Monday 22 April 2013

Interview with All The Empires Of The World.

Today on Sludgelord it's my honour to be interviewing one of my fave UK Sludge/Post-Metal Bands – All The Empires Of The World.

I have featured this great band no less than 3 times now. Each album and EP they have released are simply some of the best Sludge/Post-Metal releases I have heard within the UK Underground.

They have just released their stunning new album – CVRSVS

An album I recently described as - "CVRSVS is another brilliant album from this great band. How the fuck All The Empires Of The World are not playing on a bigger scale. They are in my opinion the best Post-Metal band the UK has right now. High praise indeed but look back on their body of work so far and it's hard to find a band with a stunning collection of releases like they do right now."

These guys are very secretive to the point they don’t even have a Facebook Page or Website. I can find next to no information about this great band and I am a huge fan. So it's pretty cool the guys have agreed an interview with me. So lets see if they spill any secrets to me...

Q1 – Hi guys, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you guys today?

Hey Steve! Things are awesome, thanks so much for asking us to answer some questions

Q2 – For people not in the know, can you give them a brief bio on how the band came about.

Well, a couple of us used to be in a screamo band called SOFS - we took what we knew from there, stripped it to the basics, bought a few more amps and tuned it right down. Then it was just a case of bringing in a couple of real cool other guys to flesh out the sound.

Q3 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians.

Strangely enough, Richard Thompson made a massive impact on the direction of these last couple of releases. Other than that, Pelican's Mammoth - the absolute minimalism of that one note riff drove most of our early work.

CVRSVS cover art

Q4 – You have just released your brilliant album – CVRSVS – Can you tell us a bit more about it. What's the meaning behind it and what does CVRSVS stand for.

Blessings and Return were predominantly driven by an ecstatic nature; I'd say that Old Gods and especially CVRSVS come from a slightly more desperate place. Personally none of us have anything to complain about, but suffering becomes more complex and compelling a subject as you grow older - Old Gods was based on the story of the death of St Peter, about his single-minded sacrifice for an abstract concept outside of himself. We're certainly not a religious band, rather that record was about the idea that sometimes the ultimate expression of a life is in it's end.

CVRSVS is partly the mangled form of Curses, and it's about screaming and flailing in the grip of life, against the thousands of defeats of living, roaring into the abyss, towards the end of that life. It's a destructive victory.

Q5 – Was it a hard or easy album to record for.

All our records are pretty difficult. As soon as they start being easy, it's time to hang it up I think.

Q6 – Are you happy with the final product and would you change anything now it's been released to the world.

Absolutely we're happy, or at least I am. We try and change as much as possible from record to record, and I understand sometimes that feels like a bit of a betrayal to the people who are kind enough to listen to our music. But that change is immensely rewarding - we really wanted to get a choir in for some of the bits on CVRSVS, but it fell through at the last moment. Bummer!

Q7 – Now I have to ask this question but why the secretive nature of your band. There is not much information to go round. No Facebook or Official Website. Is this something you don't want people to know much about you? I think it's cool. It adds an air of mystery about you. I am a big fan. The only time I find out about a new release from yourselves is when you emailed me. For this album and the last one. HA HA.

Personally it frustrates me sometimes when bands refuse to reveal anything about themselves - it seems contrived. If I'm putting in the effort to listen to your records, and if you love making them so much, why wouldn't you want people to know? That said, you've got a lot of bands operating like businesses these days, having a fucking brand and opening a twitter account. No thanks. We're not a punk band but we all came out of the DIY scene; if people find out who we are, that's cool. But we're not selling anything, especially not ourselves.

Q8 – Do you tour often in your home town of Nottingham. Or any places at all. Or do you consider yourselves a recording band.

Most of us actually live in London now, although we formed in Nottingham. I'd say we're predominantly a recording band - the logistics of recreating our sound in a live environment now would involve too many amplifiers, and would probably break some kind of noise-level laws. That said, if the perfect conditions coalesce, we may be coaxed out.

Old Gods, Old Worlds, Old Wounds cover art

Q9 – Have you toured with any famous bands or artists. If so who have been your favourite.

Not as Empires (see above) - but individually we've played with some pretty cool bands, in our other musical endeavours. Unfortunately, this interview isn't about those other bands though. Sorry!

Q10 – Are you guys full time musicians or do you all have regular jobs to pay the bills.

