– Hi, thanks for your time. What are you currently up to? How is everything doing right now with the release of your new album?
No worries, right now I’m getting together everything we need for live and doing interviews as well as other things to push White Empress.
– First off, you were who created the band, so I would like to know how and why did you pick your band mates.
Well for me I had to be in a band that was like a brother and sisterhood. It was essential that the members of White Empress were professional, top of there game and have the personalities to match, everyone needed to be laid back and work like Trojans lol
I had an idea to start a band that was in your face, groovy as hell but with a very dark over tone that took all the best parts of the metal scene from over the years and made them into one band. A producer in the UK suggested about working with Will because he thought it would be interesting to see what we would come up with. I spoke with Will in depth about the ideas I had and how the keys should sound, I wanted to mix industrial parts with orchestral parts and Will had the same idea and was on the same page.
After writing and tons of arranging we needed to find band members. I first met Mary Zimmer when I was in Cradle, we needed a new keyboard player / singer at the time and Martin found someone in Minneapolis that might do it. I spoke with her and she could not do it and she gave me Mary’s number and contact info. I called Mary and ask if she wanted to try out for Cradle but she turned it down and wasn’t interested. We spoke for a bit and i asked if she wanted to try out for my band, she heard the songs and totally went nuts over it. I explained to her what the vocals needed to be like and when they had to go, she came back with a killer demo that blew me away, she’s awesome and a perfect fit for us.
I met Chela through Mary, we needed a bass player that could groove with the drums and guitars but is original and doesn’t copy the guitar riffs. We must have gone through four bass players until we met Chela, when I spoke to her to explain more about the band she told me she loves the music and wants to be in a band that is up and coming, something with growing potential so naturally after hearing her play she was in the band. Its the same for Zac. When it was time to look for a drummer we tried we auditioned two guys before finding Zac. We were trying out friends first but no one could really do what was needed so we then went the professional route. Mary and I started asking the people we know in the industry if they knew of any drummer. A couple of people were put forward for the part but they never got as far as auditioning. One of Mary’s friends came forward and suggested Zac, he’s a seasoned touring musician who does a lot of session work for other bands.
I called Zac to talk to him about if he was interested in the part and he said he could do it and that he’s been looking for this style of drumming again and ants to get back into it. We arranged a jam session and it was like we have been playing together for years, it rocked so damn hard and the rawness of the tracks was incredible, we had found our drummer. I didn’t want to be the only guitar player in the band because it had to be a band and not one person so we asked Jeremy to audition, Mary knew Jeremy for years and suggested that we try him out. He’s also a seasoned pro when it comes to touring and his playing is awesome, a great fit for White Empress.
– What are your personal expectations on this new band?
All I want from this is to create great music that rocks fucking hard. I want fans to come to shows and lose themselves in the music and the performance, just come down and let yourself go.
– How are you feeling about being just about to unleash your first album? Do you think having a line-up consisting on known musicians will make things easier, as more people is already aware of you? Or rather the opposite, as maybe there will be more pressure?
We all are very excited the release of Rise of the Empress, its been a challenging 3 years since I started White Empress and now hearing the album, we wouldn’t want it any other way. Having known people in the band makes no difference at all because if the music was poor then it doesn’t matter who’s in the band. There’s no more pressure in this than any other band. We write music for ourselves and not anyone else, it’s music from the heart and soul and its great that people like it.
– We could say this is the band with the most diverse sound you’ve been involved with, due to this I would like to know if WHITE EMPRESS is your perfect idea of extreme music or at least the one you like the most.
To me White Empress is perfect, the kind of band thats going to make waves. White Empress is from the heart, its my vision that is going to kick this dull scene into gear and as far as I’m concerned the only full time pro band for me.
– Talking about such, what are the main musical influences for the band?
Personally for me i don’t really have influence from music, i actually never listen to music, i just watch films. I like bands like Maiden, Motorhead and Judas Priest but i don’t turn to these for inspiration. I get inspired by jamming with drums when writing.
– WHITE EMPRESS revolves around the concept of «The Empress», which is applied to the whole band and not a single member; the whole band itself is the Empress. Would you mind to elaborate a little bit on this concept and how did it arise?
