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Upstate Unleashed: Interview with Kenny Lawrence of Fall of An Empire

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Born of the fire and ash comes a stoner/doom metal ensemble that has been working to rattle the Upstate and bring groovy tunes unlike what’s commonly found in the scene today. Fall of an Empire has been kicking ass and grooving souls since 2011 and on January 17 they released their debut album Songs of Steel and Sorrow to the ravenous masses to widespread praise. The hard rock, soulful festival of sounds features not only some incredible instrumental sound and fury with crashing drums and entrancing guitars, but it also features unrelenting and emotionally charged vocals. Examiner.com got a chance to pick the brains of the man behind the microphone, vocalist Kenny Lawrence, to find out more about Fall of An Empire, music and magic that goes into creating what’s being heralded as some of the most powerful hard/stoner rock in the Carolinas.

How would you describe your sound?
KL:
Well we are basically a stoner rock band at the whole, but we've got a lot of broad influences. If I could say one thing it would be if Sabbath's Dio era had a baby with Rage Against the Machine in their early years without the rapping. That sounds crazy but that's kinda how it sounds in my head. Other than that I don't think we sound like anything else out there.

How long have you been making music?
KL:
Since I was about 12 years old. Corey Porter who is widely active in our local music scene made me wanna pick up a guitar when I was about 10 (yrs old). He and my older brother were best friends and Corey would bring his guitar and shred like Hendrix when we were that young. He had a major influence on me.

What inspires you?
KL:
Art, in every single medium and form. I lose myself in it. It takes on this whole other meaning in my head.

How do you go about the songwriting process?
KL:
Well, when we first started this was a vision of our guitar player Brent Carroll and he wrote 95 percent of our music. That's where our original sound came from, but as members changed we all have sort of become a machine when it comes to writing. We all get into a room and collaborate on how we want the flow of each song to go. Brent is an amazing writer and comes up with most of our lyrics and riffs. The rest of us fill in the canvas.

You guys just released your new CD; tell us a little bit about it.
KL:
Well, the album is our first in hopefully a long line of many more. We recorded it down in Columbia (SC) with Jay Matheson at the Jam Room. Jay has an extensive and impressive body of work bands like Baroness, Kylesa, and Black Tusk. We really wanted to work with him and we are very, very happy with the end results. This album is about struggle. And trying to overcome that struggle, through any means.

What is your favorite song on the new album?
KL:
Probably "Vagrant Blues" because of its content and melody.

What is the best thing about making music to you?
KL:
That 45 minutes on the stage. The rest is business and shenanigans

Name three artists that had a major influence on you.
KL:
Pink Floyd for their songwriting, The Allman brothers band for the over all feel you get from Duane's guitar when it sings the way it does, and Layne Staley for baring his soul in everything he did.

What was your first concert?
KL:
Poison, Cinderella, Faster Pussycat and Winger.

Where do you want to go with your music?
KL:
I want to be comfortably touring playing large theater shows at some point.

What are your plans for 2014?
KL:
To make another record, and possibly play up and down the east coast.

The year’s only just begun and it’s obvious that contrary to their namesake Empire is only just beginning to beginning to build. With more music on the horizon, there are many fans in the Upstate that are about to be inundated with all the soul-tastic, groove they can stomach. If you haven’t picked up Songs of Steel and Sorrow yet, you can get a digital copy via their Bandcamp page or pick up a physical copy at a show. If you’re a fan of Monster Magnet, Karma to Burn, and Black Sabbath you will fall in love with Fall of an Empire. So, what are you waiting for? Join the revolution and have a revelation.

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