With there seemingly being a factory somewhere in the US churning out Warped Tour-ready metalcore acts, it's easy to get lost in all the names that come and go.
If there is one criticism that can be thrown in the direction of the scene, it’s that far too many of these bands have no new ideas or little ambition past selling T-shirts emblazoned with swear words in large font. However lack of ideas or drive is certainly not an accusation that can be thrown in the direction of Texan six piece Crown The Empire.
“Our take on it was how can we be like these bands we adore, but how can we put our own spin on it,” says vocalist Andrew Velasquez.
Joined by fellow vocalist David Escamilla, as well as guitarists Bennett Vogelman and Brandon Hoover, bassist Hayden Tree and drummer Brent Taddie, the band originally started to take shape in 2010. After a few member changes along the way, once the band were settled in 2012 they recorded their debut full length The Fallout in one month. Despite the short time frame the band were operating in, those aforementioned big ideas soon came to the forefront of the music. With a concept based around two lovers caught up in an apocalypse, it was an idea that spread into every facet of the band; album artwork, music videos, how they dressed.
“When it came to recording the new album we decided to expand on it,” explains Andrew. “Make it an actual story, with characters and our own world.”
“On The Fallout it was a really loosely based concept,” adds David. “Following that we had time to develop this in-depth story.”
The in-depth story comes in the form of a tale taking place hundreds of years after the events of The Fallout: following the destruction of this fictional landscape a group of rebels named The Runaways attempt to overthrow a repressive regime. While using the US metalcore sound as a blueprint it has developed into a widescreen concept that eclipses many of their peers, with musical nuances from electronics to orchestral flourishes, teamed with a pop sensibility that gives Crown The Empire the same mainstream-threatening potential as Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance. The lofty concept works on various levels also communicating ideas of people uniting and standing for what you believe in.
“The songs are pretty relatable,” says David. “You can listen to the songs and not even know there’s a story behind it, but look deeper and there it is.”
“We don’t want to be a preachy band, but obviously it reflects our views,” offers Andrew. “We’ve talked about men, woman, no matter of your sexual orientation, you all have equal opportunities and you all have the right to fight for that. There’s a difference between saying you support something and posting something on the internet because you got pissed off once. You have to actually go out and do something. That’s the gist of the record, empowerment.”
As a young band with such an expansive vision, the sky is the limit for Crown The Empire at this point. With the tales of The Runaways coming to life in their music videos and via fans becoming a part of it and dressing up as well, it’s little surprise that the band have their eyes set on being able to build on their live show to fully reflect the theatrics of their records.
“We have a lot of ambitious ideas,” says David bristling with excitement for the future. “As we grow we hope to add more production to the show.”
“It’s not too over the top,” laughs Andrew. “We’re not going to be GWAR with giant dicks spraying the crowd!”