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Weekend: Embrace frontman Danny McNamara on how quirks of fate led to some huge hits

Embrace for impact: Danny takes to the stage in Glasgow last year PICTURE: REDFERNS

BEING dropped by your record label while you’re at the peak of your career is not what anyone expects. But that’s what happened to Embrace, despite playing some of the biggest shows of their career. Ultimately though, it led to them recording their most successful album ever, 2004’s Out Of Nothing — and to mark its 16th anniversary, they are performing a live stream of the album from start to finish for the first time ever on October 31.

‘There are songs that we’ve never actually played live, ones that we played at the studio the one time we recorded it and that’s it,’ laughs frontman Danny McNamara. ‘We did a secret gig like this once before but that was 15 or 20 years ago before the internet really worked. The internet connection collapsed after like one song!’

Danny recalls being dropped in 2001. ‘It was just after we released You’ve Never Been. I think we owed them about four million quid at that point! It sold a solid 60,000 copies but back then that wasn’t enough. The label were really good to us, they gave us severance money for doing the Greatest Hits with them.

‘We were able to build a studio with that money, and we spent the next three years on the album which became Out Of Nothing.’

Embracing change: The band are (from left) Steve Firth, Danny McNamara, Mickey Dale, Mike Heaton and Richard McNamara

At the time they were dropped, the band were playing huge shows. Danny says: ‘We did a gig at the Royal Albert Hall and it was sold out. There was this feeling that it might be the last gig that we ever do. I didn’t say anything from the stage but I was stood there wondering if we were gonna get another record deal. Don’t take anything for granted.’

Out Of Nothing ended up being their big comeback album, and Ashes was intended to be the first single — until Coldplay’s Chris Martin changed everything. They met when Coldplay supported Embrace in Blackpool and the friendship led to one of their biggest songs ever, Gravity.

‘We were on a film set for Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow as his wife at the time, Gwyneth Paltrow, was in it with Jude Law and Angelina Jolie. We were sat on what was effectively Angelina Jolie’s spaceship in the parking lot and I played him Ashes. Then he played me Gravity and I thought it was amazing,’ he recalls. ‘He rang me later asking me if I wanted the song. I just thought, “Why don’t you want it, it’s one of the best songs you’ve ever written.”’

After initially being reluctant to take the song, the band decided to ‘get over ourselves’ and it’s now one of the band’s favourites.

Having not played Out Of Nothing in full since 2004, Danny is hoping he’ll remember the words. ‘It’s weird because it’s sort of in your bones. You don’t think you know it, but the words come just before you need them. It’s similar to muscle memory.’

Embrace will live-stream Out Of Nothing on Oct 31,