Empirion saw the daylight in 1993. Set up by Oz Morsley, Jamie Smart and Bob Glennie the band became quite famous thanks to the legendary “Narcotic Influence”-EP released in 1994 on Wanted Records. They next signed to XL Recordings unleashing in 1996 their debut album “Advanced Technology”. Bob Glennie lost his battle with cancer in 2005, which also seemed to announce the end of a great band. Oz Morsley moved on setting up Kloq, but since 2010 Empirion came back to life doing live performances. They last year came up as a duo releasing new material featured at the EP “I Am Electronic / Red Noise” and here’s now their first new album since “Advanced Technology”. “Resume” (Dependent) mixes early, analogue sound treatments together with solid EBM bass lines resulting in a high-tech, energetic production for the dancefloors. I talked about “Resume” with Oz and Jamie.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Empirion was already active again since a couple of years now, but when did you finally get the idea to compose new songs and how did the entire writing process of “Resume” happened?
Oz: We had played a few gigs and festivals over the last few years nd at the beginning of us getting back together we didn’t really have a plan to release music. Further along to way we started to think that we should possibly write some new music because the response was good with the live shows, old and new fans made it clear they wanted new material. We wrote a couple of tracks then we thought we could release an EP, then we wrote some more and started to think we could do an album! At that point we really started to think about what the album should be in terms of the Empirion sound… what would we be writing if we had carried on from the 90’s? How would we sound? It sorted itself out after being in the studio together a few times, we wrote a couple of things that didn’t work, but then we just came together and we found our sound again… we just relaxed and it came back to us… but a more contemporary up to date polished version of Empirion.
Q: We all know what happened with Bob Glennie, but what has been the impact of his loss on both of you and on the band? How did it feel to set up Empirion again without him and tell us a bit more about the ‘new’ line-up?
Jamie: Myself and Oz hadn’t seen each other for many years after Empirion finished at the end of the 90’s. I got in touch because of a gig offer that had come my way so it was the perfect moment for us to meet up and discuss things. It was cool to see each other again and obviously we had a chance to discuss what people (and us) would think it we restarted the band without Bobby. We came to the immediate conclusion that Bob would want us to take this chance and get Empirion back in the game. It was a difficult one, some friends and family may have not been completely happy with us carrying on, but to be honest everyone has been cool, plenty of encouragement and positive vibes especially now the album is out and it’s gathering force… we’re ok with doing this to keep the name alive, he would be to.
Q: Tell us a bit more about “Resume”? What kind of work did you had in mind and how did you finally (sound-wise) filled the gap between the early work and “Resume”?
Oz: We wrote some of the tracks for “Resume” a real long time ago actually. We did have a very short period of time where we had to play about with sounds/production to get back in the right frame of mind, but as we mentioned before once we got it back they just started to flow. We didn’t want to write a whole bunch of tracks that we just like the early stuff or even come back with music that didn’t relate to it, so as you can imagine having to make up for 23 years of lost time was quite a challenge. If we’d been writing for all those years we would have naturally and gradually morphed the sound of the band, but this way was a lot harder to produce… having to think about every sound, every riff and every type of style.
Q: When listening to “Resume” I get the feeling to hear songs reminding me to the legendary “Narcotic Influence”-hit and to the 90s breakbeats of The Prodigy, but still other songs with a modern techno/EBM approach and driven by solid bass lines! Is this the essence of “Resume” and can you give a few more details about the sound creation properly speaking?
Jamie: Yeah it’s a blend of old and new, that’s what we wanted to create for the listeners. The whole feel of the album had to have something for the old-school fans to connect with and also new fans to feel there is a link to what’s going on now in a way. Obviously we were using old technology to create the early music so keeping the same essence was important to us.
Q: I think “Resume” is an appropriated title for this new album. Another appropriated title could have been “Challenge” as I can imagine it must be not that easy to reactivate Empirion, which had such a successful career! How does it really feel? Is it a challenge or is it just about ‘passion’ and ‘artistic creation’?
Jamie: As mentioned earlier it was a little bit of a challenge, but we just stay true to what we want to write and the rest seems to follow. We can only write what we feel, we’re not interested in doing what everyone else is doing, in some ways we don’t care as it’s not going to change what we want to do.
Q: How do you as artists and band evolve throughout the years? Do you focalize on different aspects or do you have other influences and references when it comes to composition and production?
Oz: We both feel it’s important to have standards with what we create. Have a balance of old and new as we said earlier, take on some new influences of what’s going on, but ultimately do something as fresh as you can, don’t worry too much or over think it all… push the production as much as you can to deliver the proper sound that people get off on.