Hi Henrik and welcome to Grande Rock webzine. I really dig the new album, “Relentless” and think it’s a step forward for the band in every way. What are your thoughts?
H: Thank you. We’re very proud of it and very happy with it, it’s been well received by the fans and we’re interested to know which songs become the fan favourites.
How does the album differ from your previous releases?
H: It’s more complex in terms of parts and instrumentation. We didn’t hold back in terms of arrangement, whether that was in regard to number of guitar parts or using more adventurous variation. For instance, we’ve also added orchestration, synthesizers and samples into a large proportion of the songs.
“Relentless” is your third release (and second studio work). How do you feel about having to work and release all the albums during the pandemic, now that we’re free again?
H: It was really only “The Other Side” that was affected by the pandemic in terms of release and in fact it was good to be able to release music during that time. The pandemic also afforded us the opportunity to focus a lot on writing and hence “Relentless” as an album had a lot of time and work put into it.
Do you believe the epidemic had an impact on the release and promotion of the previous two albums?
H: Not on “Self Aware” as that was released in 2019. Releasing the singles from “The Other Side” was quite straight-forward during the pandemic and we were also able to release videos. I believe we released 7 singles and 15 music videos plus the album itself during the pandemic. The downside was that we weren’t able to tour and the music press was going through a lot of changes at that time, so perhaps the album didn’t get as much attention as it could have done.
Can you tell us about any challenges you faced while recording this album? I read that you recoded the album close to the prior album in the pandemic and the lockdowns.
H: We had to record it in three stages. In part that was down to rules of lockdown and in part it was down to trying to rehearse the songs thoroughly before going into the studio, so we could most effectively use our time there.
How did you approach songwriting for this album? Did you have a specific goal or message in mind?
H: There was no overall concept for the album, we didn’t lay down any rules, we simply wrote music we liked the sound of and put no restrictions in place as to what we could include or what it could or should sound like.
What was the recording process like for this album? Did you try any new techniques or approaches?
H: The recording process was much same, but we tried to be even more prepared than usual going into the studio, with some more intricate demo versions to use as a base.
Do you think this album represents your band’s evolution?
H: Yes, it shows an even broader range of styles than “Self Aware”, we’ve introduced more commercial styles, some more prog elements and hints of metal. Along with the orchestration and samples I think it gives a more rounded view of what Empyre sounds like.
You also signed with Kscope. How’s the cooperation so far and why did you decide to signed with them?
H: In the most basic of terms we decided we would rather release this album with the backing of an established and respected record label than do it ourselves. We also find ourselves in some excellent company in terms of artist also on their roster. So far so good!
What are the pros and cons of being signed to a music label versus releasing your music independently?
H: The downside is that we give up a portion of potential income. The upsides are we have “a name” behind us, a better network of contacts, a bigger team working on aspects of the release and they look after things such as physical distribution for us. We’re also still able to be heavily involved with most aspects of the release which works well for us.
How did you choose the title “Relentless” for the album?
H: We liked the word and I had been working on a song with that name. I suggested to the band that I would like it to be called that. Due to the fact that we’d been able to gig and release music during the pandemic we felt it was somewhat appropriate to our approach and work ethic.
Do give us a hint about each track… (just a line or two)
H: “Relentless”: It opens the album because as mentioned above not only is it the title track it reflects our ethos.
“Waking Light”: A song about building a following for a band, specifically Empyre. But the lyrics suggest it’s being grown like a revolution or uprising.
“Parasites”: It’s about relationships turning sour.
“Cry Wolf”: Again, about a relationship turning sour
“Hit and Run”: Based on the memory of me returning to a town where I lived in Denmark and finding that whilst it brings back a lot of memories the place has changed and it doesn’t hold the same magic anymore.
“Forget Me”: Based around the idea that it’s arguable that it could be better to never have existed because you can’t experience life without experiencing pain. So, the character in this story makes a rational and level-headed decision to end their life because the best years of their life are behind them.
“Silence Screaming”: Dealing with mental health issues when no one else can see what is going on inside your head.
“Road to Nowhere”: The song on the album that we feel is most similar to “Self Aware” and almost made it onto that album but wasn’t finished at the time.
“Quiet Commotion”: Dealing with loss and grief…
“Your Whole Life Slows”: Inspired by a bass riff by Grant and the sound of his washing machine.
Once again you recorded the album with Neil Haynes at Parlour Recording Studio, while the mixing was handled by Chris Clancy at Audioworks (Machine Head, Those Damn Crows, Massive Wagons). What do you think about the album’s production? Are you totally satisfied by the final outcome?
