bassist Will Sowers a few hours before their set in Wantagh, NY to discuss the trials and balances of making Versus in this segment of, “5 Questions With…”
Cliché: Bradley, when you came on board as the new vocalist for Emarosa, were you initially nervous about bridging the gap between old and new fans?
Bradley Walden:
Yes. It was a lot of stress and a lot of pressure. I think anyone coming in would have felt that. It took me a year to actually go through committing to doing this, so eventually I realized what I was exactly trying out for with the fan base and prior members. I have a good support system in this band and I walk through it now knowing that they chose me for a reason. I trust  myself of my abilities… but initially it was a nightmare! [laughs]

Was there any struggle in the beginning to make your vocal range/style flow against the instrumentals, or was there fluidity in this transition?
Bradley:
I don’t think there were any difficulties.  There is no Emarosa material that I can’t perform, aside from “This Is Your Way Out.” [laughs]
Jordan Stewart: But Chris would be willing to help you out.  We have a good working relationship with Chris.
Bradley: Yeah, I can’t touch any of that screaming stuff, but other than that, Pete and I will sit and maybe write something acoustic and now, it’s been almost two years, and people don’t realize that.  The record hasn’t even been out a year, but I’ve been in the band for like two years now.  And now there’s a different kind of relationship, especially musically, where we can just be like, “OK, write something. Let’s go.” It’s very fluid and very organic. 
DSC_9712-2Is there any of that anxiety now or do you all feel that it is time for vitriolic fans to accept not that this is ‘the new Emarosa’ but rather that this IS Emarosa?
Bradley:
Yeah, I don’t care anymore. [laughs]  This is the band that we want to be. Old fans, they can appreciate those records, because there’s still that music for them to listen to.  At the end of the day, this is what this band is.
Jordan: At the end of the day, we’re so happy with where this band is at right now that nothing else matters. We’re having the time of our lives. We play music every day, and that’s all that matters.
Will Sowers: Yeah, you know we’re responsible for the choices that we made that have put the band where it’s at, but we’re happy where we are, with Brad especially.
With the effort of commandeering Emarosa into its broader sound, can we expect less of the latter in due time?
Bradley:
We don’t know.  We’re not going to pigeonhole ourselves into a “now they’re going to be a mature rock band.” Maybe one day we’ll write a Michael Jackson song, and one day we’ll write a song that you think is Radiohead.  We’re a band.  There’s not one type of music that we have to play or have to write.
Jordan: We’re hoping to get some other tours and stuff in the future to be able to show the other side of Emarosa and show the dynamics within the band. I think that will also come in writing to, for people to see in the material that we’ll be able to put out going further.
Will: At the end of the day, no matter what is put out, you’ll still be able to know, “That is Emarosa.”
Jordan: It will be consistent. There will be a string under there.
There was a lot of pressure with the creation of Versus. Do you believe that with your works post-Versus will have more room to grow, now that Emarosa has flourished to its new potential?
Jordan: Yeah, I definitely think so. Versus wasn’t safe, by any means, but it was definitely the right record at the right time.  We got to show our legs on there. We definitely had a little fun, and definitely showed that we had been off doing some other things for a while and Bradley was able to put that all under one consistent sound and feel successfully.
Bradley: I don’t say this in a negative light, but I do think Versus is a stepping stone record for the band.  And when I say that, in the back of my head I think it makes it sound less than what it is, but it was just the right record to make for this band that that time.  It was a musical decision and an emotional decision for the band, and it had to go through that – we had to go through that process to get to where we are now.  And you can hear from the kids that come to this tour and everything that’s getting posted around that we’re in the place that we wanted to be from day one.  It just took a while.
Jordan: They’re singing back now – they’re singing Versus.
Bradley: Yeah, more kids are singing that more than any other songs.
Jordan: The other stuff feels out of context now. It feels slopped together compared to other songs.
We saw you perform with Chiodos  in April and there was no hint of nervousness when you guys took the stage. You guys just put it all out there.
Bradley:
That’s surprising. [laughs]
Jordan: We’ve come a lot further since then.
Bradley: I’m excited for you guys to see us, and to see the difference.
Jordan: We only get twenty minutes though, so we’re going to play all twenty.
Bradley: We’re going to destroy all twenty!

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Warped Tour: 5 Questions With Emarosa: Photos by Heather Glock

Top 10 Warped Bands to Check Out

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Attention, everyone: pop punk is back. It has been made clear that with the lineup at this year’s Skate and Surf Festival and with the full lineup announced for this year’s Warped Tour, 2015 looks to be the biggest year for the genre… so far. Aside from this rise, Warped Tour is one of the few times a year where the mashing of music culture comes together. Looking at the lineup, I’m personally pretty stoked to see this year’s clash of genres take over Jones Beach on Long Island. Aside from Pierce the Veil, I know that I won’t be missing these ten bands listed below. Who are you excited to see? Tweet me at @H_Glock and let me know who you are most excited to see in your home state!
 
