Of An Empire
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Of An Empire

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"An Empire Is Born"

By now, it should come as no surprise that I am a huge advocate of the Pittsburgh music scene; everything from hip hop and pop, to straight up rock. The music and talent this city has is not only dynamic, but is also progressive and truly something the rest of the world is starting to notice. Surely, Pittsburgh has produced greats like killer vocalist Christina Aguilera and hip hop icon Wiz Khalifa, but now, it’s time for rock bands to take the reigns. Bands in Pittsburgh are really starting to show the world just what they can do.
Of An Empire (www.ofanempire.com) is one of those Pittsburgh bands that give people a reason to recognize our city as a music town.
Last weekend, Of An Empire had their CD release party for their album, OAE, at Club Café. Though the record itself – available on their site and on iTunes – had a soft launch in 2011, the band’s official release was certainly something to talk about. Ever since I have heard of the band, they have had a buzz surrounding them; it was hard for me to not hear a conversation that didn’t include lead vocalist and guitarist Camden Leeds’ and drummer Matt Gray’s names. They have been huge staples in the business.
Entering Club Café was a bit tricky. The venue was absolutely packed, and naturally, I needed to make my way to the bar for a beverage. That was not an easy task, since the bodies seemed to be sandwiched together. This was a great sign for the band, in that you could tell right off the bat that they had an amazing amount of support. The opening band, Round Black Ghost, had a ton of people present for their performance as well. The energy level the audience was giving the performers was another great sign for what the night would entail.
Of An Empire’s CD is right up my alley in terms of listening, and is quickly becoming a Maniac favorite. It is a rock album that you can listen all the way through, with powerful vocals, great guitar runs, and driving drumbeats that really hook the listener. The CD opens with a more mellow rock edge on “Days In Between” that is reminiscent of cruising down the highway with the windows down on a summer night. Perfect. Their music makes you feel, and at the end of the day, that’s all anyone wants; to feel something that moves them. They certainly have accomplished that with this record.
OAE opened the show with the above song, which happens to be my personal favorite. When watching the crowd’s reaction, I knew it was the perfect way to suck everyone into their world. The set included emotional highs and lows, as they took the audience on a rollercoaster of anticipation and passion. They succeed on all accounts. Bravo, gentlemen.
The band is made of up Camden Leeds (lead vocals and guitar), Clark Johnson (lead guitar and vocals), Matt Gray (drums and vocals), and Sam Grumet (bass guitar), and they are some of the most down to earth guys you will meet. It certainly makes wanting to support them and their music all the more enjoyable. The CD is great and the show was amazing. With high energy both on stage and in the studio, Of An Empire is a band that is certainly taking Pittsburgh by storm, and here at Maniac, we can’t wait to see what they do next!
For more information about Of An Empire and their album OAE, but sure to check out www.ofanempire.com or visit them on Facebook. Don’t forget to get your copy of OAE today! - Maniac Magazine

"Building An Empire"

“I was part of The Yards, which was a pretty popular band. That was a seven-year project and when we ended that, I took a two-year break, more like a year-and-a-half break, then started Of An Empire,” said Leeds. It is a fairly new project. It is about two years old.”

Of An Empire may be fairly new, but you can’t tell it. You, without knowing, would never guess they were from Pittsburgh. A long leap would be to say they sound a bit like Kings of Leon and The Features together, with all the good parts of the former.

“A project like ours is basically just to write and record. Most of the material that we do is a collaboration of everyone in the band. A bunch of us have been down that road of long arduous touring and in-and-out of the label jive. We are all older and we want to keep doing music, but we’re not jumping on the back of a van and hitting the road for six months at a time.”

Without the months of touring, that is not at all to say the band is only doing this as a side project to keep busy. No. It is quite the contrary.

“You got to follow through and do everything 100%,” said Leeds. “I wouldn’t just jam in a band on the weekends or here or there. I’d rather not play than do that. I want to do it or not do it at all.”

Not content to warm the bench for too long, the band is already at work on their second full length album.

“We are not trying to write songs for the radio. We are not trying write to songs to please anybody. I mean we want people to like it, but we went into this project to just write songs for ourselves. We wanted to put in everything that we’ve always wanted to. I think even that is changing from the first record to where the new one is going to go. We are not going to try and stay within any boundaries, we are just going to go with the flow and see. I think we are trying to write the next record where it will be less formatted than the first one.”

As Leeds sees changes in the direction of Of An Empire. he has definitely seen changes in the Pittsburgh music scene as well.

“Building crowds here can happen, but what are you going to do? Playing every night is not going to help. It’s tough as the promoters have taken to booking the venues,” said Leeds. “(As The Yards), we used to just play anywhere. We did our own booking and just played. Now it has to be through a manager and they need their share, the promoter gets their cuts, it’s tough,” said Leeds. “Sometimes it is politics, where someone knows someone. It is a tough thing. There are some really good bands in this town that are forced into that underground scene. They have a good following, but it’s not going to be a band that you are going to run into. Normally, they are playing out of town, with most of their fan base and following is in other towns.”

Much like Pittsburgh’s love-it-or-leave-it sports team mentality, the same rules apply to music.

“Pittsburgh is a tough town, where other bands want to talk shit on each other instead of collaborating unless of course they are your friends. It is a tough thing here. I don’t know whether it is jealousy or people competing. It is kind of weird to me,” said Leeds. “I think here if it is not feed to people where 20 other people are telling someone to listen to it, then people might not go check it out. Then you have this other scene here that is almost too cool to be cool. This hipster crowd that is one of the worst hipster crowds in the country. They think they are elitist. You got a really weird vibe going on here.”

But there be light, as small as it may be, at the end of those dingy tunnels that lead into Pittsburgh.

“I think people are starting to get into the bands that are here. I think it is just a matter of changing mentality. I think as the city is growing with a lot of young people. It took a decline for a while. I do think it is getting better. I think what the city needs to make it a better music scene is better music venues. The music is here, the bands are here, but you can’t play anywhere. If you do, it is all through these promoters now.

But if you are playing out of Pittsburgh, you can’t be playing here hoping for something big to happen. To play here, is just to get out and play.” - Swerve Magazine





In regards to frontman Camden Leeds’ previous musical ventures, (The Yards),I was taken away from the raw city streets of excess into a noteworthy and much seasoned environment formed by Of An Empire. OAE manages to pull an energetic ride of thoughts in as little as eight tracks as opposed to filling a multi-digit tracklist with mediocre material.
Within the first two tracks we’re aware through the fluidity and tone of voice in the lyrics that OAE is in search of their spot in the musical empire. The first few tracks, especially noting ‘All Eyes On Me’ takes the listener away in that ‘top-down’ type of mindset, (‘Top-down’ having other references here, either way it’s a fun and lifting feeling). In a romance of freedom and soul searching it’s instantly recognized that Leeds takes the lead and steps it up on tracks ‘What You Never Do’ and ‘Deep Sleeper’. What Leeds fails to do here is lay hip-hop vocals over some of the bass lines. The music is held together tight so that the listener surely will find their head nodding, similar to the nodding experienced in bass-heavy beat listening.
This slice of an empire surely deserves the word ‘empire’ in their title, as opposed to ‘community’ or ‘group’. OAE knows they’re part of something huge as we all are. With that in mind the lyrics remain relatable and true to the soul as opposed to being totally obscure. This EP is sure bait to reel in anything in the water wanting something lifting and fulfilling.