‘Influence is always evolving’

Young Empires come to Kingston after releasing their debut album

The lead singer of a “world-beat haute rock,” is excited to be returning to his alma mater. Matthew Vlahovich of Young Empires will return to Queen’s this week to open for fellow Toronto band, Kidstreet.

“I went back to Queen’s for a Homecoming the year after I graduated,” Vlahovich, ArtSci ’05, said. “I haven’t been back since, so yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

Young Empires release their debut EP Wake All My Youth today. But their sound has been circulating for two and a half years.

“For the first two years, what we did is we put out our home demos online, and we were fortunate enough to have a few blogs talk about them. That’s how we got our international exposure,” Vlahovich said of the trio, which includes Jake Palahnuk and Robert Aaron Ellingson.

The new release has already gained some recognition — their song “Beaches” was featured on an episode of Jersey Shore.

Although they have the blogosphere buzzing with complimentary reviews, Vlahovich said Young Empires is weary of critics’ attempts to characterize them.

“We’re all influenced by a lot of different music and always listening to new music,” he said. “I think the state of influence is always evolving. I don’t think any one of us in the band would be able to say we’re trying to sound like this, or that this band is shaping us in any way. We want to let it happen organically.”

Though Vlahovich stresses natural growth for the band, he has ideas about where they will go next.

“Bands always struggle with what direction to move their future music in,” he said. “I think what we want to continue doing is still have a dance feel to our music, but also introduce slower-type music. We want to present people with a wide array of different vibes and feels and not stick ourselves into one genre or direction.”

If there is any identifiable direction for Young Empires, it can be found in the title of their EP. “Wake All My Youth” is a lyric derived from their song “Rain of Gold.”

“We want our music to be accessible to young people, something that has a little bit more energy, if you will, than other music,” Vlahovich said.

The band has a distinct symbol to represent them — a triangle with an abstract design in the middle. Vlahovich was elusive about the meaning behind it.

“I think meaning is open to interpretation,” he said. “There’s no direct meaning behind it. It’s really about building something deeper with your fans, making a community of people.”

Young Empires play the Mansion tomorrow night with Kidstreet and Joey McWilliams at 9 p.m.

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