Q & A With Empty Friend

Q & A With Empty Friend

Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?

Dave K (vocals) – 100% yes! We’ve just released our second EP called ‘Fatler’ a week ago, and we’re really proud of how this record turned out. It’s a real statement for us, and is now a better reflection of our sound, since the release of our last EP. We’ve also got a big ‘Camden Rocks’ show coming up at the Camden Assembly on 21 March, which is gonna be a big show.


How long has the band been together?

Dave K – The band has been together since 2015, with a settled line up since 2017. That said, Karl and Ryan have known each other since college (high school in the USA).


What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?

Dave K – This is an interesting question. For this particular band, I had been getting to know Karl in the years before we started, as we had become friends through two other bands we were in, and had played some shows together. The primary motivation was, I guess, that we both thought it would be cool to play together someday, and then before we knew it both of our bands started to come apart. At about the same time, we went to a Soundgarden show together and met Ryan, Karl’s old friend from his first band, and from that night we decided upon the idea of a new band. The idea of it was, after so many years of playing, to really dig down to our musical roots and make music that was built


What is your music background?

Davvers N (bass) – This is always a challenging question to answer briefly as we all come from such different ones but converge at some points, but still hold our own personal tastes and influences quite close.

I come from a musical family, both my parents were classically trained musicians so I was exposed and encouraged from a young age. I went through the cello, trumpet, piano and finally picked up a bass at 14. I have stuck at it ever since, so that’s about 22 yrs I’ve been playing now. In terms of listening, I flit from rock to dance, jungle to electro swing, metal to electro. I like stumbling across things, check them out over a period, and then moving on to the next, and try and pick up a few ideas along the way.

Dave K – As Davvers said, we all have our different paths and histories, but I guess we could all agree that Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Failure, Incubus, Pearl Jam, Primus, Tool etc. had a place in our hearts and a big influence on the band.


What image do you think your music conveys?

Dave K – I would say that the music conveys heavy, direct energy is generally quite fast-paced and has underlying anger or frustration to it. There is some playfulness and irony in there, but mostly it is pretty uncompromising. Lyrically, the themes vary but again, there is a sense that things around us in the world are pretty fucked up.


What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)

Dave K – As an underground band we don’t care for going mainstream particularly, but we want to continue to build our following in and around London and the UK, to get on tour and to play some bigger shows with bands we respect. We’d love to make an album, and what’s next on the cards, and to play some festivals. That would be killer.


What are your long-term career goals?

Dave K – In the longer-term, we’d love to influence some of the younger bands on the scene in London, and to continue to progress as musicians, and write songs that challenge and satisfy is as artists.


Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?

Dave K – It’s hard to choose between the two, as they are both essential and feed into one another, but the immediate joy and catharsis that you get from playing a live show is hard to beat. That feeling is ‘why’ I’m in a band.

Davvers N – I really dig jamming it all out in the studio, coming up with ideas and laying them down. Live is great to but I enjoy the hours where you can lose yourself in the music over and over again, and wandering into new ideas and developing riffs and tracks. But, there’s no point in spending all that time in the studio NOT playing it to people.


What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Davvers N – Relevant stuff, you’d have to ask Dave, I’m just the bassist, he’s the one who gets down and heavy with that lyrical business.

Dave K – As I mentioned before, the themes of the songs vary widely, but include: psychedelic misadventures, interrogation, resistance to oppression, toxic relationships, living in the present, not giving up, etc.


Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.

Dave K – I’d love to tell you some of these, but they stay on the road… 😉


What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?

Dave K – there are definitely some weird ones but I’m struggling to remember. It’s quite hard to remember too much after our shows.


Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?

Davvers N –  I guess so, they didn’t try and stop me, nor did they push or try and get involved, so I would say they just let me get on with it.

Dave K – mine were pretty supportive, as they were both musicians too (at least in part). They always paid for music lessons and instruments, and other than insisting I got a degree, they let me follow my music wherever it took me. I think they misunderstand rock music as ‘angry’ and maybe ‘negative’ music, but they support me anyway.


What are your favorite tracks to play live?

Davvers N – Falter & Saltwater

Dave K – the current favorite has to be ‘Falter’ as it is so heavy that it never fails to get attention with its riffs and big vocals. Other than that, another old favorite is ‘Hanging On’ from our first EP, which has a massive drop at the end.


Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?

Dave K – there are a few candidates for this, but when I was very young it was Elvis, from my parents. I remember a lot of Queen in the house and rocking out to that when I was 6 or 7. Led Zeppelin were a big influence too, then Nirvana and Soundgarden during the grunge era, but I can remember, literally the moment I heard the first bars of  RHCP ‘Around the World’ that things had changed. BOOM. It was so animalistic.

Davvers N – The sounds and images from MTV2 in the 90s is the easier answer, but I was heavily influenced by RHCP, Primus, and Nirvana, back in the day.


If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?

Dave K – right now I’d love to do a tour with Fu Manchu, who I saw last year at Desert Fest in London. They manage to be really fun but also heavy, and I really enjoy their live show.


What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?

Dave K – I think so far, this last EP is our greatest accomplishment, and it is a bit of a landmark for us.


If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?

Davvers N – I can’t imagine NOT playing in a band, this doesn’t bear imagining.

Dave K – at the moment we all have day jobs, but music is our first love without a doubt.


What type of equipment do you use for live shows?

Davvers N – I mostly use my Gibson EB Bas, which has a really strong presence and punch to it, and a Trace Elliott combo. On occasion I do get out a classic Dynacord BS142, try finding one of those these days. It’s a beast though at 50kg, so a real effort to get anywhere.

Dave K – where possible I like to use a Shure SM58 radio mic so I can get all around the stage and into the crowd without tripping over cables.


What do you think of the current music scene?

Dave K – it’s quite weird at the moment. Talking just about rock, from the top down it looks alive and well, as basically any band that has ever made it and is still together tours almost no-stop. But then, there are lots of tribute acts around (which I accept, but really don’t love, as it stifles the next generation of bands), and tons and tons of great unsigned live bands around struggling to get noticed. Venues are closing down quite a lot here in London, but they’ve just announced some tax relief for venues here which might help keep a few alive now. Beyond that, there are some smaller scenes starting up as a rejection of the mainstream. We’re part of one called ‘Civil War London’ which is a not-for-profit collective of bands from the heavy rock scene.


For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?

Dave K – I think they might be surprised to know that there are a few new bands, like us, reaching back to that 90s grunge/heavy sound now coming out of London. I think there’s going to be another wave of guitar music or some new scene, that’s going to blow in the next few years.

Davvers N – I wear a suit to work every day – in Mayfair (a swanky part of London)


If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?

Davvers N – Like MTV2 back in the 90s with some modern rock touches here and there.

Dave K – Well, we’ve had a lot of people saying ‘early Soundgarden’ and ‘Black Sabbath’ lately, which is awesome.


Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?

Well, I’d like to thank our fans so far for all their support and to ask any new readers/listeners to check out our EP.


Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock!

Davvers N – Thanks for your continued support, and keep an eye on what we’re up to when you can!


Band members:
David Kirk
 Ryan O’Hare
Karl Morgan
David Norman
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