Like so many before them, Emanuel came together while its members were still in school, but unlike many, these guys were in junior high when the whole thing clicked. Matt Breen (vocals, guitar) and Bryan Whiteman (bass) literally ran into Mat Barber (guitars, vocals) and Anthony Brock (drums) while at the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom amusement park and each was impressed enough to agree to get together and jam. That was in 1998, and according to Matt Breen, the minute the quartet started playing together, "it was magic." The band bided their time, playing around their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, until they graduated from high school. By then, they had already gained a solid reputation under the moniker Emanuel Nice. The first year out of high school proved to be a very difficult one for the group, particularly for songwriter Matt Breen, who succinctly describes the year in their bio as "a real f*cking bummer." He says, "We were out of school and working part time jobs and I was depressed." Breen poured his frustrations into his songs and began writing with gusto. Over time, their sound took on a harder edge and since they had quite a number of songs floating around, they decided it was time to record some of them. Under the abbreviated name Emanuel, the resulting demo was sent out to A&R people on both coasts. Before long, the foursome was wined and dined in what Breen describes as "a really fun time." In the end, it was clear that Vagrant Records understood where they were coming from -- and where they wanted to go -- better than any other label and signed the band. Emanuel's screamo-tinged debut, Soundtrack to a Headrush, was released in 2005.