End Of Empire is a project by singer-songwriter Chris Bromage. Chris, who lives in the Canadian desert close to Vancouver, and is originally from Leeds in the North of England. End Of Empire released its self-titled debut album in 2015, and is currently working on the follow-up, as well as planning a tour in support of the music. Chris Bromage / End OF Empire recently announced that they signed a Management and Promotion deal with Wright Music Group. Wright Music Group is based in the New England and New York area. They bring a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success in the music industry. Wright Music Group’s experience includes Def Jam Records, Lions Gate Entertainment, No Limit Records and over 200 Film Placements.
CEO David Wright of Wright Music Group concluded the deal with Chris Bromage and had this to say about the artist and his music. “We are very excited to work with Chris. We were instantly drawn to his talent and his dedication. We believe in each other and feel that together we can make a difference in the music industry.”
- How long have you been together, and how did the band form? End of Empire is the musical vehicle for singer songwriter Chris Bromage. I use different musicians to bring different sounds and approaches to my music. I decided to start writing and performing again 2 years ago after a long musical hiatus.
- Could you confirm band member names and instruments played? On the last album End of Empire I sang all lead vocals and backing vocals, played acoustic guitars, piano, keyboards and bongos. Paul Kitchen sang backing vocals, played electric guitars, bass and piano. John McCreath played drums.
- Which one of you came up with the name END OF EMPIRE, and is the name trademarked? It was my idea based on travel experiences and books read over the last few years.
- How do you describe your music to people? Alternative protest and historical romance rock ! Just kidding – usually alternative or Indie but I don’t really like labels. The music is what it is. The new material is different to the first album.
- What are END OF EMPIRE’S immediate and long term goals? I will be performing live in Canada, mainly BC over the spring and perhaps in Europe if my management can sort something out. I plan to record a new album over the late summer and go out on the road around North America in the Fall assuming my management can come up with some dates. Long term I just want to keep making music.
- Which do you ultimately prefer? Entertaining a live audience or creating songs in a studio environment? I love them both. Creating in a studio is a bitter sweet agony interspersed with some moments of total sonic wonder. Those moments keep you coming back for more. Live I am in my own little world but you always want to create something special and make the audience feel a little of what you felt when you wrote the songs. Whether that be sadness, wistfulness, anger or pain.
- Tell us something about the lyrics and music on your releases. Lyrics – The End of Empire album was conceived in two stages, but I suppose in reality it was the culmination of my experiences over the course of a lifetime. The people I met, the places I visited, the events that shaped me, all of the happiness and all of the sadness I have felt. The vibrational echoes of events that stayed with me and formed my conscience as I left behind that given point in time that I define as an experience. Late 2014 found me at Ala Moana Beach Hawaii, staring at the Hawaiian State flag replete with its own mini Union Jack proudly sitting in the top left hand corner. Ala Moana beach was populated by locals not tourists, despite being situated close to Waikiki Beach. We chatted with some of the native Hawaiians and ethnic Japanese Hawaiians. We watched the blond haired surfers and the eclectic ethnic mix of modern America pass by. My days in Hawaii had been filled with the potted historical stories placed strategically for tourists to read. Tales of 18th century British explorers and local Hawaiians, stories of daring do and bravery. I thought of Captain Cook and the small but beautiful port of Whitby in my home shire of Yorkshire. My grandfather fighting on the beach at Dunkirk in 1940, over 6 years of his life spent apart from his family, my great grandfather fighting in the Boer War and his probable PTSD, yet to be diagnosed by medical history. I thought of the First Nation / American Indians I had read about – Left Hand and Tecumseh. I returned home to Canada in November 2014 and was greeted by another Union Jack peeking from the top of the British Columbia provincial flag. I was also met with news reports of young neglected First Nations children in Northern Canada walking out into the snow and dying of hypothermia. Statistics showed First Nations suffered from third world levels of illness and early death, all this taking place in a first world country. Abuses from the recent past that took place in residential schools were slowly being revealed, schools where First Nations culture and language was intentionally and systematically wiped out. