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- Posted on Mar 15th 2010 2:22PM by James Meyers
Alternative Press named them one of the best-unsigned bands in America. The band members are Austin Lyons (lead vocals), Andrew Stanton (lead guitar), Dan Otis (guitar), Joshua Case (bass and vocals), and Eric Martin on drums.
Spinner spoke with Austin Lyons from his home in San Jose.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
Hard rock, alternative, indie. Indie more of an attitude than the music. We are firm believers in the DIY way of getting things done. When we tour, we're on our own-- we book shows, drive, handle all of our equipment, every thing really, we just do it ourselves. It's kind of nice in a lot of ways to have the freedom that DIY allows us. We can focus on our own musical style without anyone telling us how we should sound. So when you mix hard rock, alternative and the DIY attitude you get I Am Empire.
Who would you cite as your influences?
We really like some of the weirder aspects of the latest Muse records. The heavy side of Every Time I Die and the poppier aspects of Relient K. There are five of us in the band and we all bring our own unique influences. Our lead guitar player, Andrew, is a massive fan of 80's metal and has probably been influenced by every guitarist from that era. We're really trying to move away from being influenced to really establish our own thing, our own sound.
How did the band come together?
We got together about two years ago. We formed from different bands. Three of us have known each other since school and we all just kind of met in the local music scene. We were all good friends. I Am Empire was kind of the merging of two previous bands and now we're all super good friends, which helps a lot on long road trips.
Is there a story behind the name I Am Empire?
We had a different name at first and we were contacted by another band with the same name and they threatened to sue us. Well, we sure didn't have that kind of money to fight that fight so we came up with I Am Empire. It means to be your own entity, to own your empire, to be in control of your own destiny.
Your single 'You're A Fake' charted highly on Christian music charts. Do you consider yourselves a Christian Rock band?
Well, we are all Christians and we're in a rock band. Our lyrics are about our relationship with God. We're not annoying about it and we don't preach from the stage-- so we're not the kind of Christian band anyone would have to be afraid of. If you want to talk about it, great, if not, no problem. It's not like we're forcing anything down anyone's throats. We just really want to love everybody and make really amazing music.
Do you listen to anything that would surprise your fans? Any musical guilty pleasures?
Probably Taylor Swift. I know it's kind of cheesy and not at all like the music we make but there's some amazing songwriting and production on her albums.
What's in your festival survival kit?
Depending on the weather-- sunscreen or warm dry clothes. Earplugs for certain bands, both those that are really loud and those you just don't want to hear. Protecting your ears is just better for the long haul.
Any crazy stories or experiences from tour?
Oh man, there's something from every tour. Just recently we were out on the road and we popped into a place to get some lunch. We were in the restaurant for only for like ten minutes or so but when we got back to the van, the tires had been slashed, the windows broken and all our equipment stolen. That was pretty harsh.
I noticed that you had sponsorship deals. How did that come about? What are the benefits?
We contacted Fender and Viper drums and they were willing to work with us. We were like "let's just do it." The deals have been great, they're really cool and it helps with keeping costs down. Especially when we get our stuff stolen.
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