New Empire are a four-piece pop-rock band from good ole Down Under. These Australian surfer boys were kind enough to let MEB’s Craig Roxburgh send through an email containing a few questions about their new album In a Breath and the inspiration behind it. Here is what their drummer Kale Kneale had to say.
You guys hail from Australia, a country that is renowned for producing brilliant metal bands. Do you guys ever have to compete with these bands?
No not at all, I think the last time we had to compete with a metal band was at a statewide band competition in high school, and they won.. haha. These days, we all appreciate metal bands and love to go to their shows when we can.
Has being raised in Australia had an influence on the music you create?
We actually don’t sound like a lot of the Australian bands most people would know of, so I guess you could say yes and no. I think our music reflects who we are more than the country we are from. Living in a beach suburb has created a lot of inspiration and emotion towards our music and reflects a lot of our Australian summers spent hanging with friends, dating and doing life together.
“Tale of Jonah” makes a reference to the story of Jonah and the Whale. Is the song a modern take on that story?
Correct, Jeremy [Fowler, lead vocalist] wanted to write a song about the story of Jonah and the whale. Not a fairytale, but the gritty, dark and cold reality of what it would actually be like to run away from everything you knew you were supposed to be and get swallowed up by a giant of the ocean.
Does “The Sun Won’t Sleep” take on any significance as winter approaches? Also, what inspired the writing of the song?
Every so often in life we experience a day we wish would never end. This song is about those days, when the sun seems to rise for three days and takes another three before setting again. Our senses are heightened and we experience life in its truest form. I would love to go to a place like this more often. I imagine heaven to be not too dissimilar.
There is often a stereotype placed on pop-rock/pop-punk bands that they’re “boy bands” and are, for the lack of a better word, “gay”. How do you guys feel about this stereotype?
I think no matter what style you are people are going to stereotype you. People’s stereotype of you doesn’t matter when you know who you are as a band.
Often people also associate the word “gay” with a negative slur and then apply this slur to music. What are your thoughts on this?
Music is subjective, and I guess some people unfortunately like to use negative words to describe the music they don’t like. We can only hope these people learn to spend more time saying nice things about the music they do like, that seems more effective to me.
A lot of people turn to music seeking solace. Considering that In a Breath is filled with relatable themes, what message do you guys have for fans who do turn to your music for a source of comfort and solace?
There is always hope. We are always so honoured when we hear our music has helped someone get through a tough time. If our album provides a turning point or sparks a conversation about what they are going through, we believe that to be a positive step forward towards growth and healing.
“Relight the Fire” was inspired by a trip to Dubai. How was that experience for you guys and how was that translated into your music?
This song was written and inspired from a time when Jeremy was crying out to God to re-ignite his passion for life, at the time on a trip to Dubai. To be able to see through my flaws, triumphs, failures and dreams and still feel like something great was just about to happen.
Last year, you guys played the Sydney leg of the Vans Warped Tour. What was that like?
We were able to play alongside Sydney Harbour which we had never done before, so that was a beautiful experience. I recall the stage catching on fire a few bands after we played… we had nothing to do with that.
One of the songs I relate to the most on In a Breath is “A Little Braver”. What is the story behind that song?
This song was written on New Years Eve. There is a pregnant anticipation in the air full of the promise of new beginnings come December 31st each year, but I have found that without a fundamental catalyst of change in oneself, no tick-over of a clock can really heal our hurts or scars. As I grow through my own journey of self-discovery and truth, I can embrace the scars and be even thankful for them, knowing they can ultimately serve a purpose for my own good one day.
What are New Empire’s plans for the future?
We hope to tour the world for this album and continue releasing music after we have run this album to the ground!
Are you guys planning on touring other fellow Southern Hemisphere countries, like South Africa, in the future?
We would love to! None of us have ever been to South Africa, and I don’t think anyone there has ever heard of us, so there are two things that definitely need to change.
Lastly, what is each of yours least favourite song at the moment?
Everyone: What Does The Fox Say.