Eye Empire brought their Impact and Evolve tour to Philly this past weekend for a high energy night of nonstop rock and metal. The show may have been on a Sunday, but Voltage Lounge was packed full of fans that came out to see Pennsylvania locals True Becoming, Mindset Evolution, and of course, Eye Empire.
True Becoming clearly had an established fanbase in their home state, and it showed in the crowd's response throughout their set. Their unique and edgy sound is sure to bring them to the top of the rock world. After a set filled with originals, they closed up their set with their own rocked up version of Simple Mind's "Don't You (Forget About Me)", getting the crowd moving and singing along one last time. Mindset Evolution were up next to play a number of tracks from their debut release, Brave, Bold, and Broken. The interaction between the band and crowd throughout their set had fans entirely engaged in the music while frontman Rob Ulrich dangled his microphone in the audience as they shouted out the choruses to tracks like "Sing" and "Burn it Down".
Finally, it was time for Eye Empire to finish off the night. Having released their new album Evolve just two weeks ago, it was the first time many had heard the new tracks live, and they certainly didn't disappoint. The intense live show had each and every person moving; singing along with the raw and raspy screams of singer Donald Carpenter. We got a chance to chat to DC before the show to discuss the new album, touring, and more:
MPR: It's been about 2 weeks since your new album Evolve dropped; how's the response been so far?
DC: Positive for the most part. We're going pretty direct and independent on this so we had a little hiccup with shipping the early orders out the first week, but I think we've gotten over that so everything's settling in nice.
MPR: You've been on some pretty big tours throughout the last year, playing with bands like Volbeat and All That Remains. Are there any songs that you're excited to play now that you're back out with a longer headlining set?
DC: Yeah we've been touring for about 3 years now and the majority of it has been headlining. We've been fortunate enough to pick up a couple of runs with these bigger bands. But with the new record it's good to get that fresh meat in there, you know after being on the road playing that first record for so long, night in and night out, it's great to have the 7 or 8 new tracks in there. Each one of them have their own little spirit to them. "Rise" is one of the new ones that I look forward to every night.
MPR: You guys are no strangers to the rock and metal world having been in separate bands prior to this. How did Eye Empire come about?
DC: All of our previous bands ironically kind of came to an end at the same time in the mid 2000's and we all knew of eachother's journeys in the past, I had that one degree of separation with Sevendust. Anybody that's been in the business long enough kind of gets to know those guys. The Lowery brothers, whether you know it or not, they have a lot to do with this industry. Once you get to know them it all comes together. So Corey reached out to me, and him and Brad had been working together for a couple of years at the end of Switched and Dark New Day, and it's been crazy ever since.
MPR: The first time I saw you was a few months back with Drowning Pool, and I instantly noticed how energetic your live show is. How do you prepare either mentally or physically to put on such an intense live show?
DC: Me personally, it has a lot to do physically just because my body is my instrument. Being young in a previous band and having this opportunity I was just like man if I could go back and known what I know now. Mentally I believe in the power of music, I hold myself more as a messenger if you know what I mean. For me it's very important to be in cohesion spiritually before I go out and make sure I meditate or do something that raises my frequencies, so when I go out there and i'm trying to project energy it's real.
MPR: Is there any advice that you'd give to newer bands, like what you'd change if you could go back and do it over again?
DC: That's always tough cause everyone has to learn their own way. I'm getting to the age now in my mid 30's where I work and interact with a lot of young 20 year olds and you start to get that sense of wanting to pass on that knowledge to help them get through these pains, but in the end they all have to learn their own way. I feel like the only advice I can give is to live by your heart; don't live arrogantly or take things for granted, open your heart enough to realize that in order to make it something more than what it is you have to really apply yourself.
MPR: Aside from the bands you've played with, what would be your dream lineup to tour with?
DC: Soundgarden's one of my all time favourite bands. Cornell was the guy when I was discovering my voice at a young age, I said man this is what I wanna do with my vocal ability. Alice in Chains is back, that's kind of different without Layne, but those are the two bands that really had an influence on me and they're both out touring now and that's a beautiful thing. If I could bring one back from the dead Pantera would be great.
MPR: Alice in Chains definitely put on a good show still though, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw them.
DC: Yeah you never realize how big a part Jerry actually had in that overall sound and he's really able to tailor these songs around that so that it still sounds like it.
MPR: On the new album Evolve, did you approach the writing or recording process any differently this time around?
DC: Yeah, our recording process is pretty unorthodox because we live in different cities, everyone's always asking us how we make that work. We have to just kind of go with the flow when it comes to that. As far as the writing process, like I said I'm always trying to stay grounded in the spirit and for me, going through this experience over the last few years and building this band, having that second chance and taking advantage of meeting people and being impacted by them. So I felt like on this record I was more in tune with who I am honestly and openly and more in tune with what people were feeling and experiencing out there. I think it came out within these stories. They're much deeper and there's that blend of poeticness but still the blunt, open clear mindedness. I've always struggled with trying to blend that over the years as a writer and I'm finally figuring that out.
MPR: I know most artists treat every song like their babies, it's kind of hard to pick favourites, but do you have any particular favourite on the new album?
DC: That's a tough one. I think when you write form a truly honest point you're connected to everything very deeply. You're not patronizing or trying to write what other people wanna hear, so I'm connected to all of them. But "Live Loud" is one of those that is very honest to my journey, it's an epiphany that I had that I wanted to share. I've held onto it for about 4 or 5 years so it's one of those songs that you know is great and it's very personal so you hold on for the right moment, so for it to actually be out there on the record is pretty special.
MPR: Is it scary to put these songs you've been sitting on for so long that are so close to your heart out there for everyone to form their own opinions and either love or criticize them?
DC: Yeah you know it's gonna be judged to a certain extent and that's why as a band we try to get beyond the music and explain that music's an art of preference. We have a pretty expansive sound, so you may not like a particular song, but I always have faith that you're gonna find some aspect about our sound that you're gonna enjoy and take something from.
MPR: If you could be a fly on the wall in any room where would you go?
DC: That's a really good questions cause I have a lot of heroes right now. If I could spend a day in the life of the Dalai Lama, somebody like that that is just so realized, like any of the spiritual teachers that I follow, he describes them as realized souls, realized spirits. The value of being able to spend time amongst their words and habit. I feel like if you spent 24 hours with that you'd be able to take away a lot that you could use for the rest of your days.