Switzerland quartet Cold Reading aren’t like other emo bands. For starters, they smile in all their promo shots. Secondly, their brand of emo – while carrying many of the emotionally-wrought hallmarks laid down by their 90s predecessors – repositions the genre to carry a gentle optimism at its core.
Equally as influenced by the pop punk of the likes of Thrice and Brand New, the resulting sound is an uplifting blend of earnest emo-pop, its roots steeped in the past, but its ambitions firmly looking to the future.
We catch up with the band to hear more about what they’ve been up to, their new EP and what they have lined up for next.
Can you introduce yourselves – where are you from, who does what and what are your roles in the band?
Marc: “We are Cold Reading, an Emo-/indie-rock band from Lucerne, Switzerland. We got Mike on vocals/keys, Chris on guitar/vocals, Arthur on bass/vocals and me (Marc) on the drums.”
How did you guys meet and start making music together?
Mike: “Chris and I met years ago and have been friends for 10 years or so now. Arthur later played with Chris in a band called Face The Front. We all met Marc at a show in 2013 I think and after Face The Front was laid to rest, Chris, Arthur and Marc began writing songs together. I was asked to join as vocalist and thus Cold Reading was born in 2014.”
What were your key influences/inspirations in getting the band together?
Chris: “When the singer of Face The Front moved to England, it was clear to Arthur and me that we’d want to continue making music. The shift from the Punk stylings of our earlier bands to a more “traditional” emo sound came naturally. We’ve always loved bands like Brand New and Taking Back Sunday, and we dig ‘90s bands like Mineral and American Football as well. So, while it’s hard to pin down our own band’s sound, it surely fits into these whole sub genres of indie and emo stuff.”
What’s the story behind the name of the band?
Chris: “We didn’t think about a name for so long, and when the time came to play our first show, we just had to pick one. Cold Reading was actually the name of a Face The Front track (we’re talking talking a lot about Face The Front, it seems), [and] we liked the sound of it. We never had a better idea and have grown fond of it, so it just stuck with us and here we are.”
How would you describe your sound in three words for people who’ve never heard you?
Marc: “Dynamic, catchy, passionate.”
What makes you different to other bands out there?
Marc: “We’re not reinventing the wheel or anything, but I feel like we fit somewhere between the laid-back, rawer sound of ‘90s emo, and the more forward-driven, poppy sound it became (in)famous for in the ‘00s. I like to think that we are one of those bands that connects these two camps.”
Your new EP, Sojourner, is out in September. Can you tell us a little more about it – what’s it about, and what are its themes?
Mike: “Sojourner deals a lot with change and being frustrated with one’s self. However, there’s a more positive and optimistic outlook in these new songs. I’d argue this has a lot to do with my personal development, as I’ve learned to face strokes of fate more even-tempered.”
What drew you to the themes you cover on the EP?
Mike: “There were a bunch of personal challenges and changes, both positive and negative, that were happening during the time we were writing these songs. These, and the personal developments I’ve mentioned above that went hand in hand with them, definitely had an influence on the lyrics I was writing. However, I like to keep a certain level of abstractness to the lyrics.”
What, in your opinion, is the stand-out track on the EP?
Marc: “I guess the title track is a song where we really tried to push our sound to achieve an autumnal atmosphere with shifting dynamics. We experimented with different things like a drum pad and synth lines for the first time. It’s difficult to choose though, as we worked hard on every track.”
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What’s your favourite story/anecdote from recording the EP?
Marc: “Every minute we spent with our producer/engineer/legend Tiago Fernandes, who became a dear friend and even let us sleep in his home and bought us pizza for dinner. Also, when the dudes from The Deadnotes visited us in the studio, that was a lot of fun.”
Can you talk us through your recorded history - what else have you released so far?
Marc: “We released an album in October 2015 called Fractures & Fragments that features nine songs. And that’s it, really – no obscure b-sides, demos or splits. Just these nine songs, plus the four new ones that will be on Sojourner.”
What do you hope people will take away from the EP, and your music in general?
Marc: “First and foremost, we want people to enjoy our music. Whether they connect to our songs on a personal level, relate to their lyrics or just play them in the background at work – we’re happy about anyone who can find enjoyment in our music. If you can take something away from the EP, maybe about your own ways of coping, about your own outlook on life and its struggles, the better.”
What’s been the highlight of your time in the band so far?
Marc: “Probably our UK tour with The Deadnotes. The further away from home, the more fun it is to drive around in a van for hours on end, I guess. Though, let’s not forget the summer [we] went to Greece before we even released a single song. We only played three shows there in two weeks, so I wouldn’t call it a tour. It was a vacation with the extra bonus of playing some shows, and those were some of the most awesome days of our lives.”
You’ve been touring a lot. What’s the best show you’ve ever played?
Marc: “The best show would still have to be our album release show in our hometown of Lucerne. It was the last day of our tour with Such Gold, and the awesome Muncie Girls were on the bill as well. Our good friends from Germany, Casually Dressed and The Deadnotes were playing, too. This line-up and all our old and new friends and families truly made it a night to remember.”
What are you most looking forward to about the future?
Chris: “We’re happy if we can keep going at our gentle but steady pace, but of course we wouldn’t be complaining if unexpected opportunities were showing themselves. We’re looking forward to every tour we can do and writing new songs. Oh, and it would be awesome to be playing some festivals next summer.”
What do you have planned for next?
Marc: “We’re in the midst of planning a tour through France, Germany and possibly Austria in October. We’re also trying to top our album release show with our EP release show in September. However, we’re now mainly focussed on writing new music. We always take forever, but maybe there will be a new album out in two years.”
Cold Reading’s new EP Sojourner is out on September 22nd via KROD Records