Thanks to Arcade Fire and a smattering of other bands that have bought into this idea that it’s perfectly acceptable to have every single one of your friends join you on stage, it’s no longer terribly rare to come across a band like Emanuel & the Fear, a mostly Brooklyn-based band boasting eleven members. What sets them apart, though, is that each and every one of them is there for a reason. You won’t find anyone standing around lightly tapping on a tambourine — they’re a massively ambitious rock and roll orchestra incorporating everything from violin and cello to trumpet and trombone, not to mention the standard guitar, bass, drums and piano that are represented as well. The songs are based in the pop tradition, with melody proudly taking center stage, but the tidy and immaculately composed classical arrangements and the subtle electronic flourishes give the whole thing a much grander feel that immediately drives home the point that these folks can’t be contained by small stages for very long, neither literally nor figuratively.
When did the band form?
In November of 2007.
Where was your first NYC show?
Our first show was in December of 2007 with just a few people at the Water Street Bar in DUMBO. First show with the full orchestra was January of 2008 at Fontana’s.
Describe the process by which you typically book shows in the city. Sending hard copies of music, links, hooking up with friends, etc.?
We try to stick with friends and friends of friends who book shows to organize evenings along with us.
For what NYC band would you sacrifice your spot on this list? Must name one, lest you seem selfish.
Either the Loom or Home Video.
Is there a current trend in the NYC music scene which you find particularly irritating?
It seems at a lot of places, people come to see their band and just talk and don’t listen to opening bands, which makes me feel bad because it stinks to have to play over such a thing.
Assuming you all work day jobs, how does it affect the band’s ability to tour, record, etc.?
If you start anything from the ground up you’re going to have to hustle and make sacrifices. I think one can either be defeated by this sort of discomfort or use it to help push them onward and out of said spot. I like to think we’re among the latter.
Do you ever consider moving the band to another city. If yes, where and why? If no, why?
The only other cities in America I’d consider are Austin or San Francisco, but I think New York is a hard place to top just because of the size and design of it and the energy it yields.