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Interview: Embracer ‘Color Theory’

Three-piece alternative rock group from West Virginia, Embracer, released their record, “Color Theory” on October 4. Their latest release is fully transparent, inviting listeners to join in on tales of abuse, swimming through memories, losing all sensory, and attempting to avoid reality.

Lead vocalist Jordan Bradley spoke about the record’s themes, the band’s rough patches, and how vital it is to use creative outlets to handle negative emotions.

In today’s ever-widening discussion of mental health, Jordan said Embracer is right in the thick of it. “Everybody’s got turbulent patches and seasons that they’re going to go through, but you need to be transparent and open about when you’re feeling the way that you do.”

“Music for me has always sort of been like a window to the soul where I want everyone to know exactly what’s going on with me … I want people to know me for who I am, and that comes with every single little bad piece about me as well. Being open is definitely key in today’s society. We’ve all got bad things going on in our lives in one shape or another, but we’ve all just got to stick together.”

With the album’s opening track, “Moon Chamber,” we hear about these ups and downs, and are invited to feel, not just listen. Swimming through my memory, losing all my sensory / Sing to me a song that keeps me from waking up to reality. 

The EP’s entirety consists of these familiar subject matters, which most people empathize with.

“The things I’m talking about in these seven songs are pretty general topics that I feel most of the population could relate to on some level. Whether it’s loss of friends, substance abuse, or depression and anxiety — it’s all talked about in one shape or form on this record. I always want to keep that. Regardless of whatever facet I’m doing music; if I’m writing lyrics as a lyricist, I don’t feel like I’ve done my job if I don’t make you feel what I’m saying.”

One of the band’s biggest losses occurred when they had $20,000 worth of gear stolen, while on tour in Southern California. Friends, colleagues and fans helped the band recover emotionally, but at the time, Jordan admits it felt like absolute rock bottom.

“The only reason that we have been able to move past it is because of some really, really awesome people that helped us get back on our feet,” he said. “We were just going to go back home, re-evaluate what we were all doing, decide whether or not we were going to keep doing this, and then move on from there.”

“It’s a bitter pill to swallow, you know, we got twenty grand taken from us, and that can’t really be sugar-coated. What I did see though, is that there is definitely still good in the world. There are still people who care about things. There’s people that still care about what you’re doing.”

People rallied together to keep the band on the road, bought extra merch, companies donated replacement pedals and cables, and gave generous discounts for new gear purchases.

Throughout Color Theory, and on the title track, Embracer reveals humanity’s kind of tug-of-war mentality.

“It’s both sides of who I am, pulling at me,” Jordan said of his inner-monologue arguing between getting a steady career at this stage in his life, versus seeing the creative music career through until the bitter end.

In writing this record, Jordan felt something he hadn’t experienced in a while — motivation. “The first line in the song, ‘I believe that I can see color for the first time.’ was exactly how I felt because when I wrote that song, it was one of the first songs we wrote for this release, and I was really proud of it.”

Writing about such personal, autobiographical topics in lyrics isn’t always an easy, unattached task. This vocalist admits in years prior, visiting those inner-workings of his brain, was often a place he didn’t want to go.

“It really affected me back then, but it doesn’t so much anymore. I think I’ve accepted that whatever is inside of me is very much so a part of me, and it’s not going to just go away, so I’ve got to try to be friends with it, and find some sort of positive in it.”

“Death of Desire” details the trials and tribulations of being in an indie band, from the firsthand perspective of Embracer, who is very much a part of the DIY scene.

“Being in an indie band is not easy, and I know that must sound cliche, but it is true. It is very difficult to be an indie band, especially at this day and age because the market is super over-saturated, and nobody needs to care about you. So you have to prove to them why they should care about you in the first place.”‘

While the band certainly had setbacks this year, Embracer also experienced being fully embraced by the kindness of strangers. The theme of good outweighing evil is a story that will never grow tired. For this trio, it’s love — either for music, or from strangers, which has ultimately has kept them afloat this long.

“I can’t begin to express the gratitude that Dylan, Zakk, and I have for all those people. I don’t think we did anything to deserve that kindness, but because of it, we’re still here.”

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Sarah Spohn

Sarah's a little bit of a rock 'n' roll rebel, almost always at a concert. She loves to soak up the scene, immersed in the music journalism world, still buys CDs and rents music documentaries from the library. Just don't call her a hipster. She's never been that stylish.

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