Crown the Empire is an American metalcore band, formed in 2010. The band currently has 4 members Andrew Rockhold, Brandon Hoover, Hayden Tree, and Brent Taddie.

The band released their first EP Limitless in late 2011. The EP featured 7 tracks and was self-released. Crown the Empire debut studio album The Fallout became available to stream in November of 2012 and featured metalcore, post-hardcore, and electronicore tracks. It reached #1 on Top Heatseekers chart.

Overall, the band released one EP and four full-length albums. The band’s latest album Sudden Sky charted on Billboard 200.

Show4me met with Crown the Empire members Andrew Rockhold and Brent Taddie ahead of their concert to chat about their career, the music industry and running a business and breaking even as a musician.

The energy they give you will completely change the way that you perform the songs. – Andrew

Andrew: Hey, what’s up? I’m Andrew from Crown the Empire.

Brent: And I’m Brent from Crown The Empire, and I play drums and he sings.

Andrew: I sing, I forgot to say that. You know, I think you can rehearse so many times in the garage looking at each other, like, knowing how everything is supposed to work. But I think, as soon as you introduce a live crowd into the mix, it’s a completely different challenge, you know. The energy they give you will completely change the way that you perform the songs. Um, I think just getting used to that was the hardest part for me. But I think once we’ve found the pocket, once you’re in the rhythm, it doesn’t matter, you are just in it.

Brent: The local bands I was in before Crown, we always had to sell tickets and everything. And we would sell maybe 25, and then we would have to buy the extra ones out of our pocket. But when I met up with Crown, they were driving 2 hours, 3 hours just to sell 2 or 3 tickets, stuff like that. The work ethic and dedication at the early level, to start with no fanbase, you have to build that fanbase and be real with the people you’re talking to, to just be genuine and actually talk to fans that come to the shows.

If you make a genuine interaction with your fans they’ll come back over and over again. – Brent

Brent: Always go and after the show socialize at your merch table and things like that, to make a genuine human interaction with people, because if you make a genuine interaction with your fans they’ll come back over and over again. The amount of just community aspect for live shows is definitely way different than anything else.

Andrew: Yea, I think putting a face to the name, you know… I’ve had people come up to me years after playing in their city and tell me the joke that I said on stage. And I was like – I don’t even remember it, I don’t remember that joke at all, but it was a personal moment for them, they will hold on to our moment together. I think that’s what separates us from something that you can just listen to on the radio.

Brent: Smaller shows definitely give a more intimate experience, if you go and see 15 bands you like at the festival, a lot of the times they are gonna have to play shorter sets, like 20 minutes. And they are not gonna be able to – it’s during the daytime a lot of the time, – they won’t have full production, lights and stuff like that.

Andrew: You set out to do music to live a life for art. You know, I think that’s the first step that you have to understand when you decide that you want to do something like this. But you can only be a starving artist for so long, you know. Our base player is married now. As life kind of develops, you want to be able to have a foundation to build off of later, I think.

Who owns an album and listens to it 10,000 times before it counts?! – Andrew

Andrew: Whatever streaming service it is, I think that initially it was like – you had to listen to a song 10,000x times for it to count as 1 record. And I was like who owns an album and listens to it 10,000 times before it counts?! So the money side has made it harder for the bands, like us, who aren’t doing millions of people, millions of streams, it makes it harder for us to make a living without touring all the time. When you are on the road for the majority of your life, it’s hard to kind of set that foundation, which is what I’m finding more important as I get older.

Brent: When you are getting music for free, and everyone can listen to music for free, the amount of money it costs to make a record, it’s drastically different when you are putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into an album and people just get it for free. To monetize the streaming, I think that definitely needs to change within the next… sooner than later.

Andrew: Every band like us that’s not pushing millions of singles or anything is dependent... Our lifeblood is t-shirts. You’ve gotta sell as many as you can, and it sucks for the people that don’t.

There’s no real middle class in the music industry. – Brent

Brent: There’s no real middle class in the music industry. That is, I guess, what I would change. It’s either you are a starving, struggling artist or you are the Foo Fighters. And that middle ground, it’s very much like when all our revenue just goes back into the band. Like, we have all the equipment we can possibly need, we have the resources to be able to come over here and go to all the different countries that other bands can’t do, but yea we are not rich by any means.

Andrew: (laughs) Yeah...