From 2004 to 2015 the Omaha based rock band Emphatic had its share of ups and downs, the ups were three successful albums, with two of those records reaching the top ten of Billboard Top Heatseekers. The downs were the multiple lineup changes. The front men behind the mic was like that of a merry-go-round constantly changing. Although the band had its fair share of achievements, this past December, founder/guitarist Justin McCain decided it was time to wipe the slate clean. And now, fronted by Grant Kendrick, as well as releasing a new single, soon to be full length album, Through Fire has been born and McCain looks for the band to grow bigger than before. In this exclusive interview conducted by Pure Grain Audio, we get the thoughts and opinions from Justin McCain on the passing of Emphatic and the birth of Through Fire.
You had the band Emphatic for many years, but this past December you changed to Through Fire. You posted on your Facebook Page that you feel you could not be yourself anymore. Can you explain it all?
Justin: Sure not a problem. Listen, life happens and things change. In regards to Emphatic, we had several different members come and go in and out of the band. We started with Patrick Wilson being the original singer, and then things happened and we got another singer. Toryn Green came in and things happened, well, it is life. Pat had a baby and had an issue with his voice and Toryn came in and the label we were on with at the time kind of folded. In this business so many things have to line up so perfectly to have a shot. Things always got to a certain point, and it stalled out.
The one thing that stuck out most for me was the fans, they always seemed to have our back, it did not matter who was in the band they supported us. And that meant a lot to me because Emphatic was my baby, I put a lot of years into that band. When we went to record the new record I asked Grant, who actually filled in for Patrick when he got hurt, and he filled in for Toryn before, so, a lot of these people on the road seen Grant as our singer and funny enough a lot of people thought he was the original singer. So we made it full time with Grant, he has always been family. So basically I felt it was time for a new chapter, it was time for a change, and that was how Through Fire was born.
There were seemingly a lot of people come and go with Emphatic, we have all seen a ton of good bands implode due to line up changes etc. My question is, how have you kept it all together and continue on rocking?
Justin: In today’s world it is hard to make money in the music business, you really have to have a true passion for music and be willing to sacrifice everything and do whatever it takes to play music. Making great music and making a great connection with people is what keeps us going. It is hard to survive out there, it is hit and miss. It is a scary place at times, but it is exciting, this life keeps you on the edge and this fire is always lit. We love making music.
What about the music stylistically? In meaning, what differences can the fans expect versus Emphatic and Through Fire?
Justin: I will be honest with you, this kind of leads back to what we first touched on. Maybe a year ago I was not sure of which version of Emphatic to be, as a writer I felt trapped, I felt like I could not break free and be me. There are so many different chapters to Emphatic that now with being Through Fire, I don’t feel like I have to be pigeonholed into only one of those chapters. I can really be who I am. You may hear something from way back in the day back when, when we were heavier. Or maybe you will hear something more melodic. Kind of a combination of the two. I will still be the main songwriter as I have always been, so you will still hear my songwriting as you have always heard, it will have a bit of everything in it. It is like an awakening, I feel like I do not have to be one certain way anymore. I can be all of what I love to be.