INTERVIEW: EMPERORS (Perth)

Perth band Emperors are currently on tour in support of their debut EP, ‘Sam.’ Ahead of their gig at The Patch on Wednesday night, Radar caught up with vocalist and guitarist, Adam.

Tell us a bit about Emperors
Well there’s me – Adam – Greg, Zoe and Dane. The band started outside a pub. I was in between projects and looking for something to do, and had been hanging out with Greg a fair bit; we’d been in a band together before. We were hanging out this one night and I said “we should start a new band” and he said “yeah maybe”. The next day he called me and said “yeah, lets do it”.

For those unfamiliar with Emperors, please give us a quick overview of your sound and what type of music you play
We play loud rock and roll with a little bit of pop to it I guess. I try to stick with what others have said, which is that we’ve got bits of Built To Spill, Ash, Pixies and The Replacements in our sound.

You’ve just released your debut EP, ‘Sam.’ Tell us a bit about it
It’s basically a snap shot of our first year as a band, musically speaking. We wanted to record an album originally but realised it would be much better as an EP. We’re still a very young band, and we were even younger when we were recording ‘Sam’, so the songs on the EP represent part finding our feet, part honing our sound and part what’s to come.

What was the recording process like? How, when and where was it recorded?
We recorded ‘Sam’ with producer Dave Parkin at Blackbird Studios in Perth. He was great to work with so it made the recording process really smooth and enjoyable. I reckon recording is the most awesome part of being in a band.

You played Perth’s Big Day Out on only your 10th show, I believe. Was it daunting to be playing such a big and prestigious slot, at such an early stage of the band’s career?
It was crazy; we’d only been a band for about 3 months. It was a great way to start but we definitely weren’t ready to play that show, because we were still figuring out our live set and sound. We’ve had some line up changes since then and have played a lot more shows, so I think we’re a much better live band than we were back then. Having said that it was still an amazing experience.

You’ve also picked up a WAMI (Western Australia Music Industry) award for ‘Most Promising New Act,’ and been featured by Rolling Stone and Triple J as a ‘band to watch’. What is it about Emperors that is connecting with these respected organisations? Why do you think your sound has been able to catch the attention of such people?
That’s a good question. I really don’t know but I’d like to think it’s because we’re doing something that not too many bands are doing at the moment. I think that there’s just way too many flowery bands with some sort of synth related aspect to their sound at the moment and in that respect we’re offering something a bit more raw and honest. I’m not saying that we’re the future of music or anything, we’re just trying to write honest, bullshit free music and I think people relate to that.

To launch ‘Sam,’ you’re heading out on a two-week tour of the East Coast. Is it difficult for a Perth band to tour outside of WA, in regards to costs and distances of travelling?
Yes it’s definitely difficult for WA bands to tour over east which is a shame because touring is such a great profile raiser. We got a grant for this tour and without that we wouldn’t be doing it.

Possibly a related question, but many WA bands have talked about Perth being a good place for musicians, BECAUSE of its isolation; it makes you focus, and there’s less distractions. Would you support that statement?
I think the whole ‘something in the water’ and ‘most isolated city’ stuff is mostly branding. I think maybe because it’s tougher for us to get over east and play shows it helps if we brand ourselves as battlers but it’s mostly smoke and mirrors. There’s amazing bands in Perth, and there’s crap bands in Perth. Just like everywhere else. For me it’s not about what city I live in, it’s about the fact that I’ve found three other people who want to play music with me and who I can thankfully call my friends at the same time.

You’re playing in Wollongong this Wednesday. What can people expect from an Emperors show, and why should people come and see you?
I guess we’re pretty loud and energetic and we try and let the songs do most of the talking. People should come and see us if they want to see some unassuming, bullshit-free rock and roll.

What does the rest of 2011 have in store for Emperors?
We’re recording an album pretty much as soon as we get back from tour and should have a new single sometime in the next three or four months.

Finally, anything else you’d like to add?
I hope this interview makes sense. I’m on some pretty hardcore cold and flu tablets right now.

Emperors play The Patch in Fairy Meadow on Wednesday night, supported by Wollongong’s own The Good God Damned. For more info, see Emperors’ website.

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