Monday, October 12, 2009

Catching Up With Pretty Little Empire

Justin Johnson from Pretty Little Empire was kind enough to answer a few questions about their new album, Sweet Sweet Hands, due out Oct. 26 at pretty little empire. Hailing from St. Louis, MO. they play an infectious brand of alt- folk/pop music that is sprinkled with Western and punk. If you haven't already then check out my album review of Sweet Sweet Hands.

Where did you come up with the name Pretty Little Empire?

I was thinking up names for Will’s other band at the time. We were working together but not playing music together at the time. I did not like their name and was trying to come up with a few new ones. They did not end up using any of the names I came up with. Not too long after that, the band Will was in, and the band Wade and I were in ended. We formed this new group soon after and the name came up again.

The production from song to song give this whole album a sound even if the tempo and instrumentation change. Did you guys do the production yourself? Was there a sound you were aiming for?

Yes we did the album ourselves. Will has a 16 track recorder in his apartment. He produced and recorded the album in our practice space/his living room. When we started it was simply just a few late night recordings after Will and I would get out of work. I would start playing something on acoustic and Will would turn on the recorder. Some of it sounded started sounding pretty cool. We let everybody listen and then started trying to get that intimate late night feel sound for the rest of the record.

Tell us a little about the change in band members for PLE. How is the sound going to change with this new line up?

We have had quite a change in the last few months or so. Hannah who played guitar/vocals wanted to focus more on finishing school. She played her last show with us in July and helped finish the rest of the record in June. We thought about going on as a three piece but ended up getting Evan O Neil to come in as a drummer. Will moved up front on guitar and vocals. Hannah will be missed greatly. She definitely helped in shaping the quiet simplicity of our sound. I do see things changing quickly. We have a much fuller more aggressive sound now , but try to still keep things simple. Evan is also a songwriter, so we are working on a few of his songs right now too. Things have been very busy for us the last few months.

Is there a full scale tour in the works?

At this point we are still getting our bearings with the new lineup. We do plan to do a few out of town shows this year. I think though at this time a full tour will have to wait until we get ourselves more organized, musically and financially.

Now that you have the first record done is there something else you would like do do sonically, new instruments?

We do want to experiment, and add more elements to the sound. Some of our new songs sound different and have a more layered rock and roll feel. We plan to get into a real studio during the winter to record these new songs. Though we love the lo-fi sound of this first record, we would love to try for a bigger sound on this next one.

Tell us how you guys feel about the whole label thing. Interested in signing to one?

Since we are just starting out the idea of labels has not really entered into our minds. We are just working hard right now to get our record out next month and hope people will take a listen.


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