Interview: Collapse Under the Empire

Collapse Under the Empire is getting ready to play their first concert since the band’s formation. For the first time in their history, the band will perform live (07 May, Saturday) at Dunk!festival in Belgium. The band also announced the release of their new double album “A Matter of Identity” for September 2016.

Baldo, Cultartes: Hello! On May 7, you will perform your first live concert at Dunk!Festival. The world and the listeners on the niche you are, know you very well already and are eager to listen to you live. Do you prepare something special for this first show in Belgium?

Chris, C.U.T.E.: Yes, we always said to ourselves, if we should ever play live, it should be something special. We would like to take a different path that suits us. We will maintain the mysteriousness around „Collapse“ when playing live. Until today, there are no images or videos on the internet, that picture us as persons or in the studio. None of the EP’s or albums has pictures of us, coming with it. Even in regard to the few promotional pictures that have only been taken, because it would have been problematic to promote our albums professionally without them. One could almost get the impression that we are a non-existing band. Right from the start, we aimed to turn away from what is ubiquitous in the music business, because we have the opinion that only the music itself is important. Less is definitely more. Nevertheless, it is common to post every crap to keep people on board. We certainly let our fans know what we are working on at the moment, or what we have planned for the future; – but apart from that, there are no activities. Coming back to the issue of playing live…this mystification of the band is something we would like to maintain live. We are still working on more concepts and ideas. At Dunkfestival we have set our focus on the lightshow. At this point, I wouldn’t like to reveal too much….

For many artists, the mainstream ones, the essence of making a memorable show consists of many factors, but less in what music is. What is the idea to do such a show for you?

ChrisIt is important for us that our performance differs from the usual rock concerts. It’s supposed to be more of a show than a concert. Our live concept has a few special features. The show will only take place in the dark and we won’t play in smaller clubs. As musicians we will also restrain ourselves and won’t come to the fore. Everything shall be different from what one is usually used to.

When did the idea of making your appearance in front of the audience through a live performance first form?

ChrisAt the end of last year, after 7 years of working in the studio, we decided to bring Collapse under the Empire live on stage for the first time. One of the reasons is that we received worldwide concert requests to go on tour, or to play at festivals, requests that we have always cancelled because neither one of us had time to go on tour.
We believed that if the time is right and if we have the right team on our side we would play live. Since the beginning of the year, this is the case. We collaborate with four other musicians, a sound engineer and an internationally very experienced lighting designer, who partly takes over the tour management. After all, it was the hard-core fans of Collapse who texted us on facebook over a year ago, and that triggered all the live activities.

Your music has a distinct feeling, it induces you a reverie state as melancholy too. Of all the musical genres what made you play?

ChrisThe love for music! Once you have fallen for music it haunts you and your whole life. If you discover a certain musicality, or joy in composing, it is the most beautiful hobby that can happen to you.

If tomorrow I want to start a post-rock project, what should I know first?

ChrisOne should rely on one’s own voice, instead of desperately trying to implement something or to emulate a genre. If one likes profound melodies, atmospheres and emotion within music, one quickly comes to a point, where vocals rarely have a place. If so, one is very close to the genre, that I like to compare to film soundtracks. I believe that when they started, 75% of the so called post-rock bands did not know where the path would take them. And that only with time, this path became clearer and more defined. We experienced the same thing. When we released our debut in 2009, we would never have thought that listeners would think of us as post rock band. We thought that our album had only little to do with post rock, since it was pretty electronical oriented.

Post-rock always seemed to me a genre that has nothing to do with the world I live in. A music that has other horizons, reaches other heights, inspiring you in so many levels. These been said, where do you find your inspiration?

Martin, C.U.T.E.: There is no direct inspiration for us as such. The melodies and the arrangements that we write and produce are mostly experiences and impressions that we have gathered over the years of our lives. Therefore, the way in which we produce is more spontaneous and intuitive, than planned. We don’t have fixed rules from any label or manager…and this makes us free in everything that we compose. This is probably the reason, why we are able to cross beyond the horizon and reach „heights“, which is impossible for many other musicians.

What is the strangest moment about you chose to create a song?

MartinThe strangest day was a Monday. Chris never has time on Mondays!

Post-rock is usually characterized by the absence of lyrics? What is your take on this? And in your case is there a specific reason why your songs don’t have lyrics?

MartinWe deliberately forego lyrics, because our instruments speak a language of their own. Every song is like a book, through which every listener can create own images in his head. Having lyrics would be like taking away a part of our listeners imagination.

Have you ever considered making a cover of a classic composition? What would it fit?

MartinYes! We have already made a cover of Depeche Mode! However, this is the only cover we have ever produced. You are welcome to listen to the song:
Collapse Under The Empire (Depeche Mode Cover)
Here is the original.

Do you have any plans for future or any other live shows?

Martin: At this point I can unfortunately not confirm anything. At Dunkfestival, we aim to present a show to all the post-rock fans that differs from all the other bands, visually as well as musically. Everything else remains still uncertain….

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