LBPU (Local Band Profiling Unit): EMPRA

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Inspired by Sanny Veloo’s childhood desire to make music and crafted through dozens of gruelling audition sessions from Melband.com forum members, EMPRA have recently released their self titled debut album.

Milk Bar recently spoke to Sanny about EMPRA’s sound and influences, having three Matts in the band and the trials they endured in getting the album recorded.

Milk Bar: How would you describe your sound and what do you bring to Melbourne’s bustling rock music scene?

Sanny Veloo: EMPRA is a melodic rock band that has evolved out of a mixture of alternative, punk and rock influences like Foo Fighters, Weezer, Greenday, The Ramones, Queen and Led Zeppelin.

It’s polished and raw and uplifting. According to our bio, “It will electrocute your heart into euphoric sing-a-longs.”

MB: EMPRA is yourself and three blokes all called Matt. How long have you been together?

SV: It’s been a long journey. It started three years ago when I decided it was time to record an album in honour of my best mate Wayne Thunder, who passed away.

I had wanted to do this for a long time but I didn’t know how to get it going. So at a cricket oval in Brunswick I begged Matt to join my band.

After auditioning 27 guitarists from the Melband.com online forum, we found Gaulty, our amazing guitar player. We started playing shows with a session drummer and things were going really well, so I decided it was time to record an album. But three months before the sessions the drummer quit cos he had a kid!

Again, we dug deep into the Melband forum and found Cattanach, who blew us away in the audition. He also drove a white station wagon like the rest of us and he was IN. He was also called Matt! EMPRA was finally born.

SD: Does it get confusing having three Matts in the band?

SV: No. It does not get confusing with three Matts in the band but we were “this close” (like thumb almost touching index finger tip) to changing our band name to Sanny and the Matts!

MB: Growing up, what inspired you to get into music? What inspires you now?

SV: In primary school everyone was listening to bubblegum pop. It was depressing. Thankfully my older brothers educated me in Queen, Pink FloydThe Ramones, Sex Pistols, Bowie and The Beatles.

A turning point for me was watching LiveAid on TV as a kid and seeing Queen and U2 kick everyone’s arses out of this world.

Also, the first concert I ever saw was this underground show in Singapore. It was a brutal hardcore gig featuring punk, hardcore and metal. I saw someone do a stage dive and as he body-surfed his shoe went flying in the air and I was like…I want to be in a band that does this kinda shit to people.

MB: What’s your plan for the band in 2013?

SV: EMPRA’s actually starting work on a whole new bunch of songs and we’re looking at recording an EP or maybe another album. We’re also starting to make in roads into American college radio and are lining up a second national tour. It’s all super exciting bro. I’ve just upgraded my pedal board and stuck a couple of uber cool stickers on my amp. It’s so hot right now!

Stream or purchase EMPRA’s self-titled debut at their Bandcamp and join the official fan club at empraonline.com.
Photo: Marin Philbey.

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