We recently chatted with Richard McNamara the guitarist and songwriter of celebrated band Embrace about their new album and upcoming UK tour.
OSM: So, how are things, how are preparations coming along for the tour?
Richard: Good. We've dipped our toes in and we've got The Bingley Festival this weekend (note: this interview was conducted prior) and rehearsals are booked in..
OSM: The tour is pretty much a month away now. You are playing pretty much up and down the UK from Aberdeen to London. Are there any particular cities that are preferred places to play, that are always that bit more special?
Richard: Yeah Manchester and Nottingham are always killer. Glasgow is amazing but we couldn't put that one on the tour. I mean I think at our gigs people know what to expect, they are usually pretty good.
OSM: The special guests on the tour are The Lottery Winners, who are great. How did that arrangement come about and are you looking forward to checking out their set each night?
Richard: I’m in a side project called EEVAH and we ended up doing a gig with them (The Lottery Winners) and they offered us some tour dates. In exchange we offered them this tour. They are great people and a great live band.
OSM: From the shows on the tour, what can fans expect; a mix of songs from the new album and fan favorites or is the mix more to playing tracks from the new album?
Richard: There are songs in the set if we didn't play them people wouldn’t let us leave! We play around five or six new songs, alternating which new ones we play at each show.
OSM: ‘How To Be A Person Like Other People’, the new album, is out on August the 26th. You have released music from the album already but what can listeners expect from the album as a whole?
Richard: We recorded it in a minimalist way, sent idea over ideas on voice notes to Danny. He would message back “I've got this idea..” and we.would .get together and whip it into shape. Typically the fourth or fifth take is all we needed. It is a live sounding record - five guys in a room playing music.
OSM: Were the songs from the album written recently, perhaps during lockdown and if so did that experience shape the writing do you think or have you had some of the songs up your sleeves for a while?
Richard: A couple of songs were in the 2014 album sessions. ‘Remember Me ' was a song I wrote for Sarah Rourke and she didn’t end up using it so I thought “I’m going to use that”.
OSM: Looking back on when Embrace first came to prominence, in the mid 90’s, how did you feel about often being labelled under the Britpop tag? To me, the band has always been a rock band.
Richard: At the time it stuck in our throats a bit but it seemed like anyone who stuck their tongue out at a photographer back then was labelled Britpop. Danny proclaimed “Britpop is over!” in a Radio 1 interview at the time and then a week later Thom Yorke makes the same claim and he’s more known for that even though Danny said it first!
OSM: What has your relationship been like with Danny over the years - being in a band and working so closely together can put strains on relationships. Do you ever have disagreements about the direction of your music for example?
Richard: We have flare ups you know, he can be quite curt and not very patient and making a record you need that. That's the main sort of bug bear. I’m like “lets shut the fuck uo and just do it”
OSM: Back to the new album and the tour. Is there a particular song off the album that you are itching to play live?
Richard: ‘My surrender. carries a lot of weight. It’s a special song for me. A rousing feel at the end.
‘How To Be A Person Like Other People’ is released on August the 26th and can be purchased on various formats here.
Embrace’s UK tour starts on Wednesday the 31st of August in Aberdeen. Tickets and dates can be found here.