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Dead Empire - MNZ Interview: Cross Section S01 / E07 - Dead Empire

28 Aug 2023 // An interview by Shannon Coulomb

Aiming to dissect the cross section between the creative process and the industry side, Cross Section is an exciting interview series hosted by Shannon Coulomb.

Dead Empire is a four-piece original Prog-Rock band based in Mount Maunganui. Exploring unique time signatures paired with catchy song lyrics, Dead Empire brings an energetic presence to any type of audience. Teaming up with artists across NZ, the band aims to break stereotypes of fitting into specific genres of music. Having spent some time in the studio working with New Zealand heavyweight producer Nathan Sowter of Link Flamingo, Sophie Maude / Blindspott and Deadbeat to name a few, Dead Empire have captured a sound that needs to be shared and the band believe 2023 is that year! With 17 gigs under the belt so far this year, Dead Empire has hit the ground running. Their latest single Buckley is out now on all major services. Find out more here.


What does your creative process look like?

Milky - It can start from anything a melody you randomly sing at work or a random idea that sporadically comes to mind. For me as a guitarist, it comes from being in a relaxed state and being in an open flow. Creativity can start at any moment and so when a great riff or an idea strikes, everything comes together, and the music writes itself. Sometimes words birth the idea, sometimes it’s the melody, so I try to use the energy motive and concept to harness what band want to say. We all work together to create and pull in our ideas, and through our own effort we come up with something we are proud of - all working as a collective to produce awesome music. Matt may have a few words, I may have a riff, Joel may have a mean bass line, and Kaine the vocal hook, and through practice and dedication, we have the ability to put together a song that we love to play. If there is something that we feel is missing, we discuss and attempt new ideas until we are happy with the result.

Kaine - I feel we write and create as a group/band. We individually come in with ideas and process and build upon it as a group - constructively pulling ideas apart and reconfiguring them into a sculpture of sound.

I feel we also use this creative process for marketing, although our Drummer Matt has a strong sense of ideas for marketing & industry guidance for our band. I think we have grown as a band and our creative process has become stronger. The more we relax and open up on our ideas, the better we write. Every song is different - some are gifted and appear; some take more time.

Do you apply the same creative processes to other aspects of the Music Industry, for example, in your approach to marketing yourself?

Matt - I guess the same process is involved. We brainstorm, bounce ideas around and roll from there. However, as a band, I feel the self-marketing side of everything is harder than playing and writing- it’s the side of band life essentially that you don’t really think about until It’s staring you in the face. ‘How do we get ourselves out there?’ is what we are working towards, so I guess we could improve in that respect, absolutely.

Is your creative process something you feel to have locked down or does it generally change on a song by song/release by release basis?

Matt - Locked down? Absolutely not! Each song generally has fallen differently, but since working with a producer, we all look at writing differently now, so I guess we are in the process of locking it down. As for the release, we/I am making it up as we go, learning as we go. Like we get a general picture then figure out how to get there.

What qualities do you appreciate the most in other musicians?

Kaine - Love the support we are getting from the bands we play with. Ten years ago I felt like other bands in NZ were really competitive, but these days I think the Musos are way more supportive and offer really good advice for growth. Like suggesting clubs, festivals & even sites to approach and work with - networking is happening a lot more. I Love how fellow bands are helping each other.

Matt - Good old fashion honest feedback/advice. Like Tex and Charlie at the Dead Favours/Skinny Hobos gig, when we opened for those legends, gave the best feedback/advice. In fact, the whole lot of them had something to add tips tricks wisdom sharing with the little guys. It was a very educational pack down.

If you could collaborate with another NZ musician/band, who would it be?

Kaine -Hard to say, all the Kiwi bands rule. I would love to play with: Cairo Knife Fight, The Datsuns, Head Like A Hole and I Am Giant. I look up to these NZ bands and think just jamming with them would make us grow, and we would also froth.. it would be sick!

Milky - Actually some of these bands we are playing with, Yay! But if I had to choose a mean concert, then Shihad, The Datsuns, Pull Down The Sun, Coridian, The D4, there’s too many!

Matt - I would love to grab the Coridian boys in a studio session just to see Mike and Milky bouncing guitar ideas off each other which would be sick by itself. Dity and Kaine would be another rabbit hole in itself..(massive fan shhhhh). Having Tiki Taane or Concord Dawn smashing out a sick Where You Found Me remix truly would be beyond sick.

How do you keep an eye to the future in regards to your work and work ethic? Do you generally focus on just the project at hand or are you considering how it fits into a larger plan?

Kaine - We work hard, every art form is in the moment (including writing) and the larger plan, well.. always create, and work hard at it! The future always delivers if you’re giving your soul.

There are so many resources available to musicians in Aotearoa, such as muzic.net.nz, Music Managers Forum Aotearoa and APRA/AMCOS. Have any of these (or other) NZ resources played a significant role in your journey so far?

Matt - Muzic.net.nz has been great! It saves a lot of time than google searching contacts and Lisa is super awesome to talk with. Our producer put me on to APRA and that’s great to for logging gigs and collecting royalties.

Has having access to these resources led to any break-through moments for you, particularly in regards to crafting a successful narrative in your online presence?

MattBreak-through moment? Hell yes! Muzic.net.nz had all the radio contacts armed with that info we threw together an email pitch and landed our tracks on radio.. Buckley is on night rotation on the rock and that’s epic.


Are there any resources that you would recommend to NZ musicians who are coming to terms with the business side of the craft?

All the above mentioned websites and forums are great! Dig in and get lost in the info.


*****

Shannon Coulomb is the co-songwriter, guitarist and producer for Auckland Based band Impostor Syndrome. He also plays bass for Swerve City and is currently the Head of Music at Birkenhead College, Auckland, as well as a tutor for Music Education at AUT University.

Impostor Syndrome:
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Swerve City:
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About Dead Empire

Dead Empire is a four-piece original prog rock band based in Mount Maunganui NZ. Exploring unique time signatures paired with catchy song lyrics, Dead Empire brings an energetic presence to any type of audience.

Teaming up with artists across NZ, Dead Empire aims to break stereotypes of fitting into specific genres of music. These guys are an awesome live act and have to be seen..

This write-up won't do them justice.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Dead Empire

Releases

There are no releases to display for Dead Empire.

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