Embrace’s Danny McNamara Talks New Album, Tour & More!

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Embrace are on the verge of releasing their eighth studio album, “How To Be A Person Like Other People”, out August 26th via the band’s own Mo’betta label. The new record has spawned anthemic singles, “Terms Of My Surrender” and “Death Is Not The End”, both over six minutes long, along with latest hit, “We Are It”, which has only increased the anticipation for the album.

The band also announced UK tour dates in support of the forthcoming record, including their biggest London show in over 17 years at Brixton Academy on Friday 9th September. With the new songs sounding perfect for the live shows, the 2022 tour promises to be one to remember for Embrace’s loyal fanbase.

We caught up with frontman, Danny McNamara, to discuss all things “How To Be A Person Like Other People” and the upcoming UK tour. We also discuss the famous Embrace secret gigs, including when they broke into the Big Brother house, and plenty more!

Embrace - How To Be a Person Like Other People - CD – Rough Trade

NC: Let’s start with the title of the album which I found quite intriguing, what was the thinking behind this?

DM: “It’s taken from a script from the latest Joker film. In it there’s a scene where the Joker is watching the talk show host introduce people, watching people sit down and observing how they hold their drinks. He’s watching how to be a person like other people, and it really resonated with me. I used to have quite a wild imagination when I was a kid and it made my life quite difficult, I felt quite isolated and separate. I think one of the reasons I joined a band in the first place was so that I wasn’t part of the rat race. In a lot of ways I’ve had a really good life being in a band and travelling the world, but I’ve had real difficulties in my personal life. Then I found my wife, we’ve been together for 10 years now, and this album title is what she’s been showing me during this time. It’s about my journey of joining the human race – there’s nothing quite like your three year old waking you up at 4am to snap you out of being a rockstar and into being a dad!”

NC: So is it a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ record?

DM: “Yes, in a way. The reason I joined a band was to make meaningful connections and communicate properly with other people. The ways that most people interact, such as going out for a drink or having a chat, I find it difficult and not as fulfilling. I do these things, but I don’t think I’m very good at it. Being creative allows me to connect.”

NC: What can fans expect sonically from the new album?

DM: “I think it’s quite upbeat compared to the last album. I really liked the last album but it’s quite introspective, gentle and intimate. This one is more rousing, immediate and epic. We emailed music to one another during the pandemic and I’d put the melodies over the top. There were hundreds of ideas floating around and then the strongest floated to the surface, and the songs were already in pretty good shape when I took them back to the band, so there were finished tracks heading into the studio rather than the usual half finished ideas. In the past we’ve spent months in the studio, but for this record we were working really fast and the results were upbeat and lively. It’ll be a lot of fun to play live, a lot of uplifting music.”

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NC: Two of the releases are over six minutes long, which you don’t see very often in modern music. Was it always the intention to create these lengthy tracks?

DM: “We wanted to release our two favourite songs from the record first and then the main single in the lead up to release. I think the fact that they’re both nearly seven minutes long is part of the attraction because in the past, the singles haven’t always been indicative of what the album is like. The more radio friendly songs don’t always show the weight and depth of the album. Fortunately, I think “We Are It’ has both elements. I don’t think we’ve written one like that since Refugees and Ashes.”

NC: Are there any tracks that you’re particularly excited for fans to hear upon release?

DM: “The title track. I played the album to Chris Martin and he was blown away by the track. A few people got a sneaky listen and they all picked out this song as a highlight. It’s really cool and when we play it live it sounds amazing!”

NC: It’s the 25th anniversary of “The Good Will Out” next year. Have you had time to reflect on this milestone?

DM: “It’s weird, 25 years is a really long time. In some ways it does feel like that length of time but in others it feels like yesterday. We did some anniversary shows a few years ago and I was concerned as to whether we’d pull it off or not because we’d never played it beginning to end, but the shows were immense. It all sold out and everyone was singing back to front, it went up another notch from a normal gig. I think we’re enjoying it more now, back then we were too busy climbing to think about the view. Now we’re just enjoying the ride rather than worrying about what’s next. I still feel like I’ve got a hell of a lot to stay and I feel as though myself and Richard are getting better lyrically. There is a feeling that there’s unfinished business which becomes more and more pressing by the year. We’ve been looking back at video footage from early gigs 20 to 30 years ago and going on a trip down memory lane, which has been a real joy. We know each other’s idiosyncrasies now which makes us work well together. I’d die for them and I’d like to think they’d die for me.”

NC: Embrace have been known for putting on secret gigs in the past. How did this come about and are there plans for more?

DM: “We will keep them going. The last few were secret festivals which were great. The first one, people didn’t know where it was or who was on, just that it was half an hour out of London and that we were playing. We actually managed to get Finsbury Park and it was absolutely amazing. They are a lot of stress to organise and plan but the memories made there are worth it, and there are plans for more. The way that technology has changed, some things that weren’t plausible before are now possible, and they keep getting better so watch this space.”

NC: You’re heading out on a UK tour shortly, where are you playing and how are you feeling about getting back out there?

DM: “We’re going to be playing all the places we played back in the day when we were a really big band, so it’s quite exciting. Brixton Academy, Rock City and Manchester Apollo are all in there. Nottingham is right up there with the big music cities so we’re looking forward to that one. We’re heading to Scotland too, and they’re big venues so it should be great. At the last gig before lockdown in Leeds, it was almost like this is the last party we’ll have for a while so let’s have it. When the crowd give you everything, you play so much better, and they respond to that again and it keeps spiralling. It’s the most amazing and magical feeling. Hopefully because it’s been so long, there’ll be that sense of occasion again!”

NC: You’ll be joined by Lottery Winners, what is it about this band that caught your attention?

DM: “Yes, that was Richard’s idea, he’s seen them a few times and thinks they’re brilliant. They are right up my street, I’ve had various friends recommend them to me, like Clint Boon. They seem quite Embrace-like in the way that it’s communal and as much about the audience as it is about the band. So hopefully the atmosphere will be 11 out of 10 before we even get on stage.”

NC: Are there any other new artists you’re particularly enjoying at the minute?

DM: “Without being too nepostistic, my brother’s daughter is Ellur. She’s been doing it for a while, singing since she was about four at the piano. Just recently in the last year or so, she’s got a record deal and a management company and is really coming into her own. I honestly think she’s a female version of Sam Fender, an authentic, working class voice. She writes all of her own stuff and has lots to stay, she’s a total star. When we’re at family gatherings, she’s the star in the room, not me or Richard. You never know if it’s going to happen because it’s always a roll of the dice, but she’s got as good a chance as any.”

Tickets are on sale now for the 2022 tour. Head to https://www.gigsandtours.com/tour/embrace.

August              
31 – Aberdeen Music Hall
September       
1 – Edinburgh O2 Academy
2 – Newcastle Northumbria University
3 – Nottingham Rock City
4 – Sheffield O2 Academy
6 – Cardiff Tramshed
8 – Birmingham O2 Institute
9 – London Brixton Academy
10 – Manchester O2 Apollo
11 – Norwich University of East Anglia

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