JamPacked Productions will be hosting post-hardcore act Crown the Empire for two shows being held in Pretoria and Cape Town. Crown the Empire’s guitarist, Brandon Hoover, discusses their latest album release, upcoming tour to South Africa and general band experiences.
Welcome to South Africa. It’s a pleasure to have you guys here for the first time. Can you tell us how you guys are and how you guys are feeling to be here?
Hello! We are so stoked to come play shows in South Africa. We’ve been wanting to do this for years now and it’s insane that we’re at that point in our career where we are able to travel around the world and see you all.
So you guys just dropped a new album can you tell us a little bit about it and how it came to be, stylistically, and concept wise?
The concept of the new album started in the summer of 2017. We were out in the desert in California and started writing the first batch of songs. At that point we didn’t know if they were going to make the album or be on Ann EP or just be singles, but we knew it was time to starting writing new music. It had been a year then since we put out the album Retrograde and the fans wanted something more, something heavier. At that time we were obsessed with the human condition, the future of humanity, and were going through a lot of personal turmoil within the band since we had just let go of a member and creative director in our team. So all those emotions came out. Over the span of a year and a half we were in and out of the studio and on tour, collecting batches of songs and creating the concept as we went along. We wanted it to sound epic, futuristic, theatrical, and a little experimental…basically a combination of everything we had done musically over the past decade. At the end of 2018, the album was complete. The name Sudden Sky came early in the process. It means that we’re here one second and gone the next, and we need to do everything in our power now to stay in this moment and live this life to the best of our capabilities. The past is the past, the future hasn’t come in to fruition, and all we can do is be here…now. We felt like that title encompasses the album as a whole.
You’ve got some big fans here in the south, what can they be expecting from you and the show?
Our shows have always been energetic. We feel awkward as fuck when there’s moments to chill or it’s silent, so usually we are either going as crazy as possible or interacting with the crowd. Whatever happens, happens. We try to not think about it to much and just have fun. At the end of the day if this isn’t fun there’s no point in doing this shit.
Do you ever wonder if a stray balloon ever finds its owner?
If you let something go, I believe it’ll come back to you if it’s meant to be. Then again…who fucking knows. The world is a weird place.
If you had to party as an animal, what would it be?
A dog. I’m a very happy and crazy drunk
Which bands do you enjoy touring with?
There’s so many bands we’ve toured with over the years it’s hard to choose. We had Attila on one of our last headliners and they party just as hard as us so it’s always super fun. We Came As Romans, Issues, Asking Alexandria…it’s hard to remember all the bands honestly but we’ve gained a lot of amazing friendships through touring.
It’s been 10years since the band started (2010 if not mistaken), how has your approach to what you do changed since then? From creating to touring to daily grind?
We’ve built a bigger team to create with over the years, but we’ve always done it the same way. We create in spurts, not all at once. If we’re on tour we usually just focus on that and trying to put on the best show, and when we’re at home we trying to get with our people in the studio and make new music so by the end of our album process with have songs to bring in for the next cycle. Touring we like to keep the same crew around us for the most part, people we can trust. We learned early on how important it was to have a good team around you. Without them you’re kind of fucked.
Any advise that you would not advise?
I don’t think anyone needs to listen to us for advice. You have to learn as you go along. Us saying anything won’t help. Maybe just work your ass off and don’t get comfortable.
In your opinion navigating your way through the digital age of the music industry is quite different than before, how do new artists move through it today without collapsing?
We started at the beginning of this digital age so we are just kind of used to it. There’s not a lot of money in actual album sales but I think it’s amazing that you can create your own following without any label support on the internet, and record songs at home and not have to rent a studio. It’s very DYI. Look at Billie Eilish…her and her brother record EVERY song in their childhood home.
What’s do you enjoy about small shows compared to big ones and vise versa
The intimacy in a small show is what we love the most. Those small venues are where you can really connect with these people who listen to your music. They think of you as more human, which is exactly what we are. It’s hard to capture that in an arena or big theater.
Can you tell me a short story using 4 words?
Life is fucking hard
What is one misconception about Texas or it’s people?
Everyone thinks people from Texas ride horses or have southern accents…that is so far from the truth
Sunset or sunrise?
Sunrise. As I’ve gotten older I like waking up earlier and earlier.
Can you spell the word “aphrodisiac”?
Nah I haven’t been to school in like 8-9 years I forgot how to basically do everything academically, hahaha.
Brandon Hoover (Guitarist)