While everyone gears up for festival season trying to piece together their road trips to Tennessee, Alabama, etc., others kick back, relax, and wait for their favorite festival to come to them - the Vans Warped Tour. It's been persistently trucking around the States for nearly two decades, introducing new music to millions of fresh faces. In today's edition of Follow Friday, we're introducing you to a band that's making its sophomore Warped journey, which is coincidentally, also their second trip to the United States. New Empire
is a group of three Australian guys with a pop punk sensibility - one that's perfect for the Warped Tour
It's been nearly 10 years since I last visited the Warped Tour (back when they still played on the beach in Asbury Park), so I chatted with New Empire to find out what I've been missing - and now I'll surely be thrashing about their Camden stop in July. Read our interview below where we discuss how the tour has helped the Aussie boys acclimate American audiences to their music.
You guys are coming back to the U.S. for Warped Tour, what was it like coming here for the first time, touring away from home and finding new fans?
It was such a new and enriching experience for us. Being a new band in the U.S. meant no one had any preconceived ideas about what we would sound like or what kind of people we would be. We really enjoyed playing and giving a first impression to crowds all over again, because back home in Australia that is a rare occurance now. Everyone we met was really freindly, and our Aussie accents always gave us something interesting to share!
Will you be bringing any touring musicians on board (as you have done in the past) to bring another element to the sound? Or are these shows about keeping things honest and true to your group dynamic?
We are currently a three piece band and will be bringing one of our close friends Nate to play bass for us. He is a great personality and really complements the rest of us in sound and as a great person, so we feel like we are keeping true to ourselves with his addition. Our sound is constantly evolving, which is an exciting process to be a part of.
From your perspective on the stage, how would you describe the environment of Warped Tour?
Hot, sweaty, open-minded and thrilling. Every day brings a new city and new adventures.
How does it all come together, in terms of who plays when on the various stages? It sounds like a tremendous undertaking.
Fortunately, we don't have to worry about the enormous organizational work going on behind the scenes; it really is incredible because the schedule changes every day. We just focus on playing well.
Is there any difference between how audiences receive you in Australia as opposed to here in America?
Australia and America have farily similar musical tastes, with the globalisation of music being ever increasingly stronger. Thankfully we've found Americans to really enjoy our art, and after every show there is a great buzz from the crowds.
Is there any particular American city you guys are most excited to be playing again?
There's no place like New York, so we cant wait to return and play there again. We're also really looking forward to seeing Washington D.C. and Miami Beach for the first time.
What sort of things do you consider when putting a set list together?
You have to really make sure the flow is good, there are memorable songs in the mix of new songs, the pace changes regularly to keep people on their toes as well as a strong open and a memorable close. I think there's more of an art to a setlist than people think.
Do any of those factors change during something like Warped Tour, where you have a different assortment of people and interests at play?
Definitely. Last year at Warped we did what you might call a "powerhouse rock set". We got all of our most rock, energetic, badass songs out and put together a setlist that stayed up the whole time. This year i feel like we've earned our stripes a little, which means that we may have earned the right to play some more dynamic songs.
Are there any songs that you have that are specifically geared for the live performance?
Not really, though there are songs we have changed slightly in our live performance that make things a little more interesting than the album.
Is there a new album or EP in the works? If so when can we expect it?
There most certainly is. We have some new songs that we are very excited about actually. I think that you could expect them in the middle of this year.
How is touring with the music of Symmetry as opposed to Come With Me Tonight?
It definitely feels more mature playing the songs from Symmetry
. Come With Me Tonight
is quite an old album now. I think there is always a slight taboo with playing old songs. Everyone wants to hear them but you don't want to play them! It's hilarious.
It wouldn't be Follow Friday without a few important links. Keep an eye on New Empire on Facebook, and don't forget to follow them on Twitter. Be sure to catch them this summer at the Vans Warped Tour.