The Empra's New Bruise
What comes to mind when you think rock ‘n’ roll? Nationwide bands? Metal elbows? Mutton curry? If you haven’t already heard of EMPRA, get ready to hear a story of persistence, pain and seriously amazing music.
Wearing his figurative and (very) physical scars proudly, lead singer and songwriter, Sanny Veloo shared some of the magic behind Empra. I had a chat to Sanny while he was mid-way through making a mean mutton curry. A rock ‘n’ roller who can cook – the first of many surprises.
Empra have recently released their self-titled album full of sweet melodies and consistently energetic rock ‘n’ roll. Wally de Backer (Gotye) is also featured on the record. This album is a tribute to Sanny’s best mate who sadly passed away. He was also good friends with Wally, who was more than happy to lend his signature sound to Empra’s beautiful song Sabrina. “He came down to the studio with his Macbook Pro and keyboard and he just did his thing. He’s a musical genius.”
Recently, the boys have been busy touring Australia, with 23 shows planned in three months, starting with a sold-out launch tour at Melbourne’s Revolver and since then a string of shows from Geelong to Sydney. Their favourite show so far was a skydiving function in Brisbane where they scored a free skydive. “After we landed, we took off our parachutes, chilled out for an hour, had dinner then went on stage and played for all the skydivers.”
There is one show that can top that on the crazy scale: just replace jumping out of a plane with jumping off an amp and carefree fun with unbearable pain. After attempting to jump off his amp for an ACDC-style ending, Sanny (while instinctively trying to protect his guitar) landed on his elbow, cracked it in five places and tore all the ligaments in his arm. “I swung my arm back into place and strung that last chord.” It was the last chord he’d play for a while and was even told he’d never play guitar again. But after six months of intensive rehabilitation, Sanny made a miraculous recovery and is now playing better than ever.
The outrageous show experiences don’t stop there. After shouting all the vulgarities he knew in a couple of languages, Sanny’s old band was charged with violation of the Public Entertainment Act and banned from performing in Singapore. “My dad was pissed off, but after the ban our CD sold out and we ended up outselling the Backstreet Boys in Singapore.”
The boys are in Canberra soon and keen to bring some much needed quality rock ‘n’ roll to our quiet capital. You’re guaranteed to leave an Empra show in high spirits, with some new friends and, if you’re in luck, with a killer recipe for mutton curry.
Witness their antics for yourself when Empra rock The Basement, Saturday July 14, 8pm.