Sydney rock band New Empire, made up of Jeremy Fowler, Kale Kneale, Peter Gillies and Kyle Lane, had a pretty big 2011, which included the release of their second album, Symmetry, and months of touring, including as support acts for the likes of Good Charlotte and Simple Plan. The boys, who hail from Sydney’s southern beaches, enjoyed a relaxing Summer break, but are gearing up for an even bigger 2012. We chatted to frontman Jeremy (far right) to talk about their challenges and what inspires them.
What have you guys been up to lately?
2011 for us was quite a busy and crazy year. We released our sophomore album called Symmetry — that was in September, so that was a few months ago — and in the lead-up to that we’d been really fortunate to tour around the country with quite a few of our favourite bands, and bands that we’ve grown up listening to as kids, like Good Charlotte, Owl City and Simple Plan, so that was really fun. It also helped us to get some momentum into this year. Since we released the album we toured until November, and over the Summer I’ve been busy writing new material for 2012.
More from Jeremy when you keep reading.
What inspires your music?
I think the area that I’m in, that we’ve grown up in — Cronulla, that very beachy, relaxed lifestyle — is something that definitely plays a part. I’m also inspired by the relationships that I have in my life, and the relationships I see other people have with each other. Even going bigger than that, some of the adventures that I’ve been fortunate to have in travelling around the world to different countries, and seeing how their cultures have shaped the way they live, I find that really interesting, especially to be someone from Australia. For me that’s been really inspiring.
Can you describe a day in the life of New Empire?
[Laughs] That’s a bizarre thing to describe! A day in the life of New Empire could look like many things. It could be a 12-hour day in the studio recording, and that would be quite an isolated experience. Or it could a 16-hour day on tour where you interact with up to 1,000 people in one day. So they’re the extremes of doing what we do. No matter what we’re doing, we always seem to be enjoying it for what it is.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a band?
I think it’s really important for bands to develop their own musical sound and style, and not wanna copy another artist that you admire or want to sound like. I think that’s something we’ve really enjoyed: the journey of seeing our sound evolve and mature into something that makes us feel like we know more who we are as an artist. That’s something that I think needs to take time to evolve organically. That’s probably been one of the challenges, but also one of the most exciting things to be a part of.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
From a music point of view, we listen to a whole range of genres — it’s important to listen to good music that’s totally different to what you want to sound like, to give you a bigger perspective on things. Musically, we like bands like The Killers, Coldplay, OneRepublic, Sigur Rós, and more acoustic-y stuff. Non-musically, I think our immediately family and friends have always been such a big influence on us, because they’re usually the rock when everything else is moving forward and at such a quick pace. They keep us all grounded and accountable.
Do you have a favourite song on Symmetry?
Ah, that’s a really tough question! I’d probably say “Ghosts” is my favourite song. I think it has something special about it that makes it stand out.
Do you have a favourite tour that you’ve supported?
I think the Good Charlotte tour was probably our favourite, because it went for over two weeks and was a little bit longer than some of the other tours we’ve been on, so we had more time for all the bands to get to know each other, and go out and have some fun after the shows.
What do you guys have planned for 2012?
We have some new music that we’ll be releasing this year, which is super exciting, and we’re also going to be touring a lot. We’re probably going to head over to the US at some stage if that opportunity arises, which is something we’ve been working on and looking forward to for a while.
Photo credit: Tony Mott