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that was seldom mentioned in polite Canadian cocktail conversations, was also in session. Covered extensively on the APTN network but only sporadically on mainstream news channels.The same issues that stain the reputation of Canada were prevalent in the aboriginal communities in another former British Empire country, Australia, where I had also traveled extensively in 2014.I am sure these ex Empire countries are not unique in this respect. Meanwhile in the USA another country that had been born out of the early British Empire, gun violence was escalating beyond the already obscene levels. Trayvon Martin was killed. the innocent children at Sandy Hook had not proved a turning point. Victims, in the case of police shootings invariably African Americans, flickered briefly on our TV screens and mobile devices and then faded from the news and our collective memories. American news broadcasters and panelists bickered about the rights and wrongs of US intervention in Iraq, whether America should intervene in Iran and Syria. Syrian refugees poured out of their homeland looking for a chance to live a normal life. All of this had become the norm. I had relocated from the Old World to the New World. It was my home now. The New World and the Old World were chock full of social problems that could be traced directly back to imperialism and colonialism, to the slave trade and on through the decades to modern economic imperialism. History appeared to be dominated by Sovereign Nations and individual men’s ongoing and insatiable quest for power, wealth and influence. New world problems constantly being created through intervention by the haves in the world of the have not’s. Empires had not gone away they had simply changed their name and their guise. I wanted to write about these issues and other social issues that I felt were pressing and important. My record should be about these big issues, not the smaller personal issues of day to day life. The record itself should be viewed as an album, a narrative, not a collection of individual songs. The album should reflect my observation that there is a direct line from past historical events and actions that is inextricably linked to present events and they shape what is happening in the world today.
No acts sit in splendid isolation no matter how far back we go. Everything that happens on a micro or macro level can be traced back to another event, another point in time. The vibrational echoes that we create, all link to and affect something else. The sins of the past vibrate in the social ills of today. End of Empire the album was born. It starts, literally with historical voices from both the pro and anti sides of the British Empire, the imperialists and the anti imperialist freedom fighters, interspersed with the sounds of modern day US protests. Then to a lonely Englishman in a foreign hotel room, taking comfort in the familiar sight of the Union flag and it traces his story from naive patriot through to his political awakening and reflections on the world around him. Music – I wanted to make a record (such a quaint term don’t you think?) that harkened back to the analogue recorded sounds of the early 1970’s. A record that sounded as though we were actually playing the music live. We did and it does ! On a majority of the tracks we did not use a click track to keep everything in time, we felt our way instinctively through the music and the tempo. The songs are essentially my live vocal takes, using guitar or piano as the guide track with instruments and vocals layered on top. Drums were only added at the end of this process so it was in essence a lyric and instrumental driven process. There was no use of auto tune. What I sing and how I sing it is what you hear. I wanted the songs to reflect my accent and intonation – to truly be my voice. The tracks were predominantly recorded in March and April 2015 with some backing vocals and percussion added in August 2015. The title track was part recorded at the Blue Frog Recording Studio in White Rock BC on the 15th January 2015. It was meant to be a rehearsal track, just a few practice bars, but Paul Kitchen and I hit our groove and luckily the sound engineer recorded through to the end of the take. This “live” take formed the template that we continued to use as we pushed forward with the recordings. Other than John McCreath’s drums on 4 of the tracks, Paul and I played all the instruments and performed all of the singing.
- What type of recording process do you use? Who produces your recordings? The End of Empire album was produced by myself and Paul Kitchen. We engineered and mixed the album in my home recording studio other than the title track mentioned above. The album was mastered by Michael White long time engineer at the Hit Factory in NYC. Michael has worked with the best in the business Bowie, The Stomes, Mike Scott of the Waterboys, Whitney Houston, Babyface etc. etc. Michael will co-produce my next album and the approach will be a lot different. More of a band approach where we will rehearse and then go into the studio. The first album was arranged and produced as we went along! Not easy to do!
