Somewhere in the void between Kung Fu Panda and Kill Bill lies the world of Emperor Chung ... and they are playing Download
Rachel Gorman asks Emperor Chung guitarist Danny Beardsley about playing at Download.
FIVE local lads are about to fulfil their adolescent dream of rocking out at their favourite festival, not in the crowd this time but on stage at Donington Park's Download.
Sitting proudly on Friday's billing with some of their rock idols such as Slipknot and Korn are Emperor Chung – an unsigned Ilkeston band who between them have a wealth of gigging experience.
"I think it's every unsigned or indeed signed musician's dream to play such a world renowned festival and it's only down the road for us," says Danny, the group's guitarist and backing singer.
"It's kind of like a home-coming for us. All these years we've been going to this festival and idolised the bands playing and now we will be sharing a stage with some of them and hopefully bumping into some of them back stage – that would be really cool!"
Emperor Chung are a concept band born from various local groups – Danny and bass player Dan Hayes are formerly of Isolysis, the second guitarist of the band, Richard Shaw, is also in NG26 and the drummer, Eddie Hodgkinson, is formerly of 8 Idle Hands, leaving just singer Martin Jackson to add to the line-up.
Danny says: "Me and Dan were in a band beforehand and when we left we decided to do something that was a bit more fun and work on some music that we wanted to listen to.
"We are really into the progressive side of music, bands like Coheed and Cambria, Karnivool and Dream Theater but also more traditional rock like Muse and Thin Lizzy."
The result is a band with a narrative that lies somewhere between Kung Fu Panda and Kill Bill.
Their soon-to-be-recorded album is based around a slightly tongue-in-cheek concept of a buffed-up penguin called Chico Chung who wishes to avenge the death of his father.
"We are just a bunch of geeks really, just a bunch of kids," says Danny.
"We wanted to name the band something ridiculous and we already kind of had the name.
"It was the bass player who actually came up with the word Chung. It was at Download Festival in 2009 and his description of the word is the line between sun-burnt and un-sunburnt skin, basically the tan line – he's a bit of a strange lad."
The boys are firm friends, which is just as well as Danny says it's more than just playing music together – it consumes their entire lives. Although he is quick to add that it couldn't be done without their extremely supportive family and pals.
"It's been a case of playing up and down the country to rooms that can be empty and the sound can be poor and you don't get paid for gigs.
"I don't know if it's luck but we've been given the chance to play this big festival so we are going to give it our best shot and fly the flag for all the unsigned bands out there."
Download Festival takes place in Donington Park from June 14 to 16 and is headlined by Slipknot, Iron Maiden and Rammstein.
Weekend and day tickets for Download 2013 are on sale now and available from www.downloadfestival.co.uk