Eye Empire Talk Love, Respect, Pad Thai on the Go + Supporting Veterans
Eye Empire, featuring former Stuck Mojo/Stereomud/Dark New Day bassist Corey Lowery and B.C. Kochmit (formerly of Switched), are raring to go! The band, fronted by Donald "DC" Carpenter, a former member of the U.S. military, operates off the mantra of "Love, Respect, Support." They also churn out some face-melting hard rock!
Their mission is to foster community, and trust us, it's not lip service. While the mantra is as follows --Embrace Love Not Hate and Judgment; Respect Everyone No Matter Race, Creed or Preference; and Support Each Other by Being Present and Active-- Carpenter is plugged in, communicating directly with the fans, even engaging them in the songwriting process and taking their input for song titles. He also shared how he and the band support veteran causes, and revealed his not-so-secret talent.
What's new and exciting in the world of Eye Empire?
The evolution of the Empire is in full effect. We've been on a three-month break after 18 months on the road. As a new band, you don't carry much with you. You have to come out and prove yourself over and over again. We need to stay ahead of the game. We will be busy this year, so we wrote and recorded a new record.
Since this might be somewhat of an introduction of Eye Empire to our readers, how would you sell it, so to speak?
I feel like our music is the sound of life. I describe it as "dynamic rock." Life is very dynamic, and like it, our music is. Life is not middle of the road, not pedal to the metal and not life in the cloud. It's all of that. There are songs where we are getting stuff off our chests and there are tender epiphanies. It's important to be open to the audience. I can get brutal, especially, on this new record. Everything up to this point has been training to learn how to express myself in a way that our fans can truly relate.
Can you give us some insight into the Eye Empire process of writing and recording songs?
We're spread out. Corey creates it and sends it down to me. It's a crazy process. I found myself working from home, filling my days with the writing process, and I got into a real groove. About 10 or 11 songs in, I was engaging fans and bringing them into the process. I reached out the fans, asked them to suggest titles without hearing music or anything. At 1PM on one day, I said I would pick my favorite title and write the song based on the fan title suggestion. We came up with "Reborn." It was magical. It turned into a song that has single potential.
Watch 'I Pray' Video
It sounds like you are really plugged in with the fans. Social media is big for the millennials, but it takes away some of mystery. You are always aware of what your favorite band are doing thanks to Twitter posts and Facebook status updates, as opposed to having that curiosity that separates the rock stars from their fans. Do you agree or disagree, and think social media is just a way to strengthen the band-fan connection?
It comes down to content. Like mundane details? What's the value? It is a tool, I find, since this world is aching and dying for relatability. There are souls out here feeling a little lonely. For whatever reason, they feel their experience is unique and that no one can relate, so I can keep a pulse on our fanbase this way. I am responsible for how I influence them or where they find support, musically. We tell people to reach out to us. It's a society that is proactive and involves the fans.
Do you non-musical skills or hobbies or talent?
I've been in the military. I was in the U.S. Army in Fort Hood Texas. That is one of the reason the album has songs about PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], and we are in a documentary about homeless veterans, called Battlefield of the Mind. [Staind frontman] Aaron Lewis is executive producing. It is powerful stuff.
How involved are you in that doc? Are you in it?
We're involved on the music side. We did some original tracks. I didn't face combat service, but I can understand the position. It's serious. There will be a generation of wounded veterans. You don't have to carry a visible scar of war. But all of them come back wounded.
So true. Tell us something not music-related about you.
I love to cook. I am a foodie. I am a big food guy. I can swing it in the kitchen. I like Spanish and Mexican flavors. I like Thai. I like mixing up Pad Thai on the fly.
Eye Empire tour dates:
Sun Feb 10 Columbus OH Alrosa Villa
Tue Feb 12 Cincinnati OH Century Theater
Wed Feb 13 Marion OH Tinks
Thu Feb 14 Cleveland OH Peabodys
Fri Feb 15 Battle Creek MI Planet Rock
Sat Feb 16 Flint MI Machine Shop
Sun Feb 17 South Bend IN Cheers
Tue Feb 19 Kokomo IN Centerstage
Wed Feb 20 Joliet IL Mojoes
Fri Feb 22 Madison WI Regent St Retreat
Sat Feb 23 Wausau WI Fillmor
Sun Feb 24 Rock Island IL Ribco
Tue Feb 26 Rochester MN Wicked Moose
Wed Feb 27 Fargo ND Legacy Ballroom
Thu Feb 28 Minot ND Original Bar
Fri Mar 1 Bismarck ND O.N.E.
Sat Mar 2 Harrisburg SD Phoenix Lounge
Mon Mar 4 Missoula MT Monks
Wed Mar 6 Spokane WA The Center
Thu Mar 7 Boise ID Knitting Factory
Tue Mar 12 Shreveport LA Voodoo
Wed Mar 13 Birmingham AL Iron Horse
Fri Mar 15 Huntsville AL Crossroads
Fri Mar 29 Ripon WI Plaza Bowl
Sat Mar 30 Janesville WI Back Bar
Thur Apr 18 Middleton WI Club Tavern
Fri Apr 19 Crest Hill IL Bada Brew
Sat Apr 20 Chicago Ridge IL Bobby McGees