Young Empires have had a pretty darn great year. The Toronto group released their successful debut full-length album The Gates, nabbed a nomination for Breakthrough Group of the Year at the 2016 JUNO Awards in April, and have been touring Canada and the US extensively ever since. They're hitting up Western Canada throughout the rest of May and will wrap up with a performance at Ontario's WayHome Music & Arts Festival in July.
We caught up with Young Empires to talk about touring in Canada, helping others through music, a few of their favourite things, and more.
Young Empires' Current Playlist
Jack Garratt - Breathe Life
LUH - $ORO
Wintersleep - Amerika
Lapsley - Hurt Me
Blajk - Hamptons
R. Kelly - Ignition (Remix) ***theme song of this tour***
G: Has it felt like a short time from starting the band in 2009, to being on the Junos, performing in festivals and being on the radio across Canada (and more!) — or has the journey felt like it has been gradual?
YE: Time has definitely flown by since we got on this ride six years ago. Working (dare I call it that?) at something you love has a way of making time just disappear.
G: Do you have a favourite show you’ve ever played?
YE: It's a 10-way tie, haha. We really love to tour.
G: Would you say The Gates has really been the song that has gotten the band’s name out there?
YE: I think different songs have had success in different markets. For instance, Ghosts was our biggest track in the UK and Sunshine has over two million Spotify streams in the USA. Canada has definitely reacted the best to The Gates though.
G: You touch on some topics that really grab at the core of a lot of people’s sense of self in songs like Uncover Your Eyes. How has the reception to this particular song been? Have people expressed it helping them?
YE: Absolutely. Part of the reason we make music is to help other people in the same way music has helped (and continues to help) us. It's beyond rewarding to get notes of thanks from fans whose lives have been touched by our music.
G: What is the biggest struggle you have building a name for yourself as a band in Canada?
YE: Canada is wonderful country, but it's ****ing huge! Touring is definitely a chore compared to the shorter drives in the US or Europe. And the winter months are basically a write-off.
G: What would you like to see Canadians do to support up-and-coming bands? Or do you feel the support needed is there?
YE: The governments in Canada do a remarkable job of supporting the arts and up-and-coming musicians. So just keep Harper away from office and we'll be fine ;) Oh, and go to shows! HBO can wait.
G: What are five things the band can’t live without while on the road?
YE: iPhones/Apple Music, MyPackage underwear, Super Sunglasses, Starbucks in the AM... and shameless brand plugging.
G: Thank you so much for chatting with us! Can't wait to see what comes next.