Interview: Young Empires

Life takes you down unexpected roads with a lot of hurdles. We just try to focus on the present and be grateful to be doing what we love.

Words by Kristyn Potter

We caught Young Empires at their Webster Hall // New York City gig, playing loud, urgent, danceable tunes to a room full of tourists and/or teenagers (it’s all good). Their energy is infectious and I was a bit bummed their set wasn’t a bit later so that the NYC miscreants could get a load of this Canadian band.

Formed in 2009, they’ve undergone one line-up change // maybe two, but still impressive for a group that’s been making sonic waves for the past six years. Despite touring and managing their Facebook verified account, they took some time to chat with us and give some solid advice for emerging artists on the Left Bank. Enjoy x

How did you get started playing music? What inspired you to play?

Listening to music got us into music because it inspires people to make music. It can give you a feeling, an emotion, or even a motivation that nothing else can. We all have a story of how we got started. Whether it was playing in a garage, a basement, a church or anywhere really. So when you start playing you find any way you can because of the passion/feeling it gives you inside. If music makes you happy and it’s all you think about then pick up an instrument. That song you got stuck in your head all day and keep catching yourself humming … thats the power of music. Make someone else feel what you felt when you first started. In the end we are all brought together because of something we all love … the music.

What was it like breaking into the music scene? And do you have any words of advice for bands who are just starting out?

When our bedroom recordings started getting featured on credible press outlets like NME, and we got offers to tour in other countries, the sense of excitement was one of total elation. We were caught off guard. We’ve quit our day jobs and been living out our dreams. We can’t express our gratitude enough to those who have helped us along the way. Our advice is to find trustworthy teammates who believe in you and work hard and find objective third party mentors to bounce ideas off of.

How has the change in line-up effected your sound, and your songs?

The line up hasn’t changed much. We lost a member before we started writing again. The three of us (Jake, Matt, and Taylor) wrote the songs together while all in different places in our lives since the last EP. The EP was written as a passion project that accumulated into something bigger and more successful than anyone could of hoped for. Now with a slight change in the line up the songs have become more vast and mood driven. The tempo has slowed down a bit but the excitement and emotion is still present. For the live show we have added two more members and on occasion we have back up singers to give the show more of a soulful vibe. This makes our live show sound larger than ever.

What’s the best part about touring?

We love trying local food spots. Food is the key to understanding the soul of city’s culture.

If you could go back and change anything, would you? If so, what would it be?

We’ve never thought it a healthy exercise to focus too much on the past. Life takes you down unexpected roads with a lot of hurdles. We just try to focus on the present and be grateful to be doing what we love.
If you could perform anywhere in the universe, where would it be?
We’ve never performed in Asia. As a synth aficionado and culinary adventurer, Matt would have to say Tokyo.
Any weird, or crazy, gig stories?
We were out on tour in the US a few years back and got a call from Deepak Chopra’s personal assistant. She told us he was a fan and wanted to fly us out to San Diego to play at his symposium. So we went out West and met him. That was pretty unreal. Then a few years later, we were given the opportunity to see Deepak speak in Toronto with Oprah Winfrey. We were somehow able to get an invitation to the exclusive after party and actually chatted with Oprah.
What are you listening to // what is your track // artist of the moment?
Jamie xx’s new album is a great listen front to back. It’s been a while since an album like that has come out. For a relaxed afternoon by the lake, you’ve got to check out Montreal’s Barr Brothers.
And lastly, what are your plans for the remainder of this year?
Stay healthy, enjoy the time we have, be free

Tunes and image copyright Young Empires. Thanks for chatting xo.

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