Written by Kelsey Raynor
Having emerged during June of 2015, The Empire Police are an indie-rock band from Preston. The band is made up of Jordao Bassa, 19, on vocals and rhythm guitar, Tom Hale, 18, on lead guitar and backing vocals, Fynley Dobson, 19, on drums and George Jacques, 19, on bass guitar.
We spoke to Jordao Bassa, who gave us an insight into The Empire Police. Having released their debut EP in January and new single Dreamboat Picture on the 1st of April, 2017 is set to be a big year for the band.
How did the band first come together?
Jordao Bassa: Well, I knew George because we were taught guitar/bass at the same place. Fyn and I knew each other through high school and me and Tom met at college. I’d written and recorded some original material and wanted to play it live, so I asked them. After a month or so we started writing songs as a band and carried on from there.
Have any of the band had/are having a formal music education? If so, where and why?
J: I have always sung from a very early age, but began vocal/guitar lessons at Jopson Music Academy around 13/14. Fyn’s the same, drumming from an early age and joined Jopson around the same age. George was also taught at Jopson and Tom has always had guitar lessons since he was around 14. I’m studying song writing at BIMM, Manchester. Fyn is at the Royal Northern College of Music, Tom is at the Leeds College of Music and George is enrolling at BIMM next year on a bass guitar course. The reasoning behind it is because we wanted to better ourselves as musicians and even more so now that we’re performing live on a regular basis.
When you first started out, did you think you’d be supporting bands and doing shows around the country by 2017?
J: To us, it feels like we’ve grown an incredible amount in the space of less than two years. We’ve gone from playing friends birthdays, charity events and other function gigs to supporting bands like Cabbage and INHEAVEN and performing in various cities. In our eyes, we can only keep growing and things can only keep getting better.
What music artists do you find are most influential of your music?
J: Bands like The Strokes, The Libertines, The Cribs and Arctic Monkeys. Musicians such as Johnny Marr and John Squire. Very much a mixture of late 80s/early 90s guitars and the gritty sound of more modern bands.
Besides other artists, what other factors influence the music you make? Family, friends, passion?
J: I don’t really think any of those things influence us. I feel like our aim within our music is to take everything the audience knows and loves within a genre and put our own twist on it, rather than specific issues influencing the lyrics/music. We want to be different, basically.
You released Dreamboat Picture on April 1st, how long has this been in the works? What was the inspiration behind it?
J: The guitar parts were first written by Tom in January/February. Together we wrote the lyrics. I wrote the second verse and choruses, Tom wrote the first verse and pre-choruses. We recorded it mid-March at The Grand in Clitheroe. The inspiration, or at least the theme behind it was the idea of a relationship that’s sort of going downhill fast and you know it’s happening but you go with it anyway.
Is more new music coming soon? Can we possibly expect a larger project to come from this single?
J: We’re aiming to release another single in the Summer and our second EP ‘Welcome to the Retrograde’ should be finished later this year.
What artists are the band listening to right now?
J: Personally, I’m listening to a lot of White Lies. Their most recent album especially. Also, the new Kasabian and Gorillaz tunes, they’re quality. George is listening to a lot of Jagwar Ma and Tom’s into lots of hip-hop and soul at the moment. Fyn’s into a lot of ambient stuff such as Andy Stott and Tussle.
After speaking previously, I’ve learnt that Preston’s Ferret is one of the bands favourite venues. Why?
J: The Ferret is a venue who’ve been very good to us. They gave us our first real support gig back In February last year with Lake Komo and Dan Morris (ex-booker, now books for LiVE and Guild Hall in Preston) has given us some great opportunities there. We headlined the Sunday of Glastonferret last year, supported Trampolene, supported Cabbage and launched our EP there. It’s a local and well known venue and the crowd is always an absolute treat. We love it there.
There are many up-and-coming indie bands in the North now. How would you say you guys are different?
J: In all honesty, we feel like most music being released nowadays under the umbrella of ‘indie rock’ is all about the image. A lot of it is quite simple and safe. We fell like our sound is different because we’re influenced by numerous artists of different genres and we try our best to mix those influences together. The fact that as songwriters, myself and Tom are very different. I like my simple riffs and big singalong choruses (Stop the Clocks) whereas Tom favours the more theoretical side such as the harmonies and intricate parts in Taxi Rank. I think that we are beginning to find a balance between the two and that makes us different. If you listen to our EP, you’ll hear that each song is different from the last, whilst they all remain within the genre of ‘indie rock’.
What would you say is the absolute dream for the band? Where do you guys want to be in 10 years’ time, or 50?
J: In 10 years’ time, we want to have headlined festivals and be touring comfortably to venue of 2000+. We really think we can go all the way with this and we will.
Lastly, if you could be a cocktail, what would you be and why?
J: A mojito because we’re mint, also can’t think of a better dad joke.