BAND INTERVIEW: Stephanie Stevens talks with South Carolina rock band EMPTY about their latest release Made of Fire, the new music, the diversity of their sound and MORE! - READ IT HERE
BY STEPHANIE STEVENS
The South Carolina Alt-Rock band EMPTY is making a impact with their latest release MADE OF FIRE on Solid State Records. Full of genre-bending antics and emotionally honest. The band blends the tones of pop, screams, 00s rock and metal core and comes out with some passionate and compelling songs. Tracks like I SHOULD HATE YOU, LETTING GO and title track MADE OF FIRE made me a instant fan of the band and I was able to chat with vocalist Gary about the new album, what it takes to write a good song and found out what other passions these guys are
STEPHANIE: Let’s jump into the new album MADE OF FIRE, how do you guys feel you have grown in songwriting with this new disc and what new elements did you try out to make it a unique writing process?
GARY: we’ve definitely become better songwriters over the last couple years. I think these songs have far better structure and flow than anything we’ve put out previously. For this album we implemented a lot of different genre and style influences from a wide range of music that we all like, and tried to make something unique out of it. The sound we established last album is still there, but with more mid 2000s rock and modern hip hop sounds.
STEPHANIE: Now the band name very basic, EMPTY but also makes you think why choose this word and what does it mean to you and the band’s music?
GARY: Truthfully, we picked the name solely because we thought it sounded cool, however, most of the music that we write (especially this album) revolves around themes of hopelessness, anxiety, depression, and the general feeling of being alone (or empty).
STEPHANIE: Introduce the band members to readers who may not be familiar with you guys and give us one fun fact about each of them?
Gary- vocalist. Loves anime and magic the gathering
Ian- drums. Really into riding motorcycles
Kolby- guitar. REALLY good at Smash Bros
STEPHANIE: Off the new disc the song I SHOULD HATE YOU is a track I fell in love with at first listen, tell me about the start of writing this song and what you hope people get out of the song lyrically?
GARY: So this was the first song I wrote after a really bad breakup. I kinda stepped away from writing for a couple of months because of it, and this track kinda encapsulates my feelings and anger towards the entire situation. I hope people can really relate to this song and at the end of the day feel peace that that person who screwed you over just isn’t worth your time and obviously wasn’t the right one.
STEPHANIE: When creating music how important are lyrical content vs. the music and what are two pieces of advice you would give a band starting out and writing music and also creating lyrics?
GARY: So in my opinion, instrumentally you want to create something identifiable and create something people can groove to. However, the lyrics and melody are the #1 most important aspect of the song. That’s what people will latch on to, remember, and relate to. The instruments can be as simple or complex as you like, but if you don’t have a strong melody and lyrics, the song will fall flat.
STEPHANIE: You guys have a diversity of soundscapes on this album; where does your influences in music lie and do you feel in this day and age it’s good to have a broad spectrum of styles in a band so you can grow and experiment
GARY: We all listen to so many different kinds of music-
I am super into pop and alt rock
Ian is really into classic rock
Kolby is really into prog rock/metal
And we’re all into artists like nothing, nowhere. And ghostemane
I think in this day and age genres are irrelevant and you should take all your influences and making something cool and unique, because so many artists are making the same exact thing. You open yourself up to some really cool ideas by not limiting yourself to the confines of 1 singular genre or style.
STEPHANIE: LETTING GO is another track that stood out, the vocals made me fall in love and it’s just really melody driven, any fun facts about the writing of this song and how do you guys rate this track out of everything else on the album?
GARY: This song is also about that same relationship I talked about previously, but this is more of an internal reflection about where I fell short and my frustration with myself for never being able to accept change and let things or people go. I think a lot of people can relate to that and personally this is my favorite song on the album so personally this is #1 for me but as a group collectively it’s probably more like #2 or 3.
STEPHANIE: PUT MYSELF THROUGH HELL spoke to me on so many levels it was ridiculous, it was like you were in my head. How do you feel when you write a song that really resonates with someone and moves them in emotion and to make changes in their lives?
GARY: That’s exactly the kind of reaction that is my goal whenever I write a song. I put a lot of my own insecurities and the way I very often feel about myself on this track, and it’s really therapeutic just to put my thoughts and feelings down, but it’s all the more rewarding to see that so many people feel or have felt exactly the same way.
STEPHANIE: Other than music do you guys have a passion for anything else, if so what is it and how do you find time to explore this passion with doing the band thing full time?
GARY: So we’re all really nerdy to a degree, we all love video games and we get together to play DnD once a week.
We of course have separate hobbies, but we spend a lot of time together even outside of touring. Spending time with family and friends is super important, but you really have to make the time to do it between work and band. It’s not easy but it’s very possible.
STEPHANIE: How has it been being a Solid State Records band and what drew you to that label in the first place?
GARY: It’s been a super rad experience that’s opened a lot of doors for us. All of our favorite bands that we grew up on or were just super bigs fans of we’re all on SS so naturally it’s where we wanted to go.
STEPHANIE:Being from South Carolina how do you feel the scene for music has flourished in the last few years there and if you guys could help or enhance something to help the music community there what would you want to do?
GARY: In Myrtle Beach specifically there isn’t much of a scene anymore. Really just a lack of bands in the area. Columbia has some really cool bands and a really awesome venue. I would like to try to do something to get more people interested in or involved in the local live music, because I think if more people knew about all these awesome bands that are local to them, there’d be a much bigger audience.
STEPHANIE: Will you guys be touring for this album for the rest of 2021? If so can you give us some details on that and in 3 words define an EMPTY live show?
GARY: We’re currently on tour with Earth Groans right now, and have a 3 day weekend run in December!
Empty shows are- intimate, chaotic, and unpredictable
STEPHANIE: I’ve heard you like to swing from rafters at shows; can you entertain the readers with one wild story from touring past? And would change anything about the story if you did it again?
GARY: I’ve definitely broken a light or 2 and once I climved from the stage to the 2nd floor of a venue then jumped up to the rafters (which was kinda dangerously high) and the owners/promoter were not happy about it all. Now I almost always ask permission before doing that kinda stuff, so if I could go back I’d probably do that, because we’ve definitely been banned from a couple spots, because of those stunts.
STEPHANIE: A lot of people don’t go after their passions because they fear failure. Can you give us some advice on going after a passion?
GARY: Personally we believe you have to fail at least 100 times before you succeed once. It’s really hard to keep a job and tour the way we do. We’ve definitely lost jobs to go on tours that weren’t that great for us, but all of that is part of the sacrifice that pays off later. Even today we’re still a very new/small band and we experience things that are disappointing or discouraging, but you just have to keep pushing through and learn from the mistakes and failures.
STEPHANIE: Anything else you want to add the band is working on or anything you want to tell fans or new comers just getting to know you
GARY: Right now the plan is to go back to doing what we love, putting on wild shows and touring across the country. We’re also already working on the next thing musically, so now that live shows are back and the scene is readjusting, we’re coming back full force.
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