A Near Decade of Crown The Empire
A Near Decade of Crown The Empire
Crown The Empire has returned, bringing their post hardcore reveries back with a good amount of imagination and intrigue. Sudden Sky is the name of their just unleashed endeavor through Rise Records, and it’s sure to captivate and inspire all music fans ready to fearlessly explore what this amazing collective has to offer. On the verge of celebrating a decade of existence, Andy Leo of Crown The Empire recently chatted with Highwire Daze to discuss their Sudden Sky auditory adventure and his thoughts on their upcoming ten year anniversary as a music force to be reckoned with. Read on…
Is there any overall story or concept behind the Sudden Sky title?
We’ve always been very into concept albums, but this one has a sci-fi theme to it. I don’t think we stuck to a narrative per say, but it’s definitely a bunch of stories told through these sounds – through these words – and it’s very heavily sci-fi influenced. We’re very into this cyberpunk thing that’s happening, because I think that technology is so integrated into our lives – it feels like kind of an extension of us – and that’s a fun idea to kind of play with. It’s definitely got a theme of electronic elements as well as some organic stuff that we kind of brought back. The general theme is that, and I think it’s been fun carving it out and reinventing ourselves as we pretty much do with each record.
Select two songs from Sudden Sky and what inspired the lyrics and themes.
One of the fun ones that isn’t a single but would be fun to talk about is Red Pills. It’s obviously representative of The Matrix “Red Blue – Blue Pill” and it’s sort of taken on its own meaning right now. I started out as sort of a Reddit person – we had our own chat forums – you could say controversial stuff to each other over anonymous leader boards and rooms. And the concept of it was sort of not to follow the hype that social media brings. I think we all are in the kind of bubbles – these weird kinds of cliques – and if it doesn’t line up with what you are into, then you can completely block out the words from even coming across your screen. I think it’s kind of unhealthy and super bizarre that people can’t take and have different opinions on them – and it’s the waking up from that and pulling yourself out of whatever kind of fantasy world you’ve built around yourself – being able to pull yourself out of your routine and doing something else for yourself – doing something that will hurt but will benefit you in the long run.
And one is Blurry – again it wasn’t one of the singles. As far was what we knew what Crown fans would want, I think we refreshed our old sound and added some new elements that made it all unique. But another one that’s very near and dear to my heart personal is Blurry. And it’s about how easy it is to be disconnected from people in a time where anybody is just a thumb touch away from anybody in the world – we still feel very isolated. And I think growing up on the road and the dynamics of the band shifting and changing, there were times that we all felt that we were disconnected. There wasn’t any genuine human connection or friendships. It’s just one of those challenges that we had to acknowledge – and I don’t think we do. I think we just like to be party boys and make it all fun – but I think addressing stuff like that on this record was something that we felt like we had to do.
Next year marks to then year anniversary of Crown The Empire. What goes through your mind knowing that this band has been around for nearly a decade?
Oh shit! It feels bizarre man. We got signed when I was 17 years old, and my mom had to sign the contract for me because I legally could not do it. The following year is when we hit the road and it’s been consistently crazy ever since. (Recently) I was in LA and I think I was on a date or something and a dude walked by and was like, “Yo, big fan of you guys. I used to listen to you all the time.” And I was like, “Used to? Am I grandpa now? Am I old news? Am I chopped liver?” Cuz I feel like “I used to listen to you when I was back in high school” and I’m like “Mother fucker, I was in high school when I started this!” (Much laughter). The kid’s like 22 and I’m like 25, and it’s weird to be 25 and have what I would assume be the standard amount of time for a career. I’ve never done anything that long in my entire life. So it just feels bizarre that we went from new kids on the block to up and coming bands going out of their way to say “Yo, what’s up? Big fan of you guys.” Even in the hip hop world – you see major hip hop stars directly influenced by the Warped Tour world – by the emo kids and the metal kids – and it’s crazy to see the way it happened like that.
It’s been three years since you released your last album – although you have been releasing singles. How frustrating or nerve-wracking was it to wait three years to release a brand new full length?
Oh man, it was miserable. It’s like keeping a secret – like the juiciest secret of all time and having to keep it to yourself. The album was done a while ago, but logistically it is a nightmare getting shit printed and getting it put on playlists – and people trying to shop it out to other people – and then not being allowed to tell people when it’s coming out. It got to be where I’m pretty sure on the last single, the only comments were “Where’s the album?” And I’m like “I’m releasing something right now, so just appreciate it for a second, because I swear it coming!” (Much laughter). But it was hard to keep – it was hard to bite your tongue and not say anything. And yeah. we’re finally happy to announce it!
You actually did a solo song called Everything Breaks?
It could have been a B-side for this record – it could have been a hidden track or something. But I think it didn’t fit into the mix as far as where the rest of the album was trying to go. It’s essentially a ballad but it’s a very bizarre one and it’s fucking miserable. It’s the saddest, anti-love song – which is probably one of our staples, but I could see why they wouldn’t want that to be the first taste of things they got from the record. I thought it was too good to not put out, so I kind of just leaked it myself. I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, but I feel like that a few feelings were hurt. That was me going rogue – that was me straight renegade status.
Have you ever thought about doing anything else solo?
Yeah, absolutely. I think it would be fun, because now, four albums in, I think there’s so much weight to Crown – there’s specific things you can use and cannot use – if you tamper with those things then it’s not Crown anymore. I think we realized that with the last record, so making something fun that is completely separate from Crown – like not even the same sound – it would be fun for me. And living in LA – that’s the fun part of it because I get to be around amazing producers across all genres of music – and we all get along – so they’ve kind of asked me to be on their projects. And I’ve been writing and doing fun stuff for myself. I don’t know if it will come out anytime soon or anything – but I definitely think I have some ambition to put out something soon – at some point.
Do you have any messages for Crown The Empire fans who are reading this right now?
We fucking love you guys. I told you the album was going to come out, so thank you for holding out. Come out and see us – we’re going to be playing a lot of the new stuff and I can’t wait to see what everybody thinks about it. We’ll see which ones bubble up to the top and we’ll make sure that everybody hears the things that they want to hear.
(Interview by Ken Morton – Live Photo by Jack Lue)