o-two caught up with Brian Dwyer of Press Empire for this issue’s Campus Band Questionnaire
Who are your members and what do they play?
Brian Dwyer on guitar and lead vocals, James Gough: guitar and vocals, Conor Murray: violin and backing vocals, Peter Keogh: bassist and Paul Finlay, who plays drums.
Where did you get the inspiration for your name?
I’m not sure where the inspiration for Press Empire came from, but reason we actually went for it was that we went through our list and looked for what dotcom was available. So it was more from a business point of view that we went for Press Empire.
Where do you gig?
Various places. Our biggest gig was probably supporting the Saw Doctors in the Ambassador a year ago. We have played in places like Tripod, the Button Factory, Crawdaddy, Whelans and the Village.
What do you play on your tour bus?
Absolutely all sorts. Our drummer is a massive Rush fan. James would be a big Radiohead fan. I’d be into Pearl Jam, but also Radiohead as well. Conor would be a massive Oasis fan and Peter is into all sorts. He’s into Rammstein and what not as well, but I don’t think you can hear that in our music.
How would you describe your sound?
I find it very difficult to. It’s quite a large with epic choruses we go for. We play with dynamics a lot and I guess because we have the violin in the background on our recordings, there are lots of string sections to add to the epic sound. I find it very difficult to pigeonhole the band. Epic is one word I’d use to describe our sound. We are starting to become renowned with people who have seen us for our harmonies, because we incorporate three-part harmonies into the band with so many of us singing.
Where did you all meet?
I met James and Conor in school and we just got playing. I was in a four-piece band with Conor previously called the Channel. Then, after that fizzled out, we decided we wanted to take things further with another band. When we started off, we decided to start busking and we did that for a year or so on Grafton Street and Temple Bar – that helped pay for our first EP. It was great to even to do face-to-face promotion. Through our busking, we got on the Ray Foley show on Today FM. His people saw one of the videos of us busking and asked would we come on the show.
What’s the best thing about college?
I would say the nightlife. It is great for even a band, the gigs that you can get through colleges is class. One of our best gigs was us and the Vengaboys. The majority of the crowd were girls reliving their teenage years.
What’s the worst thing about college?
I don’t know, maybe the college music scene. There are quite a number of bands and a lot of competition. It’s the only thing that pops to mind that would be discouraging in the college scene.
Which acts would you choose to headline your dream festival?
Well I wouldn’t put us in a headline spot, because that would be quite a letdown for everyone else, with people not knowing us. I’d put Pearl Jam headlining. Radiohead as well, and Queens of the Stone Age. I’d then put the Vengaboys in there for giggles.
Where would be your dream place to play?
I love the Academy. I played a gig there while in a previous band. We were supporting the Coronas and it was a class set up. Probably on top of that, I’d say the O2.
How do you differ from other bands in UCD?
At the moment it’s the violin and harmonies that are making us stick out, and they’ll be the first thing you notice.
In conversation with Killian Woods.