I had the chance to talk with one of the biggest rising bands on this years Warped Tour, Crown The Empire. The band's brand new album, The Resistance: Rise Of The Runaways is out now via Rise Records. You can catch them on the Monster Stage alongside other bands such as Every Time I Die, The Color Morale, Terror, and more.
First off, can you state your name and what you do in the band?
Andrew: My name is Andrew and I sing in Crown The Empire
Brent: And I’m Brent, and I play drums.
It’s been such an incredible year for you guys – you guys were on the Ernie Ball stage last year as a relatively new band, and this year you’re on the Monster Energy Stage, and you’re pulling quite a bit of people not only to your set, but your signings as well. What are your thoughts?
Andrew: It has been awesome, I think it’s one of those stages where we as a band have always been wanting to play and seeing bands on that stage and remembering all the different names that the stage has had, but you always remember the blow up thing on the top [of the stage].
Brent: A lot of angry of angry bands on that stage, a lot of our friends.
What bands have you really been excited to check out so far on the tour?
Andrew: On our stage specifically, I’d say Ice Nine Kills – they’re some of our homies that were on Ernie Ball.
Brent: The Word Alive is always awesome to check out…
Andrew: Born of Osiris, the guys in Issues are really cool, I love watching them. There’s so many, the list goes on and on…
What’s one song in your set that you really look forward to playing every single day and why?
Andrew: I have two – “Makeshift” because it’s probably the energetic song that people know and it’s right at beginning of our set so people go insane. Also, “Monster”, it’s a song off our new record, and it’s the heaviest song that we have.
Brent: I like to play “Johnny’s Revenge”, it’s pretty tricky on drums.
What’s your take on needing wristbands to attend some of the signings? Obviously not everyone can attend due to time, but having just the idea of needing a wristband just to be able to attend.
Andrew: All I know is that we’re contractually obligated to sign at the Journey’s tent, and they’ve been really professional. I know that you have to have a wristband, but I don’t know where you get them…
Brent: For ours? We don’t have one. It’s just there...
Andrew: At the Journeys tent
Brent: I get why they do it. The festival is so big, and a lot of the times I’ve been asked “Are you a band member?” And they see me take a few pictures with somebody or sign a few things, not knowing who I am, so I can see how it could get out of hand and go for hours and hours. We would love to sit there all day, but we other things to do – press, other signings, Bandhappy sessions, stuff like that. So again, I see why they do it, and I wish we could take pictures with everbody, but we try to hang out at our own merch tent to meet as many people as we can.
How has the Bandhappy sessions been?
Andrew: The classes have been great, everyone’s been super into it. They get a chance to hear some new songs, so they’re pretty stoked on that.
Were you guys a little bit skeptical about trying to add that into your schedule every day?
Andrew: I was at first because it’s an hour, but normally it all ends up aligning. It’s a four hour period of between our set, Bandhappy, stopping by our tent, the signing at Journeys, as well as getting food. Now that we’ve gotten into the groove of it, it’s easy.
Would you recommend other bands to start doing Bandhappy sessions on tour?
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. If you have a skill that you’re good enough to teach at, it gives bands an opportunity to do that and get some cash on the side.
The Resistance: Rise Of The Runaways comes out soon – it’s a concept record, correct? Can you tell me about the concept in-depth?
Brent: We wanted to really do an actual story – The Fallout was a real loose based story. It’s set 150 years in the future after the events of The Fallout, after guerrilla order has formed. The oppressive force are called The Scarecrows, and they’re controlled by the antagonist, The Raven, he’s the beginning of the splash film “A Call To Arms” – he speaks in the music video.
The protagonists are called The Runaways and their leader is Bones, who is the leader with the bandana mask at the end of the video as well. The story evolves and has a bunch of plot twists that I don’t want to give away, but we are doing a full series of music videos for every song, so we are telling the story almost as a film. We’re trying to release a graphic novel as well. There’s just so much to this story – every song is a different district in this world, surrounded by the Neon City, which is the capital. Check out thisistheresistance.com, it has the first entry – if you become a Runaway, there’s a lot of bonus content to check out – maps, etc.
Now the music videos, those will all be out at the same time?
Andrew: No, we wish – videos take forever to film. The last two days before this show we had two 13 hour days of filming – we would wake up at 4am and be shooting until midnight, wake up at 4am and then do it all over again.
“Initiation” was the very first song released off the record, and it happens to be the first track on the album as well.
Andrew: Well, we released “A Call To Arms” first, which is a minute and a half intro. But yeah, this is the first in your face full-blown song.
Brent: Yeah, technically it’s the second track on the album.
And you guys are playing “Monster”? How does that song fit into the story?
Andrew: Oh see, that goes right into the plot, we can’t say – it’s a very critical point in the story…shit’s awesome.
What is the first music video that we’ll eventually see?
Brent: I’m not sure which one is going to come out first, because we are shooting them all, and we’re not sure if we want to release them in chronological order or not. I know that we’ve toyed with the idea of starting mid-way through the story and then taking it back to see the initiation process. It’s still in development, but I’d say we have videos shot for about half the album.
Now since this is sort of a science fiction type of storyline, what other science fiction stories/books/films have you looked to as inspiration?
Brent: There’s a lot of old school elements, “propaganda” type of influence
Andrew: Battleshock was one influence…
Brent: Stories like Elysium and stuff like that was a big influence.
Andrew: Yeah, there was Elysium, Bioshock Noir, even Fallout the game….
Brent: District 9…
Andrew: Yeah, there was District 9, and then we both played Fallout: New Vegas 100 hours each – it was a big influence the “Mad Max” vibe we have.
The album was produced by Dan Korneff, who people might recognize from his work with Pierce The Veil, Paramore, to a name a few. How did he push you guys to make the best record you could?
Andrew: Well this time we did everything real, which was awesome. Nothing was tweaked to perfection like it was with Joey Sturgis, who did The Fallout – his work is very polished, very synthetic. Every instrument is perfect, Dan Korneff is very real – if you couldn’t get the take, you’d have to keep trying.
Brent: He allowed us to take some chances in places we haven’t before. There was a song where we screwed up the ending, and I was like “Wait…what if we just leave it?”, because it’s a heavy, balls to the wall track. So I was like “What if we just said ‘fuck it’ and that’s the end?” And Dan was like “That’s awesome!”. Something with Joey, I probably wouldn’t have brought that idea up, it has to be set in stone, sonically the best album possible.
I wanted to use a brass snare drum for the songs that had a ton of brass in the background, with the trumpets and trombones and stuff. It made it sound so much more how we wanted and how we envisioned the album to sound.
For someone brand new to Crown The Empire, what is the most important thing that people understand about your band?
Andrew: I would say how the live show and the image reflects our songs, making sure we’re true in that sense since day 1. We’ve always had this theatrical sense, we’ve always made sure to dress like what we were talking about in our songs, coming back to Johnny Ringo and The Fallout.
Brent: We’re not just a band, we want to be an entity. We have films, we have music, we have our image, and our merch that ties into all of it. We want our fans to be included in the world that we’ve made.
Fall touring plans?
Andrew: We just announced a fall headliner…
Brent: It’s the “Welcome To The Resistance” tour.
Andrew: Volumes is on it, Ice Nine Kills is on it, Secrets, and then The Family Ruin. We’re friends with the Asking Alexandria guys, and The Family Ruins is on KBB Records, which is Ben Bruce’s label.
Someone on twitter wanted to know this: “With this new record, how are people encouraged when things get tough?”
Andrew: On this record we don’t focus as much on the sad as much, it’s a very empowering record. We talk about belonging to that group of people that all feel the same way; we all belong to it, and we’re more than welcome to anyone who wants to be part of this world with us. Our music’s very gung-ho, it’s very “fuck the system”, it has that kind of vibe to it.
Brent: Just uniting under a common goal, and no one can do it themselves. Everyone is a monster, everyone has that power inside, but it can only get you so far – eventually, you’re going to have to ask for help and come together under something to change the world.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Brent: Come check us out on Warped
Andrew: thisistheresistence.com, and become a Runaway, with all the exclusive content. All the videos will be released on there as well.