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Interview – Alex Loring (Empress AD)

Interview with Alex Loring from Empress AD
by Adam Clarke at 29 October 2014, 6:27 AM

Recently I have had the pleasure to listen to the new EMPRESS AD record “Still Life Moving Fast”, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the newest addition to the Progressive genre. I perfect blend of harmony and aggression, this new band have provided an album that is very easy to listen to the entirety of in one sitting. Luckily we now have a chance to gain a deeper insight into the band as Alex Lorning answer some of my questions.

What’s it like to receive such positive criticism for your debut album? You’ve gained many reviews stating that’s it’s a really good record and have gained top places in magazine charts, what does this mean for the band’s future now?

We're obviously over the moon, we've spent a long time sitting on it and reflecting what we created back in January 2013, so in all honesty we expected some good reviews. It's of course impossible to be objective with one's own creative offerings, but we had a sense of familiarity with Still Life Moving Fast that many other bands don't have the time to form. We're just thankful that we have an entire body of work available to people who may here a fleeting moment of our music. This is a record that is absolutely intended to be enjoyed from start to finish, we're a band that shuns throwaway generation that's prevalent in music in 2014. I was surprised to read a review that mentioned this album has to be enjoyed in its entirety, as though that might be a negative! That was our intention.

Clearly the two brothers Alex and Ollie knew each other before the formation of the group, but how did the rest of you meet up and what inspired the decision to form a band and play a lesser known genre of music?

Oliver and I were keen to start a new project with one aim: to satisfy our own musical endeavor. We really come together as one creative force, so we knew we simply wanted to create sounds that we would want to hear as a listener. There were definitely aspects of music that had left us disenfranchised and we soon felt that we could contribute something meaningful if we could find likeminded musicians. We'd known of Edd for a few years, he was a highly-regarded drummer from Reading playing in a metal band, so we contacted him and started jamming. That phase of the band lasted at least a year. Just behind closed doors, forming ideas, changing riffs, experimenting with new sounds and forming an understanding with each other. We started jamming with a few guitarists after about 18 months of forming a vague sound and carried on in that vein for a year. I'd known Tom for a while because I'd recorded and mixed some stuff for a band of his. That had dissolved after he'd gone to university, though he'd joined a band called Palm Reader (awesome band), formed from members of other local bands, so was still active in music. I mentioned to him what I was involved in, at a recording session I was working on and he was playing on, and that we were looking for a guitarist. By that time we were in the process of putting together the various parts of Left In Awe, Perplexed Again and Nostalgia, so when I showed Tom where we were at stylistically, it not only impressed him, but also resonated with him. I asked him to come and jam with us. It was the last piece of the puzzle, he slotted in and those 3 songs that lacked a little definition became cohesive. Even then we knew we'd created something good. But most importantly, we'd managed to satisfy ourselves as musicians and as a band. It was a really exciting time. We soon went into the studio and then things really started to take off from there.

Due to the complexity of the album in terms of having so many different sections to one song, was it difficult to create a lot of the songs or did it just come naturally?

The writing for the album was sometimes stressful due to time constraints, but very considered and deliberate too. Looking back, we definitely couldn't have written those songs if the stars hadn't aligned the way they did, so to speak. There were parts that had been floating round for almost 5 years that managed to get reworked. We also had a few songs that were put together in the studio.

Was their a particular message with the record? I feel that the album title itself has some sort of a meaning to it that you want your audience to understand.

There are certain themes that are implicit throughout the record, but they're for the listener to infer or interpret in their own way. There is definitely a thread that connects the music, lyrics, song titles and art.

As a band, what are you favorite songs on the album and for what reason?

Obviously we really love each song, but we definitely have a connection with Delve into the Retrospect and On My Return when we play live. We've only just incorporated Delve into our live show in the last 6 months, but it's been really great to play and seems to go down really well.

What was the writing process like in terms of band contribution? Were some songs solely written by one member or were some a group effort and how do you think it’s affected the album?

There were various parts or riffs that were written in solitude, but most parts were jammed, placed together in a group and experimented with. It's the only option for a band like us really - many parts are effect-laden so it's always cool to sit down and try new effects and experiment with dynamics, playing style, more textures and timbres etc.

Were there many songs that you made and left out from the album, and are we likely to hear them in another record or as a single release?

We were considering using some older tracks on the record but we changed our minds about 6 weeks before we went into the studio and wrote more!

Do you think as much interaction with fans is important to you as a group and do you try to achieve this often?

Absolutely. Firstly, we're huge music lovers, obviously. Secondly, a great majority of gig-goers are also likeminded, so it's a pleasure to be able to chat so many so frequently. And of course, one of the best parts of playing live is sharing your music with people and those people enjoying and appreciating it. It's always so cool to hear someone say they're into our band, or have a favorite track, or compare us to other stuff they're into. We're just the same really, we watch bands, share music with people, buy merch at shows.

If there was one thing you could each change about the album, what would it be and why and will you try to put these changes into your next work?

We're all universally agreed on the fact that we don't want to change a single thing about Still Life Moving Fast. We're so proud of what we achieved on that record, even just for our own satisfaction and not taking into account the amazing reception we've had so far. As I mentioned before and is true to our ethos since day 1 - we created the music for ourselves and that's surely what resonates people - the sincerity of the emotion in what we’re doing. We're not trying to do anything beyond that, it's just what comes naturally.

What were each of your own personal reasons to make music? Were there any specific people that made you pick up an instrument?

For me, personally, music has been a long journey - going back to when I was really young. I sometimes look back on my musical moments - picking up instruments, hearing great albums, going to gigs - and referring to them as my 'seminal years' - when I'm forming my musical identity - but really I'm still learning. I get more enjoyment out of certain aspects now than I ever have - and I'd like to think I'm still near the start, having only just released the first album that I've contributed to! When Empress AD started - back when it was Oliver and I sharing the early riffs that we wanted to play and be proud of, that was an important time for me. I really started to get enjoyment out of my own sounds - not just from the music of others. I've always kept that true and I can speak for the others in saying they feel the same way.

Thank you very much for your time, and do make sure to check out their new album Still Life Moving Fast today!



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Edited 17 February 2020
 

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