A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit, Unsung Heroes

Eye Empire

“I know that all of you are wondering, what happened to Submersed? Well, the answers is… A lot.. This business and struggle to make it took its toll on the members… Two weeks before “Price of Fame” was slated for release, Tj, Kelan and Justin decided to move on with their lives and left SubmerseD. Garrett and I believing in “Price of Fame” made the choice to press on and see what could happen. Well, nothing happened… the single never had a chance… mind bottling… The fact is, is that a majority of our fan base is unaccounted for due to Burning, making it impossible for the labels to understand just how many people really support us out there… When it comes down to it now, SubmerseD no longer has a place on Windup’s roster and will be dropped shortly… I was trying to wait until things were a little more official before an announcement but you guys and gals are smart and I felt you deserved an explanation now rather than later”

The above is what Donald Carpenter, the singer of SubmerseD put up in 2008 on their MySpace page. Some people call it a whiny rant, however the truth of the post is hidden in the words “making it impossible for the labels to understand just how many people really support” the band. Yep, while Wind Up Records focused on the old business model of CD sales or mp3 sales as a band’s popularity, they ended up failing their artists. Piracy is a black hole that the record labels like to put in their financial reports back to artists that if something doesn’t sell it must be piracy’s fault.

Go on YouTube. The song “Never Again” has had 351,372 views. An acoustic version of the band performing “Hollow” has been viewed 178,498 times. People were listening to the band. Maybe not in the way they hoped or wanted, but they were listening.

For those people who don’t know about SubmerseD. They band was signed to Wind Up Records. Mark Tremonti from Creed/Alter Bridge worked with them. Guitarist Eric Friedman was a key ingredient in the chemistry that made “In Due Time” such a good album however by the time their second album “Immortal Verses” came out, Friedman was gone and the band was dropped by Wind-Up Records after its failure.

So in 2009, Eye Empire is formed. It was a pseudo supergroup of members who had label deals with other bands. The foundations come from Dark New Day members Corey Lowery and B.C. Kochmit. Vocals came from Donald Carpenter. Drums came from a range of other musicians.

So they go the Independent route, self-releasing their music through their website in limited edition 1000 runs. That way they compile an email list of people interested in purchasing their music. YouTube became a promotional outlet. That is how I came across Eye Empire. Their clip of “I Pray” has had 147,120 views. The song “More Than Fate” has had 81,729 views on the Eye Empire VEVO account, 46,447 on the Eye Empire You Tube account, 41,694 on a user/fan account and 72,508 on the Submersed YouTube account. In total, that is 242,378 views.

The band was making inroads and I always say that success comes to the ones who outlast the competition. In this case, the version of Eye Empire that people started to adopt as the definitive band is no more. From when the release of Eye Empire’s second album “Evolve” came out in October 2013 to April 2014, Donald Carpenter, the very reason why I got into the band was out. Lowery, Kochmit and Bennett said in a statement that Carpenter was trying to reassemble a former band which to me means SubmerseD. Carpenter replied with a philosophical “Starting over is always hard but it’s not the first time and I am certain that it won’t be the last.”

The hardest part of change is actually making the decision to change. Once that decision is made then the rest is easy. In relation to Eye Empire, I can relate to the driven aspect of some members not being in sync with another band member.

In the early nineties, I was in a hard rock band that was out-of-place in the Industrial Alternative Nu-Metal wasteland between the years of 1996 and 1999. It was a three-piece band. The drummer wanted to be big as Pearl Jam but didn’t have the work ethic. The bass player/singer was happy playing the club circuit week in/week out as it was a stable income.

Each three-hour gig got us $150 each. We used to play three gigs a week. So $450 in the pocket each week was a good little additional income for me on top of my normal full-time job. However, the bass player/singer and the drummer didn’t have any jobs. So their cash income came on top of the unemployment benefits they received. So our lifestyles were very different. While I had a mortgage, they lived at home with their parents. So the work ethic between us was very different because of the different responsibilities we had.

I practiced my guitar playing each day. The drummer didn’t even practice. The only time he played the drums was at band practice and then live. The bass player always started the jam sessions/live performances sober and by the end was getting pretty tipsy. So again, the drive between us as musicians was different.

I was married and looking to start a family. The drummer was single, in and out of relationships. The singer was separated and had two kids to two different woman. So our personal lives brought different responsibilities to the table.

The song writing was like this. If I wrote a song, I would bring it in complete, with music and lyrics. If the bass player/singer wrote a song, he would bring it in complete. And we jammed them without any questions. So you can see where the arguments would come from later on.

And you get this in bands.

The different work ethics, the different drive of the individuals and the different expectations that they place on each other and the band.

And I am thinking that Carpenter’s definition of success and fame is over exaggerated or over inflated.

Shinedown is one of the biggest rock bands right now and they play two to five thousand seat arenas. Is that a bad thing. Of course not. Maybe if Donald Carpenter was the lead singer it would be a bad thing.

So what about the songs on “Evolve”?

“Beyond The Stars” and “Live Loud” are real good songs. The stand outs by far. “Within” is a good merge of their Sevendust influence along with Muse. “The War Isn’t Over Yet” is an aggressive piece of music. “The Man I Am” is very reminiscent to what Donald Carpenter did with SubmerseD and to be honest it brings back a memory of Deep Purple “Soldier Of Fortune” for some reason. “Don’t Look Back” is reminiscent of “Animosity” era Sevendust. Another quality track.

The other half of the album borders too much on Sevendust. Which is a shame as the potential is there, however it will remain unfulfilled.


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