"Self-described as World Beat meets Haute Rock," the band's Bio states, "Young Empires deliver fresh yet distinguished dance tracks that make you want to strut." Whether the band will prove world beaters is hard to predict, but certainly Young Empires has an international appeal and the beat of the electronic dance music played by this fashionable, Toronto-based trio is hard to resist.
"Before long, we are all going to be living under their empire," OTM predicted. "They won’t rule over us, but their music might."
"With their electro sound, energetic front man, Matthew Vlahovich, and catchy rhythm provided by Ellingson and base player Jake Palahnuk... There is no doubt that this band will take the music scene by storm in the next few months," OTM reported following a concert in October.
"Any indie-disco merchants that have the smarts and balls to pinch the beat from Spiller's 'Groovejet' are alright in my books..." NME commented.
Young Empires is a three piece that formed in October 2009 and is based in Toronto. Though all three members grew up in cities other than Toronto, Young Empires now calls it home. The band consists of Matthew Vlahovich (synthesizers, lead vocals), Aaron Ellingson (guitar, run beats, dance), and Jake Palahnuk (bass guitar).
"Late September 2009. Aaron [Ellingson] and I started playing together first in August with some other musicians," Palahnuk told Torontette. "They all sucked pretty bad but we decided to stick it out. He had a good smile. I had met Matt [Vlahovich] a few months before that at my last ever show with my last band. He was doing a solo project at the time called Golden Girls and I really liked his stuff and then I sent him a message seeing if he wanted to jam."
"Our first show was at wrongbar, opening for We Have Band from the UK," Vlahovich explained. "We basically wrote our first set within a week of confirming that show and we hadn’t even nailed down a name. In fact I think on the poster for that show, they called us Empire States even though our name officially for that show was Young Empires and we’ve kept that name since. That was in October 2009."
"We formed Young Empires in October 2009 in Toronto, Canada. We had agreed to draw on our collective experiences and allow personal tastes to instruct all aspects of song writing. Since that time, we have had the chance to tour the United Kingdom, visit three continents, and meet wonderful people," Young Empires wrote in its Wordpress Blog. "To celebrate our one year anniversary, we were invited to travelto Bogota, Colombia to perform at the inaugural Nem-Catacoa festival with Green Day and Jamiroquai."
Young Empires is hoping to release its first album next summer, but fans can look forward to a single being released in early 2011. While the band worked with producers on some demos in the past, all of its current recordings are self-produced. The trio intend to produce their own album as well, explaining that they consider it an important part of the artistic process.
“We know in our heads what we want the band to sound like but we can’t describe it,” Vlahovich told OTM. “So it’s difficult to work with someone that’s not involved in the creative process.”
"If Young Empires have their way, we’ll all be living in their dance-infused, feel-good world of musical expression and creativity," OTM wrote.
Although unsigned, Young Empires’ track “Glory of the Night” was included on the Kitsuné Maison 10 compilation released in November.
Watch the video of "Glory of the Night" here , or listen to a 'demo' of the track here.
“We want people to feel good,” Ellingson explained. “And how people feel good is different. Some people feel good when they’re dancing, some people feel good when they’re sitting by a fire place reading a great
book...What we try to do is have music that makes you feel good without being so bubblegum pop about it.”
"Taking aspects from all of their favourite genres, from disco to electronic to rock to ethnic, Young Empires create a musical style all their own," OTM commented.
“It’s kind of hard to describe your own music because you’re creating it, so you can never listen to it from an objective point of view,” Ellingson continued.
"What initially comes off as electronic pop reveals itself to incorporate strong elements of rock, resulting in a dance-infused, beat-heavy mash," OTM continued.
Palahnuk describes the band's music as “strut-worthy.”
Watch the video of "Against the Wall" here , or listen to a 'demo' of the track here.
"With an ability to create catchy and memorable beats, Young Empires inspire movement," OTM added.
“Given the style of music we play, I think we’d be easily lumped into the party band scene, but we deliberately try to make sure that we’re not seen as a party band,” Vlahovich continued. “Yes, we like to have a good time on stage and put on a good show, but the music is more serious than that.”
“As much as we make music because we love it, we also do want to make this a career and have always wanted to do music as our full-time professions,” Palahnuk contributed.
“I think success for this band has to have an international component to it because that’s one of the things we’ve strived for – to be able to travel the world with this project and to create fans or to have a fan base in strange and foreign places,” Vlahovich added.
