British rockers EMP!RE are touring the UK in support of their new album later this month, with shows kicking off in Basingstoke on 13 May.
Leading up to the release of the record Our Simple Truths on 20 May, the five-piece will also stop in Cheltenham, Glasgow, Wrexham, Bath, Swansea, London and Bridgwater .
Here, guitarist James L’Esteve reveals five bands (and the records) which shaped EMP!RE’s sound today…
1. Weezer – The Blue Album
“As a 9-year-old kid who loved everything sciencey – rockets, space and other cool stuff – this was geek rock I could totally relate to! Banging track after banging track. Drumming wise, this (and each subsequent Weezer album) taught me that less is more. This album definitely shaped who I am today. Buddy Holly was then released with Windows ’95…..my mind was completely blown!”
2. At The Drive In – Relationship Of Command
“When this album was released it changed and maybe even defined the alternative and hardcore music landscape of the time. Powerful, seriously angry and hook-laden vocals coupled with boundary eliminating and genre defying music, including some twisting turning and head spinning guitar work, Relationship of Command was stunning and in many ways years ahead of its time. It’s the vitriolic and almost genre-less nature of this album that makes it such an exciting listen. It demonstrates an energy and creativity it feels good to tap into and somehow still manages to sound fresh when you listen back now.”
3. Glassjaw – Worship and Tribute
“Glassjaw do everything right. Riffs, inventiveness, colossal sounds and beautiful landscaped instruments. They have a knack for doing the right thing in the song always and there is never a dull moment. This album changed our perspective on music and how you could deliver it. It didn’t have to be the same style and sound all the way through, but whatever they did you always knew it was Glassjaw, because their sound was so distinctive. Incredible album.”
4. Biffy Clyro – Vertigo of Bliss
“The hidden gem of all Biffy records. I still listen to this today after years and find something incredible in it. It sounds raw, but sonically so pleasing and has so many great hooks and moments on the record that you just indulge in it over and over again. The randomness of it is endearing rather then off putting, which is a tough thing to do. The greatest UK band of our time? Probably.”
5. Incubus – Make Yourself
“Everything about this album is exciting. I think this would be a desert island album because there is a song in there for almost every mood you might be in. Incubus in its finest – vocally amazing, Einziger’s guitar work is like a gift from the Gods and we all know that the rhythm section were so jamming, that you can’t help but just groove with it. Again, the vibe of just having big songs and not being afraid to take it to the big chorus makes this album what it is. All the best albums have that act of ‘we will do what we want’ and I think this is executed perfectly to what Incubus wanted to do at this time and the statement they wanted to say!”