The Post Rock History of Collapse Under The Empire
The Collaborative Efforts of Martin Grimm And Chris Burda
In the summer of 2008, we met while looking for bands to collaborate with to keep our creative juices flowing. We had both relocated to Hamburg, Germany for work and because of the move we had to give up our former bands from home. We both found working with several band members at a time in a traditional band setup restricted our vision and creativity, we both needed the space to explore creatively, we seemed to have a unified creativity and vision and a year later Collapse Under the Empire was born.
At first, we didn’t know exactly where we were going musically, but we started with a sort of deconstruction of Post Rock fundamentals and reconstructed them into our unique sound and conceptualisation. In the beginning, we used traditional vocal accompaniment but soon realised that the focus of a song centred on the vocals. We wanted the focus to be on the music itself. Creating a story through sound and connecting with epic and expansive concepts that describe the human condition were important to us. We wanted the music to tell the story and to leave our music open to the interpretation of our listeners. Some of our tracks have some choir vocals, but they are added to enhance the experience of the music rather than as a focal point of the song. There are times when vocals aid in the feelings of hope and progressiveness within our songs.
Our Unique soundscapes come from evoking the tension and release of human emotional experience through resonating bass lines, electronic music, dark, despairing guitar chords and dystopian industrial drum beats. We often experiment with and express feelings of isolation, abandonment, and death but offset those expressions with uplifting joy and hope. These concepts encapsulate the enduring human experience and are relatable to so many different listeners by enabling a personal connection to the work we do. Our work is often described as soundtrack music, and that makes a lot of sense because soundtracks within films encourage the viewer’s emotions to help them experience what the characters in a movie are going through and that is exactly what our music aspires to, telling a story that all of us can relate to. We create music that gives an outlet and a musical description of these emotions we all feel.
Our Style and Influences as Post Rock band
With our melancholic melody constructions, we resemble Post Rock, but our style goes way beyond the usual Post Rock instrumental band. Drawing influences from Trip Hop, Shoe Gazing, Synthpop and Progressive Hard Rock we are really about pushing the boundaries of Post Rock by creating interpretive soundscapes that inspire listeners and fans to construct a personal narrative. We use aspects of film music, instrumental rock, dark and electronic rock to produce tracks that tell a story and tie into an overall larger concept. These concepts are relatable to fans because they speak of the trials of human existence.
The origin of our band name
We get a lot of questions about our name Collapse Under the Empire, and we love how fans interpret the name in ways we never thought of as it gives listeners another narrative to personalise along with our sounds. The name Collapse Under the Empire was born from the acronym C.U.T.E. Post rock bands aren’t exactly synonymous with the word cute, Post Rock is hard, and the word cute is soft. We loved the irony. We set about giving the group a title that used the irony of C.U.T.E. In 2008, the world was in a financial crisis affecting millions of ordinary people and Collapse Under the Empire just fell into place and felt right. The name Collapse Under the Empire conjured up dystopian imagery and felt prophetic about the fate of the world and our place in it.
Every Album Has a Story
We find inspiration from many sources and all of the albums tell a story of the human condition. Orwellian in nature, the sounds of Find a Place to Be Safe connect to feelings of the weight of oppression and paint a future under authoritarianism. The intense keyboard and string instrumentals inspire you to look deep within and explore perceptions of isolation and fear. All of our albums delve deeply into the extremes of human emotion. Shoulders and Giants envelopes you in feelings of isolation, fear, and death but with an underlying enduring hopefulness. These concepts are given life through our combination of dissonant sounds and uplifting crescendos.
New Release: The Fallen Ones 20th October 2017
The 9 Tracks on The Fallen Ones conjures a dystopian journey through societal negativity and will inspire fans to travel through and explore the landscapes of a dark, pessimistic future. Highly interpretive, The Fallen Ones will take listeners into the depths of their inner struggles. Dark and emotional charged The Fallen Ones evoke images of desolation and fear and give fans an opportunity to explore these emotions and relate them to their own lives.
We get so many emails from people from around the world from so many cultures telling us about how our music has acted as a soundtrack to their struggles and about how our Post Rock sound touches and profoundly affects their lives. We frequently hear fans stories and how our music helps them explore what is happening in their lives. Some of our fans describe climbing mountains and feeling a great sense of freedom through our music and how in times of illness our music helped them feel better emotionally and mentally. In the midst of self- exploration or crisis fans tell us that Collapse Under the Empire has inspired them and helped them through the most difficult times and some of the best of times. These stories and our fans connection and interpretation of our music speak to what we try to accomplish with every album release. We also see many fans using our music for their artistic expression. It is hugely gratifying to know that we inspire so many people in such diverse ways.
Our music videos are a collaboration of some incredible talent from around the world. These artists, producers, and directors help us give a powerful visual element to our Post Rock soundscapes. Each music video brings to life the concepts we deal with in our music such as isolation, desolation, fear and death. Some of the videos are film vignettes, and others are entirely animated, and while they all tell a unique story, they all have an underlying connection to the larger concepts that we explore in all of our albums.
‘Dark Water’- Our latest music video was directed and created by animation artist Murat Kılıç:
‘Closer’- Brought to life by a team of young film makers of the Savanah College of Art and Design tell the story of mental illness with distinct sci-fi elements:
‘Great Silence’- This video was a collaborative effort by the Luzern School in Switzerland. The animation in this video is incredible:
‘There’s No Sky’- This video has some amazing story telling and gives the music a stunning and compelling visual narrative that draws fans closer to the music. Sung J. Kim is responsible for the animation, texturing and modelling. Sung J. Kim’s talent can also be seen in ‘Anthem of 44’ from 2010: