Graham The Empire
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Graham The Empire

Indianapolis, IN | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | SELF | AFM

Indianapolis, IN | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Alternative Rock




"Q&A with Graham The Empire"

Alt-rock group Graham The Empire is currently getting ready to release their debut EP on September 29th, with a few songs out now and even more exciting new music to come. Centered around classically trained pianist and guitarist, Graham Zebrasky, Graham The Empire delivers a unique electrifying sound with a modern edge. Although the journey to creating this sound was a long one, it was also a learning experience for Graham, bassist Harry Gagnon and drummer Richard Crowe. By working together and with producer Mark Needham (The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Fleetwood Mac) and Dane Clark, who played drums for their first session, the band was able to hone in a sound that is entirely their own.

Get to know a little bit more about Graham The Empire and listen to their single, "The Best Of Me" below, and stay tuned for more new music. - The Prelude Pass

""A Fresh Sound: Graham The Empire""

What a great band Graham The Empire is. They remind you of the great pop rock bands of the ’70s and ’80s (Cheap Trick, The Babys), but there is so much more going on with these guys. “Centered around classically trained pianist and guitarist, Graham Zebrasky, Graham The Empire is a three-piece alternative rock band from Indianapolis that delivers an electrifying sound with a modern edge. After beginning to experiment with songwriting and computer audio recording technology, Zebrasky met bassist Harry Gagnon, who helped him refine his early demos that would later become their debut EP. To flesh out their lineup, drummer Richard Crowe joined the band ahead of their debut release this fall.” There is something so fresh and wonderful about their sound. I guess a good description of the sound is, think of the first time you fell in love, that fresh, wild feeling, that free sensation: this is the sound of Graham The Empire. Digging this sound, I must admit. - AudioFuzz

"VENTS Magazine: Interview - Graham The Empire"

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Well hey we’ve been fantastic! How about you guys? Thanks for having us!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Nasty”?

Yeah absolutely! We were pretty excited to pick “Nasty” as the first single from our EP because it’s so aggressive. Gets us pumped up every time we play it live too. It’s a song that we think people can relate to because it’s raw and exposed. We’ve gotten really positive feedback from both promotors and fans alike, so we hope that continues!

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

For this song, yeah definitely. Let’s just say it was after a rather – frustrating – evening. I had the guitar riff for a while and never did anything with it. Took my synth and just went to town over the riff and the basic feel and structure of the song took shape. I’m usually an emotion-based writer; if I feel something it comes out naturally in the music and lyrics and Nasty is a raw embodiment of exactly that.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Yes! We’re working on pre-production right now and will be going into production at the end of this month. We have a really great lead, Mackenzie Possage (from Chicago) who’ll be starring in it. It’s going to be a lot of fun and we can’t wait for the release.

How was the recording and writing process?

Graham did much of the writing in 2016 and Harry began working on the instrumentation from early on in the process. Basically our process was to rehearse the song from Graham’s demo, adjust the structure and different instrument parts, and work out any kinks until the final arrangement of the song was set in stone.

Once we had the song down, we went into record at the Lodge Studios in Indianapolis with a wonderful engineer, Michael Graham. Dane Clark (Drummer from John Mellancamp) joined us for a few of the songs which was a treat. Dane is a great guy and is like a human metronome – a phenominal drummer. We got the first 3 or 4 songs’ rhythm section done within the first day, which was really cool considering Dane and Harry had only just learned some of the songs within a week of hearing the new demos for the first time.

From there we took the masters back to Graham’s studio and worked on adding guitar colors, synths, electronic drums and in some cases went back to the original demo for raw elements. The track “Don’t Let Go” is probably the best example of that. We then went back and forth between The Lodge and Graham’s house until the song was finished and ready for mixing.

What was it like to work with Mark Needham and how did that relationship develop?

First off, Mark is amazing. Near the end of the recording sessions for our EP we were thinking about who needed to mix it. Graham started thinking about bands who had sounds that we liked and came up with a short list. We knew about Mark from his work with Fleetwood Mac, but that wasn’t really the sound we were going for. We looked up a couple of albums that we really loved sonic-wise, like The Killers “Hot Fuss” and MUTEMATH’s “Vitals”; Mark’s name wasn’t just attached to those, but countless other amazing records that we love. We reached out through his management contact honestly not expecting much – he’s in-demand and didn’t know if he’d be interested. He contacted us after listening to our rough mixes and we ended up speaking on the phone for a while. The vibe felt great and he made us feel like he was really into the sound we were trying to create. Definitely was our first, “Ok this thing might have some potential” moment.

I’m not sure what our expectations were when he started mixing – until he sent us back the first mix of Nasty a couple of days later. Holy hell. I’ll never forget that moment I was driving home and listened to the mix – I was blown away. The band listened to it a couple of hours later and we couldn’t stop talking about it. He not only purely captured the sound we were going after, he took it so much farther than we were capable of. Watching his process in person was simply amazing…

How much did he influence the album?

I’d say that Mark’s influence is all over the album. Especially on “Nasty” and “The Best Of Me”. He was able to achieve a realm of depth, previously hidden within our tracks, which we would have never have found without him. On “Nasty”, the drums were really kind of a hot mess going into the mixing process. We had the original, pulsing dance-vibe electronic loops from the demo, plus a live in-studio cut of acoustic drums that had a lot going on, but they just didn’t sound right individually or together. The way he meticulously structured and layered those sounds together was magic. I credit him much on that song in particular.

He wasn’t really an influence on the recording process except for maybe “Save Me”. Graham spent a lot of time producing that song and after we knew what to expect from Mark’s mixes, we started pushing the envelope further with some of the techniques we used to fuse sounds together. In hindsight, I wish that we would have met him earlier during the recording process but there is always the next album!

How’s your new EP coming along?

It’s done! Mastered and all! We just finished the artwork with our long-time friend Stuart Phelps and are in the manufacturing stage for physical media.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Our release date is currently targeted for September 29th – and yes, we’re naming it “Rise”. This one felt like it needed a name other than “self-titled”. We’ll release a couple more singles from “Rise” over the next couple of months.

Any plans to hit the road?

We absolutely will! The most fun of this for us is taking the songs to the stage and connecting with an audience. We’ve been rehearsing and putting together the visual elements for the show. We’ll do some shows this fall / winter and maybe will play some festivals next year. Look for dates from us soon! [yeah that’s a shameless plug for our website and mailing list!]

What else is happening next in Graham The Empire’s world?

Well, we’re really anxious to get our new music out into the world and connect with fans. However and wherever that leads us, that’s where we’ll be. The EP will be heading to radio soon and we’re in the process of lining up an album release show in our hometown; those are the things that are next for us right now! - VENTS Magazine

"Listen Here Reviews: The Best Of Me"

Graham The Empire has shared their new song “The Best of Me” which you can check below. The followup to their last single “Nasty,” the group will be releasing their debut EP Rise on September 29th. Take a listen to the track below. - Listen Here Reviews

"Review: The Best Of Me"

Graham the Empire have released a new song called “The Best of Me.” The song comes off their new EP, Rise, which is set to be released on September 29th. The EP was produced by Graham The Empire frontman, Graham Zebrasky, and mixed by Mark Needham (The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Fleetwood Mac). - Heart State Review

""Nasty" Single Review"

Nasty skitters out of the speakers in a unification of electro-dance and rock delivering a track that has the listener grinding their hips with the sleazy beat. The scratchy soundtrack serves to enhance to sense that this is a song to hear in hedonistic mood as the pulsing electro-drum compresses the music with the dirty guitar chords fizzing in the undergrowth as the tempting vocal whispers of the passions of the night.

Due to release their début EP in September, Graham The Empire produce music that you can expect to hear being chanted on the dance-floor in the next year or so. - Emerging Indie Artists

"Review: Graham The Empire Album Release Show"

Review: Graham The Empire Album Release Show (Indianapolis, IN) 9.29.17
On Friday, Indianapolis Alt-Rock group Graham The Empire hosted a night of solid fun at Radio Radio in celebration of their new EP, Rise. The three-piece act was joined by other Indy locals Pinky and The Basterds and Ohio native, Philia.

The crowd filled into the venue early, walking the leopard print carpet to the bar and up to the stage with matching décor. They were entertained by some of the most iconic music videos from even more iconic artists, such as Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, and Iceland favorite Björk.

Pinky and the Basterds led off the night with a set full of raucous energy. They were engaging from the get go. With awesome sound and a passion driven performance, Pinky and the Basterds set the bar high for the rest of the night.
Philia followed with a great sounding, but yet, dissatisfying performance due to lack of crowd interaction. Philia began their set with no notice and did not engage the audience once. The music was great, but the crowd was more interested in talking with each other than watching. As Philia grows, they can really impact their already great music by interacting with the audience every so often during the set.
Graham The Empire revved the crowd back up with tracks off Rise and even threw in a couple of newer tracks. The band kept the groove going with lively jam sessions and even an acoustic slow down. Graham the Empire kept the party going until after Midnight, closing out the overall awesome show with another great jam.
Even though there were some lulls in excitement that night, Graham The Empire had an awesome album release show. The support for this local act was something incredible. Indy- pay attention to these guys! To purchase the EP, you can head straight to the band's website! - Kill The Music


Single - "Nasty" - Release Date June 9, 2017
Single - "The Best Of Me" - Release Date July 27, 2017
EP - "Rise" - Release Date September 29, 2017


Feeling a bit camera shy


Graham The Empire is a three-piece alternative rock band from Indianapolis, delivering an electrifying sound with a modern edge.


The band’s roots begin with frontman Graham Zebrasky, who studied classical piano and guitar from a young age while being exposed to pop music as well rock, new age, and new wave. Graham began experimenting with songwriting and computer audio recording technology and later on met bassist Harry Gagnon, raised on classic rock and also trained in classical piano. The pair refined Graham’s earlier demos, and recorded their debut EP that Graham self-produced. In 2017, Richard Crowe joined the band to finally form the Graham The Empire trio. Richard began playing drums in middle school. He is professionally trained and was raised on Top 40, R&B, and Hard Rock.


Graham The Empire is a fantastical roadtrip, rife with invigorating riffs evoking a furious sound, twisting classic rock rhythms and infusing them with a mind-melting edge, dabbed with pop and EDM. Their music is a light of hope held out against long-forgotten woes, an exploration of body and mind, layering upbeat danceable vibes to a piercing, raw intensity.


Graham The Empire have released two singles, “Nasty” and "The Best Of Me" in support of their debut EP scheduled for release on September 29th.

Band Members