A Conversation with Emerson | Roger O’Sullivan

Roger 2a

Emerson is a five-piece rock group from Cork made up of Ryan Corbett (vocals), Gavin McCarthy (guitar), David Coen (bass), Stéphane Hyland (keys) and Darragh Curtain (drums). From providing support for bands such as Kodaline to playing at the Indiependence festival last year, Emerson are starting to make a name for themselves in the Cork rock scene. I sat down with David and Gavin to find out a little more about the group.

The idea to start a band came to Gavin and Ryan while at the Oxegen festival in 2010 after the revelation that ‘we could do that’ came to them. They later formed in August of that year, but it took them some time before they worked out the rest of the members. They were extremely determined in the early days, according to Gavin, which allowed them to get past the early periods and become tighter.

As far as the reception that they have received in the last year, the band seems extremely humbled by the positive reaction, saying that it has been an honour to make it to the LMS Battle of the Bands two years in a row. Although disappointed to not have won, they are happy to take the constructive criticism from these forums and use it to improve the band as a whole. However they do say they are a little disheartened when they are reduced down to being an Oasis clone. ‘Obviously you can hear it as an influence, but we don’t sound that like Oasis’, explained David. When discussing their influences they were shown to be far more diverse, with names from Elton John and ABBA, to Shane MacGowan and Flea being mentioned.

Another pet peeve of the group is modern music snobbery. Gavin said he would be hesitant to judge the likes of Justin Bieber or One Direction as they are just doing what they want to do. David and Gavin both agree that rock and roll is ‘just about having fun’, and although they lamented the clichéd nature of the statement, they stood by the sentiment.

Along with this snobbery, they resent the modern need to put labels on everything. While some are quick to call them ‘indie’, they themselves just say they are a rock band. ‘If the Beatles came out now, people would call them “indie”’, protests Gavin. They see labels as not really meaning anything and only serving to put a band in a box. This, along with the way that the NME tries to constantly manufacture trends and wrongly hype bands, is also an aspect of the modern music industry that Gavin finds irritating.

With plans to record later this year and plenty more gigs in mind, Emerson are not a band who rest on their laurels. They have every intention of entering the Battle of the Bands again next year and hopefully do even better. When asked about what their long term goals are they just seem determined to keep improving as much as they have been, and just keep doing what they love.

Visit Emerson on Facebook to get updates on all of their latest gigs.