Interview with Tom Meadon and Edd Unwin of Empress


Interview by Brady Deeprose

Currently on tour supporting Cancer Bats and Brutality Will Prevail, Reading’s Empress are making a name for themselves. I caught up with Drummer Edd Unwin and Guitarist Tom Meadon after their set at The Craufurd Arms.

MR: Hey guys, how’s the tour been for you so far?

Edd: It’s been amazingly good! We’ve played some great venues and obviously the guys in the other bands (Brutality Will Prevail and Cancer Bats) are talented musicians: we’re really happy.

MR: Have you ever toured on this scale before with such professional bands?

Tom: Not really. In November last year we did about 18 dates but the biggest stretch of dates was four in a row… we’re on day ten of this tour…

Edd: We’re all going pretty insane by now! (Laughs) It is intense but it’s a taste of what’s to come really. Our plan is to tour as much as possible this year and take it from there really, to see how it goes.

MR: Who do you reckon is going to snap first?

Edd: Erm… well… what makes you think that nobody’s snapped already! No, touring with people is always going to be a strain: you’re surrounded by the same guys the whole time and there are little annoying things that piss you off about each other. At the end of the day, we’re all pretty level headed guys and we all get on. We’ve all got the same ideas in terms of what we want to do so it’s been really good and we’re all really supportive of one another.

MR: Do you take influence or inspiration from touring with a band like Cancer Bats that have been around for years?

Tom: We learn loads from them on a day to day basis. They’re so professional as they’ve been touring for years and years. I can’t tell you exactly what we’ve learnt but I know we have. Just small things you pick up along the way.

MR: What’s been the best show for you guys so far?

Edd: It’s a really difficult one as we’ve played so many shows now and so many of them have been at great venues… many of the shows that we didn’t expect to be that great have really surprised us. I guess I’ve got three that really stuck out: Cardiff (Great Hall) as it was mental! Massive crowd, decent dressing rooms… just getting treated really well. KOKO (London), just because it’s KOKO. It’s fucking massive and every time I hit my bass drum I thought everyone’s kidneys were going to explode. On top of those, Leeds as the crowd went ballistic and was really receptive to the music. It makes you want to play so much better when you’ve got a whole crowd in front of you that are really digging your music.

MR: With regards to the crowd digging the music, there’s a bit of a genre gap between your progressive sound, BWP’s unabashed hardcore and then Cancer Bats. Do you think that has affected the reaction you guys get?

Tom: You get some people that have come down to the show just to see super heavy music and they’re not really interested in singing but it’s cool, each to their own.

Edd: I don’t think there’s any prejudice that comes from any of us guys in terms of what people are there to listen to… at the end of the day, we’ve got to know both bands really well and there’s a divers mixture of genre’s on display but at the same time, they are all fucking awesome. That’s probably what makes it such a good tour as there’s such an eclectic mix of music.

MR: Word on the street (AKA festival posters) is that you’re playing Download Festival this year: What does that mean to you guys?

Edd: It means everything to us. We can’t wait to get on that stage and play to what is probably the biggest crowd we’ll have ever played to. It’s going to fucking awesome. We’re all really looking forward to it.

Tom: The amount of heritage behind the festival is enormous and it’s great to think that we’re going to be a small part of that.

MR: As you mentioned before the interview, there’s an album in the works. Can you tell me more?

Edd: Yeah, we finished it at the beginning of February, took us a month in the studio. It’s being mastered right now actually. The tentative release date is August… it sounds awesome.

MR: Great, I’ll be checking that out. Is there anything else you want people to know?

Edd: Not really man, just come down to Download!