Face to face with Empire Affair

Empire Affair

Elevating, light, extremely inspirational music by Empire Affair is made for making your heart beat faster and your mind go dizzy with excitement. The band’s third EP ‘Pangs’ is out in September and this is the record to enjoy to the full and keep you sunny on long, cold winter nights. The band’s guitarist and keyboardist Matt Park tells Rock Britain about ‘Pangs’, guitar music and travelling the world.

– Your third EP ‘Pangs’ is out in September. What are the traits of this EP that make it stand out?

– We are very much aware of the challenges for ‘guitar music’ at the moment, there are so many bands in England (and the rest of the world), all going for the same goals and the same audience, so we wanted to try and offer something that is a little different to many other bands, but still keeping in the comfort zone of audiences and fans of the bands that we listen to ourselves.

– How does ‘Pangs’ evolve from your two previous efforts ‘Red Light’ and ‘Sparks In The Dark’?

– Speaking of comfort zones, the making of Pangs took us away from the comfort zone that we built for ourselves with Red Light and Sparks. We challenged ourselves with more vocal harmonies, varied song structures and adding a whole new instrument – keyboard. We wanted to have a completely different approach to song writing in the run up to the recording of Pangs, it was much more based on honesty, if one of us didn’t like something that someone else was playing then they would be told…it makes the process much more interesting and made us challenge ourselves more.

– The EP artwork is very eye-catchy. How does it reflect the music on the record?

– Thanks very much. We wanted to reflect the messages and themes in the music. To me one of the main themes in Pangs is throwing yourself into situations whatever the cost, even if it means getting hurt. But art is subjective, it might mean something very different to you.

– You used a Pledge campaign for ‘Pangs’. How did you enjoy connecting with your following in this way?

– It was interesting for us, and we hope that the people that pledged got something out of it as well. Each pledger has their named printed on the EP artwork as a special thank you, as well as some getting t-shirts, instruments, gig tickets etc. We have tried to keep the music as close to our chests as possible and was careful to not to let it leak before it was released, but at the same time we also wanted to show our appreciation to the fans that helped make the EP possible, so it was a very thin line when deciding how much to give away.

– There’s a very elevating feel to your music. Have you got a favourite atmosphere for writing music that it gets such an amazing touch to it?

– We all really enjoy playing gigs so when we are writing we are constantly asking ourselves ‘how will this sound when we play it live’. If we can’t imagine it being enjoyed and getting everyone in the mood when we play it live then we will change it. We also have a very positive atmosphere at the practice and writing sessions, which certainly helps.

– You’ve had some really successful shows in Croatia. How did they come about? What are your impressions from playing in Croatia?

– That was a case of being in the right place, at the right time and in front of the right people, and we are very grateful for the opportunity to play over there. Croatia has a very positive unsigned and underground music scene and live music is much more on people’s social spectrum than it is in England.

– Do you remember your first ever show as Empire Affair? What was it like?

– We hadn’t been a band as ‘Empire Affair’ very long. The other 4 guys (Neil, Jack, Darren and Tom) were in a band called Echo before I joined up with them, so there was a little bit of ground work already done, but it was a very positive gig and, although it sounds a bit cliched, there was a genuine feeling that something good was starting.

– Apart from music, what other spheres of art are of interest to you?

– We watch a lot of films. Tom has an incredible knowledge of films and I try to keep up with him but its tough. There’s a handful of movie references dotted about in Pangs. Neil is quite a theatrical bod, and that quite often comes out in his performances at gigs.

– You’ve been around for a while. How have you changed as a band since the very beginning?

– We like to push ourselves creatively, learn and do things that we havent done before, whether it’s adding new instruments to the mix, having a video for all 5 songs on the EP or playing in venues and towns we have never been to. There’s no point in covering the same ground twice.

– EP release aside, what’s next for Empire Affair?

– Playing more gigs in further away places, more songs, more videos, who knows? I’m sure it wont be long until we start thing about the next EP.

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