Interview – Broken Empire

You recently released a track titled Disguise, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the song?

Ieuan Owen (lead vocals & rhythm guitar): Our latest release is probably the one we have been the most excited about for some time! As regular followers of ours already know, we have been working on our debut album since the release of our last EP Noumenal World, back in November 2020. We knew it wasn’t really a process that we could afford to rush, so we apologise to our fans that have been very patient waiting for us to release something new!

Matt Stevens (lead guitar): That’s right, so our current release is a single called Disguise, which is taken from our upcoming debut album! A lot of bands will come up with some sort of overly obscure reason why they choose a particular track to release from an album, but we like to be honest, and basically it was the first one we finished writing!

Ricky Hill (drums): Haha, this is true!

Marco Arena (bass): We also have finally filmed our first ‘proper’ music video for a release, which was a lot of fun and very tiring! So not only do we have a new song out, but also a music video to go with it!

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

RH: Not as much as other artists and bands have been. During the first lockdown we actually managed to write, record and release a 3 track EP!

MA: It definitely helps that we have all invested in decent recording setups at home; it means we can all record our own parts and then send them over to Ieuan, so he can put together a rough master. Then once we are all happy, we send the stems over to our good friend in Italy (Lele), and he works his magic mixing and mastering the tracks!

MS: As much as we love gigging, the pandemic and lockdowns gave us a rare opportunity where our schedule was suddenly very free, meaning we could just concentrate on writing and recording! In some ways it was a blessing to have that outlet of songwriting, during what has been a very difficult time for a lot of people.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

MS: I feel we have given a lot of insight to the recording process in the previous question! In terms of writing, it tends to be a mostly collaborative process. Most of our songs have stemmed from jams, or riffs that we dropped from a previous song and have decided to have another go at!

IO: Yeah, we all tend to write the instrumental backbone to our songs and then I go away with a phone recording from a band practice and start working on vocal melodies and lyrics!

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?

RH: I’ve been told by our manager (Ben) that I’m allowed to say this! So it is a bit of an exclusive for you! We are releasing the second single from our upcoming debut album on May 6th! The track is titled, Valediction and if you have seen us live recently, you will have heard us drop it in the set!

MA: And if you haven’t seen us live yet, then what are you waiting for?!

Have you started writing for an EP or an album?

MS: Absolutely! After releasing 4 EP’s, we felt it was definitely time for us to release our debut album! So Disguise is the first single, and as mentioned, Valediction will be the second taken from the album. It will be released this October, and is called Before The Fall.

RH: It’s safe to say we are all pretty excited about releasing the album!

What/who influences you most as artists? What have you been listening to recently?

MA: Whatever comes to my inspiration that day! Oh yeah, just discovered a dude called Tom Auton recently! Nice music!

RH: I listen to a lot of Tremonti, really loving the new SION album, Mammoth WVH…… I also listen to a lot of drum andbBass as I DJ for fun and have been really getting into my tech house at the moment.

MS: My Mrs!!

IO: For me I would have to say Metallica/James Hetfield – I’ve always been a huge fan so he’s easily one of my biggest influences!

Where are you based? What is the music scene like in your part of the world? Are you influenced by your surroundings?

MS: So myself and Ricky both live in Oxfordshire. Not so many years ago the scene was amazing and very much alive, especially in Oxford and a few of the bigger surrounding towns. These days it’s a bit like anywhere I suppose, it is slowly dwindling! A lot of the great venues are now closed or trying to be turned into some sort of accommodation! That said, I firmly believe the UK is still a major world force where hard rock and metal are concerned!

RH: Yeah it is a shame really! We still have an O2 Academy which is always good fun to play at, but a lot of the venues I enjoyed gigging at are now gone, like The Wheatsheaf where we played our first gig together!

IO: I’m based in Northamptonshire. I’m quite fortunate as I have Milton Keynes on my doorstep, which has a couple of brilliant venues (Craufurd Arms, MK11 etc). Then there is Northampton itself, with the likes of the Roadmender and The Black Prince.

MA: As I am from Italy, a lot of the places the guys have already mentioned I had never heard of before I came to the UK! It’s been great to experience so many different locations since joining Broken Empire. But I agree that even in the last 4 years, so much is changing within the UK music scene, you do have to wonder when it will stop!

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

IO: That is something we are looking into as we speak! We are definitely planning something to tie in with the album release, but I’m not allowed to say much more than that at the moment!

MS: Sworn to secrecy!! We have a couple of cool gigs lined up before then. We are playing a Live & Local gig in Oxford HMV on Saturday April 23rd. And then we are playing a set on the Sunday of this year’s Breaking Bands Festival!

What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

RH: Good question! I’d say that the main reason to come to one of our shows is for the atmosphere we create! We have a pretty polished set and stage presence these days, so from the moment we walk on to the stage until the moment we walk off it – we have the audience hooked and engaged!

MS: Agreed! We love recording and releasing music, but it’s all about the live experience. We’re not one of those bands that have lengthy breaks between songs, with awkward silences – once we start we only really stop to take breath! It’s pretty much song after song, making sure our fans get everything they came to see!

Any last words for the fans?

IO: I’d like to say, keep on being amazing! We have developed an amazing relationship with our fans, and they are the reason we keep writing new music!

MA: Yeah I think our fans are some of the best around! We’ve tried hard to make sure the band and our gigs are a welcome place for everyone! We hate the idea that people feel they can’t come and say hello at gigs or when they see us around, so we always go out of our way to create a family atmosphere around everything we do!

MS: We love you all, keep being awesome! And we can’t wait to meet some new faces at our upcoming shows.

RH: Thanks for all of your support to date! We have so much more to come this year and beyond, so stick with us, tell all of your friends and keep supporting the Empire!