“I think at the end of the day, as a band you want as many people to hear your music as possible,” Ellingson commented. “We’re not necessarily the kind of band that needs the positive affirmation from the media saying, ‘Hey, this band is good.’ I don’t care if we’re on the cover of magazines, but being on the cover of magazines and having Hype Machine write about us...makes thousands more people hear about our band. So that’s everything to us.”
Young Empires like Toronto for its ability to act as a creative and ethnic melting pot, giving bands the freedom to experiment. “Young Empires sounds the way it does because we live in Toronto,” Ellingson told OTM. “Anything’s possible when you’re from Toronto because you don’t have to sound a certain way.”
"We had some good fans in New York City at Bowery Ballroom," Ellingson told Torontette. "We opened for Dragonette and I feel like no one there had ever heard of our band. It was literally the one show where we had zero fans when we started the show and we kinda won people over with a good handful of people. They made the effort to find out that we were playing in Brooklyn next and drove all the way there. They were front row, singing along to all the songs the very next night. Pretty cool."
"We’ve actually had a lot more online attention from New York and L.A. than from Toronto," Ellingson continued. "We get compared to a lot of New York bands and from when we first hit the scene we had a lot of people saying that we would do well in New York."
"It’s weird, when you first start a band, the first couple shows that you play, you end up playing to your friends and people you know, Ellingson added. "I think we’re just starting now to get to that point where we don’t have to rely on that any more. People are starting to know who Young Empires are. We’re just getting to that point where we see what a real Toronto audience is like for us."
"Yeah I think by nature, when you’re writing about a band you have to compare them to something, Ellingson concluded. "I personally rather be compared to a couple bands rather than a genre. Like when people say Young Empires is dance-punk. I don’t even know what dance punk is and punk doesn’t relate to our band at all. I wouldn’t hate on journalists for doing that because I think that’s what people kinda expect them to do."
Watch the video of "Rain of Gold" here , or listen to a 'demo' of the track here.
"That’s why we have the sound we do, being based in Toronto," Vlahovich commented. "We’re putting a mosaic together where we’re drawing on different influences but we don’t necessarily have one cohesive melting pot sound. We just want every song to be interesting. We don’t want it to sound like the song previously you heard from our band. And I think that as our band continues to evolve there’s gonna be a lot more of that as we continue to draw on more influences and genres."
Young Empires have released a number of demos and videos, each showing a different aspect to this band, and several of these tracks are available as 'free' downloads to anyone who registers an interest in the band on its Myspace page. Whether the songs are fast or slow, hips sway to the rhythm and feet tap to the beat.
Watch Young Empires recording "White Doves" in the studio here .
Watch the music video of "White Doves" here , or listen to the track here.
"I think its going to become increasingly difficult to classify our band," Palahnuk contributed. "We write a lot of songs and we just know what feels good and what we like. We never go into a song writing saying OK let’s write a slow song. We just write. We’re not afraid to just let a song be what it is."
Young Empires released a 'demo' of a new, slower track called "The Earth Plates Are Shifting" as a 'free' download through According to G in December. Listen to the track here.
"The three-piece band based out of Toronto has only been together for one year, but they are already destined for musical sovereignty," OTM concluded.
Watch the video of "Diamond Rings" here .
In a similar fashion to the music of the Bee Gees and its controlling influence on John Travolta as the character Tony Manero in the 70's, in just one short year Young Empires has already delivered dance tracks that are certain to make you want to strut your stuff on the dancefloor, but it should not need a movie to make this Toronto-based trio an international success. World domination is a realistic ambition for this fashionable band and its electro dance-rock beat.
Links and Contacts:
Pierre Tremblay: [email protected]
North America: Ben Buchanan: [email protected]
DawBell PR: Richard Dawes: [email protected]
Date Venue City State With
Fri 12/31/10 Ground Hall Houston TX Warpaint, Ume
Sat 01/15/11 Metro Chicago IL Tomorrow Never Knows Festival 2011, Tanlines
Thu 01/20/11 L’imperial de Quebec Quebec QC Chromeo, MNDR
Fri 01/21/11 Metropolis Montreal PQ Chromeo, MNDR
Sat 01/22/11 Opera House Toronto ON Chromeo, MNDR
Fri 01/28/11 Ground Hall Houston TX
Fri 04/08/11 Boston University George Sherman Union Boston USA