FIRE RED EMPRESS is a band I stumbled upon on Facebook. I just had to interview them. Answers by Benny Picken (Bassist) Anders Ekdahl ©2018
How different is it releasing an album compared to a demo where there were no real pressure?
-A lot of time and effort went into the recording the album, and then there was a long wait between finishing the recording and actually releasing it, but we were all excited to get our songs ‘out there’ and see what people think. We were, and still are very proud of the album, and thankfully, the feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive.
What response did you get on your first album? What was the weirdest response you got?
-The response has been nothing but positive. We have been humbled by how far and wide people have been getting in touch. Not only in Europe, but from all over the world. I can’t think of anything weird that stands out as yet? Sorry.
When you release an album and you go out and play live and people know your songs, how weird is that? That people know what you have written on your own?
-It was a bit surreal to begin with, seeing people singing our songs back at us. Knowing all the words and chatting to us after the shows about their favourite tracks from the album. It’s a great feeling.
Do you feel that you have to follow in the footsteps of the first album for a second when it comes to lyrics and art work for example?
-The album is a statement of where we were at as a band at the time of recording. But we always growing as both artists and musicians, meaning that the second album will naturally sound a bit different. But I’m confident that ‘we’ sound like ‘us’ so will never stray too far from what can be considered to be our sound. The artwork will be decided once the recording is done, is an unknown entity at this point.
Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community because you play in a metal band?
-We often talk about the ‘gang-like’ feeling of being in a band. I suppose that gang mentality all falls into a wider metal family style community. Metalheads are proud of our community and embrace everyone else. Metal festivals usually have such a great atmosphere inclusive of everyone. It’s a great thing to be a part of.
When you have found a sound how hard/easy is it to come up with songs that fit into the sound?
-I actually think that it’s the other way around. Our sound is a consequence of the instruments we play and the music that we like. We as a band will always sound like us, so don’t set out to write our songs with something specific in mind. Our instruments, with Jen’s vocals, will always sound like Fire Red Empress.
What influences/inspires you today?
-Each member of the band has a very strong passion for music, and we are all very opinionated about what we like, ranging from 1970’s classic rock, through to modern metal. Collectively, what drives us is playing live. We love to play our songs to as many people as possible and have fun while doing it. There is something very special about playing festivals to loads of people, but also a buzz about playing small clubs to a smaller number of hardcore fans. Both equally as epic.
We hear about what state the record industry is in. Then we hear that cd sales are increasing. As a band that releases records do you notice the state the industry is in?
-The record industry, like most industries, is forever changing and evolving. CD sales are most definitely not where they have been in the past. Although, you can argue that with streaming as it is, it is much easier for a band to get exposure to fans and more people listening to your music.
What is your opinion on digital verses physical?
-Digital is instant but can also be considered disposable? It’s great that people can click a few buttons and stream our music without little to no expenditure. We see that as a great opportunity for more people to check us out in the hope that they like what they hear. However, we still feel that there is nothing quite like a physical copy of an album. You get the ‘whole’ package when you purchase a CD or vinyl; music, artwork, booklet, lyrics which is great to get a true reflection of what the band and album are all about.
What lies in the future?
-Although we are still pushing our first album [Black Morphine] and have another couple of singles to be released, we have already started jamming through some ideas in preparation for the second album. We have a busy summer of festivals planned and are currently putting together a headline tour for later in the year. We are all really excited for the future of the band and cannot wait to see what happens next.