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  • Writer's pictureEryk The Strange

Interview with Empathy Test

  1. What is your favorite tour snack?

Bananas are the perfect tour snack because they're super quick to eat and come with their own biodegradable wrapper. Research has apparently proven that two bananas provide enough energy for “a strenuous 90 minute workout”, which is basically how long I’m on stage for a headline show. So yeah, bananas will definitely be on our rider for Empathy Test’s first headline our of America and Canada in October and November.

Q: What is the most memorable show you've played? A: The first time Empathy Test played Wave Gotik Treffen Festival in Germany always sticks in my mind. It was 2015, we’d only done a handful of shows to date. When we arrived at the venue we were blown away by the size of the place. Over a thousand people watched us and afterwards we sold 200 CDs in less than half an hour. If you’re interested in our CDs and vinyl by the way, we have just opened a new international web store.

Q: What's the biggest challenge you're facing right now? A: Getting a new album finished! It's been three years since Empathy Test’s last studio album (2020's Monsters). Although we did put out a live album last year. The songs are written, but we are missing the catalyst - that spark that tells how the album is going to feel, sonically. We’ve no interest in retreading the same ground or releasing a record for the sake of it. That’s the beauty of not having a record label breathing down your neck. It’s hard to disappoint the fans by not delivering on our promises, but better that, than disappointing with a sub-par album.

Q: If you could play one song for a potential fan, which would you choose?

A: My answer to this question will probably always be Losing Touch, as it’s our biggest song by far. It has an uncanny ability to hook people in. The original version has had over 4m streams on Spotify. It was the first song we released and seems to have this magic ability to grab people’s attention in a way that few songs do. It’s also a great place to start, because, well, it’s the beginning of the Empathy Test timeline.

Q: If you were a salad, what dressing would you have?

A:Balsamic vinegar. I absolutely love vinegar and anything pickled. I think I’m basically pickled at this point.

Q: Do you remember the first time that a piece of music ever really made you feel something?

A:One of the first songs I remember being really into as a kid was Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer. I loved the stop motion animated video and the track has a great groove, lyrics and an incredibly uplifting vibe. A lot later of course, I also loved Electric Feel by MGMT which feels pretty directly inspired by the Peter Gabriel track.

Q:When not on tour are you involved in your local music scene? A: Not really no, I am usually pretty busy with Empathy Test. I think already being an internationally touring artist when you move somewhere kind of means you don’t really need to. Linz (where I now live, in Austria) is also mostly into Hip-Hop and Metal so the synthpop shows are pretty poorly attended. Myself and Daniel Graves (Aesthetic Perfection), who lives about 40 minutes drive away from me, have often talked about putting on a club night but of course we’ve never gotten around to it because as soon as the pandemic ended we started touring again.

Q: Do you have any weird fan interaction stories?

A: What public figure doesn’t? Nothing really weird though, luckily. As a performer, I have quite an innocent/childlike persona, which probably shields me from a lot of the weirder stuff. A lot of times people have thought “Empathy Test” was an actual online test and asked how they take it. Most of my interactions are genuinely quite lovely. I never really know what to do when someone is super excited to meet me, I just try and be as down to earth as possible and assure them I am just a regular person, like them.

Q:Is there anything you’re sick of answering? A: I must say you’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding those questions, so thank you! Of course, I have to be grateful that anyone wants to interview us/me, but sometimes it’s pretty obvious that the person is just cutting and pasting the same stock questions to every band and not doing any research about the band beforehand, so I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had to explain where the band name comes from (Blade Runner), how we started the band (we loved the Drive (Movie) soundtrack track and thought, hey we could make music like that) and what our influences are (anything we like!).

Q: What’s something you wish someone would ask you? A: Right now? How do I get tickets to your North American tour? And my answer would be: on haha

Q: Are you working on anything new?

A: At the moment, I am teaching myself to produce music, with a view to release some solo material to plug the gap between Empathy Test albums. It’s something I should have started on a long time ago. It’s a huge undertaking and a little overwhelming so I am not sure how long it’ll be until I am ready to release something. Anyone wanting to keep up with that can follow me on Spotify or Facebook.

Q:Do you have something you want to say to your fans?

A: think most people realise that it’s a really tough time for artists right now. Because of all the cancellations that occurred around the pandemic we now have a vicious cycle of fans not wanting to buy tickets until they know a show is definitely happening - which usually ends up being the last minute - and events being canceled or postponed because not enough advance tickets have been sold. Which in turn, creates more uncertainty.

Touring America is a huge and costly undertaking. As a European band, the US visa alone cost us over $3,000 to secure and the flights for just myself and our drummer (unfortunately our current keys player Nadine hadn’t been in the band long enough when we applied, to get on the visa) another $1200, then you’ve got accommodation and gas costs. It all adds up to more money than we are being guaranteed by the promoters. The only way to break even and pay ourselves is through ticket and merchandise sales.

So to make it a success we really need your support, so please hit up the Facebook event pages, RSVP, invite your friends, and most importantly buy those tickets now. We promise this time, you won’t regret it. Oh, and if you’re looking for people to go to shows with, join the Facebook Fan Group.

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