One of the best live bands i’ve witnessed for the 1st time this year on MIMR are Manchester Alt-Grunge trio The Empty Page. They appeared recently at Rebellion Bar alongside good friends of the blog Psychomotors and Voodoo Blood, their performance was non-stop hurricane of noise which was hard to shake off.
MIMR caught up with Kel (guitars/vocals) about the band and their debut album
MIMR: Welcome The Empty Page to the blog, tell us about the objectives of the band and what are the main influences in your music?
Kel: Thanks for talking to us! Our objectives really are just to write songs that we feel good about playing. We are like most creatives in that we need to create to feel alive, so it’s for pretty selfish reasons that we make music, we just love doing it. It’s a huge bonus when other people like the music too of course.
We actually started playing together because we were in much heavier bands and we wanted to jam some covers for fun, the covers we jammed led to us writing some songs in a similar vein and a lot of people seem to reference the bands we were inspired by when they tell us how they think our music sounds. We were named after a Sonic Youth song, they are definitely an influence but we also love The PIxies, Weezer, Rival School,s Fugazi, The Smiths, Joy Division, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Veruca Salt, Mudhoney…. All that fuzzy alt rock stuff from the 90s basically.
MIMR: Bet your excited about your debut album being released soon, how did this come about and are you happy with how the production of the record went?
Kel: We’re really excited and can’t wait to share it with the world. We’d recorded some demo versions of a few of the songs on the record that sounded pretty great in themselves but we are old-school in our way of thinking about music and we really wanted to do a full LP more than anything. We sent some demos around to a bunch of people we respected, including Gggarth Richardson who is a legendary producer who most famously made the first RATM album, as well as working with some other bands we like such as Kerbdog, Melvins, L7, Biffy etc. Ggarth really liked what he heard and invited us to have a chat on skype about making the record, which we were really shocked by, as he has turned down producing quite a few huge bands over the years, we couldn’t believe he was giving the time of day to a bunch of scruffs from Manchester!
Anyway, we chatted on skype and really hit it off, the main thing being that we really wanted to record fast and capture a rawer, band in a room feel, rather than over producing with loads of overdubs and tidying everything up too much. We wanted to sound like a band. Gggarth totally dug that approach and got excited about working in that oldschool way, he also told us he was excited about our songs, the hooks, the lyrics, he really got what we were about. We checked our calendars and before we knew it we were booking flights to Canada! It was a whirlwind and we all worked really hard for just over a week to make the record. It was a challenge, and it was nervewracking, but we think we did a great job as a team. We captured a moment, it’s not technically perfect, but it’s real, and it’s emotional. We’re really proud of it.
MIMR: Whats your typical hang-out place in Manchester to watch a gig?
Kel: There are so many cool venues across the city. Yeah Manchester is a really great city for music and the arts, always has been. There are a lot of creative people here and we are spoilt for choice in terms of art to appreciate. We love tiny intimate venues, Deaf Institute is lovely, and Sound Control is always fun. We also love the tiny room at The Castle where we’re holding our album launch gig. It’s intimate and just has a really cool vibe. Plus they have a great bar and the toilets are nice, unlike a lot of venues! We go to Gullivers a lot too. As for bigger venues we’d love to play The Apollo one day!
MIMR: What’s been your most memorable gig so far as a band?
Kel: That gig you came to at Rebellion was pretty awesome. We made this really special music video which we put out at the start of this year for our song Deeply Unlovable. We wanted it to feature a lot of different women singing the lyrics, as they are about supporting your fellow woman rather than beating them down in view of the unfair and unrealistic standards of beauty women are expected to match up to. We had an open door policy for anyone who wanted to be in it, some women messaged me saying they didn’t feel they ‘looked right’ and I encouraged them even more to get involved. The media portrays such a narrow view of beauty, and I think all the women in our video (and my life for that matter) are beautiful, talented, kind, strong, smart, interesting, and deserve to be celebrated. We had a bit of a reunion at the gig and we played Deeply Unlovable last and invited them and anyone else that wanted to, to join us onstage. Everyone seemed to shy at first so we started playing the song anyway and about a third of the way through I stepped back and bumped into someone, I turned and realised the stage was full of people jumping around and singing their hearts out, women from the video, not from the video and a few guys too, it was a beautiful moment.
After the gig a guy came up to me and said that moment had made him cry. Loads of people were really buzzing about it and telling me how great our music made them feel that night. It was an amazing feeling and I hope there will be many more moments like that to come. Music is really powerful.
MIMR: Whats your favourite part about playing live?
Kel: It’s like a primal scream really, it gets the pent up frustration, anger, anxiety, all the emotions out of your system and channelled into your voice or instrument. When we play we all really feel that, and I think that in turn, the emotion in the performance reaches out to the audience and they feel themselves letting go of that pent up emotion too.
When I see a great band perform it’s like a drug, it feels amazing, and when I play it feels like I’m reaching a place that normal life doesn’t allow me to.
MIMR: Thanks for chatting to us on MIMR, wish you the best with the album and the rest of 2016. How can people get hold of the album as well as keep in touch with you guys?
Kel: Thanks for having us! The album is due out in October but you can pre-order it from http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/theemptypage and you will get it earlier than the release date. There are just 15 tickets left to our intimate album launch at the Castle, which you can only get on pledge and the price includes the download of the album. There are also exclusive T-shirts and all sorts of other joys on there, plus pledgers get to view videos from the studio with Gggarth and other treats, some of which are yet to be revealed. It’s well worth getting involved and it really helps us to cover all the costs of recording and pressing an album.