We recently got the chance to talk to Eye Empire founder and bassist, Corey Lowery. We talked about the band, touring and cellphone recordings at concerts…
You guys are on an off day today?
Corey: Yeah we’re off today here in Witchita, Kansas. We play tomorrow night here in Witchita, then we have 7 more shows for this tour, then we start to tour with Seether in October.
Yeah, that’s the tour with Seether, Sick Puppies and you guys, right?
Corey: Yeah, we’re looking forward to it.
The band’s motto, “Love, Respect, Support”, where did that come from?
Corey: It’s just a motto we belive in, from the band side and the fan side. It takes both of us to make it work. The band’s gotta tour hard and get around the country and people need to come out and support it. So it takes a lot of love, respect and support to make it all work.
Do you have a favorite song from your guy’s setlist?
Corey: It kind of changes, but right now ‘Idiots’ and ‘Victim’ are the songs…
Growing up, what bands influenced you?
Corey: Growing up, my whole family played music, so I got the start from my Mom and Dad, they were in bands called ‘Lumbee’ and ‘Plant and See’. They were also signing tour bands like Iron Butterfly and the Allman Brothers. Growing up in that, I got introduced to other genres. I first started listening to my parent’s stuff like The Beatles, Zeppelin, Sabbath. Later on I got into Judas Priest and became a metal head. Priest, Maiden, Metallica and another huge influence was Pantera. When Pantera came out it was like wow, they had a groove and being from the South, I just gravitated to it. I actually got to tour with Pantera when I was with a band called Stuck Mojo, we did a Europe tour together. I was very fortunate to watch those guys. They are totally humble guys and just love music. They would sit on the side of the stage and gave us the courage to play as hard as we could.
Are there any new up-and-coming bands that you enjoy listening to?
Corey: Yeah, absolutely. There’s a band called Kyng that I like a lot. My brother has a new record with Call Me No One, his side project from Sevendust. There’s a whole lot of great bands out there that you just gotta put your ear to the ground to find. There’s a lot of local talent around.
Yeah, I like to hit shows early to see the opening bands who are usually lesser known. I just hit the Uproar Festival and got there early so I could see all the bands on the smaller stage.
Corey: There’s always that diamond in the rough which is what I’m always looking to find. Who’s creating something fresh and new. Definitely being in a band wanting to inspire bands you’re always in search.
One thing I’ve been seeing a lot of bands talking about is cellphone video recordings at shows?
Corey: We don’t mind that stuff, I support it. There’s no hiding, either the show is good or not. The sound quality is the only drawback. Technology wise, the sound hasn’t caught up to the picture. You can tell who’s moving around, who’s into it and who cares, there’s no hiding anymore. I’ve seen a lot of little clips of bands on YouTube and if I see something I like, it makes me want to go see the concert.
For me, it’s a double-edged sword, because like you said, you see clips and it makes you want to see that band in concert, but at the same time, being in the crowd, it seems like people are too concerned about recording it rather than being into the music at the moment.
Corey: Absolutely, I’m not saying record the entire show, but a quick 30 second clip is cool. Yeah I’ve seen those people as well. Enjoy the shows, it should be about forgetting about all the technologies of the world for the moment, forget your job, it’s a rebellion art that we play. It’s time to let go and if you’re there trying to record the entire show, you’re going to miss the big picture.
You guys just got done touring with the band Non-Point, how’d that tour go?
Corey: It was a great tour, I’ve known them for years. I respect them for all the touring that they do. Anybody that’s out here working as hard as they can, you gotta show them the love and respect and support. They live by what we live by also. Put the best music you can out there and go out there and throw your flag up and see who can salute it. I’ve listened to their new album which sounds awesome.
At the end of September, you guys are opening for Serj Tankian of System of a Down in Las Vegas, right?
Corey: Yeah we’re looking forward to that.
Now that’s a pre-show for the Rock Vegas show right, and do you guys intend on hitting the Rock Vegas show?
Corey: Yeah, that’s more of a pre-show thing. We have 3 days off there, so we’re going to have some fun. Our label and management are coming out, we have a lot to talk about for the future. We’re all in agreement that it’s time for the next gear for 2013 and taking it bigger than what we’ve had before.
I’ve been playing your guy’s album, ‘Impact’, pretty much non-stop and each time I hear another song that I really dig. I enjoy the album, both CD’s, from start to finish.
Corey: We wanted to put out 19 songs, it’s a double disc for $10. 24 songs total, 3 acoustic versions and 2 live versions. We wanted to show people we can pull this stuff off live, and live it’s a whole new animal. There’s no studio and tricks, we’re capable of playing and singing our songs live.
I was also impressed by how the album is put together as far as the CD jacket and the artwork.
Corey: Brad does all the artwork, I produce, record and mix the band, we’re very in house. The reason we could put out 24 songs on a double disc is because we’re a partnership, not so much as a record deal. Most bands I’ve been in the past, you only get paid for 11 songs. We tried to throw the box out rather than just think outside the box, we wanted to burn it down. We wanted to come up with a new format and give people a lot more than the standard stock stuff.
Have you guys had any of your fans do anything outrageous?
Corey: There’s always something crazy going on. Some of the coolest stuff I’ve seen is when people get tattoos of Eye Empire, logos or lyrics. I think it’s cool to be a part of something where you’re effecting someone where you’re breaking down an emotional barrior and to open up those gates and have something in common where they believe it as much as we do, they become part of the Empire. They help build it.
You have a nice collection of tattoos, do you remember your first one?
Corey: My first one was really personal, I got a Native American one. My Dad was full blood (Native American) and my Mom was Irish and we were raised with my Dad’s people. It has my Dad as a buffalo, it’s basically a Pow-Wow that goes around my arm. Within the Pow-Wow, it’s me as a wolf, my brother Clint as an eagle and Dustin as a bear with smoke rising, which stands for loyalty, strength and vision.
What kind of bass guitars and equipment do you use?
Corey: I play Dean basses, I have a bunch of amps and basses, but Dean’s been really good to me as far as fixing stuff quickly when they break, they’re solid basses. I got to fill in for Eric Bass from Shinedown one night, those were the basses he was playing. When I get there, Eric asked what I need so I said a hotel room and a bass to jam with. It was killer playing the bass and it was easy to pick up and use, it just felt right. Josh over at Dean offered to build me one and I was like absolutely, I’ll support it.
Do you have a favorite city to hit when on tour?
Corey: I love New York. I lived in New York for a little while. It’s the craziest place in the world,
it’s like the capital of the world so it’s got a little bit of everything. I love San Diego for the weather, the mountain and ocean. Vegas when you want the ‘Vegas Experience’. I love California and L.A., very inspiring place and it’s always a great experience when we go out there. I’ve done a lot of song writing out there.
What do you enjoy doing while on the road on an off day?
Corey: Usually it’s movies, song writing, or we’re really involved in EETV. I guess it’s some of the boredom, we’re going to start doing some old 80’s TV shows and acting them out. Just some YouTube fun and not be so serious all the time.
For more info on Corey Lowery and Eye Empire, check out the bands site… http://www.eyeempire.com/