Eye Empire Talks "Impact"
Thu, 10 Nov 2011 08:18:12
"Life is the key ingredient to any type of lyrical content or stance," declares Eye Empire singer Donald Carpenter.
On Eye Empire's debut album, Impact, Carpenter dissects life's darker side over hard-hitting riffs and solos from B.C. Kochmit [Formerly of SW1TCHED] and chugging bass lines courtesy of Corey Lowery of Stuck Mojo fame. Underneath this all-enveloping wall of distortion, Ryan Bennett's drums blast and burn. At the center of the sound, Carpenter oscillates from a Chris Cornell style wail into a bruising baritone, yielding one hyper infectious hook after another. Impact is everything a modern hard rock record should be…and more.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino, Donald Carpenter of Eye Empire discusses Impact and so much more…
Do you feel like Eye Empire has already laid the groundwork for album number two?
Obviously, as artists we're already looking towards the next record. I think in order to do that you have to at least revisit this little bit of art that's basically our way of trying to figure out how we want to sound. With a lot of bands, when they're on their first record, that just happens a little more naturally. I don't think it's as thought-out as it's been for us. We've all come from different bands and backgrounds and realized that our fan base is still going be there. We had to really figure out how we wanted to sound as a band and what we were going to be. I think we got a pretty good start out of it.
Was it important to provide space for each sonic element to shine?
One thing we've always reiterated is the respect level we all have for each other and the experience everybody brings to the table. When you're young, everybody is stepping on each other's toes and trying to stand out. I think, for us, it was whatever is best for the song. We're trying to make the songs the best they can be. Brad is an incredible guitar player, and that gives us the ability to go to a solo dynamically if we want to. Or, we can add some really killer accompanying parts underneath a great melodic vocal. Corey has always been a rhythmic god in the sense that he's played with a lot of great drummers and he understands how to really complement the bass root of a track! In terms of individual positions, I think it all really came together for this record.
What's the story behind "I Pray"?
I guess you could say it's the song as far as Eye Empire is concerned. When Corey first contacted me, he sent me some instrumental tracks so I could get a feel for the sound and see where I was going to fit in all of that. When he sent it to me, I was really excited because. Not only was I looking for something to do, it was exactly what I was looking for. The emotion I was feeling at the time was represented in those tracks. The song that stuck out to me was the instrumental to "I Pray". I immediately sat down and started writing this story, lyrically about how I really felt at the time. Certain times, life puts you in a position where you could go one way or the other. I thought this was my opportunity to go the right direction. Corey and I got together on Halloween 2009. That morning we hit the studio in Atlanta, and we started with "I Pray". I said, "It's either going to work really well and be totally unique or it's going to bomb". Up to that point, it was all in my head. We started tracking the chorus, and that was the song that introduced us to what Eye Empire was going to be. We thought it was a cool way to start the record and introduce everybody else to Eye Empire.
Where were you coming from lyrically?
This whole record is just about my journey through humbleness. We all had a young opportunity in this business. For one reason or another, it just didn't really pan out. However, we had the taste enough to where the time I spent away from music was really humbling. Lyrically, a lot of the songs are about my struggle and coming to terms with the true path.
Did you always know "Last One Home" would end the record?
Clint Lowery actually helped us put together a lot of the melodies on "Last One Home" and some of the lyrical content in the chorus. I got to go back and vocally recreate. As we got it to where it needed to be, we decided it was a great way to end the record. Sometimes, you don't need double bass and right-handed guitar to be heavy. It's a real nice dark, but uplifting song. It's important for our fans not to have expectations. In music today, there's a lot of redundancy. As an artist, it's easy to become redundant with your delivery when you're trying to find a voice. We think it's important to cover the whole spectrum. We want listeners to be able to go to our records in a lot of situations
If your album were a movie or a combination of movies what would it be?
Wow…that's interesting. It's funny that you say that. I'll listen to this album and I'll figure out a way to synchronize videos to each song and tell a chronological story. I'd say Forrest Gump. There are so many different journeys, stories, and places you can go on this record that it reminds me of that. There are tracks on the limited edition that play into my idea. There are a lot of different hats worn in terms of getting back to this band and making this album.
Buy 'Impact' from Eye Empire at iTunes
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Photo: Angela Villand