Emerald Sunday formed in 2008 as a cover band, but has evolved into something more. The band including Alan Hunter (guitar), Andrew Taylor (piano), Mike Martin (vocals), Matty Fleming (guitar), Scott Crawford (bass) and John Morgans (drums) have been entertaining fans as an alternative rock band ever since. Their latest album Willow continues their engaging sound. We sat down with Alan Hunter (AH) to talk about the band’s new album, their music and much more!
OSR: How did the band get together?
AH: The band started as just a mess around playing covers back in 2008. The singer and I were good mates who played in a band previously that didn’t really work out. We kind of knew a couple of folk through friends that were musicians so we reached out and that was that. Playing covers was cool but I wanted to try some originals. I had a huge back catalogue of my own tunes so I slowly started introducing them to rehearsals and then slotting them in our sets. The reaction towards our own songs was great so that gave us encouragement to set off on a new path and ditch the covers.
OSR: If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing right now?
AH: Hmm, I’d probably be down some hole on a building site I dunno. I never really wanted to do anything else so that’s a tough one. Ever since I was 15, I remember sitting down at a party to watch an Oasis VHS of their Main Road show back in ’96 and thinking this is what I wanna do! How cool are these guys? And what a job. Standing in front of 40,000 people who adore you. Doesn’t get better than that does it?
OSR: If you could open a show for any artists, who would it be and why?
AH: Well I can’t speak on behalf of the whole band on that one but it would be Oasis for me. They were the soundtrack of a generation. The generation I grew up in. Unfortunately, that will never happen because I don’t believe they will ever grace the stage again.
OSR: What was the inspiration for Willow?
AH: Willow was inspired by everyday life and the struggles we face. I know people who suffer and have lost their life through mental health so it’s quite a deep record. That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom. It’s actually a feel-good album and tries to reflect on overcoming these problems we face in life. It’s also inspired by our own struggles as a band. Through the years we’ve had some pretty tough times. Losing our manager and losing faith in what we were trying to achieve. But we’ve always got back up dusted ourselves off and went for it again and again. ‘It’s not about how hard you get hit, it’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward, that’s how winning is done’! Sorry I had to do it! Always wanted to get that quote in on an interview. Bonus point for the movie?
OSR: What is your favourite and least favourite song from Willow?
AH: Okay, I don’t have a favourite to be honest. It can change every time I listen to it. I’d say ‘What Becomes of You’ has been our biggest hit so far but that doesn’t make it my favourite. ‘Willow’ is a special song and ‘Close Your Eyes’ is quite personal to me. My least favourite is ‘Lay Down On The Highest Cloud’ but that’s because it’s been lying around for years and I’m just a little bored of it. It’s quite a varied album so it’s difficult to choose.
OSR: What would you like listeners to take away from the album?
AH: A sense of feeling good, I guess. There will be a lot of things people can relate too on Willow. It would be nice to think you can get a little ‘pick me up’ from it. One thing I tend to do is write about things that are obvious and straight to point. Often that’s what people want to hear and not just a cryptic pile of nonsense. However, each to their own.
OSR: What is the most trouble you have ever been in?
AH: Don’t know if I can answer that. We’re pretty silly to be honest with you and don’t take ourselves too seriously. Always have time for a laugh so if its trouble it’s usually just daft stuff. Although there was the old cliché hotel room smash up which every band has to do right? Unless your Steps or S Club 7. The TV never left the building but there were smashed windows, broken beds, fire extinguishers getting let off and blood everywhere. That’s the only Rock n Roll thing we’ve ever done really. We’re good boys.
OSR: What was your most memorable gig?
AH: There are two actually. Opening for Big Country at the Ironworks in Inverness and our debut down south at Leeds, Lending Room. We were massive underdogs in both shows. No one knew who we were and we blew the roof off. Never forget it.
OSR: If the band were pack animals, what would they be and why?
AH: I’d say a pack of teenager lions! You see them on the telly and they walk about like they don’t care and occasionally are a bit playful. Wrestling with their siblings and having a carry-on. Then they can switch from that to hunting mode with a little boot up the arse from their dad. Same as us really, very laid back and often stupid then we can turn on the A-game and go to war when needed.
OSR: What is next for Emerald Sunday?
AH: It’s difficult to call just now with all that’s going on in the world, especially in our game. This industry has been hit hardest. We’re built to play on stage and we can’t do that. It’s very frustrating but at the same time, everyone’s health is more important. We’re pencilled in for a studio session in September to record a new song ‘Daydream’. We hope to add the track to a future extended version of Willow, we’ll see. I guess the most important thing is to promote the hell out of this album for the foreseeable future and hopefully take it on the road again soon. We had a huge tour planned this year but was cancelled.