- If you were forced to choose only one song from your catalog, to perfectly present the END OF EMPIRE sound, style and performance quality, what would that song be? That is a hard question I would have to pick two as the songs I write on guitar are so different from the songs I write on piano so Guitar based would be Bailout and piano based What Good does it do me.
- How would you define the word “success”? Waking up alive every morning looking forward to the day and being able to create and play music.
- Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most? Creating something that didn’t exist before is magical. Doing it under your own steam without being beholden to anyone is freedom! The downside is the endless Social Media support work for your music to try get the music out to the listening public, a lot of work for no money (haha), the days when you question your own validity as an artist. You need to be mentally tough and fearless. It is a rollercoaster!
- How do you market and manage your music career? Do you have a management team to assist you or do you control everything by yourself? A bit of both – I work with the Wright Music Group but I have control and final say over what they put out for me. It is a collaborative relationship and I really enjoy that approach to working with David Wright. I also create my own videos for YouTube, write my own blog, do the usual Facebook promotions etc. I do leave live bookings to the Management team and I like to talk with David on a weekly basis on where we are with everything. Communication is key!
- The best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have? Be careful with that precious commodity TRUST, make sure you stay in control of what you are doing. When you commit music down to a recording or send out a message about yourself and what you stand for it is out there forever. Think about that and act accordingly. Surround yourself with good people.
- What is the title of your latest release and where can find it? End of Empire – available at iTunes http:// apple.com/album/id1089925472?
- What are your thoughts on visual media and have you published any videos? Yes I have 4 videos up on my YouTube page youtube.com/channel/ UCTHjyrdD0BC8Wp2Jh8PKUOA and love making videos for my music. I have worked on 2 with Video Director Arjun Hair in Vancouver and I have created 2 of my own. I enjoy the process and it is an integral part of presenting your music to the world. It is also time consuming and doesn’t pay haha.
- Do you consider Internet and all social media websites, as fundamental to indie music in general today, and what is END OF EMPIRE’s relationship with all the new technology at hand? Absolutely you have to embrace the new. I work with Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Google Plus, have my own website at com etc etc. They are the self employed artists sales and marketing platform. It is hard to keep up but keep up you must!
- What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? I swore when I was going through the agony of recording I would never give my music away for free. That lasted about a day as I realized that you need to be listened to. In the end you can only answer these questions at the end of the race… did it work for you ? It appears at first glance that creating something for nothing is a fool’s errand but if it gets you recognized, helps get live gigs, speaks to a new Fan base, spreads the love, it is worth it. It is a tough transitional time in the music industry but in many ways artists do have more control than they used to through modern technology……. imagine signing your life away to a rocking accountant. No thanks !!!! You just have to keep plugging away. If commercial return were the only criteria I would not be writing about First Nation rights, Black Lives Matter issues, old historical events and the vacuous nature of modern media consumption etc etc I would be writing love songs !!!
- As you work your way through your career, which more than any other fires-up your imagination – A Grammy award, Platinum music sales or any other tangible milestone? Communication with other people through songs, recording and playing live. Period. The rest is frippery ! A good Shakespearean word worth looking up !
- What is the one compromise you would never ever accept, in your quest to achieve or consolidate a successful musical career? Making music based on somebody else’s idea of what my music should sound like and because they may think that it would add to sales. It drives me crazy when I see music websites offering listener feedback services on YOUR music. Fuck that. It is your music. Better toil in obscurity than sell your soul. Maybe that’s just me!
- Anything you would like share, from new merchandise to upcoming shows/tours or songs/albums? I will be playing live at the Railway Club in Vancouver 9 pm (PST) March 29th, will have a 1 hour feature special on the ArtistFirst Radio network on March 30th, 8pm (EST). I will be playing at a benefit gig in South Surrey on April 30th at the Baseline pub 7.30 pm. New T shirt info will be available on my Facebook page and website this week and if you want a signed cd of my album, contact me on Facebook at https:// www.facebook.com/Endofempire1/ and we will get a copy off to you for $10 plus postage.