I Am Empire

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1. What prompted you guys to form? Was there something that you all share? How did that go down?

Austin and myself (Andrew) have been doing music together for almost 8 years now, we formed with the other guys out of prior friendships and a shared love for music with a meaning, we all have a real passion for this.

2. What’s it like having grown from a small band to now being signed with a major label like Tooth and Nail?

It’s still hard to believe honestly, we have looked up to tooth and nail and their bands since the beginning. The journey from the garage to being signed has been one I’ll never forget but I am very thankful to be in our position now. Working with professionals at Tooth has been a welcome change to us. We’re really proud of ourselves for coming this far but we only intend to go farther.

3. What would you consider you greatest achievement as an unsigned band (before joining T&N)?

I would have to say seeing our single “You’re A Fake!” chart and get some radio play was the biggest accomplishment we reached as an indie band. I never thought we would be able to achieve something like that without label support but we did and we’ll always remember that.

4. Were there other labels in the mix?

Yes, we talked extensively with a couple of other labels and actually had a deal in place with a company in Arizona but Tooth stepped in at the eleventh hour and we were able to reach a more beneficial deal with them. It wasn’t a simple choice but we couldn’t be happier with our decision.

5. How did that awesome picture with the flag (Press shot) come about?

Well to tell the truth its all fake! We did a bunch of individual shots in a white studio and that photo was what we got back a week later. Its all special effects but so was Star Wars right? It still rules.

6. Kings is set to be released on January 25th.  What are some of standout tracks from the album?

My personal favorite is “Saints and Sinners” for the solid front to back arrangement. That one came out sounding really interesting and powerful from start to finish. I can honestly say I am 100% satisfied with every section of that song both musically and vocally. Also “To The Moon” is more of an off the wall track with a good deal of heavey riffing and more complicated parts and harmonies. I always enjoy the harder stuff so I would put that one in the “must hear” column as well.

7. What is the theme behind “Brain Damage” video (if any)?

The video for “Brain Damage” ended up being a performance based video to help us project our image and style, there’s not really a concept behind that one. Our next video has more of a storyline throughout.

8. What influences/inspires your lyrics?

Austin has written all of the lyrics for this album centered around the theme of a broken home and vacant father figures. Its something he has gone through twice in his life now and has obviously brought more passion to the surface than anything else in his life. We want to stay commited to writing from the heart and being ourselves, “Kings” does precisely that for the current stage of our lives.

9.  What is the process you go thru as a band when writing these great tunes?

Typically one of us will present a riff or chord progression at practice that we elaborate on until we end up with a song we’re all happy with. We try to give equal contribution as much as possible and keep an open mind. For other songs we have written in the studio and co-written with other bands to get a different sound and approach to keep things interesting.

10. What song writers do you admire?

Matt Bellamy of Muse, Tom Petty, Tears For Fears, Eddie Van Halen, and Dream Theater would top the list for me.

11.  What do you consider the hardest part about life off stage while touring?

The hardest part? Just putting up with the long drives and sleeping in the van. Other than that there’s nothing we can complain about, we love the road and are always being cared for by amazing and loving people.

12.  What do you anticipate being the biggest hurdle for 2011?

Getting our live show up to par with the record will be obtainable but difficult. We love the record that we came up with so now we need to bring that passion and precision to the stage and take it up another notch. We want to melt faces and leave a blazing path of scorched earth at every show!

13.  What’s with the crowd surfing mannequin in your music video for “You’re a Fake”?

There’s really nothing more I can say about it haha, its just a crowd surfing merch manequin that we used to haul around on tour, we were hoping it would get a couple laughs.

14.  Can you expand upon the lyrical content and music video storyline for “The Elevator”?

“The Elevator” is a song about leaving an abusive relationship in which you are the one being taken advantage of. The story follows a girl who stands up to her abusive boyfriend and walks away (says goodbye is the lyric) into a better life.

15.  Which member gets in the most trouble?

Josh, he likes testing the limits from time to time.

16.  What bands would be on your dream tour?

Muse, My Chemical Romance, and Anberlin. We would headline of course.

17.  What’s your favorite place to vacation in?

Santa Barbara is probably my favorite place to be when the weather is nice, Clear Lake, CA is another favorite spot to go in the summer too.

18. What made you guys pick Fender guitars as your weapons of choice in a music scene where they’re often nowhere to be found?

Fender’s instruments aren’t typically seen in hard rock anymore but when you kno how to use them they deliver a very classic rock and roll sound that no one else can deliver, specifically the midrange.