H: We’re very happy with it, we worked with both Neil and Chris for months to get it right.
Do you think “Relentless will bring new fans to the band’s camp? Is this the album that will push you to the next level?
H: We hope so, it appears to have done so far, we don’t see why this shouldn’t be the album to push us to the next level.
What are your expectations from the new album and what do you wish to achieve with Empyre over the next years?
H: We have no expectations, but in terms of desires we’d like to play the major rock festivals of Europe and we’d love to play some arenas, so a support tour with a better-known act that provides that opportunity is an aim.
You have already given some, live shows and you have arranged to play in some Festivals this summer. How do you feel to be on the road again? What can fans expect from your live shows in support of this new album?
H: It feels good, we’ve got a good variety of dates and events, from headline shows, to festivals and a tour with The Damn Truth. We’re enjoying playing the new tracks live, so fans can expect to hear much of the new album and a few favourites from “Self Aware”.
How would you describe the music style of your band to someone who has never heard of you?
H: I’d probably use a phrase that someone said to us once when they described us something like the love child between Pink Floyd and Soundgarden.
It’s time for our “Strange Questions”!!! How did you come up with the name Empyre initially?
H: We don’t entirely remember. “Empire” was a suggestion or a word we liked but we knew we couldn’t use it with that spelling, so someone suggested we change the ‘I’ for a ‘Y’. That was it as far as we can remember.
What do you think about the “downloading & streaming issue” of our time? Do you prefer the streaming services more or not?
H: The upside is that nowadays anyone can find and listen to your music almost immediately. It also makes it easier to promote yourself. However, there’s a lot of music and musicians out there and that means there’s a lot of noise and that’s only increasing, so it’s harder and harder to build a following and make a name for yourself. We don’t have a preference there are good points and bad points to both physical and digital media, we embrace both for their respective benefits and so that our fans can consume our music however they wish.
Are “social media” a “mandatory part” of the music business these days, or can bands, artists, and labels get by without it?
H: I would imagine an artist could get by without it if they were already well established, but for bands like us we may as well make use of it to try and get our name out there and engage with our supporters. It’s a tool and it’s there to be used.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words:
H: Rockstar: Nickelback
Music Business: Fascinating
Music Realities: I’m not sure what that means
Fill in the phrase… “Rock wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
H: Guitars, amps and distortion…
Which are the Top 3 Rock albums of all time according to you?
H: Today I’ll say these, but tomorrow I could say something different; Guns n’ Roses – “Appetite for Destruction”, Pearl Jam – “Ten”, Nirvana – “Nevermind”.
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
H: Again, much like the above I could choose any number of records. I’m not sure if you’d like a song or an album here, so I’ll go with a song and say “More Than Words” by Extreme.
Which is the most underrated musician/band of all time?
H: Possibly a Danish band called Dizzy Mizz Lizzy.
Put together the best rock line-up of all time. Who plays what?
H: Eddie Vedder on vocals, Nuno Bettencourt on lead guitar, perhaps Dave Grohl on drums and Jeff Ament on bass? Frankly the only one of those I wouldn’t swap out for on another day is Eddie Vedder.
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
H: I don’t think I could choose one and I could hardly stand in for or replace any of my idols be it vocally or on guitar. I would be happy to watch any of them from the side of the stage, that would be enough.
Which do you consider to be the best male & female vocalist in rock history?
H: Best male vocalist would be Eddie Vedder. Female is harder to choose, either Stevie Nicks or Amy Lee.
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
H: The future because we have no idea what that will be like!
What are your thoughts on A.I.? It appears to have taken over the world in every part of our life over the last few months, and this is just the beginning. What are your thoughts on the AI-created music?
H: I think it’s intriguing but ultimately it’ll make a lot of musicians redundant and it’ll kill even more revenue streams for some musicians too, as it’s almost inevitable within a few years it’ll be possible to create a complete song in the style of practically any artist with a reasonable feel of authenticity about it. However, there may also be some opportunities created at the same time, so it’s potentially not all doom and gloom. It’s very exciting and frightening at the same time.
Thank you for speaking with the Grande Rock webzine, Henrik. You may say whatever you wish before we close. Take care…
H: Thanks for taking an interest in Empyre. For those that discover us thanks to this and our new album “Relentless” we hope you check out our back catalogue and please help us spread the word about Empyre wherever you are in the World. The more the word spreads the better chance we have of coming to play for you near your home.