EMMURE’S FRANKIE PALMERI: THE METALSUCKS INTERVIEW
Believe it or not, Emmure frontman Frankie Palmeri and I have something in common, at least geographically. We both grew up in Queens, a largely residential New York City borough whose diversity has yielded artists from the Ramones to 50 Cent. Beyond that however, it was clear to me how different Palmeri and I are. When I sat down to interview him at the Nassau Colosseum stop on the Vans Warped Tour this past weekend, he seemed defensive and even a bit distant. I was immediately reminded of Henry Rollins’ “Get In The Van,” the essential collection of that seminal hardcore icon’s diaries from the Black Flag days. Like Rollins, Palmeri exudes an exhaustion with the trappings of the modern world. Noticing my phone, he quickly whipped out his –replete with severely cracked screen — and declared, without so much as smirking, “Here’s mine.” I could tell from our conversation that he was absolutely living the motto he asks Emmure fans to chant at their shows: “I’m fucking over it.” Read for yourself below.
How does it feel to be back home in New York, even if it’s just for a day?
It’s pretty cool. I have a few friends and family here. It’s fun.
Did you grow up in Queens?
Yeah, born and raised.
I’m the same way. Do you remember the old days with [now-closed rock club] Castle Heights?
I remember Castle Heights. I remember a lot of clubs. Queens hardcore and metal was different back then. I think it changed everywhere though. I think it’s not just Queens… Long Island definitely always had its own scene too. I think it’s just cool that either way. Even though things have changed like most of those clubs are gone, but it would be interesting to playing there.
How’s the crowd response been here so far?
Basically, all our fans are amazing. They come out in numbers and show us that they’re still supportive, and we love them for that. We couldn’t ask for more really.
You’ve been out and playing the tracks off of Felony. Is that working within the way you guys run your live set?
We play a lot of stuff from all our records that we put out. I think we have a good mix of songs that we put together for our set. The new songs definitely seem to be speaking very loudly to our audience. We’re happy that the songs that we do play live are received very well. It’s kind of pre-planned. We try to find out what songs we think will do best for our set and everything.
Listening to Felony — which is one of my favorite records of last year —
I know people get fucking uptight about it, but I really like the record. I find that I have to defend it to people. It’s a fucking good record. It’s a good hardcore record. It’s a good metal record. It’s fucking good. One thing that I noticed about that record compared to some of your other records is that there is a lot more singing and darker melodies on that — almost kind of like a Deftones kind of vibe.
How did that come about in the evolution of your sound?
I think that we honestly were writing a record that I know I felt was authentic. I think the music in itself is supposed to be a step up from what we’ve done, and I think we accomplished that. There’s a quote, I don’t know who it’s from, but “If you’re writing music that doesn’t say anything and people don’t have a reaction, then what’s the point?” I think that a lot of people reacted whether it was good or bad; we got what we want out of it. We wanted something to come out of left field far enough that people could be like “Wow, I have to let you know that I hate or love this record.” Either way, to me it doesn’t matter. I appreciate those who care, and I appreciate those who don’t care but still want to talk about it.
At least they’re talking about it.
Exactly. No such thing as bad press.
How do you feel lyrically you’ve changed over the course of these records? Do you think you’re getting more personal?
I think I sometimes take risks in sharing certain information or things I’ve been through or how I feel with the world. I’m always like, “Wow, should I really be doing this? Should I really be putting myself out there that far?” I think that as an artist, you kind of owe it to yourself to be that honest and be that open because when you have a canvas or some kind of podium to use, you should take full advantage of it. Pretty much that’s what I do.
I’ve read and watched some interviews that you’ve done before, and you’ve brought up some pretty controversial topics — 9/11 conspiracies, missing gold, Jesus’ reptilian bloodline. That stuff is outside the mainstream.
Where are you getting your information from?
I’ve had a few spiritual experiences in my life where it’s been something that’s been delivered to me — not so much that I sought it out. It’s almost like a message that was brought to me. The more I started to dig deeper into the message I received, the more I started to learn and find out about these things I was thinking or feeling at the time. I realized “this wasn’t just coincidence. I was lucky enough to receive and be open enough to feel this energy.” I want to call it a message because that’s exactly what it was. I basically just tuned into the world in a very different way, and I try to let other people into my frequency and let them know what you’re able to comprehend and accept as your reality is something that you should take a chance with.
It’s interesting because you say “take a chance” and you are taking certain risks with certain people who would be opposed to that for various reasons. Some people just go by whatever they read in whatever newspaper they read.
And that’s fine. I will never sit around and tell people that what they think or feel is wrong. I think it’s valuable information that should be shared with people, and I think that if you’re willing to accept that sometimes what you see is not reality and sometimes what you see is your reality. The lines blur.
You guys have a diverse set of fans. You’re playing something like Warped Tour, you’re playing for a larger, younger audience by default. How have those types of messages gotten out to your fans?
Certain people hear what I have to say about this material world or what I think about people’s general concerns for their cellphones and their fucking friends’ lists and all that weird shit that people care about now. It’s whatever. I’ve come to terms that the way I think is maybe outside the box like you said. It’s maybe too controversial, but I would really rather be out there on the edge of this kind of material world that we’re stuck in. I’m trying my best on a daily basis to let everyone know that we are really are all in this together. We’re stuck here. We’re not getting out of this. We all have to pitch in a little bit to accept it for what it is.
What are your plans post-tour now? What are you guys doing?
Are you guys taking a break? Are you going back on the road?
There is no post-tour.
Post Warped Tour, I should say.
We’re putting a new record out and then touring on it in the States and in Europe. Hopefully we’ll go back to Australia and make our rounds and hit the markets.
Have you guys been writing?
Yeah. We’re writing. It’s pretty much at the ending phases of pre-production of writing the record. We’re going to go into the studio in September. Look out for the record before 2011.
How do you think it’s going to compare to what came before like Felony or The Respect Issue?
I think the whole point of being a creative person is to not be able to compare what you do. I think you should always be putting yourself in a place where whatever is in the moment that you’re feeling or you’re creating. I don’t want anyone to hear our new record and be able to compare it to anything. I think that is what’s going to be the new… what’s a good word for it? The new statement of the band with this new record.
Emmure’s latest album Felony is out now on Victory Records.