I found Fire Red Empress on Youtube a little while back, going through band after band, click, meh, click, meh, click meh, click m…ooooh. Ever since then I’ve really enjoyed their music, it’s great when you have your faith restored in there being decent music out there from new bands. What really set them apart was not only some bloody good heavy guitar riffage, but a singer whose range is quite frankly, bloody epic and scary!
Hi guys, you launched kick ass track “Giants” at YouTube a couple of months back, could you tell us how it that song came about and what inspired you to write it?
Luke: Most of our song writing starts with the bare bones of drums and guitars. Carl jams out riffs until he’s found a few that complement each other, then we put some meat on those bones by getting Ben, Paul and I involved. Once we’ve shaped the music instrumentally Jen adds the lyrical icing on the cake – I guess it’s a meat cake or perhaps a pie in this analogy – and that’s how “Giants” came to be. Lyrically I find it quite cryptic, which I like because you can find your own meaning in the song. Personally I think it’s a premonition about the end of the world.
Who worked with you in producing the video for that and what was your reaction when you saw the final edited version?
Luke: We’ve had the good fortune of being able to work with Carl Shanahan on a few videos; he’s got such a good eye for detail and is an absolute legend to boot. The idea was to have some messed up stock footage playing on a massive screen behind us but obviously with all of us facing towards the camera we didn’t get to look at it much so seeing the final edited version was awesome! We’ve got some other cool videos in the pipeline but I think this one might be my favourite.
You’ve got a hellishly busy strings of dates to play like the Rockwich Festival and Hard Rock Hell Festival amongst others, how’s preparation going for those?
Luke: We try and keep on top of rehearsals and were at SOS festival in Manchester a couple of weekends ago and the O2 Institute in Birmingham before that but we’re our own worst critics so preparation is pretty much continual. As well as the shows you’ve mentioned we’re supporting Orange Goblin at the Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton on 25 November and have been announced for Hard Rock Hell Metal at the O2 Academy in Birmingham on 18 February next year. That might sound hellishly busy but things are about to get busier…
Following on from that, you’ve got a great reputation for your live shows, what’s the key to your success?
Luke: That’s a tough question. Success is seen as a destination but being a musician is a journey and I think that if you feel like you’ve got a great reputation you’ve probably got a big ego. As a band we just want to put on the best show we can but are always mindful of our performances so there’s definitely a balance to be had. Enough confidence that you play well but not too much that you lose sight of the fact things can always be improved. That probably sounds like humble bulls#!t but I do actually mean it.
And while we’re talking about live shows, it seems Jen just doesn’t stop bouncing around, just where the hell does she get her energy from?
Luke: Singers have got it easy – just show up and say ‘check 1, 2’ into the microphone – it’s no wonder they’ve got the energy to jump around during the show! I think she lives a pretty healthy lifestyle so that probably helps. But then she does drink like a fish. And may or may not be a pirate witch…
Now we know you’ve been super busy, but, and you know the question is coming, is there an EP or album coming out soon and if so, how is work progressing on that and could you tell us a little bit about it?
Luke: We are actually very close to making an official announcement so I wouldn’t want to spoil anything but I can say we will definitely be releasing an album this year (and I can hear some people saying ‘it’s about damn time’). It’s been a somewhat frustrating matter of how to and when but we’ve ironed out a lot of the logistical details and are more or less ready to go. We feel that “Giants” represents the album well so expect more hard-hitting riffs and schizophrenic vocals! We’re all really excited to finally be unleashing this beast.
In recent videos it’s been great seeing you all happy and smiling enjoying FRE and it seems to come out in your songs too. How important do you think it is for bands to have that?
Luke: Those aren’t smiles, they’re grimaces… Joking aside, if you can’t find enjoyment in whatever it is you’re doing then do something else. We’re lucky in that we all get on like a house on fire on and off stage and I do think that’s important for longevity but then some bands hate each other and their music is still great so who knows?!
I saw that you were at the recent GnR show, just how awesome was that? I’ve often found myself more motivated to pick up a guitar after hearing a kick ass live show, did GnR have the same effect on you?
Luke: Sadly I wasn’t there and my jealous rage that Ben and Jen were has only recently subsided. But it’s true that watching the musicians that inspired you to start playing in the first place still has the same affect years later.
You’ve taken over a few radio shows recently, how much fun were they to do, and any chance you can replace Chris Evans?
Luke: Jen and I took over the Alex Irons show at Roundhouse Radio and it was a lot of fun. Obviously we’re surrounded by music all the time but we don’t usually talk about our influences in that way so I think we surprised each other, especially when we discovered a shared appreciation of The Beastie Boys! As for Chris Evans, wasn’t his wage recently revealed on the news? Um, yeah…
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