Emarosa proves that sometimes change can be good. The Kentucky-based post-hardcore band has faced criticism and skepticism from fans over their 11 years together, through various member changes and restructuring, including the exit of prominent members like Jonny Craig (of Dance Gavin Dance).
But Emarosa’s most recent change — adding in vocalist Bradley Walden and rhythm guitarist Matthew Marcellus along with original members ER White (lead guitar) and Jordan Stewart (keyboards) — created something that both the fans and band can be proud of.
“It seems like Emarosa has been changing for a long time,” Walden says. “Through member changes and sound changes, Emarosa has been constantly evolving, and that kind of stems from the really long hiatus they took before finding a singer. I think Jordan, Marcellus, ER and myself captured something really special because it was a very big battle to bring this band back.”
Instead of having a lead songwriter, he says, all the members now contribute to the writing process, which offers a unique and varied sound.
The group released its latest EP, 131 Reimagined, on Sept. 15. The four-track disc reinvents songs previously heard on the band’s 2016 11-track album, “131.”
Walden, who joined Emarosa in 2014 after the group’s two-year hiatus, says the band wanted to do a reimagined version of “131” to give attention to songs that might have been previously overlooked.
Instead of just simply being stripped down or played acoustically, the tracks sound completely different on the new album.
“Blue,” for example, is aggressive and heavy on “131,” while Walden describes the “Reimagined” version as “more open and theatrical.”
“We wanted to take it and kind of show the different emotional side of that song,” he says. “I think that it shows off the sadness that’s in that song much more than the original.”
Walden says creating the reworked album was a way for the band to explore its creativity.
“It doesn’t represent a direction that we’re going as a band. I think it’s just something we wanted to creatively put out because it was very unexpected. With music, if you’re making something and everyone knows what you’re going to make, then it becomes boring, mundane and uninspiring.”
Walden also says the set on this tour, which began Sept. 23 and ends Oct. 23, is one he is really proud of. He says he is excited to play Chain Reaction, which he described as “such a well-known venue in [the post-hardcore] world.”
The Anaheim show also includes support from A Lot Like Birds and Jule Vera.
Cory Lockwood, singer of A Lot Like Birds, says his band has also gone through recent changes and can relate with Emarosa. Their latest release, “Divisi,” is the first with Lockwood and bassist Matt Coate sharing vocal duties.
“Matt and I found a really comfortable flow with each other and we were constantly finding new ways to complement each other’s voices throughout the album,” he says. “I’m still discovering what I’m capable of vocally and this album was a major expansion for me.”
Through all of Emarosa’s changes, Walden credited the fans that have stuck by Emarosa’s side as the reason why the band is still going strong — and possibly stronger than ever.
“When I joined this band, there was so much negativity and skepticism of whether it would be good or the same,” he says. “I have a sense of pride knowing that we crushed those expectations, came back and made the most successful record this band has ever had.”
Emarosa, with support from A Lot Like Birds and Jule Vera, plays Chain Reaction, 1652 Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim, on Oct. 15. For tickets and full info, click here.