Red Emperor are Charlie Herridge – lead vocals/guitar; Edward Bedford – lead guitar/backing vocals, Navraj Manku – drums/backing vocals/keys and Ollie Horner – bass/backing vocals. This Brighton/Seaford based four-piece have been together since 2012 but are relatively new to me so I caught up with Charlie and Ollie to find out more about them.
BU: How did you meet and how did you first get together as a band?
CH: I met Nav and Ollie during school and college respectively, and Ed had been a close childhood friend. Nav and I talked about starting an original, Indie/Rock band for a while so one day, I got us all to get together for a rehearsal and the rest was history! We all had similar tastes in music and similar ambitions so it felt natural.
BU: You self-classify as indie rock but there is something quite funky underlying on some of your tracks … it seems that this ‘funking it up’ is something that indie bands are doing now. Do you think there’s a reason for this?
CH: Yes, essentially, we are indie/rock but it’s those elements of funk and pop that really define what we’re about. I guess the funk stems from our Red Hot Chilli Peppers influences but it’s happening more and more on the indie/rock scene, as it is much easier to get the crowd moving and is easy to dance to.
BU: Your influences are listed as the likes of Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stoneage, Oasis and Red Hot Chilli Peppers; are there other influences on you as a band and as individuals?
OH: Our personal influences are very diverse and span a broad range of genres. For example, Nav listens to and produces a lot of Hip-Hop and EDM music in his spare time, I have a background in Punk and Rock with influences including the Clash and the Stooges, Ed is a RHCP fan and loves bands like Haim and Chromeo. Charlie listens to a bit of everything but has a particular fondness for Soul and Motown with the likes of Marvin Gaye as his favourite artist but you’ll also find him listening to Arctic Monkeys, Miles Kane, Noel Gallagher and other Indie names. As a band our listening habits are quite an eclectic mix!
BU: It is quite unusual for all four members of a band to be involved vocally; do you think this makes your sound different?
CH: Yes, it’s a big thing for us! We all love singing and we like our songs to be easy to sing along to. When you consider every vocal as an instrument, it gives our sound depth and adds layers to the arrangement and harmonies done right are incredible live.
BU: When you perform live do you do any covers and if so what and why?
OH: We don’t often play covers as we pride ourselves in performing originals, but on occasion, we have been known to do an interesting cover of Feel Good Inc – Gorillaz!
BU: I’ve found 4 of your original tracks (on sound cloud) – how do you go about writing your songs?
OH: The way we write varies, mostly it comes from a jam but other times someone will come forward with an almost complete song and we each just add and adapt our parts. We’re often critical about our parts and each other’s to ensure we’re always writing to the best of our abilities and often it turns out the simpler the better! When writing the lyrics, Charlie is very particular about writing them in the right inspired moment when they flow most naturally. They need to be from the heart on a particular mood, subject or feeling and never forced.
BU: Your drummer also plays keys, which is interesting/unusual.
CH: Nav is a trained jazz pianist and is incredibly talented as a multi-instrumentalist. He’s very influential in the song writing in helping come up with chord variations and the correct harmonies and often demonstrates this on the keys.
BU: You played Dubai in 2015 – how did you get that gig?
CH: We never expected it at all. The music video for our first single, ‘Kink In Your Soul’, hadn’t been out long and somehow it ended up being seen by the festival owner who insisted that we fly out to play! When the call came through we were in disbelief but after the initial high we became quite skeptical. We just assumed it would never really happen. A couple of months later we received another call and that was it! Our flights were booked and we were on our way!
BU: What are your ambitions for the future?
OH: We love doing what we do, we want to continue and do it full time. Hopefully we’ll get to play more festivals and maybe even go on tour!
BU: Do you have gigs coming up where people can come and see what Red Emperor are all about?
OH: We’re doing a support slot at Patterns on 9 March so be sure to drop by and let us show you what we can do!
BU: Thank guys – I will. Finally, is there anything else that you desperately want our readers to know?
OH: Look out for two new singles that are due out later this year; we definitely have some exciting new tricks up our sleeves too.