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Music

DR. MARTENS SPEAKS TO OF EMPIRES

We caught up with Of Empires, a rock ‘n’ roll band from Brighton made up of four friends George, Matt, Jack and Liam. They’re kicking off this festival season with a headline appearance at the Newhaven Festival of Sound Rock Night and showcasing at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton this summer. Here we find out more about their new EP and what inspires their music:  
 

Of Empires, photographed by Phoebe Fox
Of Empires, photographed by Phoebe Fox
 
 
For those who don’t know Of Empires, how would you sum yourselves up in sentence?
Jack: We’re a Rock band but we don’t define ourselves to any particular category of the genre as such, we have the luxury of over 50 years of Rock and Blues to influence us, so we don’t limit ourselves. Saying that our sound was once coined, and is probably best described as, ‘reverb drenched rock ‘n’ roll’! 
 
Can you talk us through the inspiration behind your new song ‘Baby Darlin’ Sugar‘?
Jack: I was listening to a lot of Northern Soul at the time of writing the lyrics, Ian Davenport (our producer on the record) and I, talked about the bouncy soulful aesthetic in the pre-chorus and that gave me a bit of inspiration to approach the song from that perspective in mind, whilst still maintaining the overall classic rock ‘n roll vibe of the song. The lyrics tell a story of running away from a past romance, it’s up for your own interpretation, but everyone’s had that Baby Darlin’ in their lives, ya know, the one that got away that still haunts you! 
 
 
 
What sounds can we expect to hear in your new EP?
Jack: I think we can’t really define the overall record to one particular sound, as there are lots of different elements and sounds on the EP. One song is a bit psychedelic in places, but then it will burst out into an indie pop type chorus, some of it is a bit sleazy to just straight up rock ‘n’ roll. We just wrote what found us and made us feel good to play. The lyrical themes are the usual from me, Love, Sex, Freedom, Corruption and Fear of the Unknown.
Matt: It’s vocally anthemic but with dark undercurrents. Instrumentally we’ve blended the usual OE hallmark of reverbs and leading bass lines but on this record we’ve played around with some keys and generally embellished the songs more than on the last record. 
 
George from Of Empires, wearing the 1460 boot. Photographed by Josh Fletcher.
George from Of Empires, wearing the 1460 boot. Photographed by Josh Fletcher.
 
 
Tell us about your first Dr. Martens:
Jack: The classic 1461’s, bought by my Mum for school! My favourite pair I own is the Adrian shoe, I love that classic British Mod look to them.
Liam: Standard black boot with yellow stitch atop the sole. Bought for school even though boots weren’t allowed, rebel.
George: First pair of docs were from Mill Street in Guernsey. Bought myself a pair with the first pay cheque I got from my agency haha! I wore them on a Glacier in Iceland yesterday. Trusty old boots. 
 
Three tracks you’re listening to right now:
Jack: Rolling Stones – Street Fighting Man, Deap Vally – Royal Jelly, Little Barrie – Pauline
Liam: Deftones – Prayers/Triangles, Paula Abdul – Opposites Attract, Partners in Kryme – Turtle Power
Matt: Future Islands – Doves, Tame Impala – Desire Be Desire Go, The Doors – Tell All the People
George: Weezer – Say it ain’t so, Demob Happy – Wash it down, Broadbay – Part of me. 
 
Of Empire in the Metropolis Studios, photographed by Josh Fletcher.
Of Empire in the Metropolis Studios, photographed by Josh Fletcher.
 
 
If you could make music with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Jack: For me personally, UNKLE, they’ve worked with everyone from Ian Astbury, Josh Homme to Ian Brown. I would just love to sing on one of their tracks!
Matt: Father John Misty – he’d do all the hard graft while we mostly lounge around listening to Liam shamefully attempting impressions of someone culturally significant in his 30-odd years of back catalogue – queue the Back To the Future quotes.
George: In agreement with Matt, Father John misty for me. He could also teach me to Dad dance like a master.
Liam: Daniel Johns. 
 
What’s your favourite thing about the city you live in?
Jack: Beach Party’s in the summer, Brighton’s vibe really kicks up a notch as soon as that Sun shines!
Matt: Brighton has many faces to it and accepts us all. In a socially skewed society you can actually feel a sense of freedom and exuberance here. 
 
What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the music industry?
Matt: Be prepared to love and loath it but put your faith in your art and everything else is just the ride.
Jack: Be honest and don’t be afraid to express your TRUE self, don’t give a f*ck what anyone else thinks about you, do what you love.
Liam: Patience is a virtue. “Bide your time Monty – climb the ladder.” 
 
Jack from Of Empire wearing the Adrian shoe, photographed by Josh Fletcher.
Jack from Of Empires wearing the Adrian shoe, photographed by Josh Fletcher.
 
 
What’s in store for you in 2016?
Jack: We’re just about to release a brand new EP which we recorded at the legendary Metropolis Studios with Ian Davenport and we will be announcing a single release very, very soon! We have a number of tour dates coming up too.
Matt: Whatever “the ride” wishes to indulge us with – record releases (EP), big shows and the making of more music. 
 
We’ll be super busy in May, before releasing our new EP in the coming months:
18th May – Hope & Ruin, Brighton (Great Escape warm-up)
19th May – Neighbourhood, St James Street, Brighton
20th May – The World’s End, Brighton
29th May – Red Light Sessions All Dayer, Hawley Arms, Camden
2nd July – Hope & Ruin, Brighton 
 
And finally, what do you stand for?
Jack: Peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll. We want to live in a world built on freedom instead of fear! 
 
Find out more about Of Empires on their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram