Packed with positive vibes and uplifting energy, Melbourne band Empra is intent on creating a fresh version of rock'n'roll.
Lead singer and guitarist Sanny Veloo is the odd man out in a band of four where everyone else is named Matt. A transplant from Singapore, Veloo's influences zigzag between the Foo Fighters, Green Day, Led Zeppelin and Weezer.
"I grew up listening to modern rock and also punk, like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols, so my music is a combination of all that," Veloo says. "One of my brothers used to play Queen all the time and the second one was into punk - so it was all around me."
While the singer was in bands in Singapore - one punk incarnation was banned from ever playing there again after Veloo swore onstage - Empra doesn't feature any songs from that time.
After arriving in Melbourne and playing Noel Gallagher's after-party, getting encouraging feedback from Soundgarden bass player Ben Shepherd, Veloo was reminded that music was always going to be his destiny. Going through seven different line-ups of Empra didn't derail Veloo's rock'n'roll dreams. The current personnel have been playing regular live gigs together for the past three years.
With a string of broken hearts, the odd broken bone and friends lost littering their lyrics, Empra recently launched their self-titled 11-track album, the closing track of which features keyboards and samples from Wally De Backer, aka Gotye.
The album includes their debut single, Doesn't Make Much Sense, which has already picked up some radio play around the country and, along with songs like I Won't Give Up, are typical of Empra's hook-laden songs and charging, stick-in-your-head choruses.
Empra's musical attitude is "the louder the better" as they plan to blast out their first shows in Perth next month to support their debut.
"We were always going to be a rock'n'roll band," Veloo says. "I see a lot of classic rock bands and 80s glam bands around Melbourne but not many doing mainstream alternative rock, which is what I'm into.
"It's great because we can play in front of punk fans and rock fans and they both dig us. Plus it seems there's also enough in the music for the club crowd too, because we've made fans there too who say we're the only rock band they like."
Empra is out now. The band plays the Rocket Room on August 3 and Bunbury's Prince of Wales on August 4. See the venues for tickets.