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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Holy Rolling Empire is off to a Rock ‘n’ Rolling start

    Jacob Rader / Arizona Daily Wildcat
    Jacob Rader
    Jacob Rader / Arizona Daily Wildcat

    Everyone dreams of becoming a rockstar, but few make it. The members of Holy Rolling Empire are well on their way.

    Tucson’s own Holy Rolling Empire celebrated the release of their album, Gigantis, by throwing a big party at Hotel Congress Friday. A couple days before the big concert the Daily Wildcat sat down with guitarist Ian Carstensen and vocalist/keyboardist Orin Shochat to get their perspective on what it’s like to become more and more popular in the music world.

    “”We have all been playing in bands since high school and we just kept reinventing ourselves with new members,”” said Shochat. When asked what it felt like to be a part of a record label, Carstensen said, “”It feels great because they put us in record stores and they take care of us.””

    Holy Rolling Empire signed with Burning House Records, which touts other bands like The Otterssey, American Black Lung, Transfer, and Mostly Bears.

    “”Indie labels help you and there is more freedom and more to work with. We are hoping to make it to a bigger label. You just hear about bands getting screwed though with some of those big labels. We would like to be signed by a larger, independent label. Right now this is just a stepping stone,”” said Shochat.

    Holy Rolling Empire has been on tour throughout the west.

    “”The crowds are awesome. Basically, we’re trying to expand regionally and we hope to make Tucson a home base. We also believe that if you become big in the west, you will become big in the east,”” said Shochat. “”It takes a day or two to adjust and makes readjusting more routine when we’re on the road. It just makes having a stable life more complicated,”” he added.

    When asked what the hardest part about being in a band was, Carstensen said, “”You learn to not drink all the time because you get really sick.””

    “”Yeah, you learn to not argue about stuff like stage production and who does what and if you party hard the night before then that really doesn’t help because no one wants to do anything,”” added Shochat.

    So what genre does Holy Rolling Empire fall under?

    “”Sixties, seventies, psychedelic, pop, prog rock – we basically take a little bit of everything. We don’t really have one specific genre,”” said Shochat.

    Gigantis is reminiscent of the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper and the Lonely Hearts Club Band with their opening song, “”If You Can’t Beat It…”” The album is full of very relaxing music and a lot of good guitar playing as well. There are two songs that stick out in particular: “”Are You A Hostage?”” and the mainly instrumental “”Interlude.””

    What better place to hold a CD release party than at Hotel Congress? Inside the venue, a large cargo net divided those who couldn’t drink from those who could. All those who were under 21 were on the left of the stage while those who could drink were in the center. Even the lead singer from the opening act The Otterssey had to lean out to see where the rest of us were. This indie trio sounded great and got the show started off with their soft rock.

    Following up The Otterssey was American Black Lung. This quartet experienced one minor difficulty when one of their guitars broke and they had to swap it out. ABL provided the audience with some good, hard rock and roll. Some members of the audience raised their fists and jumped with the energy of the band.

    Following ABL was Transfer. Transfer had an awesome guitar player whose appearance was similar to that of Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl. After Transfer came the very psychedelic Mostly Bears. This trio brought black lights onto their set and covered themselves in fluorescent paint. The lead singer could have been a character from That 70s Show; his guitar playing reminded me more of Jimi Hendrix.

    Finally. the guests of honor – Holy Rolling Empire. The group opened up with “”Interlude”” and the crowd went crazy. They then played one of their old songs for Shochat’s grandmother in the audience. Holy Rolling Empire sounds great live and they performed well at Club Congress.

    When asked what result he hoped for from the live show, Shochat said, “”Just have fun and to bring joy to fans.”” Holy Rolling Empire did just. This band will be big in the future.

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