A hot new band from Walsall, HUSH, is set to play Cross Rhythms SW '95. Their leader Pete Emms spoke to Les Wilkes.
Hush play a compulsive brand of abrasive rock and are fronted by Walsall-based Pete Emms, acknowledged by those-in-the-know as one of the most gifted bassmen in UK Christian music. Pete had become a pro musician after leaving school. Eventually, in the 80s Pete co-founded heavy rock band A.N.D. with Paul May. Sadly the band got involved with drugs and spiritualism. Eventually A.N.D. were signed to a label, did some recording, lived in a Surrey mansion and for a time fame appeared to be just around the corner. However, the happiness that the band believed would come with success proved as elusive as ever.
In 1990, things turned sour and Pete ended up back in Walsall living in a hostel. Around this time he read a newspaper article about biblical prophecy and the Jews' return to Israel. He had previously read the teachings of a number of different religions, but one book he'd never read was the Bible. With its reference to 'prophecy' the article kindled his interest and he got hold of a Bible and began to read. To summarise, Pete got saved and, after 15 years in music, (the only business he knew) he left the band and got a job working nights at a plastics factory.
"The music business was incompatible with what I'd found," said Pete. "What I'd found was so good I didn't want to lose it, I didn't want to tarnish it... I mean, being involved at that level with different things I needed a complete break from it. So I spent five years in restoration." Pete has been very cautious about his return to music, likening his strategy to taking a reformed alcoholic to a pub. "He's not going to go in and ask for a double whiskey," Pete pointed out, "he's going to go in and probably have a coke and be self-controlled."
In more recent times Pete has felt strong enough to "test the water" and be involved in one or two short term commitments with other musicians as well as low key solo projects; although one of these, called Kings Calling, gained some Radio One airplay. So how was Hush born?
"Well, Hush came
about really just through people approaching me for different projects
and me getting more involved," Pete explained. "I started writing a
whole heap of new material, new songs... I did a few live things
around the area, very low-key things with some new musicians I had
come across and it met with favourable reviews. So, I got a group of
musicians around me, we sort of got together and put together Hush." Joining Pete in
Hush are Martin
Hunt, a classically trained guitarist with many years of work in
worship bands and songwriting; Dave Edwards, a bass guitarist who has
held down the bottom end of many local live bands and Fernando
Miracco, a young up-and-coming drummer and percussionist who made one
of his first live performances at Spring
Over the five years of his 'sabbatical' from music Pete has really seen quite a bit of life. Besides working in a factory he has worked with the mentally ill, counselled people and suffered the pain of having close friends die. He explained how these experiences have shaped his songwriting.
"I think you've got to be in life to write songs," Pete commented. "If you 'come out of life' and you are a full time musician or you are a full time Christian and you lock yourself away in your church building, I think you can become two-dimensional. I've experienced a lot of things and it's given me a rich pool from which to draw subject material."
Hush are very reluctant to allow themselves to be pinned down to any one style, preferring rather the freedom to draw upon a number of musical influences. However, I pushed Pete to see if he could come up with any common denominator which might be noted as a Hush trademark. "I like the funk kind of feel, a growl to it. You know, when people go to see a band it's not just the band it's the audience as well. People like to go out and be involved, people like to be a part of the music and I think if you can put something in with a kind of dance feel, that kind of funk groove to it and people can get into it they can relate more to it." For a taster check out their searing first cassette 'I close my eyes', with its powerful anti-pornography message. There's a snippet of it on the latest Cross Rhythms cassette.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.