Mary: The concept of the White Empress came from the original band name and ideas envisioned by Paul. But really he allowed the artists we worked with to come up with the first visual impressions of the White Empress. We loved the images the different artists have created of the character of The White Empress and decided that as a fictional character we’re able to do a lot more with her than if we completely become the character ourselves. We’re allowing her fictional character to develop through artwork and paintings and a graphic novel we’ll be releasing. In 2014 our audience knows who we are as people outside of the band from our social media profiles and so in order to really engage the audience in the concept of The White Empress her fictional character has to be a huge part of the band. People love thinking of her as a character from fantasy, in a way they are able to make her their own, rather than looking to us musicians as the entire character itself. We bring the visuals from her fantasy concept on stage without a doubt, but at the end of the day, having her as an image and a character makes it possible to tell many stories of her and develop her over time with unlimited options. It also gives the audience and artists room to draw their own versions of who they see as The White Empress as they are inspired by the music and concept.
– You are most known for having been involved with CRADLE OF FILTH, and there might be some people who think WHITE EMPRESS is some sort of continuation of your work in that band, so I would like to tell us on your own words what are we going to find on this «Rise of the Empress».
Rise of the Empress is nothing you have heard from anything I’ve ever done before. It’s totally original and we have created our own sound which in this over-saturated scene some may think is impossible. White Empress is how I write and arrange it’s just this time I’ve now got total creative freedom and it really shows so no, its not a continuation from Cradle at all. From the art to the music, I made sure there were no comparisons and that no one could say » you sound like….»
– In your kind of extreme Metal music I think the sound and production plays an important role, as you’ve got to get a clear and powerful sound that allows the listener to perceive all the details and symphonic elements. For mixing and production duties you worked with the veteran Kit Woolven, who has worked with bands such as THIN LIZZY or CRADLE OF FILTH among others. How was the production process like? Did he get the sound you were looking for?
Yes you’re right but this time I wanted an underground feel to this album, I didn’t want to go for the super polished production, not this time. Rise of the Empress had to have a very dark, gritty and dirty sound, something that will slap you in the face when you hear it, after all were a metal band and not a bloody pop act. The production on Rise of the Empress is the same as I have always done, coming up with the riffs and arranging them. Because I started WE there were no members right from the start. Will was in it from the very early with me and when it got to a point where it was starting to flourish I then needed to find band members. The next album will include all members writing and contributing because in the end of the day, this is why I set up WE, to be a band. It was awesome working with Kit Woolven again. Kit is amazing at what he does and when he said about wanting to mix and master the album I jumped at it because it was a great opportunity to work with a seasoned pro and my friend again.
– All this about «Rise of the Empress» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Heavy Fucking Metal!!!!!!!!
– You have played in different acts throughout the years so, what does WHITE EMPRESS provide you the others couldn’t? Do you consider it like your major work of art?
White Empress has given me creative musical freedom which I have never had before and as I’ve said, it really shows. Everything I do, whether it’s art, music or anything creative is a work of art for me. I put blood, sweat and tears into everything I do to make it the best it can be for that moment in time so yes this is my major work of art. I feel 100% connected with this music and everything about WE, there’s nothing I would change about it and it’s just going to keep getting better and better.
– You moved to the USA, so I would like to know if you think it’s easier from there to reach more people or if its harder to get over there a bigger exposure working into the extreme Metal realm than in Europe?
After moving to the US it was easier to find members for White Empress because here they seem to work harder than Europe, well the members in Empress do at least. I wanted to find members who had the same work ethic as I do and that they would have the same driving force. It was important for me that they were very cool as people to, very laid back with no drama and honestly, everyone in the band are perfect for White Empress.
– In fact you’ve been playing Metal for around a decade now so what have been your best and worst musical moments in your career thus far?
To be honest I don’t really have many stories like that. I was always the kinda one to stay behind and work on the band, I never really socialised in the
«scene» at all with other musicians because I would rather work and make shit happen.
– And finally, what are your near-future plans? What can we expect from WHITE EMPRESS after the release of your debut album?
We’ve got a big month planned in October, following the release of the album. We’ll be rehearsing and playing our first warmup run of midwest shows in preparation for bigger tour plans to come next year. We’ve got an amazing show planned for everyone who comes out and the run of shows and rehearsals will coincide with a social media explosion of photos and videos. We’re really going to bring the audience into this experience with us and we’ve got some cool things in store
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
I just want to say that we all are looking forward to seeing you all on the road and thank you for support and commitment you all have given White Empress.