Staffer Tim Dodderidge recently had the opportunity to chat with Emmure bassist Mark Davis during the band’s summer stint on the Rockstar Mayhem Festival. Davis discussed the band’s most recent release, Slave to the Game, their high-energy live performances, influences and more.
You guys get a lot of hate on the Internet. How do you react to the hate, and how does this hate affect the band?
I mean, I don’t think any of us concentrate on the hate part at all. We’re just out there to play our music and have fun. People can say whatever they want. People are going to feel one way or another – strongly opinionated either way. We can’t change people’s minds. We’re just out there making the people happy that we do make happy.
To your latest album, Slave to the Game. It seems very influenced by video games and comics. I know Frankie [Palmeri, vocalist] is into Street Fighter a lot. Are you into stuff like that?
That’s more of Frank’s thing. He did the whole theme for the album and took it away with the lyrics – I don’t know what you’d say…role playing? Just seeing from other people’s perspectives. He took it away with that. That was his theme. That was his idea and everything. Yeah, just that imagery and everything for the album went with the lyrics.
Does Frankie do all the writing for every album then?
Yeah, Frank does all of the lyrical stuff. Him and Jesse [Ketive, guitarist] work together and put all the songs together. But yeah, Frank does all of the lyrics.
What was the writing and recording process like for the latest record? Was that any different than what you guys had done in the past?
Every time we write, it’s kind of a little different. We try to throw everybody into a room and jam it out together. Sometimes we get on computers with different people helping us, like to record it or just recording it ourselves. But yeah, we just went back to it and just sat down in front of a computer with ProTools and a guitar and just got ideas out whenever they came up. It makes it happen.
Would you say Slave to the Game is different than your other albums, and how would you say you have progressed from your past works?
I feel like it’s just a continuation of our other records. We always try to step up everything that we’ve done the last time. We try to pull everything together that we’ve done and make it one big thing, just making it a little bit better.
You mentioned that you like to “make people happy” with your music. How would you say this record does that?
That would be more of a lyrical thing – how people associate themselves with songs and how it helps people get through certain situations. There’s always going to be people who come up and say that we helped them through a hard time in their lives. I think if we can just do that and if Frank’s lyrics do that for people, and if one of our songs can hit the spot like that, it’s cool.
From a live perspective, what songs do you think people connect most with, and what are your favorites to play?
I think in our set, we’re going to try and play the songs that make people go off. We’re going to try to keep the room going the entire time, so we try to make every song like that. But my favorite to play is probably still “Sunday Bacon” off Felony. I just like playing it. Everybody jumps around and it’s awesome. I just have fun playing that one.
How would you say your musical perspective has developed over the past few Emmure albums? Is there anything you wish you could tell your old self that you’ve come to realize now?
Nah, I think whenever you do something at that time, that’s where you are at that point in your life. I would never change anything that we did, ever. It got us to where we are. So I wouldn’t ever go back and change anything. But our perspective on music changes every day. We’re always listening to new things, finding new artists and – no matter what type of music it is – just bringing influence from everywhere. We always try to listen to different kinds of music and just bring that all together. Just new music that comes out – we listen to everything. We listen to the radio, we listen to underground stuff. You just have to keep your ear to the street.
Are there any specific artists or genres that you’ve been listening to a lot lately and taking influence from?
Personally, I don’t even know what I really listen to. We’ve listened to a lot of Rob Zombie on the tour and during the summer. He has a sick live show. It’s cool how his songs work to the crowd.
Yeah, I also hear that you guys are really inspired by old Limp Bizkit and Korn and stuff. Would you say you’re still really influenced by a lot of that rock – the older, ’90s stuff?
Yeah, that was the time when we were kids listening to it. It was out when we were in high school and everything. Of course that’s what we listened to. That’s what was popular. We listen to it and still like it. You’re not just going to turn around and not like something you listened to in high school.
I totally agree. I know there’s this certain stereotype of music that’s only for my generation’s “middle school years” or “high school years.” It’s kind of a shame, since I still love most of that stuff.
Don’t hate on yourself for it. If you like it, you like it. I think it’s stupid when people are like, “Oh, I’m a closet fan of this,” or “I like this, but it’s so gay. Don’t hate me if I like this.” If you like what you like, who cares how other people feel about it? I would never turn my back on a feeling I have for a band or whatever. I couldn’t do it.
How has the addition of Mark [Castillo] on the drums affected the band’s dynamic? Has it helped bolster the band’s sound in any way?
Mark’s the best drummer in the biz. He’s the best person out there playing our type of music. He could really do anything. He definitely makes it a lot better. He kills it up there, going crazy and doing stick flips. On the recording, he just nailed it. Everything was all natural. He just played the songs and it was fucking awesome.
So do you think he’s done a lot as far as live energy is concerned?
Oh yeah, definitely. You could just watch him. You can just look it up on YouTube and know just from that.
With your next release, what direction do you see yourself heading in? Is there any sort of statement you want to make that you haven’t already?
I don’t know. That would definitely be more of a Frank question. But we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. We’re not going to stop. We’re going to do what we’ve always done, which is we’re going to come together and write it. We’re going to take our time on it and put out a good release, and then play the songs live and put some energy into it.
Do you have any idea of when the next record would come out?
Nah, we don’t have a tentative date or anything yet. We’re just jamming it out.
How do you hope to continue to make an impact on the heavy music scene?
The only way to make an impact is to stay out there and be in people’s faces all the time. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing, and killing it with the live show. We’re going to keep on putting out fucking heavy records, and we’re here to stay. We’re not going to stop anytime soon.