Currently Unsigned: Fire Red Empress

We stay in the UK for the latest in our series on Independent metal acts...

Greetings, and thanks for joining in our series on the finest unsigned bands known to man. We know you're from Fire Red Empress, but who are you, and what role do you play in the band? "Carl Gethin, I’m the guitarist".

Very good. And who else is in the band? "Paul (my brother) also on guitar, Nik Taylor-Stokes (vocals), Luke Middleton on drums and and bassist Ben Picken"

And how long have you been together? "6 months."

You're not wasting any time then! How many releases do you have under your belts to date? "One EP – Paint Me The Devil".

Ah yes. Paint Me the Devil, decribed in these very pages by our own LK Strykes as being 'real classic rock for the twenty first century'... Very nice work indeed. Now, being unsigned in 2014 has different connotations to being unsigned in 1994, or even 2004. How important do you think record companies are in today’s modern world of social media et cetera? "I think it’s a massively different Industry to what it was 20 years ago..or even 5 years ago. To be honest, I don’t really see ourselves as being unsigned. We’re doing what we want to do at this moment in time and seeing where it takes us. I still think the word unsigned has negative connotations but it really shouldn’t have anymore. The word Independent is probably more apt these days. Record Companies still have a place in the Industry, and a big role to play, it’s just that bands are less reliant on them to get exposure et cetera."

Fair enough, independent it is. But to extend that topic a little further, how important is any of the ‘traditional’ impedimenta of the record industry in 2014? Are band managers, distro companies, merch companies and PR reps just other means by which a band can lose money or does each separate part of the machine still have something to offer the unsigned band? "I think all of those still have a part to play, although things are a little more flexible now. The traditional Industry model was rigid and there was a very definite structure to the way things were done. Bands tried to get a manager, who would try and get a record deal with a label, who would then use distribution companies / PR guys etc. Nowadays these companies are far more open to working with bands without a label, and they have experience and contacts that can open doors". 

So being that artists can do a lot more off their own bats these days, what for you as a band has been the most effective means of getting your name out to a wider audience? "Radio has still been a great way to get our stuff heard by a lot of people".

A gratifyingly 'old fashioned' answer! You're probably the first act to not mention the internet! And the least? "Myspace…remember that?"

Er, no, sorry...  Let's move on. If you don’t have a manager, how many hours a week do you spend on non-playing activities as a band? Do you do that stuff anyway even if you have a manager?  "I’m not sure because we don’t have a manager (laughs). I think we would always be involved in the social media side of things…fans still want to connect with the band and a manager can’t really do that. We spend a lot of time though…too many hours to count!"

Now to the more interesting stuff – any tour/release plans in the near future? This is the chance to plug your shit! "We’ve just released our debut EP Paint Me The Devil as you know – available on Itunes, Amazon etc. It was recorded/mixed by Jacob Hansen. He produced the last few Volbeat albums and is an absolute genius! We’ve got some awesome shows in the pipeline but we’re not allowed to say at the moment!" 

Well make sure you let us know when you can! Where can people learn more about you? "Our website is a good place to start – www.fireredempress.com".

And finally - anything else the readers of Metal as Fuck need to know about your band? "We’re not metal. But we are as fuck".