Awaken The Empire: Living the Dream in the City of Angels

One of the most exciting new bands emerging from the world famous Los Angeles music scene is Awaken The Empire.  Performing an emotionally driven brand of inspiring alternative rock and electronica, Awaken The Empire is truly living the dream in the City Of Angels – and they encourage all of their fans to do just the same!  With a self-produced EP called The Awakening and a fantastic new song entitled Cross My Heart, Awaken The Empire is sure to make an impact on all who venture out to give a listen.  Here is an interview we conducted with front man Damien Lawson to find out more about this band on the rise…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Awaken The Empire, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Damien Lawson, and I’m the singer and head instigator at Awaken the Empire. I started the band somewhere around 2 years ago… It’s all kind of a blur at this point…

What do you think of the local Hollywood / Los Angeles music scene and how does Awaken the Empire fit into the scheme of things? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
The music scene here is cool in the sense that there are always a ton of bands coming up. There’s always new music, and never a shortage of concerts to go to… The downside is that there are too many elitist snobs that think they are better than everyone else. We kind of don’t fit in… We’re in between a bunch of genres so that helps us connect with a lot of different scenes, but we would rather hang out with our fans than get wasted and hang out with a bunch of random ditzy girls… (nothing against our ditzy girl fans… we love you too)

Some of my favorite local LA bands: Hexham Heads, Back Pocket Memory, and My Satellite

Tell me about the new song Cross My Heart. What inspired the lyrics and who produced it?
Cross my Heart” is a total schizophrenic love song. It’s about the kind of relationship where you are so in love with the other person that you don’t care if they hurt you… you don’t care if they even love you back at times… All you want is them in your life… at any cost. The song was produced by the amazing Erik Ron (Panic at The Disco, Versa Emerge, Get Scared) at Grey Area Studios in North Hollywood, CA.

Please select two other Awaken The Empire songs and what inspired the lyrics.
Know Your Place: “The rich get richer, poor die trying, and those that don’t are lying.” The song “Know your Place” is all about the pressure that is put on us as humans to follow a pre-destined path. From the day you are born, you are taught to be afraid of everything… you are taught to always play it safe. Life is supposed to be about finding yourself, living your dreams, and being fulfilled.. Not to work a job you hate to make someone else rich, and live a life of regrets…

The Awakening: I went through a really bad break up a couple of years ago where I didn’t think I was going to be able to live through it… I was in a relationship where I wanted it to work with all of my heart, but in my soul I just knew something wasn’t right… “The Awakening” is about living in a situation that you know is unhealthy, but you just can’t find the strength to get out of it. The chorus is me pleading with myself to Open My Eyes, and Wake Up… Sometimes in life you just need to do something that is going to crush you to your core, in the hopes that once you’re through it, you’ll be a stronger person. (I was lucky enough to survive the break up, and end up with a friend that will be with me forever…)

How close is Awaken The Empire to releasing an EP or full length?
We have been working on our debut album since around October of 2011. It’s in the final stages now. As far as a release date, I’m confident in saying that it will be released this year, but I’m not sure exactly when… Probably Summer/Fall…

What is a live Awaken The Empire show like for those of us who have yet to see you?
Emotional. Reckless. Vulnerable. Honest… Anything can happen.

Is there any particular story or message behind the band name Awaken The Empire?
When I started this band, my vision was that I really wanted it to be all about pushing people to live their dreams at any cost… The name is totally symbolic of that vision. We are here to wake up an empire of kids, and show them that they can accomplish anything….hmm… There’s also the other side, where we wanted a name that sounded visually huge and dramatic, to match our sound… Let’s say 75% 25%…

How did the show with Vampires Everywhere! go and who are some of the other bigger bands you have opened for?
It was awesome! Those guys have always been really good to us… We were invited to play a Sunset Strip Music Festival Event last year which was amazing! Motley Crue, Escape the Fate, Bush, Black Veil Brides, and whole lot of other rad bands played the main date. My favorite show to date though was playing with Kill Hannah at New Heart Xmas in Chicago. The support we got from the fans at that show absolutely melted my heart…

If you could open for any band either living or in history, who would it be and why??
Nirvana at Reading Festival… Hands down my favorite band of all time… and I’m all for any excuse to go to Europe.

Any unusual happenings at an Awaken The Empire live show and have you had the chance to tour outside of Southern California yet? If so, how did the tour go?
Let’s see… I tend to jump into the crowd a lot and attack people.. Jaymz bleeding all over his bass happens a lot.. Is it unusual if it usually happens? Shivan’s guitar cut out one time, so he destroyed it on stage… We we’re blessed to be invited to Chicago to play with Kill Hannah at their New Heart for Xmas Show. We did a bunch shows on the way there and back… When anyone ever asks us how the Chicago show went, we always answer the same way… “The next day, 5 of our fans got the Awaken the Empire Eye Logo tattooed on them…” I think that kind of sums up the whole experience…

What is it you’d like a person to remember the most when hearing your music for the very first time?
That I put my heart and soul into those lyrics, and that our band has given up everything to live our dreams. What you’re hearing is unfiltered emotion.

Any final words of wisdom?
You are not destined to become your parents. You are not destined to live a life you hate. You were not born to follow. You were born to fight for your dreams… to follow your heart… We are the noise that no one hears, because no one’s here, to watch us fall… We are the voice that they should fear. Our wall of noise will stop them all. INSOMNIACS UNITE!

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! Looking forward to hearing more music and seeing you guys live.
Thank you so much for supporting us!

Awaken The Empire consists of Damien Lawson (Vocals/Guitar/Programming), Jaymz Marcc (Bass), Daryl Falconer (Drums),and Shivan Somaratne (Guitar).

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

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