YOUNG EMPIRES have just revolutionized the music video. The band teamed up with Miles Jay, Derek Blais and the digital design team at Jam3 to create the first-ever ‘Facebook Connect’ interactive video for their single “White Doves”, from their critically acclaimed EP Wake All My Youth. With just one click, watch your memories become an integral part of the video. Keep reading for interview.
[By Monica Harris]
We speak with bassist Jacob Palahnuk of Young Empires.
Q. You’re kind of an overnight success. Your band formed in 2009, and 2 years later you were already performing at the Juno Awards. Do you think things happened pretty quickly?
Jacob: I guess kind of, yeah. Although 2 years isn’t necessarily ‘overnight.’ But at the same time we’ve all been in bands since we were 6 or 7 years old, and at this thing for a long time. Its just nice to see this project really do well after only a couple years of being together. So — yes and no.
Q. How long have you been playing bass?
Jacob: Since middle school. Grade 7 talent show covering Green Day. Which we won, by the way!
Q. Your interactive video for White Doves is amazing. I watched it using Facebook and I got chills. Can you tell us about the creation of the video?
Jacob: Absolutely. The director and I, Miles Jay, we went in the studio about a year and a half before it actually happened, this was long before we were even signed to a label, we just had this idea to connect with fans and really give them this emotional attachment to the music video, experimenting with new technology. The song is a lot about memory. And we felt by integrating people’s digital memories into the story that it would make it all that more powerful when you watch it. It took a long time, a lot of planning, and a lot of people that worked on it for free. And we finally got it done after almost a year. We’re pretty excited about it.
Q. How important do you feel that social media is in the music business right now?
Jacob: I think its important, obviously, you know, it allows you to connect with your fans one-on-one. I don’t think it replaces actually being a good band or writing good songs. I think anyone can do the social media aspect. But just a matter of having the songs first, and the sound first, and then being able to connect with your fans and communicate with them directly, something that, you know, bands from past generations haven’t had the opportunity to do. Now with what we’ve done now, we’re able to take it one step further, kind of integrate them into the story of the band. So, I think we’re going to see more and more social media interactive things coming up in the future.
Q. What do you think makes your music stand out?
Jacob: Good question — what do you think?
Q. Well… it seems like you put a lot of time and care into each song, each instrument.
Jacob: Yeah absolutely. I think one of the things — we kind of oversee everything, from the songwriting to the production. The first EP we produced ourselves, we mixed ourselves. Everything is arranged by us. We did a video ourselves. Very much where we have a hand in everything we do with the music. And on top of that, I think what makes it very interesting is that we’re all into very different genres of music. And we come together and it makes it sound kind of blended. Its something people are having a hard time putting into a genre. So I think its those things together that really make us stand out, I guess.
Q. You’ve performed all over the world — in Paris, London, Stockholm, Los Angeles. Where would you say was the most interesting or surprising place you’ve gone so far?
Jacob: I think the most interesting place, we got flown down to Bogota, Columbia, about 2 years ago. It was 6 months after we formed the band. It was an honor to be asked to go down there and we got to play a festival with Green Day and Jamiroquai. And for a band so young, it was just unreal to be flown down there and be given almost a Kings of Leon type treatment. And our own security guard with a translator and everything. It was really, really neat to experience, to experience the culture. They love music down in South America, and everyone dances and they stay all night long, and the food is incredible. And going up to the mountain top in Bogota, its one of the highest points in all South America. It was kind of unreal. Number one memory in terms of traveling.
Q. What would you say is one thing you absolutely HAVE TO bring with you on tour?
Jacob: Me personally, other than the essentials such as a laptop and your phone, things like that, I’d have to say probably my sleeping mat. Because at this stage we’re still sharing hotel rooms. And when there’s 4 guys in one room, its nice to tune out the world and kind of rest for a little bit, because there’s not a lot of sleep going on when you’re on the road. Yeah when I forget my sleeping mat, I get real upset.
Q. Your new album is titled Wake All My Youth. Do you feel today’s youth is ‘asleep’?
Jacob: I’m not sure. I don’t think I’m too in touch with the youth of today. I think what its more about is waking up the inner youth inside everyone, and taking it back to a place where you feel reckless and innocent. You’re not so concerned about image or perception of other people. You can just dance and be yourself and be happy. I think that’s what the title is about and what the songs on the record are about. Finding that place again.
Q. Finish this sentence: “I play music because _______.’
Jacob: I play music because I don’t feel like I have a choice. I think that music has somehow called me to do it, and I can’t do anything else, so…here I am 10 years later, making albums.