Empress AD have had a very busy year in 2014, so to get the low down on everything that has gone down, we sat down for a quick chat with front-man Ollie just before they took to the stage in support of Turbowolf at Dingwalls in Camden.

R13: We're here in London on the final night of the tour, how has it been?
OL: Very good. Maybe one of the best for us because the other bands as well have been awesome. It's been a really good vibe, we've just chilled and had a good time.

R13: Are we right in saying that you guys are from Reading/Berkshire?
OL: Yeah Berkshire, but we're branching out a bit now member wise...
R13: Cool, so do the London dates feel like a bit of a homecoming then?
OL: I suppose so yeah actually. My brother lives in London and I'll be moving here soon so it will become more of a home for the band. But yeah it is probably the one in which most of our mates come down to so guess it can be looked at that way.

R13: You guys have had a busy year with the new material, and of course the slight name change and we've seen that the view that your output and delivery since this name change has actually been a step up
OL: Yeah we've heard that said but most people don't though that we've actually had that album recorded for nearly two years now. We've been sitting on it for so long now and it's all been really frustrating. The thing with the labels took so long sorting out all the contracts and stuff like that. So for us it is actually an old album now so we've already started writing the new one, we've got about fifteen songs and the song writing has stepped up so much more. We still like the early stuff, but some of the tracks are nearly three and a half years old now oddly but I suppose we did start writing the new stuff with 'Empress AD' so maybe we accidentally wrote good stuff when we changed the name (Laughter).

R13: Across the album there is this ambitious sort of sound like you've got the heavier tracks and the longer sound-scape style vibe to it, how do you approach writing albums like that?
OL: Approaching stuff like that... I don't know we always start with a riff, like a main riff. We'll always jam loads of stuff and there will be that one riff that stands out which forms the basis for us and in the end more and more stuff will come out. But I guess we're getting better with song-writing now, like our newer stuff feels far more natural, we can write a song much quicker. Some of those songs took so long to write and they obviously end up being over seven minutes and stuff. Like that last song on the album Consumed was initially only about four and a half minutes, but we knew going in to the studio that there was going to be something else and I just came up with this riff in the studio and it all happened in there. So some of the stuff happens spontaneously when it gets to us being in the studio and recording.
R13: So with the recording then do you guys just go in to a room at once and thrash it out, or is it very broken down?
OL: Yeah that's what we did. We did it all at once, which could be quite frustrating at points, for example if the drummer made one mistake it would just be like "oh my God!" (Laughter) but to be honest recording is probably my favourite part about being in a band. For us at the moment it is such a good time.

R13: What would you say your main influences are at the moment?
OL: I'm listening to a lot of Soundgarden Superunknown era, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley - not the cheesy Hallelujah stuff, his more rocky material. I'm not listening to anything heavy at all at the moment, nothing is kind of doing it for me. I go through stages with heavy music.

R13: Your live sets now, do you keep the focus on the new stuff or do you still bring in older bits and pieces?
OL: At the moment it is all just stuff from the album. Yeah we want to bring in some of the stuff from album number two in the new year and see how that goes because that is going to be very different. It's not going to be screamy, it's a bit lighter but not in a 'sell out' way at all, instead it is just the way the stuff we've listened to has developed...
R13: Is it kind of in the same as Opeth have done, more looking at vocally...
OL: For me it's not been like me saying we shouldn't do screaming anymore but I don't at the moment enjoy doing it that much. I will still perform the songs how they are, but I can't imagine writing any new stuff with screaming in.

R13: What are your favourite tracks to play live?
OL: On My Return for sure is my favourite track. I think one thing going back to the whole song-writing thing we didn't think what the songs will be like live because we hadn't played any live shows really. We did a few but not that many and we didn't really take in to consideration what they would be like live and that's the only one that has a really steady pulse going throughout and you always see people's heads banging and getting well into it and vibe off that.

R13: Who do you listen to just before you go out on stage, who gets you fired up?
OL: Maybe Metallica. I was listening to Superunknown the other day. It varies and changes depending on what kind of mood I'm in.

R13: Who is the biggest party animal in Empress AD?
OL: I don't know, we're all lightweights to be fair (Laughter). I reckon it changes, at the moment it is probably my brother Alex, the bass player, because he's got a vaporizer and he's loving that at the moment. On tour I'm a bit of a pussy when it comes to partying, because of my voice I don't drink at all until the last day. So actually tonight will be nuts!

R13: And related to that, what are the Empress AD hangover cures?
OL: For me, I actually don't get hangovers...
R13: Bastard!
OL: (Laughter) I know, I'm one of those full on dickheads who doesn't get hangovers. My girlfriend gets them really bad, I would just say eat loads of food. As soon as you wake up, just munch loads!