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    Meet Stereo Empire. This Louisville band plays pop/rock that makes you want to move, hence the name of their first EP The Moves. Tyler Anderson of A Lion Named Roar helped out remixing these songs. Fans of The Killers and Young The Giant will be pleased to hear that you can hear Stereo Empire on WFPK's Live Lunch on April 3, but I'll let guitarist Rob Saag tell more of the story. 

    LC: Describe your music to someone who has never heard of you.

    RS: Energetic pop-rock with some electronic elements sprinkled in - songs that will make you get up and move.

    LC: What’s your musical background?

    RS: We all come from different backgrounds, which helps make us unique since we can draw from some very diverse influences. We've all played in bands growing up, with genres ranging from metal and punk, to blues and funk. Stereo Empire evolved from an acoustic project that Morgan (vocals, guitar) and I started a few years ago, and we quickly grew into a full band, well, because it's more fun that way.

    LC: Where does the name Stereo Empire come from?

    RS: When we started this band, we wanted to create something that sounded massive - something unique that none of us had heard or done before. The name evolved from our literal interpretation of this idea - we chose the word "stereo" for "sound", and "empire" to represent something massive and enduring.

    LC: What are some of your musical (or non-musical) influences?

    RS: Musically, we're influenced by anything with a good sense of melody, harmony, and dynamics. That can come from classic bands like The Beatles or Queen, to modern music like Maroon 5 or Young The Giant. There are no guilty pleasures here - if something is catchy, it's catchy, and that's what we try to incorporate into our songs. Our non-musical influences include our lives and current events, caffeine, and bourbon.

    LC: What is songwriting like in Stereo Empire? Is it collaborative or the doing of one member?

    RS: Songwriting is a collaborative effort, but it usually starts with Morgan developing a basic concept. We'll take that concept and work on it further as a band until we have the basic structure and melody in place. Morgan and I work on lyrics and vocal melodies, which are typically the last parts written for the song. We're all very open with each other, so if something isn't working, we change it until we have a final version. Then we rehearse until we can play it in our sleep.

    LC: You released your first EP two years ago but are re-releasing it soon. What led to that decision? Did anything change?

    RS: We released The Moves EP in March of 2014, and while we were proud that we finally put something out, we weren't completely satisfied with how it sounded. We were still figuring out who we are and in what direction we wanted to take our sound. Tyler Anderson (A Lion Named Roar) reached out to us last October about remixing the songs. Since he's doing production with Neil DeGraide, we were curious to see what he could do. Once he sent the first remixed song back to us ("What You Want"), we knew we had to do the rest - there's such a dramatic difference in how they sound compared to the original mixes. The biggest difference from the old EP is that Tyler really helped us focus our sound and understood what we were trying to accomplish. He encouraged us to experiment with some new sounds and textures, while the initial recordings were very much us in our comfort zones just trying to get the EP recorded. Having a producer that shared our vision helped develop the sound we were looking for.

    LC: What should fans expect at a Stereo Empire show?

    RS: Not to sit down. We bring a lot of energy to our live show and we have a lot of fun - we love what we do. We have a large focus on stage production so it's not just another gig - we want to create an experience for people that they'll be talking about long after the show's over.

    LC: What's one thing that could improve Louisville's music scene?

    RS: Open-mindedness. Louisville is a great city for many different styles of music, and there's so much here to experience. We know it's easy to get stuck in our respective comfort zones once we find a few favorite bands and venues, but we found those favorites by taking risks in the first place - don't lose sight of that. Always keep exploring and discovering new local music - events like Do 502's Free Week make it easy to do so, and Sean Bailey at Lousville MUSICulture (@LouMUSICulture) does a great job of getting the word out about local shows. Forecastle and WFPK's Waterfront Wednesday bring in great national and regional talent to Louisville, as does Zanzabar and The New Vintage, but they still give the local scene a chance to shine.

    LC: What can we expect from Stereo Empire in 2015?

    RS: This year has been off to a great start for us. We put on an awesome show at the Vernon Club back in January, and we've spent the past couple months preparing for some spring events. We'll be featured on 91.9 WFPK's Live Lunch at UofL's Red Barn on April 3rd. We're also headlining the Communion Presents concert series at Zanzabar on April 15th. When all the songs are done for the remixed EP, we'll press a few copies and make it available at our shows. Two of the songs are now streaming on our website (www.stereoempire.com), where you can sign up for our email list and never miss out on what's coming next for us.

    LC: If we were to find the Stereo Empire guys at one local establishment, where would that be?

    RS: Diamonds in St. Matthews or The Monkey Wrench. Morgan and I also spend an unhealthy amount of time at Music Go Round and Guitar Emporium. Ian Weber (keyboards) can be found at Heine Bros., Sunergos, or anywhere with strong coffee.

    Photos provided by Rob Saag and Stereo Empire's Facebook page. 

    Will Ford's picture

    About Will Ford

    Covering Louisville music like it's the 6 o' clock news. I've covered Forecastle, Louder Than Life, Moontower, Starry Nights, and Louisville music news for 3 years. Follow me @parasiticnoise

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