Prior to the release of their third album Retrograde, Music Feeds caught up with post-hardcore sons Crown The Empire to get a peak under the hood of their new record.
Language around the release from fans and indeed media suggested that there were two groups – those happy with the new direction, and those not. Rather than pandering to the loud minority, the band took them on, dropping the lead track Zero which really gave them something to talk about.
All signs seemed to indicate an album that’s going to both make waves and rock the boat, so we dragged vocalist Andy Leo away from his Vans Warped Tour commitments to work out what went down.
Andy Leo: I’m balls deep in Vans Warped Tour right now. I don’t know if I can say that but it’s the position I’m in.
Music Feeds, Oh man, I went into this assuming you’d be balls deep in Vans Warped Tour. How’s it all going?
AL: Dude. Fantastic. Different vibes, all good obviously, but lots of friends, great crowds and a new album to promote. I’m busy and I fucking love everything about it. It’s a good problem to have.
MF: Your third full-length album, Retrograde is out soon, what’s it like to be Crown The Empire right now?
AL: I don’t want to sound cliche but it’s surreal as fuck. We’ve been working on it for almost a year now. Pieces in place have fallen apart and had to be rebuilt a thousand times, it’s been a pretty crazy process so now that it’s finally happening, we’re looking forward to it.
MF: Reading some of your other interviews about the album, and I admit, plenty of commentary on your socials, one gets the vibe that Retrograde was a hard fought album. Is that a safe assumption?
AL: Yeah. Yeah. It was the most stressful but, I think, the most fulfilling out of all our albums. I think it shows how much effort we’ve put into it. The most amount of time, money. We just kind of went for it. Our entire mindset has been shifted from doing the touring schedule of same show every day and putting all our energy into the actual music.
MF: So Zero was the first single, and it seems to have split the crowd a bit. Personally I found it to be a brutal breath of fresh air but some felt differently.
AL: Zero was definitely the one that we wanted to put out for those people saying “Oh man they sold out, they’ve changed, they’ll never be as good as they were.” We actually put Zero out intentionally as a ‘fuck you’ to everyone who said that. We made a song specifically for that reason and people seem to be into it. We’re opening Warped Tour with it now!
Any band, no matter where they’d at, you’re going to get shit no matter what you’re doing. Some kid in school doing a cover of a song, the other kids will find a way to bag it. Imagine how much hate Selina Gomez or Justin Bieber would get whenever they release a new song?
We were prepared. “Get ready for the internet to fucking hate us.” You have to own it. That said, we seem to have more fans that aren’t pissed off with us.
MF: That made me think of Zacky Vengeance form Avenge Sevenfold, who actually picked his stage name as a way to piss off everyone who ever gave him crap at high school, so he got a big kick out of it.
AL: That’s the thing. These people are at least listening. Like it or not they’re gonna have an opinion and tell people about it. As long as they’re listening, that’s great. Talk shit about me on the internet every day if you want. But as long as you’re talking about us – that’s cool.
MF: But I assume that there’s been plenty, plenty of love on the Warped Tour front so far?
AL: Yeah, it’s pretty wild. We’ve been hustling the new album ourselves and selling some pre-order cards and doing it ourselves. Some people don’t expect us to actually be going for it. So there’s a couple of girls who see us with their mums and just scream full-force. They can’t handle it. That’s always a cool feeling that someone will scream if they see you.
MF: Dude that’s a thing that’s going to happen – I feel that’s a ‘third album thing’ for sure. That’s going to happen more and more now, right?
AL: I don’t know, it’s going to take some adjustment either way. It’s pretty wild. It feels different though, especially going into Warped Tour. People are actually going out of their way to say what’s up to us, which is actually pretty wild. It’s good, living the dream.
MF: Now, so when will you guys be bringing Retrograde Down Under?
AL: Oh man, I hope sooner or later. We worked out the other day I have a month and a half off for the rest of the year. We’re gone. We’re gone the entire time. We’re going to hit a lot of different places so we’re working it out.
MF: So basically what you’re saying is you have a free month and a half for an Australian tour…
AL: Haha, shit. I mean, technically I’m homeless right now so if there’s some AirBnB out there, fuck it I’ll go.
MF: Awesome, well in that case I’ll let you get back to Warped and I’ll keep my eyes out for an announcement!
Crown The Empire’s ‘Retrograde’ is out now. Grab a copy here.