We first encountered Empyre providing the support for The Vintage Caravan in Manchester at the back end of 2022. Immediately impressed with both their ambitious songs and dark humour (often at their own expense) we vowed to follow up and aside from tracking back to 2019 and their debut album, Self Aware, are excited to hear (and review…) their upcoming album Relentless which is out on 31st March this year on the prestigious Kscope label.
Henrik Steenholdt, frontman with Empyre, tells us all about the band he calls “Denmark’s best kept secret” and why he, and all of Empyre, love Dizzy Mizz Lizzy.
The whole band agrees, if there is one band in the World that we’d like to go on tour with, it would be Dizzy Mizz Lizzy. They are Denmark’s best kept secret.
The first time I heard them was probably summer 1994. I was sat down and told to listen to Silverflame by two of my Danish friends. I wasn’t keen. First impressions: Musically it was OK, bit odd though, and I wanted the gruffness of Eddie Vedder-style vocals on the music I listened to, not the unblemished vocals of Tim Christensen. I didn’t really get them the second time I heard them either, but by mid-1995 I was living in Denmark and their music was often around at parties or on the radio, and that growing familiarity was not breeding contempt but rather a blossoming admiration. Those same friends that sat me down the year before bought me the self-titled Dizzy Mizz Lizzy album for my birthday and by that stage songs such as Silverflame, Glory and Hidden War were taking hold.
Come 1996 and their second album Rotator. I think I was keen enough to head to the local record store the day it came out, buy it and listen on repeat.
Fast forward to around April 2021, and aside from playing the guys in the band the odd track and getting them interested, I’d cooled off and hadn’t listened to them that often for years. Around that time Did, our lead guitarist, hassled me on several occasions asking whether I’d checked out the new album Alter Echo. I hadn’t. I think I waited 3 months to listen to it in fact. I simply didn’t want to be disappointed. How could it be as good as old Dizzy Mizz Lizzy? But I gave in, I knew I should be listening to other artists whilst writing a new album for Empyre, so I went out for a walk on a hot June day and took Alter Echo on my phone. I listened to it 2-3 times back to back on that walk, and then again when I got home. I was hooked again, particularly by Amelia (parts 1, 3, and 4) and In The Blood. Alter Echo is simply a masterclass in songwriting, musical arrangement and production.
The bit of their music that always sticks in my mind, and one of the main reasons I introduced the guys in Empyre to Dizzy Mizz Lizzy is the guitar solo from Silverflame. Since knowing Did (our aforementioned lead guitarist) I’ve always thought that if our two guitar styles were combined into one person, that is the solo we would write. The melody and note choice is sublime.
Their music has always incorporated acoustic elements, pop rock, hard rock and prog and that just hits a sweet spot for me. To then also discover synth, samples and orchestration in Alter Echo at a time when I had coincidentally just started learning about those elements and was incorporating them into demos for what became the Relentless album was a great source of inspiration. As well as providing a sense of reassurance too, when I was doing things like writing orchestra and synth-heavy intros and outros for new songs and wondering what on Earth people were going to think of us for that!
I only ever got to see them live once, back in 1996 in Denmark. I had a stinking cold that day, didn’t want to get out of bed, but they were playing about a mile from my flat, so I forced myself out of bed, spent the gig at the barrier, had a great time croakily singing along, and then went home to bed again.
Some of the band and I were meant to head to Denmark last year to see them play the whole of Alter Echo live, but COVID regulations put paid to that and sadly our tickets went to waste.
Our thanks to Henrik for taking the time to share his passion, as we will no doubt shortly do for Relentless!
Preorder Relentless here
Here’s the latest single from the upcoming album from Empyre:
Empyre online: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube
Dizzy Mizz Lizzy online: Facebook / Youtube / Instagram / Bandcamp
You can read more from our extensive archive of Why I Love pieces from a wide array of artists on an even wider array of subjects, here.
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