Take four talented songwriter, musicians and producers, put them in an independent minded, forward thinking soul outfit and what you get is pure musical genius. Add in the fact that they are Australian and you would be hard-pressed to say they are anything less than perfection. Electric Empire is the band in the spotlight, not just now but since their conception some four years ago when all four band members, all friends in their own right, decided to step out on a dream and the rest as they say is history.
And what an interesting history they all bring into the fold. Jason Heerah on drums, Dennis Dowlut on guitar, Aaron Mendoza on keys and Simon Olsen on bass, have been on this freight train of success since their 2010 debut self-titled that clearly took the world by storm. Representing both Sydney and Melbourne respectively, each member brings their own take of soulful input into the music they spawn, capturing fans nationally and across the globe. More at home on the, the band have played major music festivals overseas, namely Britain’s infamous Glastonbury Festival, London’s Royal Albert Hall and to packed clubs and theatres in Japan, France and Kazakhstan to name a few. They clearly possess a sound that is capturing global attention and have gained incredulous respect from industry peers they have supported and toured with such as, Brand New Heavies, Bilal, Beverly Knight and Aloe Blacc to name a few. Electric Empire has single-hand idly injected a much needed dose of soul and funk back in to the Australian music community.
Talking to the bands drummer extraordinaire Jason Heerah, you really get a sense of the ‘who, what, where and why’ of Electric Empire. With the release of their current music video ‘Changin’ getting major views and play on YouTube and on the groups official website www.electricempire.com , it stands to reason why the band are as in-demand and well-loved as they are. If you are every lucky enough to experience real musicians, playing an exceptional fusion of feel-good soul and funk then you’ll know you have just experienced the authentic sound that is Electric Empire!
Such an honour to finally get to talk to the world famous but humbly Australian super group Electric Empire ……man you guys have been doing it big! Congrats on your success first and foremost; o)
Wow!!! Thankyou for such a great wrap. As a group we are always striving for bigger and better. We do feel like at this stage were still only in the beginnings of our musical journey. It’s an exciting phase.
Now Electric Empire consists of 4 members is that correct? Jason, Aaron, Dennis and Simon. How do the four of your maintain your unity in a group as electric as yours whilst still maintaining your individualism as musicians?
Yes that’s right. I think having that geographical space between the band gives us a chance to explore a little more individually in our own studio spaces. During this process you get to discover what role you best play to suit the band. We’ve been trying this method as well for writing for Album number 2. The unity is then stronger when we finally join forces and write or rehearse. I sounded like I was describing captain planet then. …(lol), but yeah, some similarities maybe….hehe
You have just released your official video for your single Changing and you have been going full steam ahead with touring and recording since your stellar debut in 2010. I caught your set at the Sydney Festival in 2011 and the crowd were going crazy….. A similar effect that happens at festivals and concert halls from London to Kazakhstan. What would you say is the appeal of Electric Empire’s sound and style that has taken from you Sydney and Melbourne artists to the world stage?
I’d like to think that a strong part of our sound is in the song writing. Just an approach to songs that you wouldn’t hear in most current music of today. Songs off our first album were heavily inspired by the classic late 60’s early 70’s soul sounds of Al green, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and mix that with the EE vocal blend and I think that’s what makes our sound stand out and accessible internationally as well. Even though our sound may be evolving we are still aiming to keep that cred in the song writing and what we are singing about. Basically it has to feel real.
You have supported the likes of Brand New Heavies, Aloe Blacc and Fat Freddy’s Drop to name a few – what do you think sets Australian artists and music apart from the rest of the world and why?
I feel what set’s Australian artist apart from the rest of the world is the fact that there is a big enough audience out there for what ever style of music you play. Which inturn has started this movement of artist and bands that are creating fresh awesome music which is getting recognition internationally? The likes of Gotye, Missy Higgins, Hiatus Kaiyote, Daniel Merriweather, Kimbra, Clarie brown ,The Bamboo’s all out there creating great music as Aussie artist. I think the only real difference is the Aussie accent . Just like Gotye speech at the Grammy’s this year to accept his award . …..now that really stands out. ….hehe
The artists / mentors that inspire Electric Empire and your unique and infectious sound?
Artist that are inspiring the band currently are artist like James’s Blake, The rudimentals, Miguel, Michael Jackson (Bad, thriller), Jamie Liddel, Jamiroquai, Herbie Hancock, Jackson 5, Earth wind and fire. Also constantly inspired by Quincy Jones, the man is a world of knowledge. Thank God for YouTube .
How did you come up with name Electric Empire?
The name Electric Empire was inspired by a song that Dennis brother Darren wrote before he’s passing in 2005. The song was called love Electric and was about heaven. Dennis then had the idea of creating a new project where Love was forever growing in an Empire of music. He fused the 2 words together and that’s exactly what we are doing now. Building our Empire.
What are your current visions, goals and aspirations for the future of Electric Empire?
My (Jason) current goals for EE is to finish our second album, and to be able to feel that sense of achievement that we all felt after completing our first album in 2010.My aspirations would be to see our music reach all corners of the globe and continue Building our Empire.
For more information on Electric Empire visit: www.electricempire.com