The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years performed so intensely at this year’s Skate and Surf Festival that bassist Josh Martin ran off the stage to throw up because he was screaming so hard. The band’s energy is one of the aspects that are loved about this band, and their set will most likely get you amped up for the whole day. Who needs Red Bull? Check out The Wonder Years for your daily dosage of pop punk energy.
Must Listen:Passing Through A Screen Door
 
Hands Like Houses
This Australian band is a veteran from 2013’s Warped Tour and it is exciting to have them back. Hands Like Houses are another energetic bunch that know how to get their crowd riled up for a good time. They have revealed that they are in the studio working on their third full-length album and with the release of their surprisingly heavier single, “I Am,” it makes one anxious to see what surprises they may have in store within their set.
Must Listen:Introduced Species
 
PVRIS
With PVRIS’ intimate show at Webster Hall (NY) selling out in 60 seconds flat, I would say that this band knows how to put on a live performance. This Boston alternative indie rock band released their latest album, White Noise, last year and the album had moments so powerful and melodically spine-chilling that that one contemplates the meaning with vocalist Lyndsey Gunnulfsen. Not to mention their tendency to write sneak attack explosions of heavy emotion and gripping guitar riffs. They are NOT one to miss.
Must Listen: St. Patrick
 
This Wild Life
Originally a pop punk start-up band, this artist has decreased in band member size, but gained something more in terms of sounds and emotion. While there are only two members, it is more than just an acoustic act with two guys. Skilled in both vocals and instrumentals, This Wild Life almost reminds you of a soft Copeland.
Must Listen:Roots and Branches
 
‘68
ANY fan of The Chariot should immediately check out front man Josh Scogin’s new project ‘68. Their songs are heavy, but odd in its vocals at times in which you can see Scogin’s influences of The White Stripes and The Black Keys, but also in his own inspiration to step out of the shadow of being The Chariot’s front man. What is impressive is that, like This Wild Life with its big sound, there are only two members: Scogin on vocals and guitar with Michael McClellan on drums. If you want to watch a band to know what kind of sound/thing they are going to do next, you know who to see.
Must Listen: Track 1 (R)
 
Emarosa
Emarosa has finally come back into the music scene with new vocalist, Bradley Scott Walden (ex-Squid the Whale vocalist). At first, it was concerning since Jonny Craig had left, but Walden fills those shoes just fine. In fact, Walden is not only able to almost redefine Emarosa, but is also able to keep what made them a band in the first place. For fans of Relativity, Emarosa’s Versus is almost an echo of that record and it does set up a promising future.
Must Listen: People Like Me, We Just Don’t Play
 
Koji
Want something a little bit more tender instead? While there is a pretty good list of acoustic acts to see this tour, I would personally recommend Koji. Andrew Koji Shiraki knows how to write positive songs along with writing lovely melodies.
Must Listen: Chasing a Ghost
 
August Burns Red
If you don’t know who August Burns Red is, then you are sorely missing out in the modern metal scene. ABR is a band that is consistent, releasing a new album every two years, including a holding record. Since 2005, ABR has always ventured into their music energetically and with odd metered breakdowns imbedded. Lately, they have been going for thinking outside the box with their sounds to avoid becoming generic, so it should make for an interesting set.
Must Listen:White Washed
 
Set It Off
I received a chance to interview Set It Off’s front man Cody Carson back in December for our 12 Days of Christmas segment. Carson was very passionate about his family and how much his music means to him, and it is evident within Set It Off’s music. The band is another pop punk act on this list, but their songs are just so damn catchy. You’ll certainly be dancing or jumping around when this band hits the stage.
Must Listen:Why Worry
*PLUS* This wonderful dual band cover of “Uptown Funk” with Against the Current.
 
Motion City Soundtrack
Formed in 1997, Motion City Soundtrack has been best known for their first LP, Commit This To Memory. The band are out on tour this year for their 10 year anniversary of said record. However, if you are checking out the band for the first time or are getting back into the groove of MCS’s pop rock sounds, then I would recommend hitting their stage both for the old hits and singles from their upcoming release.
Must Listen: Everything Is Alright
 
“Top Ten Warped Bands to Check Out” originally appeared in Cliché Magazine’s June/July 2015 issue.
Featured Image of The Wonder Years by Heather Glock
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