Keeping it honest
Tell us about yourself and your music
The fall of an Empire began in 2012. Brent Carroll contacted Shane Smith with the hopes of starting a new project based on influences from the 60’s and ’70s as well as the 1990’s grunge era. We began writing songs that were deeply personal to Brent as the singer and main songwriter. Over time the group settled into a new lineup with vocalist Kenny Lawrence, lead guitarist, Cody Edens and Drummer Brad Muñoz (who started the band, left and eventually made a return)
The songwriting grew in complexity, Brent’s lyrics and melodies gave life through Kenny’s mournful bellow. The group began writing more as a group. Due to lack of label interest, families and intense workloads the band has slowed down, but our sword is always sharp, our heart forever in the fight.
Talk to us more about your latest release
Our latest release was the 2nd part of a 2 part album. The 1st part had come out a year prior and was titled Croweater: An echo in the bone. The follow up was a continuation of that album. Croweater 2: The last wishes of kings and was the culmination of all of our songwriting prowess thus far. Two epic-length progressive tracks “the brink” and “Oracle” highlight what the band sees as some of our best-co-written songs to date. The former about slaving your life away and the latter about the pitfalls of hard drug use. A love song to a dying user.
We are proud of the croweater releases. Maybe one day we can release them on double vinyl as we had planned.
What inspired you to write this release?
The overall theme of most of the records is a loss, overcoming strife and finding the strength to continue. My (Brent) father passed away, the last wishes of kings was about his dying wishes. Relationships end, whether it’s divorce, or death, or a falling out. Thematically the songs off croweater 1&2 deal with that subject matter and musically it is an amalgamation Of our collective love of the riff, intricacies not for the sake of being intricate, but to mirror the complexities of the subject matter we are tackling and of course, Kenny’s heartbroken soulful wailing is an integral part of anything we put together.
Describe the writing and recording process
Most of what we write starts with the guitar. Cody and Brent will come to rehearsal with new parts. They will be identified as a chorus or bridge and further broken down into a feeling. “This sounds like fear. Like someone running from a threat.” We will look for the part that compliment it or write to them. We coach one another “play something less energetic. More of a loping somber sound” or “sound too busy” until we can all agree the part is where it needs to be. Kenny will look through the lyrics Brent has supplied and through his own (often ill-fitting more acoustic singer-songwriter type lyrics) until the words match the feel.
As for recording, we use a guy that believes in capturing the truth. We have to make sure that the truth is there we show up. He captures us beautifully. 100% us. Our good friend Jay (engineer) has done all of our recordings, is the best at capturing what you actually sound like and while it’s tempting to polish the songs to death. We prefer to keep our music honest. Maybe that’s why no one has signed us yet, and that’s fine too.
Any plans to hit the road?
We have slowed down. Getting older. We have kids and mortgages. Our jobs pay us more than the road and the beds are a lot more comfortable. No plans but we would love to support some of our favorite touring bands, especially in Europe where we feel we could do well. So, if you’re listening Red Fang, Royal Thunder, Greenleaf, Graveyard. We are game for that lol
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
We just try to write songs that are honest. If that doesn’t work, so be it. We don’t dress a certain way. We don’t purposefully follow hot trends. Just play what we want to hear.
Who have you been listening to lately?
This is all over the map.
There’s a load of stoner rock bands that we devour, especially the ones from Sweden. Greenleaf, dozer, graveyard. Also bands like Wo fat, truckfighters, Sasquatch, The sword. But new music to us may not be bands that have just arrived on the scene. Most, in fact, haven’t. We all listen to our favorite regularly. Clutch, sabbath, monster magnet, the Beatles, Coheed and Cambria, mastodon. The list is endless. From Willie Nelson and The four tops to Pantera and Gojira.
Who are your biggest influences?
Rage Against the Machine
Coheed and Cambria
Stone Temple Pilots
Tell us about your passions
what else is there?
What else is happening next in your world?
Playing a few shows locally.
Keeping our friendship first and foremost. We are like brothers. Band stress has torn us apart more than once and we vowed to never do that again.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Fall of an Empire