Young Empires hail from Toronto and their ubiquitous dance energy took over the stage at Grasslands Friday night inBrooklyn. Their second time inNew York took the crowd by surprise as they launched and killed their way through a short, but hip set. If anything they will remind you of The Killers, but instead of hailing from Nevada, they come from the great white North—home of the Hip, Arcade Fire, and many more who made the crossover more appealing than ever.
They may be fusing together art and dance like nobody’s business and their EP Wake All My Youth illustrates this promise. As long as they don’t stray away from this, Empires will help pave the way for this dance-art movement into the states. Their most accessible single “Rain of Gold” manages the creation of synth and flute with a middle-eastern vibe.
I recently sat down with guitarist Aaron Ellingson to talk Empires, the imminent crossover, and their imprint on pop culture thus far.
Q: How did Young Empires all meet up?
A: The band is based out ofToronto. We all grew up in other cities at first, but we all have kind of moved toToronto with other bands at first. We knew of each other through other underground bands in about 2010.
Q: Do you think it will be easier breaking through from Toronto than it would from any other city?
A: Toronto is like the Canadian NYC. We are a band from a band from Toronto, but what we wanted was to visit all over the place. We did want to distant ourselves a bit so we could do better in other markets. There’s a balance between playing your hometown a lot, and playing other places.
Q: Canadian bands get a bad wrap.
A: You can be the biggest band inCanada, and no one will know you outside of there. There are bands like the Tragically Hip and Our Lady Peace among many more bands that would sell out stadiums in Canada and only play small clubs in the States. That’s why I think we are lucky that we are trying other places first. No one really ever paid attention to a band like Arcade Fire in Canada until they broke in Europe first.
Q: On your facebook page, the genre of music states world beat music. What does world beat music mean to you?
A: I think we all talk more about fashion and art first. We have the idea of Young Empires as a band, but we are more fashion forward thinking like the House of Empires. We have been working with a clothing company designing our t-shirts. Fashion is definitely a first for us.
Q: Was your single “Rain of Gold” the inspiration behind your EP?
A: I don’t believe it was the sound of our EP, but it was definitely the first single of how we sound. It represented how we wanted to sound with our band moving forward.
Q: You toured with Jamiroquai and Foster the People. Did they give you any advice on the music biz?
A: I think the fact that people come before the money. Work with people that believe in you and the rest should take care of itself.
Q: Your music has also been featured on many television shows including reality tv. How do you feel about this?
A: I think it’s a good way to promote your music. The first time we played from Chicago, there was a ton of people. For example,Jersey Shore, there are a lot of people who watch the show. We got a good response on Facebook the day after our song is played on television. We get a good response from people who usually don’t know of our band, but had heard us on a tv show.
Q: What are your plans for the rest of year?
A: Touring, recording, and playing South By Southwest. We are playing where there will be demand to see us.