For metalcore vets Crown the Empire, last year proved to be pivotal for more reasons than one.
In 2022, the band would set out to mark the 10th anniversary of their seminal debut, The Fallout, all while strategically showcasing their next iteration with the reveal of a series of dynamic singles like “Dancing With the Dead” and the Courtney LaPlante collab, “In Another Life”.
While launching the 10th anniversary tour for the enduring album, Crown the Empire was also setting in motion their next campaign - one that would underscore the band's evolution as contributors to the space of outsider art. It was a move that paid dividends for the band, celebrating their start, to better frame just how far they had come. Few bands have the kind of run that include commemorating a decade, let alone are able to use the milestone to swing momentum into their second.
The band would go onto punctuate the year by leveraging the strength of their new material and the resurgence of their classic catalog, to secure a coveted spot on the fall leg of the Knotfest Roadshow supporting Iowan gamechangers, Slipknot. The tour proved defining, galvanizing fans around Crown the Empire in a way that reaffirmed what existing fans already knew, while introducing new fans to the fold.
Bookending the band's first decade, Crown the Empire harnessed the momentum they worked to build all of last year to launch into their fifth and most ambitious project yet, Dogma. The culmination of a three-year deep dive into their own personal and creative evolution, the album seemingly follows the same MO the band perfected in 2022 - celebrating the band's rock heavy roots while showcasing their artistic progression.
Ahead of the arrival of Crown the Empire's next chapter, frontman Andy Leo weighed in on the lead up to Dogma and assessed just what has afforded the kind of longevity to be this ambitious in the band's second decade. The vocalist shared the therapeutic value of the album in working through the stall of the pandemic, his auspicious outlook for the future of heavy music and how reaching fans old and new is the ultimate measure of success.
Last year proved to be very pivotal for the band. The 'Fallout' 10th anniversary run, your run on the Knotfest Roadshow and the finale of the arrival of “Immortalize” really felt like the band was turning the page on their next chapter. How did all of that play into the process of writing DOGMA?
Leo - DOGMA had been conceptualized and finished over the pandemic, so it felt like the stars were aligning when last year's schedule happened to fall into place.
Few bands make it to album five let alone find a new creative plateau - What do you attribute the longevity of CtE to?
Leo - It definitely feels like dog years when it comes to the longevity of bands. I'd say we'd credit the fact we started in high school, and that it certainly felt like we were brothers more than the band felt like a business.
There are some especially weighty themes on DOGMA - everything from existentialism to isolationism. How did the turbulence of the two years prior to 2022 steer the direction of this record?
Leo - Absolutely, the pandemic rocked us because all we'd ever known was touring and studio time. So being locked in and learning about ourselves as a band and as individuals kept the sound moving forward and ultimately kept us from breaking up or going insane.
The band has talked about the balance of classic CtE while still progressing as songwriters and musicians. It’s evident to see how these songs showcase your growth, but what were some of the non-negotiables for you in terms of staying true to old school Crown the Empire?
Leo - We've had 10,000 discussions about what would work, what wouldn't and what we could experiment with. As far as non-negotiables, I'd say the big 3 are: 1. When the chorus sounds good on just an acoustic guitar, it'll sound good anywhere. 2. Metalcore riffs mixed with elements from all kinds of rock genres. 3. Select flavors of production that weave our world building concepts to tie it all together.
Given your extensive touring slate last year, did that prompt you to tweak any of the new tracks based on audience reception, fan interaction, or even just the emotional impact of getting back on the road and back onstage?
Leo - The most nerve-racking part of performing the new songs is the audience's reception, because as much as the fans love you, they simply have never heard the songs before. So as much as they want to support you, it requires you to really lose yourself in it and try and win them over which has become exceptionally easier after opening for Slipknot.
Your current run with Nothing More is a killer one-two punch of contemporary heavy music. How do you feel like the landscape of heavy music has evolved in the last decade and what feels promising about the future?
Leo - There is a heavy music renaissance happening right now. The Post-Warped Tour saturation bubble had burst, and the big bang of its collapse spawned so many unique and influential bands or breathed life into some legacy acts. I'm excited to see more of this ripple effect and even more stoked to be a part of it in any way.
There is a bit of a subversive play on religion and spirituality that is consistent on DOGMA. What prompted the band to run with that aesthetic? It doesn’t just seem like it’s for style points, but rather, it feels like it’s part of the overall presentation.
Leo - Over the pandemic, the house I was living in had a massive renaissance style mural painted on the walls and ceiling. And after going through several existential crises whilst looking at this mural every day, it became sort of the lens we wrote everything from.
Obviously, every record is important but given your rank, your tenure and your continued trajectory what feels most rewarding about DOGMA?
Leo - Although this record feels the most ambitious, it's by far the most personal. Over the course of 5 records it has been the most universally well received by old fans and new and that means the world especially coming from pure honesty and expression.
Dogma, from Crown the Empire arrives April 28th from Rise Records. Order the album – HERE
In support of the release of their fifth album, Crown The Empire are currently trekking with Texas sensation, Nothing More for an extended spring run. The band has also recently announced a handful of dates this summer with Falling In Reverse and Ice Nine Kills. Find a full list of live dates below.
Get tickets – HERE
CROWN THE EMPIRE TOUR DATES
supporting Nothing More
4/21 Calgary, AB The Palace Theater
4/22 Edmonton, AB Midway
4/24 Vancouver, BC The Commodore Ballroom
4/25 Boise, ID The Knitting Factory
4/27 Seattle, WA Neptune
4/28 Portland, OR The Roseland Theater
4/29 Spokane, WA The Knitting Factory
5/1 Sacramento, CA Ace of Spades – SOLD OUT
5/2 Sacramento, CA Ace of Spades
5/3 Los Angeles, CA The Belasco
5/5 San Diego, CA Observatory Northpark
supporting Falling In Reverse & Ice Nine Kills
6/30 Syracuse, NY St. Joseph’s Health Ampitheater
7/2 Gilford, NH Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
7/3 Baltimore, MD Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena
7/5 Pittsburgh, PA Petersen Events Center
7/6 Asheville, NC ExploreAsheville.com Arena
7/17 Little Rock, AR Simmons Bank Arena
7/18 Oklahoma City, OK The Zoo Ampitheatre