Empire Saints have had a busy year. Heavy radio airplay, a recent (and hugely successful album launch), as well as a previous Hot Press cover, and big name support slots have all added up to make the band one of the most talked about acts in Ireland at the moment. Fiachra Treacy told John Balfe about the band's progress,
Empire Saints will feature in entertainment.ie's second eLive gig in The Mercantile on Thursday 22nd November, along with Bantum, VerseChorusVerse and Twin Terrace.
Tickets are completely free, but you must reserve online at entertainment.ie/tickets.
You launched 'Product' in The Mercantile and now you're returning to the same stage for eLive. You must have fond memories of the place!
We had a great night, the place was packed. We have played there a few times over the years and it's fast progressing into one of Dublins top venues. The house engineer was great and the new sound system has taken it to another level. We love playing there as the layout adds to a great atmosphere.
The sound on the album is quite diverse. Do you all collectively have similar influences, or do each of you bring a different element to the band's overall sound?
There is definitely a diversity of influences and there was a challenge trying to tie the songs into one album. Myself and Noel would have a big electronic dance influence while Uisneagh and Steve are more into rock. But the rock songs are basically dance melodies played on guitars. As the album was written over a long period it was never going to be a concept album. The lyrics do tie the mood and Phil Hayse managed to help us mix the album and give it a degree of uniformity. We have written most of the songs for the next album over the passed four months and we have moved towards a more gravy sound with plenty of electronic beats so we cant wait to get in the studio again.
As a band, Empire Saints have been fortunate enough to earn a Hot Press Cover, support David Gray in front of thousands of fans and win the Get Your Act Together competition. Accolades like that must make all the effort you've put in seem worthwhile?
It is great and manages to keep morale up when you get some nice recognition as it is tough in the current climate. We have tended to do well in comps where there are industry judges so its nice to know you are doing something right and anything that raises the profile of the band is a bonus. The experience of playing in front of big crowds is something we will always remember and gives us a hunger for more of the same. We work very hard for little financial gain but we have had some priceless nights.
Your music was in heavy rotation on the radio - especially Phantom FM - this year. Did it ever reach a point where you sick of hearing yourselves on the airwaves?!
Not at all, I could listen to us on the radio all day (laughs). I'd love to give a nonchalant answer here but there is no better feeling than hearing the opening bars of our songs on the radio. I don't think we get enough radio play to be honest and with all the amazing bands we play with in Ireland its a joke that they are not on the radio. The Irish pride ourselves on our music but it seems we still look to other countries to tell us what we should listen to. It seems like you need to do well abroad before getting serious recognition here but hey we are very grateful to the DJs that do play us.
Now that we're reaching the end of 2012, what reflection do Empire Saints have from this year?
Its been a strange enough year for us, there was a delay in releasing our album which we wanted out in Febuary but it was only released in October so we have been sitting on the album for a while. We have played some great gigs and met lots of great people. As I said it's been great to hear our songs on the radio. We got ourselves a new guitarist, Steve, and we have been working hard on developing a new sound for the next batch and the writing process had been a lot more fun.
Have you any big plans for 2013?
Well we are gonna do as many gigs as possible and get back in the studio in Febuary to work on a new sound which is exciting. We hope to do some gigs in England and Germany and then we plan on going to America in the summer to blitz one of the major cities. But before that we cant feckin' wait to take the stage this Thursday in The Mercantile. See you there.