Interview: Empire Of Fools

168203_553306108053512_1314807448_nOn Saturday 20th July, Empire Of Fools will play one of their biggest gigs this summer when they take to the new Jaywalk Guitars stage at The Godney Gathering. Fresh from releasing their new EP ‘Unstoppable’ on 21st June, we spoke with Mark Pascall, Steve Cobbin and Dean Stevens to find out a little bit more about the rockers from Devon and Cornwall. How would you describe the Empire Of Fools sound to those who are yet to stumble upon your music? We’re not overly fond of comparisons, but who would you say has been your biggest influences? Mark: Each member of the band has a different set influences. We are quite eclectic but there are a few bands that we all listen to and respect – Incubus, Audioslave, Slash, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Free, Alterbridge, Rage Against The Machine, Black Stone Cherry, Shinedown. Steve: I think we’re a cross between the hard riffs of Rage, Audioslave with some subtle melodies of Incubus. Dean: I think that there are dozens of influences that can be heard in our music. We all listen to an eclectic mix of musical styles and each of us brings something different to the table. Subtle nuances of bands such as Rage Against The Machine, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus, Shinedown and Papa Roach can occasionally be heard. Your debut EP, ‘Unstoppable’, was released on Friday 21st June. How does it feel to finally get it out there and what can audiences expect? M: It really does feel like a great achievement. We are finally happy enough with the band and the recordings sound fantastic. There’s been a lot of work put into the band and it is great to see this as a milestone for us. This is only the beginning though and we will be pushing forward. S: Its gonna be good! It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. I think we’ve managed to capture what the band is about and put it into this EP. D: It feels incredible, we’ve spent a lot of time touring and rehearsing this year and the EP release is something that we have all been looking forward to. It’s something that we are all proud of and it is something that will give everyone the opportunity to hear how we have evolved as a band. Heavy riffs can be expected as always, strong, melodic vocals and a rock solid rhythm section are evident as well. How does the songwriting process work within the band? What subject matter influences what you write? M: So far it has originated from instrumental demos written by Steve. Then I write lyrics and melodies to these tracks and orchestrate them into songs. When they are brought to the band they are fairly structured but we experiment and have fun with making them even better. D: Basic riffs, song ideas and lyrics are put together by Steve and Mark before we bring it to the table. Then we rip whatever idea it is apart and start again as a band.

995819_578870262163763_1704143651_nThe EP was produced by Romesh Dodangoda, who has also recorded with Motorhead, The Blackout and Funeral For A Friend. What was it like to work with him?

M: We were very productive in the studio and Romesh is attentive to detail, which I was very happy with. He’s very quiet and gets on with what’s needed to be done. S: Real nice guy, knew the sounds we wanted and was on the same level so that helped with the recording process. D: Romesh is an excellent engineer and he took a real interest in the band and the sound that we were looking for. Any particularly funny or interesting stories from your time recording the EP? M: I just remember it being freezing cold, watching Danny Devito in some weird comedy sitcom programme and Steve wishing he could go to see Olly Murs (joke) at Cardiff Stadium as our hotel was opposite the Millenium Stadium! S: It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia! (The Sitcom Mark is referring to) D: As always, there are many hilarious ‘on-the-road’ EOF stories but unfortunately they cannot always be repeated! If anyone would like to come down to one of our shows however, we’ll happily share stories after the gig! How do you plan to promote the upcoming EP? Lots of gigging, no doubt? If so, where? M: We will be pushing forward with radio shows, reviews and gigging as much as we can. So if anyone reading this knows of anyone we can speak to, please let us know. We have plenty of shows over the summer so please check out our website for more info! Godney is going to be a great one though! We will also being sharing the stage with the likes of The Darkness at Looe Music Fest in September. You just mentioned you’re on the bill for The Godney Gathering on July 20th. Excited? M: Can’t wait, we love playing live and especially on a great stage with a captive audience. We will be putting all our energy onto that stage! I’ve heard great things about The Godney Gathering! So bring it on! S: Oh yeah, looking forward to bringing the new sound there! I’ve heard there’s always a great energy there. D: Very excited, there has been a lot of publicity for the event and we’re looking forward to playing the new tracks for a large crowd down there. What can punters expect from your set? D: At every Empire of Fools gig you can expect a rollercoaster of melodic and harmonic songs with heavily syncopated grooves, powerful vocal (across many octaves) and face melting guitar riffs! How did the opportunity to play there present itself? M: I’d been in touch with the organisers before, but we were lucky enough to support Reef last summer at The Cheese & Grain which then secured our slot for the festival. There’s been a lot of hard work put into getting on The Godney Gathering stage, so we are gonna enjoy every minute of it! Which other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the event? M: I’ve gigged with The Blockheads many times now and their energy is fantastic! Keep an eye on their bassist, Norman! S: We always look forward to meeting bands at our gigs and working with artists like The Blockheads is always a special occasion. Those guys have done so much in their careers and you just know that their sound is going to be amazing. Before The Godney Gathering, us Glastonbury folk are braced for the 2013 Festival. Are you going? Which act on the line-up would you recommend to punters? M: Unfortunately no, but the Stones will be awesome and i’d go to see Smashing Pumpkins! We’d love to play next year though… D: Unfortunately we can’t make it to Glastonbury this year. I would obviously recommend so many bands that are performing this year but the Smashing Pumpkins and Enter Shikari have got to be two of the strongest contenders. Finally, if there is one song that sums you up as a band and you’d encourage readers to listen to, which would it be and why? D: At the moment, it would have to be the title track “Unstoppable”. This song contains the key ingredients of our sound and also provides a glimpse, musically, into some of our future plans. You can find out more about Empire Of Fools on their website and Facebook page. To find more information about The Godney Gathering on Saturday 20th July and buy tickets, click here.