Tiny Empires The geographically displaced Tiny Empires have quite the year ahead of them. The group, consisting of members of O Pioneers!!! and New Bruises, self-released their debut album this past April and have given Jeff Rosenstock full authority to share the release via Quote Unquote Records.

With tentative summer plans also in the works it seems the band will be making several waves despite their hectic schedules. Punknews editor and interviewer Armando Olivas was able to chat with Eric Solomon about the band's formation and why it took so long for the group to release their debut record. He also inquires about the MMO computer game that they share a name with because why not?
I‚??m going to start off the interview with a lighthearted question. The band‚??s name is Tiny Empires; did you know there is also an online multi-player game with the same name?

We were familiar with the game but originally the band was supposed to be called Black Clouds. Then a band from DC that was recording with J Robbins claimed they had the rights to the name. After they tried to politely tell us that they had the name first (i.e. threatening to sue us, even though we were "punk rock bros"), we changed the name to Tiny Empires. With Bryon and I running our own businesses, and spending several weeks coming up with different names, this is the only that we kept circling back to.

You said you were familiar with the game but have any of you ever gotten bored and actually played it?

Not that I am aware of. At the same time it‚??s not really a question that has come up. I‚??m the youngest one and I‚??ll be 29 in October. It‚??s not everyone else‚??s thing. Bryon and I are busy with our endeavors and the other guys travel a lot for work. So even if they had time I think for the most part they wouldn‚??t just because they‚??re socially alienating from traveling so much. Typically they‚??re just hanging out. So from what I know, no one has played that game. Not that we think it‚??s bad for you just that it‚??s not on anyone‚??s schedule

Makes sense. So while doing some research I saw that the band is comprised of several people from other bands; so I want to know how you all formed.

Totally. What happened was O Pioneers!!! was supposed to play Harvest of Hope and the people I was playing with at the time decided they didn‚??t want to play in a band anymore. They didn‚??t want to make the commitment and I wanted to play that as well as some shows with Small Brown Bike leading up to Harvest of Hope. I was becoming really good friends with Bryon of New Bruises and I asked him if he had any interest of playing those shows with me. We had just become really good friends and all those shows were in Florida. Not to mention everyone in New Bruises are all really good musicians. So three of the four members of New Bruises joined O Pioneers!!! for those shows and we just continued on with it. They have all been in various bands before. Bryon and Mikey, the other guitar player in Tiny Empires, were both in a band called Mid Carson July. This was before any of the Kiss of Death or New Bruises stuff. They wanted to be in a band and wanted to tour so they toured a lot. During that time frame they were on Fueled by Ramen and were one of the only bands to get kicked off Warped Tour. So they‚??ve been around for quite a while. I became friendly with them from talking about band stuff and when the opportunity presented itself they were all on board. It took off from there.

That‚??s cool.

Yeah. I think having the same kind of ethics and dedication definitely helped a lot. Now that we are all spread out across the country and staying pretty busy it‚??s pretty difficult to do any band stuff. We try to do what we can when we can.
Rad. You brought up my next question actually. With all of you across the country how do you get anything done?

It‚??s super hard. Everyone lives in Florida except for me. Like I mentioned previously, everyone travels for a living. They do installations for buildings that are being constructed, they do the audio and visual stuff. So I can call Bryon today and then next week; in that time he‚??ll have gone to like three different cities for four to five different jobs. It definitely makes it challenging. What works for us is doing shotgun practices. I fly in for four days and have powerhouse practices for eight hours writing as much as we can. Sometimes we are lucky enough to do that once a month. Sometimes it‚??s once every six months. This record was recorded almost 18 months ago back in December of 2012 and its only coming out now because as soon as we recorded the record those guy went to work in Germany for eight months. During that time I barely had any contact with them other than short e-mails with them. Things like that made it super difficult but as soon as they got back we immediately set up a practice.

Now that you mention the new record; according to my knowledge its coming out the 15th of this month (April). With this record having been recorded 18 months ago are you guys set to work on the follow up already?

That was kind of the plan. Originally we thought these were going to be demos to shop around to different labels. We were pretty excited about how It ended up coming out in terms of being recorded and after having a friend mix it we decided to make this our first full-length then work on our next full-length shortly after. Since we decided to do that those guys were gone for most of the year so we didn‚??t get to do much; now that they‚??ve been back for a little bit we started writing. At this point I would say we have four loosely finished songs with the hopes of having another six to eight by the end of the year. Maybe do a split and hopefully have a full-length by spring of next year.

That‚??s cool. I hope things go your way so you can stay on this tentative plan.

Yeah, it would be awesome. It‚??s definitely a fluid plan and schedules change all the time. Like I said, with those guys going in and out all the time not to mention Bryon and I running businesses too it‚??s definitely, I hate to say it, a when we can do it kind of thing. Especially since I live so far away we have to plan things so far in advance. It‚??s not a spur of the moment or anything. It‚??s really the only way we can do it or afford to do it for that matter.

It‚??s tough. To touch upon what you said a little bit earlier about those songs being demos. I heard one of the new songs the other day and for being demos they‚??re pretty high quality. When I think of demos I think of things sounding way rougher. Your demos sound better than some bands' finished stuff.

Well, like I said, we kind of lucked out a little bit. We went in this pressure cooker of a situation. We recorded this in Gainesville and we originally planned for four days. I had flown into Florida two days prior to practice. We went in and knocked it out so there was some stuff we weren‚??t super happy with so I flew back out for some little tweaks. So it came out way different than we thought. At the time Bryon was talking with his niece‚??s boyfriend who has a studio in Philly. He does a lot of mixing and production for R&B and hip hop stuff. It was super strange and we said it would be cool to give him a song or two to see what he thinks, see if he might mix it for us. He ended up being way into it which was awesome. So he just started working on things for us and save for some minor tweaks and changes we pretty much have what you heard on the record. It definitely blew us away because he heard stuff we obviously wrote but didn‚??t quite hear ourselves. It was cool to have almost a sixth person in the band helping us and telling us what he hears from a completely different perspective. Once we heard that we decided to make this a full length and handed it over to a friend who I‚??ve recorded with in Toronto to master it. That‚??s kind of how it all came together.

That‚??s awesome, it‚??s kind of like the A-Team; gotta love it when a plan comes together. Well unless you have anything else you want to share I think that‚??s going to do it for me.

We are hoping to do a bunch of stuff. Not necessarily weekend stuff during the summer but week-long trips. Like the west coast in August and east coast in June, stuff like that. That‚??s our plan but things can change so quickly, just never quick enough to where we know what‚??s happening most of the time.

Well hopefully various parts of the U.S. will get to see the band in the near future!