INTERVIEW: Crown The Empire’s Andy Leo chats new tunes & final Warped!

Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Linkedin Reddit

Something I’ve always appreciated about Warped Tour is the bands that rapports have been created with so instead of asking those introductory questions about a band’s start, or a new record without a past interview to reference to, it’s treated as a check in interview. One of those bands that I spoke to at this year’s Warped were Crown the Empire who are both Warped veterans and at least for vocalist Andy Leo, a familiar face to New England Sounds!

Last time I caught up with Leo was day one of the writing process for the upcoming record when the band was on the road with Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides. Leo’s excitement was clear to officially start working on new material and just a few months later at Warped, the band is well on the way to releasing new music. With fifteen or so tracks under their belt and the new single, “20/20”, dropping just a day or two before our new interview, Leo talked about the new music with glee and we’re stoked to bring this chat to you!

Last time we spoke, during the Asking (Asking Alexandria tour), I believe you told me it was the first day for writing the new record. You just released “20/20” so obviously things are going well. How has that writing process been going? Is it something where you’re still working towards that record? Probably can’t talk much about it.
I can talk a bunch about it! We have fifteen songs right now to choose from. Where normally it’s like super hectic, you have a month to finish the album. So it’s a lot of ‘oh my god, oh my god’ and when it’s done, that’s on the album. So it’s good to be able to have enough time to listen back and give yourself a refresher. Pick and choose what you want to do. I think we’ll probably have twenty five by the time and then pick the best ten to twelve. Yeah things have been going fantastic. It just feels like the sound keeps unfolding in front of us. “20/20” was the O.G. It was a template essentially for the vibe. We can take little bits of this and that. Line it all up and see what we end up with, just different combinations.

We definitely had a kind of texture in mind. This synthy, futurey, sci-fi sound along with our creepiness because general creepiness is just my vibe. Then angry shit, just everybody knocking each other out type of music.

And I know from what you said, it was the first time you guys were really being forced to write on the road. It was the first time that was going to be part of the equation. When it comes to the music, I know you have a large hand in it, but the band has been playing together for so long. You’ve gone through a lot together. How was it different, writing wise, this time? Obviously you were on the road but were people bringing their own ideas to the table, was it collaborative, was it you bringing the lyrics to everyone? Maybe where was “20/20” in that process?
Initially, “20/20” was pretty early on. We just knew what we needed to give to the fans for them to be like, hey you guys aren’t lame as fuck anymore. No, we just kind of revisited everything and had a lot of time. It was definitely harder on the road. Just because if somebody misses something and comes in, it’s hard. And you don’t want to have too many chefs in the kitchen. We have four dudes sitting there trying to make a song, it’s a fucking nightmare. So everybody kind of rotated in. It was a lot less daunting. But no, everything has been coming together. With collaborative little ideas here and there. Even concepts for songs. Everybody has been able to contribute a bunch and it’s been amazing so far.

Perfect, then obviously that last interview wasn’t too long ago. You kind of jumped right into this tour after a lot of time on the road with Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides. You guys are always so busy. Is that record something where it’s going to be 2018 or do you think it’s a little bit a while away for Crown the Empire?
Did I say 2018 my last time?
I don’t remember.
I don’t remember either but that was the plan and there’s no fucking way that will happen. I think even if we do have it done because we have time set right after Warped Tour to basically finish it, there’s so many logistics behind the scenes that are just a nightmare to deal with.
That was also like day one of you writing the record. You were probably just excited.
Yeah exactly! Like, ‘let’s go!!’
Like ‘it’s going to be great!’
Yeah, that’s the worst! The waiting game is the worst thing ever but no things are coming along and probably 2019. I can’t stand it! I’m ready for it, I’m ready to release new shit.
It’s alright, ‘Retrograde’ wasn’t super long ago.
Still, it’s been like two and a half years of playing it. Just for me, it’s because I play the same songs every day so it’s like it would be great to not make these noises with my mouth anymore.

Well, how has “20/20” been going over with the kids?
The fun part is, especially with opening with it, it doesn’t give people the chance to have an opinion. If it was like, ‘Alright, here is a new song. Please like it’. It goes over differently then just starting out with the bass riff and just letting people feel it out. So it’s been fun to see it in action and so far, so good.

Perfect! Then to maybe end it off, you’re coming up on the halfway mark of Warped Tour. It’s the last one, from what I can see there’s been so many sold out shows which is crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that on a Warped tour.
So kids are really supporting it, kids are coming out. From social media, I’ve seen some of the crowds for Crown.
Yeah and it’s been like where have you guys been this whole time before this? Every tour is going to the be the last tour from now on. That’s our new marketing plan! Derek, I have an idea. It will keep selling tickets.

So obviously the record would be a goal or focus for you, but Crown is always touring. Maybe some hopes or goals for you personally for this band?
I’m excited to see what we can do with this. This is the most tight we’ve ever been with each other. This is one of the hardest things I’ve, we, have ever worked for in our life. Like I don’t do a lot, my Warped tour day consists of singing for thirty minutes and just hanging out the rest of the day. But being able to steer into something as challenging as making the best album of your life, there’s no one else I would rather be in this shit with. I don’t even remember what the question was, I was getting teary eyed.
Some goals for you or hopes?
Oh yeah, to be the best band ever. Probably would be my top goal.

About Author


Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.