Empires - "Keep It Steady": SXSW 2013 Showcasing Artist

Empires recently finished recording their second full length album, Garage Hymns. The band's self-produced debut album, Howl, garnered a massive amount of attention when they released it on their website back in 2008, and now, with Garage Hymns, Empires feels that they have found the sound they've been searching for all along. "We're definitely more defined than ever," explains vocalist Sean Van Vleet. "We've figured out what works for us as we've played together more, and now the music feels really honed in." It's been a rapid ascent to critical acclaim for the young Empires, who came together in 2006. "We never started out saying 'We're going to be a punk band,' or 'We're going to be an indie band,'" says guitarist Tom Conrad. "What we wanted to do was never acknowledged in words. It was more like, 'Oh, you play drums? Sweet. Show up and let's play.' And that evolved to what we have now." The band finished Howl in guitarist and producer Max Steger's studio in March, and their "all over the place" approach had obviously worked out for them: the album garnered thousands of downloads online, including over 15,000 in its first week alone. "With Howl, we worked out the instrumentation of the songs as we recorded them," explains Max. "With the band being so new, we took a lot of freedom experimenting with different sounds and genres. I think that gives the record its diversity and charm."