Emily Davis Talks YouTube, Bad Religion, and Getting “Authentically Rowdy”

With song titles like “Artificial Happiness,” “God Hates Flags,” and “Eden is the Worst,” Emily Davis and The Murder Police aren’t exactly subtle about their politics…  The El Paso...

With song titles like “Artificial Happiness,” “God Hates Flags,” and “Eden is the Worst,” Emily Davis and The Murder Police aren’t exactly subtle about their politics…  The El Paso band’s sophomore LP, Never A Moment Alone, released June 25th, tackles issues such as climate change, potential dystopias, and toxic patriotism with a brand of country punk equally indebted to skate parks and honky-tonks and a commentary that is as comically charming as it is poignant.

I got a chance to chat with Emily Davis the Monday after their album dropped and they played a local album release show, which they tell me went quite well: “I would say that it was successful, there was a good turnout, I left encouraged…  The venue we played, Love Buzz, is a place we have a longstanding relationship with, and they’ve been really good to us, so it was good to return there and see all those people.”

While Emily Davis and The Murder Police are just on their second album, Davis has been at it for over a decade now, with three solo albums and a musical career that began on YouTube, covering songs by artists like Bad Religion, NOFX, and No Use For A Name.  Although, during our chat, they tell me that their YouTube success and fandom came about kind of by accident: “When I started on YouTube it was 2008 and it was a very different time, and it was a very different time on YouTube.  People weren’t using YouTube to cultivate an audience; they were using it to post videos for their grandparents.  How it actually started was I was looking for a Bad Religion song I wanted to hear that I hadn’t heard in a while, and I found a video of a guy that did a cover of it, and it was okay, but I thought I could do a cover of it that might be pretty good, so I did.”  But when I ask them about the connections they made through YouTube, Emily tells me they’re quite meaningful: “I’m very grateful for it.  I have a niche, but very supportive, following that I think started there.  I mean, I’ve built friendships over the years with people who started out as fans that I would now consider to be friends.”

In addition to their origins, Emily Davis tells me that Bad Religion continues to have a major impact on them and their take on what it takes to be a great and significant band.  “Bad Religion is a really important band.  They talk about social issues and write music that provides a commentary on everyday life beyond what the average person might think about, and we try to do that as well,” they tell me.  Emily also tells me that one of the high points of their time with the Murder Police so far also includes Bad Religion: “Probably the biggest highlight is touring with Bad Religion in 2019; we did 16 shows.  That was really amazing because I grew up listening to them and have tried to emulate them.”

However, Emily tells me that another major highlight is just being in this band and being able to share significant experiences with their bandmates: “Just having this band with three people I really care about and release two albums with them and see the country with them is so great, as well.”  They also add that their bandmates have even helped to improve their craft: “I think there’s a massive improvement between my solo albums and the albums I’ve released with my band.  My bandmates have made me a better songwriter.”

Right now Emily Davis and The Murder Police have two shows on the books – July 23rd at Launchpad in Albuquerque and July 24th at Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery in Santa Fe – but Emily tells me that there are some more dates in the works for late September/early October.  Considering the breadth of genres from which they draw influences, I’m curious where Emily Davis and The Murder Police prefer to find themselves performing, and they tell me that they definitely prefer less-than-polished settings: “I guess when you’re opening up for these larger bands, that’s ideal [laughs].  But when you get down to dive bars vs. listening rooms, we’re a rowdy band and it’s hard for me to censor myself – I can be pretty crass – so, we like a venue where we can be authentically rowdy.”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.