Bradley Walden has been a part of the Emarosa line-up for the last five years; just under half their total time together. In his short tenure, he's injected fresh life into the group, culminating now with 'Peach Club'; their fifth album, filled to the brim with a revitalised pop sound that's been threatening to boil over across their last couple of releases.
"A lot of people feel like it's such a drastic change, but if you've been paying attention, when we went from 'Verses' (2014) to '131' (2016), and now to 'Peach Club', it's been a pretty steady change towards this direction," Bradley says matter of factly, currently on the road just outside of their next tour stop of Nashville.
"On our last record, the first single was called 'Helpless'; it was this very poppy jam, and it was a great segue to help us get to where we are now."
'Alternative band goes pop' is by no means a new trope; as the world descends into misery, more and more are seeking brighter pastures in thick, luscious melodies.
"I was raised on Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Prince, Paula Abdul, and Pat Benatar; that's what my Mom listened to so that's what I listened to," Bradley explains. "I fell in love with the world of pop, so that's always been where I wanted to go."
Coming in as the frontman for a band with their beginnings dug deep in post-hardcore, and then trying to steer them into fresh waters was a tentative job for Bradley, who joined founding guitarist ER White in 2014, swiftly followed by guitarist Matthew Marcellus and finally bassist Robert Joffred.
"[Taking] the reins of this band, I didn't try to force it right away," he reminisces. "I tried to evolve into the band, and then as things progressed, we started to realise that the sound of the band was changing - and we thought for the better. It was just a collective input of everyone, what they love and what they like to do. The stuff we were coming up with just felt so natural."
That didn't grant them a smooth ride, however, with a plethora of comments on Youtube et al. disapproving of their genre switch up - not that it was anything new.
"Oh, it was really hard for a long time," Bradley considers. "The fanbase when I first started this band put me in a dark place, and over time I ended up with some tough skin. It jaded me in a way where I stopped giving a shit what the fans thought and just did what I wanted to.
"Now people get kind of upset that I have this ego, or that I've changed and that I used to be humble. I'm still very much those things in my opinion, but I'm also a human being that can only take so much shit from dickheads on the internet that want to tell me how bad I am, or that I ruined this band.
"So we stopped listening to it. We don't have to deal with that kind of stuff, and it sucked for a long time, where I had to stay off the internet because it would affect me, but I guess over time, and tough skin, it now just rolls off the shoulder, and I could care less."
'Peach Club' is an Emarosa that they finally feel comfortable being, and if anyone can't get behind that, then that's alright by Bradley. For both him and the band, it's a case of being true to themselves, and, as a songwriter focusing on something more than just being an angsty hardcore band.
"I got tired of writing a bunch of sad songs, and it was time to lighten the mood a little bit," he confesses, with an air of relief.
"I've always been very protective over our sound and our decision, and I get a little defensive because, unfairly, we are in my opinion, one of the most highly scrutinised in our world just because of our past," he proclaims.
"For some reason, people have a lot of opinions about our band and what we should be doing. We're very protective, and very proud of this sound because we made the record that we wanted to make. For us, it's something we had to do for this band, for our sanity, and I'm so proud of it."
With so much evolution from their beginnings, not to mention the numerous line-up changes over the years (nine total), the band's identity surely must be a grey area though?
"Slowly but surely I've been grasping what the identity of this band is, and part of the fun of being an artist is getting to re-create yourself every album," Bradley muses. "You get to be whatever you want. That's part of the art, and so, [with] 'Peach Club' we're shaping our identities now, and whatever's next we'll probably change again then too, but I feel like we can be a chameleon in that way. We don't have to be one thing."
Taken from the February issue of Upset. Emarosa's album 'Peach Club' is out 8th February.
Featuring Fever 333, FIDLAR, Employed To Serve, Bring Me The Horizon, Taking Back Sunday, Puppy and more.