“Cross My Heart,” the Sun Will Rise: Damien from Awaken the Empire

There is something to be said about a band and their insomniatic followers. Imagine the power they must posses; with their abilities to stay up at all hours of the night, they could quite possibly build an empire – or better yet – awaken the empire currently in existence, sleeping soundly through the wicked phenomenon residing in them.

Luckily for those of us who cannot go a day without catching our beauty Zzzzs – Damien Lawson from Los Angeles based band, Awaken the Empire, writes and sings to fight those battles. Ironically, Lawson is a big dreamer, and hopes that all of us (Insomniacs or not) do the same.

Before you fluff your pillow tonight, indulge in the energy of Empire’s singles, “Rise and Fall” and “Cross My Heart” (exclusively available for download on Purevolume.com), and dream with your eyes open.

ASHLEY JEAN: Sorry I couldn’t make it, but I heard you played The Roxy recently. If you had to describe that show using only a shape, which one would you choose, and why?

DAMIEN LAWSON: Octagon…on its side, rolling down a hill. It’s moving, but also highly unstable.

ASHLEY JEAN: How do you pre-game (not alcohol, boys) for…any show? Do you hold any superstitions that if you don’t warm up to a certain song that your set might go haywire?

DAMIEN LAWSON: I think all of us do the typical stuff, try to stretch, drink water (or whatever). I tend to be in my own little world, and not talk a whole lot. I definitely have some rituals that I go through, but I like keeping them to myself. As much as being on stage in this band is a public performance, for me it’s 99% private therapy session…

ASHLEY JEAN: In just a few days, you’ll be leaving to tour in Arizona. Van drives can be long and exhausting. How do you plan on preserving that raw energy for the shows?

DAMIEN LAWSON: I always try to eat as healthy as possible (especially in the weeks leading up to the tour). When we’re on the road: Take vitamins, try not to eat a bunch of shitty fast food, STAY HYDRATED…sacrifice things to various gods… it’s a numbers game. One of them is bound to be thankful.

ASHLEY JEAN: Your fans are known as the Insomniacs. Pretend we’re at Starbucks (or Coffee Bean), and Awaken the Empires is a featured latte. What would it consist of?

DAMIEN LAWSON: It would be full of so much caffeine that it would give you panic attacks, and the cup would have little holes in it so that as you drink it, it would spill all over you…but…it would taste so good that you wouldn’t care. 

ASHLEY JEAN: Being a self-produced band can be a trial. What was it like working with Erik Ron and creating some of the newer material? Like, does working with a producer of this magnitude make you want to stray away from self-producing ever again?

DAMIEN LAWSON: It was an amazing experience! He’s great at what he does, and it was awesome to have him direct our energy and creativity. As far as future projects/self-producing…before we even stepped foot into the studio, I had a very clear vision of what this band was supposed to sound like, and what the album was going to be…so some aspects of the record were definitely still self-produced. I can’t ever see myself giving up total control when it comes to my art.

ASHLEY JEAN: Are there any official plans to making a full-length in the near future?

DAMIEN LAWSON: We recorded a full length with Erik Ron. We’re hoping for a late 2012 release, but who knows. We have to find the right home for the album first.

ASHLEY JEAN: Finally, because this is Golden Mixtape, I would like you to make me a mixtape of 5 songs to the theme of, oh something insomaniac-ish. We’ll call it, “Just at sunrise…”


Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” –  Nirvana
The Royal We” – Silversun Pickups
In Your Heart” – A Place to Bury Strangers
Sentinal” – VNV Nation
Lullaby” – The Cure

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