Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Empires

Yesterday marked the official release of Empires‘ new EP How Good Does it Feel. Before dropping the excellent EP, the Chicago indie-rockers took the time to answer some questions for A Music Blog, Yea?. Read the new interview below as we discuss influences, David Letterman, weird festivals, and UFO and ghost stories.

AMBY: Hey Empires, welcome to AMBY! How’s everyone doing today?

Empires: Heyo! Doing well… Full of burritos currently.

AMBY: How would you describe each member of Empires in one word?

Empires: Sean – Impulsive, Max – Psychedelic, Tom –  Sergeant, Mike – Normal

AMBY: You release your new EP How Good Does it Feel on June 17th. What’s your favorite memory from the writing or recording process?

Empires: When we were working on the first track on Orphan, “Silverfire” (it won’t be on the EP, but it was all recorded at the same time)… Sean had a demo version of it on his computer and we made a very last minute decision to record it. We stayed late at the studio after we were done recording for the day and worked on a full band version of the song. We tracked it all the next day and it came out great. I don’t think the record would have been the same without that song.

AMBY: Taken from the forthcoming release, the newest single Please Don’t Tell My Lover is fantastic. What’s the story behind the song?

Empires: Thanks – Glad you like it. There were a lot of changes made to that song. There was a different drum part that we ended up changing during pre-production. There was also an additional guitar part that we took out. As far as songwriting goes, one of Sean’s friends had asked him why all the new music was so dark since he’s such a positive guy. The next day Sean started working on what became Please Don’t Tell My Lover. The meaning of the song isn’t as on the surface as it seems.

AMBY: What influences can be found on the EP that might not be apparent to a listener?

Empires: It’s tough to say… We all listen to a lot of different music and are constantly seeking out music we haven’t heard. I don’t think the new songs sound like what we’re often listening to, which is everything from hip hop to punk rock to afrobeat, etc. It’s been fun hearing comparisons from listeners. It’s typically not what we expect, but always very complimentary.

AMBY: You have a busy summer planned with tour dates scheduled all the way ’til August. What has you most excited for the tour?

Empires: Doing David Letterman is really exciting for multiple reasons. Since he’s retiring, it makes it even more important. It’ll be a pretty awesome thing for us to say we have done down the road. Festivals are always fun too and we have a good amount coming up.

AMBY: If you could curate your own festival, who would be part of the line-up?

Empires: My answer to this will probably change every month. Currently: J-Dilla, Fela Kuti, Pavement, D’Angelo, Uncle Acid & The Dead Beats. …It would be a weird festival.

AMBY: Has there ever been a song you wish you wrote? And if so, which song

Empires: Steve Gadd’s drum fills at the end of Aja by Steely Dan. Doesn’t that count?

AMBY: Lastly, tell us something about Empires that nobody knows yet.

Empires: If you’ve got a good UFO or ghost story, we’re all ears.


Thank you Empires, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Alicia Atout |@AliciaAtout

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