“It’s our debut album…”

We chat with the founders of Emo Brunch

“It’s our debut album…”

By James Brown

Dec 5, 2016 9:47

The two friends behind Emo Brunch team have been running adverts on Punktastic for the last few weeks, selling tickets for their event next Sunday December 11th. We spoke to Paul Young & Jamie to learn their story, what music they’re gonna be playing, and who exactly are the mysterious ‘special guests’ on the line up…

“What’s better when you’re hungover on a Sunday than listening to emo?” declares Paul. And an indulgent meal to get you back on your feet. “There’s a few good London nights that play emo, but you can only hear it at gigs. This is the first emo brunch. Worldwide!”

Taking inspiration from the success of Taking Back Tuesday / Emo Nite in the US, the pair figure that surely there is a similar market here in the UK. “It’s quite a big genre to be underrepresented in London in music events.”

But not just another night. Something more unusual. Something you could do in the afternoon. They would hire a venue, lay on some great food for the guests, choose some of their favourite music to play, and top if off with some live music. It was… an emo brunch party.

It started off as a bit of a joke (says Jamie, “we’re always randomly coming up with business ideas”) but the wry name stuck, and suddenly they were on to something. “We just thought, well hang on, we would go to that… maybe other people would, too. And then we realised that between us we had the skills to do it.”

“If we’d tried this ten years ago, it would have been awful!” insists Jamie, as he explains that it’s only because of their respective careers to date – he as a TV producer and marketer, Paul as a food events organiser – that this idea was possible.

In some ways, then, this has been ten years in the making. “Oh longer than that,” urges Jamie. Growing up together in a small town on the South Coast, “as teenagers we used to have ideas for stuff all the time. It’s only now we’re at the age when people start getting that stuff done.”

They’ve spent so long preparing for it, says Paul, that it “feels like our first album.” And if it’s a success, maybe next year they’ll be publishing the difficult second album. “We would love to make it bigger. We’d love to do it outside London. Who knows where it might end up.”

Well, let’s think about that for a moment. The dream venue? Says Paul: “Wembley Arena, surely.” And who’s headlining? Says Jamie: “Dashboard Confessional would be the ultimate!” Imagine. “Actually, when we were growing up, the Astoria was where we always went to gigs.” Chuckling, Paul adds, “perhaps they could be convinced to re-build it?”

Nostalgic childhood memories are part of what has driven them on. Gosport, on the peninsula opposite Portsmouth, where they grew up together, has the kind of small-town life that connected them to a lot of their favourite Emo bands of the late 90s and early 00s – Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Dashboard, Saves The Day, Jimmy Eat World. “We just loved emo as teenagers, and that sticks with you.”

When Jamie remembers their local, independent music scene, he paints a picture that’s recognisable to anyone who grew up outside city limits. “We used to get the ferry to go to a gig. A few local bands playing in the one venue. I used to quite like that. But it’s nice to organise a music event now rather than go to someone else’s.”

Choosing and organising the music itself has been the best bit, as together they are the promoters, producers and DJs all in one. Says Paul, “I’m into more of the pop-punky popular stuff like Taking Back Sunday, while Jamie has got the deeper, late 90s knowledge.”

“I’m a bit of a music nerd,” continues Jamie, “so it’s been fun trying to work out what people might want to hear.” They intend to cover the whole range. So not just Dashboard and Brand New, but also Sunny Day Real Estate, The Get Up Kids, Mineral, and “one of the best bands around at the moment” The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die

They sent us a sample playlist to whet our appetites.

Cover band Fell Out Boy will be providing a live, singalong element to the day. “We hope it will be a bit of a party, and not at all serious or pretentious,” promises Jamie. “And we’ve just signed up Exam Season to play as our special guests.”

Innocently, we ask how they had heard of them. “I actually read Punktastic’s POV piece of their EP!” Well, we couldn’t not mention that. “It sounded like the ideal low-key music to follow the food before the party kicks off.”

And of course, there’s the brunch. They’re putting on a spread with classic full english fare, plenty of vegetarian options (they mention vegan skillets), fruit and more. “People will certainly not go hungry,” vows Paul.

An admirably straightforward DIY ethos runs through their account of the day. “We’re doing it because we love the music and we love food.” summarises Jamie. “Nobody’s getting rich of it. And if people want to come and join us, then that’s great.”

“Are there 200 people out there who like Emo and brunch as much as us?”