Awaken the Empire Interview

Nicole Lemberg:Your tour with Eyes Set to Kill just started a few days ago and you already had such a misfortune with the van. What can you tell us about the incident? Was it before or after the show? Are the police doing anything about it? Are you planning on continuing the tour from where you left off once everything gets settled?

Damien Lawson: That day was ridiculous… We were in a secured (apparently not secured enough) Dennys parking lot with a security camera about 3 feet away from our van. So few cars get stolen where we were, that the cops were convinced that our van was towed. That is when they finally arrived after over 3 hours of waiting… It all happened before the show… which we still played that night, using Eyes Set to Kill’s gear. We were so grateful that they let us use their stuff. They are amazing people, and I really miss them. (because I’m stuck at home not touring…not like they died or anything creepy)

We planned on finishing the tour in an SUV and borrowing gear from other bands… Unfortunately we had no merch to sell to pay for gas on the road, and even with donations, we couldn’t make it happen…

There is also a place where fans can help donate money for you guys. Can you give us a link for where they can donate? Will the donations help buy new equipment?

DL: Definitely. Fans can donate via paypal here:

All donations will go towards new gear, and clothes, and everything else we lost in the van.

NL: This is a pretty horrible way to start the tour, did anything worse ever happen to you individually or as a band during previous tours or shows?

DL: On our last tour… We we’re sleeping in our bus in beautiful downtown Tucson, Arizona, and a pack of drunk and or homicidal dudes tried to break into our van. When they heard that we were in there, they continued to try to rip our doors open, and break our windows. They even bent our license plate… We’re convinced it was zombies.

NL: Okay, enough of the bad stuff! How is it touring with Eyes Set to Kill? You guys are not really the same genre, in my opinion at least, so how did touring with them come about?

DL: We have a lot of mutual friends, and we share the same management… we also seem to fancy each others bands. 🙂

NL: Speaking of touring, if you could tour with anyone, who would it be?

DL: A Place to Bury Strangers, Nine Inch Nails, Kill Hannah, I don’t know…. whatever band is on it’s way to Europe?

NL: On June 18, the single “Rise and Fall” (Linked below) was released – which is very good; and it received 7th most popular music video on MTV, beating Justin Bieber , Katy Perry, Rihanna and more! That’s crazy! It’s not every day that a rock band beats these pop “icons”. How do you feel about that?

DL: It felt amazing to have our video chart so high… It’s weird to be on the same chart as people that could easily afford to have me killed.

NL: What was the concept behind the music video? You also worked with Chad Michael Ward on the video, how did that go for you?

DL: The concept of the video has to do with a theoretical World War 3… The next video (for Cross My Heart) will elaborate a bit more on the actual story, so I don’t wanna give anything away yet…

I love Chad… We have become good friends over the last year or so. He also directed our video for “The Awakening” I’m really picky about visual aesthetics, and I tend to be a control freak about everything in general. I’m such a fan of what he does, that working with him allows me to really focus on performing, rather than freaking out about every little detail…

NL: Are you planning on an album release any time soon?

DL: The album is done, and we are REALLY close to signing a deal that will have the album released some time in the near future!

NL: I was on Youtube and there are people comparing the band’s sound and Damien’s vocals sounding like 30 Seconds to Mars/ Jared Leto. Have you ever gotten that? Do you take that as a compliment/ what do you think of 30STM and you potentially sounding like them?

DL: Yeah, it happens.. I get Jared Leto, and Maynard from Tool a lot… both comparisons are very flattering, but overwhelming and make me uncomfortable. I just think I sound like me… but I have a loud mid-range voice, and people love to compare things… so it makes sense.

NL: Tell us a little bit about the name, Awaken the Empire, what does it mean? Were there other band names you considered using instead?

DL: It was a couple years ago, so I don’t remember any other names… but when I was trying to name the band, I really wanted something that sounded as big as our sound. I wanted something that sounded motivational.. something that captured my vision of wanting to mobilize people. Awaken the Empire just worked..

NL: Well, we really hope you guys can raise more than enough money, I know I’ll be donating and we will definitely be keeping an eye out for your shows which will hopefully be happening soon.

DL: Thank you so much! INSOMNIACS UNITE!

Awaken the Empire- Rise And Fall