HEAVY talks to Frankie Palmeri, singer of the polarising New York deathcore band, Emmure, about their next album, being able to relate to super-villains and the controversy surrounding his clothing label, Cold Soul Clothing.
Emmure’s 2012 release, Slave to the Game, is filled with comic book and video game references, which continues the band’s habit for incorporating pop culture references into their lyrics. Singer Frankie Palmeri explains that he incorporates the fictional characters into the song lyrics because he feels he can relate to them. “That’s definitely a big reason why I implement that style of writing into our music,” he says. “More so, to see myself in those fictional characters in a relatable real life sense.”
The characters referenced in Slave to the Game are all villains or anti-heroes, which leads you to believe that Palmeri can better relate to villains that heroes. “I think I’ve found myself being misunderstood,” he says. “I tend to relate to those stories more often than the kind of cookie-cutter normal superhero or hero character. My whole life, I’ve always enjoyed the bad guys more; they’ve always had a cooler story.”
The fictional references in Emmure’s songs are subtle and this is by design. “I don’t like to make the references completely blatant,” Palmeri continues. “I try to leave [the listener] a little clue rather than have [the pop culture references] be the sole focus of the music.”
The songs often combine Palmeri’s own experiences with the fictional references, such as in the song She Gave Her Love to Deadpool, which refers to the Marvel comic book character Deadpool and his tale of unrequited love.
“That song is definitely something that I’ve been through, being that it’s about a story between Thanos and Death, and a kind of love triangle that begins with the character Deadpool.”
Despite the success of these pop-culture themes, Palmeri foresees a new lyrical direction for the next album, which should be released sometime before the end of 2014. “We’re going to go back to our roots,” he says, “We’re going to be making a really raw and emotional album that people have been expecting from us for a long time. We’re writing right now and things are going really smoothly and I’m actually really excited to say that I’m really enjoying the new album a lot already. I think our fans are really in for a big treat and new listeners are going to be blown away by what we’re about to do.”
Emmure’s music is often described as being influenced by their Queens, New York location, but Palmeri disagrees.
“I don’t really think that demographics have anything to do with a band’s sound. I think that really has so much to do with the person and what they’re open to – just having a greater scope on what you want your music to be and what you envision. I’ve always enjoyed bands that are passionate and have lots of amazing, tenacious energy. You can tell there’s something very real happening in their music and that’s something that I would like for my band.”
Like the comic book villains Palmeri references, the singer was last year portrayed as a bad guy himself after his clothing label Cold Soul Clothing received a backlash for printing t-shirts that were deemed offensive. The primary offender was a t-shirt with a photo from the Columbine High School massacre on the front and the words ‘Shoot first, ask questions last’ printed on the back.
“I’m glad people were so shocked and appalled,” Palmeri says. “Maybe it took someone like me to shake the cage a little bit to get people paying attention to what’s going on, and I have no problem being that person. I think that I made a statement and it got people’s attention whether I wanted it to or not. Luckily I’m able to say it worked in my favour.”
Rather than hindering the business, the media attention only helped promote the clothing label.
“The fact that it received so much media attention was really a blessing in disguise because now the awareness of the brand is bigger than ever,” Palmeri continues. “Anyone who thought they were trying to stifle me has only catapulted me to success in that sense.”
Emmure head to Australia this month supporting The Ghost Inside and Palmeri hopes to find the time to visit an animal sanctuary. “I would really love to go back to the koala farm or whatever it’s called,” he says. “I just recently learned that the koalas are hallucinating the whole time because of the eucalyptus they eat and it causes them to be in this constant state of being really high, so now I want to go and I really want to hold them close because I know that it’s completely losing its mind. I have a whole new respect for koalas now.”
23 May 2013, Amplifier Bar, Perth
24 May 2013, Fowlers Live, Adelaide
25 May 2013, The Hi-Fi, Melbourne (over 18)
26 May 2013, The Hi-Fi, Melbourne (under 18)
29 May 2013, The Basement, Canberra
30 May 2013, The Metro, Sydney
31 May 2013, Panthers, Newcastle
1 June 2013, The Hi-Fi, Brisbane (over 18)
2 June 2013, The Hi-Fi, Brisbane (under 18)