Step into the sound of the future with the electronica metal, cyberpunk approach of Bristol-based Drip Fed Empire. The quartet blends hardcore metal and post-hardcore with industrial, EDM, drum & bass elements to form a genre-bending, energy-fuelled dystopian sound.
The band started as a project between frontman Jay and drummer Sean when they first discovered electronic music and got more into synths and production, having grown up as “through and through metal fans.”
As Jay tells us: “I think there was a defining point in the early days in 2016 where we were just experimenting with writing electronic tunes like dubstep, drum & bass, trance and such, but incorporating scream vocals and distorted bass guitar into it. I remember going over to Sean’s house one day, where he’d basically written a trance drop with a distorted bass in there and I just fell in love with the sound, and instantly had a vision for what I could add to it.”
They added bassist Rhys, who knew Jay through a mutual friend, then guitarist Jordan “bothered” Jay into letting him join the band. As Jay adds: “Rhys actually recorded some of our earlier tunes and helped us produce it, so naturally it made sense to bring him into the fold. Jordan and I met through mutual friends from down the pub, he basically approached me after a few drinks one night and said ‘dude, I wanna play guitar for your band.’ I didn’t take it seriously at the time as we’d had a lot of bad luck with guitarists in the past. A few months passed and he bothered me again about it, so we gave him a shot and he turned out to be the missing piece we’d been looking for.”
The band have since honed a sound that Jay describes as “a wide mix of metal and post-hardcore vibes, combined with dark heavy synths and elements from genres such as neurofunk, industrial and ‘old’ dubstep, to name a few.”
The latest taste of this dystopian offering is the timely The Hole, a “lockdown anthem” of a single that focus on the loneliness that the ongoing pandemic has created in the world. It also reflects on peoples’ growing dependence on digital devices to maintain relationships, businesses who want to manipulate the truth, and the trappings of ‘The New Normal.’
It launches straight in with a huge cry of “Welcome to the hole” alongside a chunky guitar riff, driving drums and electronic noises. It continues into a quick chorus of big vocals “Welcome to the hole, This is a place you will never escape, you’re in the hole, Have one last taste of your final embrace, left in the hole” over more heavy guitars.
That lively beginning drops into a verse of electronic noises and chunky bass under rapped vocals, which drops into another big blast of the chorus. After another verse and chorus, the song descends into delicious chaos with a a big cry of “They’ll eat you alive” giving way to a booming riff. A darting riff and pounding drums kick in, supporting intense vocals “You cough splutter blood, now you’re struggling to breathe, Now you’ve succumb to their sick twisted needs, Shots in the dark where it’s hard to perceive, Picking your teeth out the drain, You’re an endangered breed.” A fun bouncy riff takes over to take the track to a heavy ending.
On the track, Rhys tells us: “Lyrically, The Hole is a reflection on the last year of our lives, more than anything it’s our reaction to the isolation of being locked down as a country. It’s also a commentary on how the UK media has utilised the pandemic to push their agendas. We wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered this song in complete isolation from each other, so it felt right to reflect that in the content of the song.
“People should expect a new sound in this single to our previous releases, a mix of hard-hitting choruses and atmospheric verses, ending in a chaotic breakdown! Prodigy fans should really get a kick out of this one!” Check it out in the video below:
That followed last year’s single 3301, which is focused on a secretive online group, called 3301, which began recruiting for “highly intelligent individuals,” who had to prove their codebreaking, programming and cryptography skills by solving a complex puzzle called Cicada. It starts slowly with gradually building electronic sounds giving way to huge cries of “3301” over heavy drums and guitars and a chugging synth sound.
A heavy verse takes over and flows into a chorus of more repeats of “3301” intersected by a single cry of “Cicada.” A second verse ends on the line “The Puzzle is the direction, seek it you will be found,” which flows into heavier vocals. A light synth takes over with mini-drum rolls, before the track closes out with repeats of “You have done well you’ve come so far, Beware false paths” over crushing guitar chords, light drums and synthy stabs. Check it out in the video here:
Tracks like Mk3, Y2k and Virus.exe have a much more industrial and techno feel to them, with Mk3 in particular featuring a really cool electronic bass sound, fun stabbing synths and ends in huge bass and synth combo under screamed vocals.
But Drip Fed Empire don’t just create innovative dystopian music, they also embody the cyberpunk ethic in their day-to-day lives. For example, Jay makes a living through body modification, which involves biohacking bodies with microchips – which we thought only existed in video games! Find out more in the video here.
On this, Jay told us: “It’s not a huge movement, but it is growing and bringing people into the body mod world that may not usually have much interest in the more extreme mods; which is cool to see. ‘Biohacking’ is the umbrella term coined for this sort of stuff, though a bunch of other stuff will come up under this as well if you search it up. If you wanna find out more, I would just suggest you watch our video on it, or look up ‘Dangerousthings’ as they’re the guys making this tech.
“I think we’re at the point as a species where we’re basically already integrated with our tech. I just think fully integrating it is the next step. Chances are if you’re into your Cyberpunk / Dystopia stuff this’ll be right up your street, simply for the fantasy value it yields. Though saying that, I’m hoping to see it go mainstream in the years to come.
“It does seem extreme at the moment, but that’s why it’s so cool to me I suppose! I mean, if you’ve seen the Elon Musk brain implant he’s working on, this stuff is child’s play in comparison! We all know too well what a nightmare it is to lose your bank card, keys or wallet. This tech has the potential to erase that problem from your life, while improving your digital security in the process. For example, one use could be not having to hand over your personal banking information to corporations like Google and Apple for contactless payments. You could just write your own chips yourself and use crypto currencies to make payments. The same chip could also then be written to start your car, open locks and much more, while being physically and digitally secured.”
The band’s intriguing sound comes from a wide range of influences, including rock and metal bands like Linkin Park, Rage Against The Machine, Machine Head, Lamb Of God, Fear Factory, Tool, Knocked Loose, Whitechapel, Meshuggah and While She Sleeps. But, of course, it also encompasses more electronic-minded artists like Skrillex, Author & Punisher, Noisia, The Prodigy and The Algorithm.
And on what inspires them to write, Rhys says: “I think a large part of the influence comes from our working-class backgrounds and punk roots. We’ve grown up consistently having to create something from the very limited resources we have. We knew that we weren’t going to be signed straight off the bat, so bands such as Black Flag and Enter Shikari, who really went out there and made it for themselves, are big icons to us.
“Our lyrics have one consistent theme, dystopia. We’ve always tried to predict and showcase the consequences of the way we live and the rapid advancement in our technology. I think 2020/21 has given us a lot to go off so far!”
To which, Jordan adds: “I just love playing guitar and playing it live is awesome. There’s really no other feeling like playing on stage and just thrashing about and the adrenaline that comes with playing, as well as people just loving what you have written. It’s always a good feeling when someone turns to me and says ‘that riff is awesome.'”
Drip Fed Empire are already hard at work on a new EP, which should be coming our way in the Autumn, and are itching to get back on tour playing shows – which we’re intrigued to see in the flesh given their electronic/metal crossover.
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