We're all full-time reprobates, but alas, music doesn't pay the bills by any means.

Q11 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is it down to one individual. As you guys pack a lot of amazing ideas into your music. And it totally blows my mind each and every time I listen to your music.

I'll usually bring the main riff in, and then everyone writes whatever they're playing. There's a core group of four of us, but personnel changes from record to record. We've got a certain style so by this point, even if one person isn't available, we can pretty much guess what they would have played. And thanks!

Q12 – What are your favourite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Doom/Sludge/Post-Metal.

Half of us were in/are still in the magnificent Guilty Parents (, and those of us who aren't are pretty jealous of the other two. Aside from that, Liturgy, Stephen O'Malley's continually amazing output, Kayo Dot, Peter Gabriel, Sleep, Pissed Jeans, Silent Front, Bloody Mammals. Always try and keep up with what you post on your blog as well bro!

Return cover art

Q13 – What equipment do you all use to get that distorted Sludge/Post-metal sound. As you guys pack a lot of different sounds and atmospheres into your music.

Thanks, first of all! It varies from record to record, but the mainstay of our set-up is the riff. For some reason, riffs sound great even when they're played through a ham radio. That's our secret.

Q14 – You give all your music away for free. That must of been a hard decision to make as it's very expensive to record an album or EP these days

At first it was pretty expensive, but over the years we've all picked up a bit of recording know-how and we're pretty much self-contained now. We record, mix and master all our own stuff, and have done for a while, just because it keeps costs down and we can then give away our records for free; any money we make goes on equipment and upgrades, which is awesome. Pro-tip for anyone in a band: get involved when you're recording! There are no stupid questions in the studio - you know how you want your music to sound so don't let some jumped-up engineer tell you otherwise.

Q15 – How big of a help has BandCamp, Net Labels and the blogging community in getting your music across to the entire world.

We get a hell a lot of traffic from your blog Steve, so, once again, can't thank you enough. Other blogs as well drive 99% of our hits - we do minimal promotion, so we almost entirely rely on nice people and word-of-mouth. So, if you've ever recommended us to anyone, or even just got ahold of our stuff full-stop, thanks very much!

Q16 - What were your original intentions when you started the band and have they been met yet.

I had very small aspirations when the band started: make a record, have someone ask me how to play one of our songs, and have a band I like cite us as an influence. At this point, we've made four records, I've had a shit-load of people ask me for guitar tabs (and I try to reply to everyone!) and I've had one or two people say this or that band I've been in has influenced their output, so I'm pretty much ready to die right now. I can't answer for the other guys; hopefully they're dreaming a little bigger.

Last Rites

Q17 – What are your views record companies shutting down blogs and websites due to illegal downloading. Some people are for it and some people are against it.

Boo! Record companies shot themselves in the foot when they didn't adapt to the changing demands of the market; if your model is broken, don't blame the consumer. I do feel bad for medium sized labels like Hydra Head who have to close up shop, but I don't think that's entirely due to piracy - it's about changing tastes in the medium music is delivered in. Southern Lord make a killing on limited edition, ornate, small run merch they do, and I think that's the way forward. Whether you can sustain a label of that size on that sort of product remains to be seen, but I really hope it doesn't put these kinds of outfits from putting stuff out.

Q18 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band. Obviously the reality of how expensive it is being in a band could be considered as a negative aspect.

It's an inherent part of your self when you choose to write music; even one kind word about the band is enough to keep me going for a week. There's nothing that's really a problem with being in Empires, and I hope I'm speaking for the other guys when I say that.

Q19 – Will you guys ever do a proper full UK tour. Or is it not possible to do at this moment in time.

As mentioned above, the logistics are sketchy. But, never say never; if the proper conditions arise, why not? 

Q20 – If you could provide any advice to people wanting to start a band, what would it be.

Fucking go for it! Write records you want to hear! It's not self-centred, you're just wasting your own time if you don't.

Q21 - Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans

YES, if, in fact, we have any: thank you. We are so appreciative that you enjoy what we do, it means the world to us. We are extending a thousand mile wide hand into the sky now to give you a high-five.

Well guys thanks for doing this. Best of luck the new album. I can't wait to see what you guys come up next on your next release.

All the best. Steve.

Headover to BandCamp and download all their amazing material now. And check here for some other albums as well.

Check Out The Guys Here: