EMQ’s With BROKEN EMPIRE
Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with UK based Hard Rock/ Metal band, Broken Empire. Huge thanks to them for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Ieuan Owen (Vocals & Rhythm Guitar): We are Broken Empire, a Hard Rock/ Metal band. We got together towards the end of 2017, and have been gigging regularly since January 2018.
Ricky Hill (Drums): Myself and our Manager, Ben, have been in bands together for the past 10+ years and decided in 2017 that it was time for us to start our own band from scratch. We knew we had a drummer (me!), so all we had to find next was a bass player and a guitarist so we could get some demo tracks together to help us find a singer. It all happened pretty quickly from what I can remember; we put some ads online and before long Matt joined us, then Marco and within a few weeks we had found Ieuan!
How did you come up with your band name?
RH: Haha! That all came from when me and Ben (Manager) were brainstorming about getting a band together. We wanted to have a name of some sort that we could use to advertise for band members, so it wasn’t just a generic “We’re starting a band…”! I think at the time Ben had a big Star Wars poster up on the wall that said “Your Empire needs you” and it was advertising the film “The Force Awakens”, so originally it all started as “Force Empire” – but that was very Star Wars-y, so it needed to be tweaked!
Matt Stevens (Lead Guitar): Yes, I do remember that! Once I had come on board with the project, and it was starting to build some traction, we knew we needed a band name that we could stick with, but we all liked the “Empire” part of the name, so it just evolved from there!
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
MS: So, myself and Ricky both live in Oxfordshire. Not so many years ago the scene was amazing and very much alive, especially in Oxford and a few of the bigger surrounding towns. These days it’s a bit like anywhere I suppose, it is slowly dwindling! A lot of the great venues are now closed or trying to be turned into some sort of accommodation! That said, I firmly believe the UK is still a major world force where hard rock and metal are concerned!
RH: Yeah, it is a shame really! We still have an O2 Academy which is always good fun to play at, but a lot of the venues I enjoyed gigging at are now gone, like The Wheatsheaf where we played our first gig together!
IO: I’m based in Northamptonshire. I’m quite fortunate as I have Milton Keynes on my doorstep, which has a couple of brilliant venues (Craufurd Arms, MK11 etc). Then there is Northampton itself, with the likes of the Roadmender and The Black Prince.
Marco Arena (Bass): As I am from Italy, a lot of the places the guys have already mentioned I had never heard of before I came to the UK! It’s been great to experience so many different locations since joining Broken Empire. But I agree that even in the last 4 years, so much is changing within the UK music scene, you do have to wonder when it will stop!
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
IO: Our latest release is probably the one we have been the most excited about for some time! As regular followers of ours already know, we have been working on our debut album since the release of our last EP “Noumenal World” back in November 2020. We knew it wasn’t really a process that we could afford to rush, so we apologise to our fans that have been very patient waiting for us to release something new!
MS: That’s right, so our next release is a single called ‘Disguise’ which is taken from our upcoming debut album! A lot of bands will come up with some sort of overly obscure reason why they choose a particular track to release from an album, but we like to be honest, and basically it was the first one we finished writing!
RH: Haha, this is true!
MA: We also have finally filmed our first ‘proper’ music video for a release, which was a lot of fun and very tiring! So not only do we have a new song out on January 21st, but also a music video to go with it!
Who have been your greatest influences?
RH: Band wise for me it’s Alter Bridge, Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, Tremonti, Audioslave & Black Stone Cherry. But on a drumming note, it’s got to be Mike Portnoy, he’s easily one of the best drummers in the world!
IO: For me I would have to say Metallica/James Hetfield – I’ve always been a huge fan so he’s easily one of my biggest influences!
What first got you into music?
RH: For me it was my Dad! He’s been in bands since I can remember, so I just grew up around music and bands!
IO: When I was about 8 or 9, my older brother gave me one of his old electric guitars, and that was it – I was hooked! I didn’t actually start singing until I was around 15!
MA: Some time back, in my first band in Italy, we were struggling to find a bass player for a long time. So, in the end I just took it upon myself to learn the instrument so we could get the band going! A few weeks later we split up!!
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?
MS: Probably Twelve Foot Ninja, Dirty Loops or Mike Dawes
RH: Tremonti or Mammoth WVH
MA: At this very moment I have no doubts it would be either Alter Bridge or 5FDP.
IO: Would have to be Wage War for me!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
IO: Download because of its history, and it also feels like a second home for me!
RH: This is a tough one because I instantly think of Download Festival, but it would have to be Louder Than Life, just purely for the size and from previous bands that have played there.
MS: Welcome to Rockville, America is a huge market with diverse audiences, and they do things BIG
MA: Mmh… Rock in Rio in 2023! But Sziget would be ok too!!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
IO: Keep your eyes peeled for what’s coming!
RH: Yeah, I think I can speak for everyone when I say 2022 is going to be big for Broken Empire! We are coming out of the blocks at full speed and don’t plan to let off anytime soon!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
MS: David Bowie
MA: That’s very tough… I grew up listening to MJ and Freddie Mercury. And then later on with Chris Cornell as well. As it stands at the moment, and the way I see music right now, my pick would be for Chris! Although I’ve always been intrigued to see how Metallica would sound nowadays with Cliff Burton still with us! (At the end of the day I’m still a bassist!)
IO: Chester Bennington
RH: I mean the very first band I remember listening to when I was younger was Linkin Park and I’m so gutted I never got to see them live so it has to be Chester Bennington!
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
RH: I do love the buzz of being on stage and the adrenaline, but I also love hearing the finished product of a fresh song after it’s been recorded. This isn’t necessarily a hate of being a musician in general, but it will certainly apply to most drummers, and that’s the fact we have to carry so much stuff compared to other musicians!
IO: I enjoy playing shows the most, I don’t really hate anything but the fact I’m a perfectionist when it comes to tracking and recording can be a pain!
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
MS: Make it about music again!
IO: Getting paid better by streaming services given that physical records aren’t as popular anymore.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
IO: “As Daylight Dies” – Killswitch Engage
MS: “Best of Thin Lizzy” for me!
MA: It’s almost impossible to answer this question… and for this reason I’ll definitely say something with the risk of being insulted by the other members of the band saying: “The Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance. (I’ve literally loved everything about that album, including the packaging and its smell!)
RH: I may have to cheat slightly on this one, I always say “Fortress” – Alter Bridge but I have to say the new Tremonti Album, “Marching In Time” has kind of stolen that top spot for me at the moment.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
MS: Definitely cassettes in my opinion! I miss winding them back in with a pencil!
RH: I’m oldskool when it comes to this as I DJ for fun as well as playing the drums and I’m a sucker for vinyl, can’t beat it in my opinion.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
MS: For me it’s our O2 Academy gig supporting The Fallen State.
RH: Either Fallen State at O2 Oxford or Stormbringer at The Roadmender Northampton.
IO: It’s hard to pick just one, different gigs are good for different reasons, some better crowd, others better sound etc. couldn’t pick just one!
MA: Definitely our last gig in Swindon, was something epic and memorable, as we weren’t headlining but we got the most crowd that night and a remarkable performance as well! Such a great feeling!
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
MS: I’d be a Professional yarn-spinner!
MA: You don’t fool me with this question, but I’ll try to fool you in my turn and I answer saying: If I wasn’t a musician I’d have been an artist!
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
MA: Ricky, Matt, Ieuan, Ben and Lele (with the last two being respectively our manager and our wizard mixing & mastering engineer)!
MS: The rest of the band, our Manager and Princess Jasmine from Aladdin!!
IO: Howard Jones, Jesse Leach, James Hetfield, Matt Heafy, Matt Tuck
RH: Snoop Dog, Seth Rogen, Chester Bennington, Mark Tremonti and Garrett Whitlock
What’s next for the band?
MA: Obviously the next big thing for us is to finally get our album out there! It’s been a huge part of our lives for the past 15 months, so we can’t wait for everyone to finally hear it!
IO: Yeah, it’s all about the album for us in 2022! We are hoping to get a small UK tour put together to promote its release, which will be great fun. And maybe another music video, so watch this space!
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
MS: I think we are just about on all of them these days!? Our website is always a good place to go for the latest news (www.brokenempireband.co.uk), from there you can get to all of our socials and music sharing platforms such as Spotify, SoundCloud etc
RH: There is also our social media ‘Big link’ which Ben tells me is biglink.to/brokenempire
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/brokenempireuk
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/brokenempireuk
Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/broken_empireuk
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/c/brokenempireuk
Soundcloud – https://www.soundcloud.com/brokenempireuk
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
MA: Everyone knows that the answer is Biscake!
RH: They are cakes, if you leave them out, they go hard but if you leave biscuits out, they go soft. And it’s kind of self-explanatory in the name!
MS: A Biscake!!
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