Young Empires is a Canadian world beat haute rock band formed in Toronto in October, 2009. Initially the group was composed of vocalist and keyboardist, Matthew Vlahovich; bassist, Jacob Palahnuk; and guitarist, Robert Aaron Ellingson. The drummer, Taylor Hill, joined the line-up as its fourth member in late 2011. In February 2013, the band parted ways with Robert Aaron Ellingson citing philosophical differences.
At their inception, Young Empires had a crown for an emblem but they are now widely identified by a plain equilateral triangle with a symbol that resembles the band name initials.
Their music blends elements of indie dance, electro, and indie rock. The members have self-proclaimed their genre to be “world beat haute rock”. World beat refers to the African and Latin American percussion used in their tracks, while haute rock is a term coined by the band itself. "We're writing tracks that make you feel wealthy, attractive, powerful; a soundtrack to your haute life " explains Jacob Palanhuk. Young Empires’ sound has been compared to the likes of The Killers, Arcade Fire, Cut Copy, Friendly Fires, and Foals.
Young Empires' music has evolved alongside a more ambitious project. A whole brand has emerged from these Canadian entrepreneurs called The House of Young Empires. The House embraces clothing, remixes, videos, and web design. In collaboration with a Toronto-based fashion line, Handsome Clothing, Young Empires has launched a collection of T-shirts and sweatshirts.
The fashion industry embraced them with open arms by featuring Young Empires on the Parisian music label Kitsuné Maison 10, Nylon TV fashion video and in Dazed & Confused.
The Young Empires’ journey started in August, 2009, when Aaron Ellingson and Jacob Palahnuk jammed with some other friends. With the nascent musical connection between them, the two of them decided to form a band. Matthew Vlahovich and Jacob met at a gig with Jacob’s previous band Turn off the stars. Matthew was doing his solo project, GoldenGirls, back then but put his one-man band on hiatus and joined the duo.
Young Empires was born in October, 2009. After less than a month of jamming, Matthew had a show offer for his solo project. He was asked to open for We Have Band at Wrongbar in Toronto, but he decided to perform as a band instead. Only a few songs were written at the time, and the band had just two weeks to write a half-hour set. Since then, Young Empires have released online a number of demos and videos recorded in their bedrooms and rehearsal rooms. Their website as well as the graphic elements and videos are designed by Jacob and Aaron, respectively.
Before the release of their first EP, the band managed to create within two years a reputation on a world scale and gained a fan base through supporting acts of many bands and traveling extensively across three continents.
A year after the inception, the band took part in the Nem-Catacoa Festival in Bogota (Colombia) which also hosted Green Day and Jamiroquai. Young Empires filled their impressive resume by performing at The Juno Awards on March 25, 2011, at the North-by-Northeast Music and Film Festival (NXNE) on June 17, 2010, and at the Harbourfront Centre on July 2, 2011, in Toronto, where at the SoundClash Music Awards, the band was awarded 3rd place out of five short-listed finalists.The Grammy Awards accommodated the band for its 53rd edition at the Canadian Blast Grammy Party. They hit the stage at New York's CMJ music week in October 2011, at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin in March 2011 and The Great Escape Festival in Brighton in May 2011. Their resume includes stops in Paris, Los Angeles, Stockholm, London and Montreal, among others.
Young Empires has shared the stage with headliners such as Jamiroquai, Chromeo, Foster the People, Dragonette, Japandroids, Girl Talk, Sleigh Bells, Jamaica, Vampire Weekend and We Have Band.
After two years as an unsigned band, Young Empires chose to sign a deal with the Pirates Blend Records. The latter is a recently launched label, which also has signed the Toronto band Bedouin Soundclash. “Choosing to release 'Wake All My Youth' with Pirates Blend has offered us the best of both worlds. On the one hand we’re totally independent and make all of our own decisions, yet on the other, we’re immersed in one of the strongest communities in Canadian music” according to Robert Aaron Ellingson.
Young Empires' music has been well received by Canadian radio stations. Their song, White Doves, was voted #6 on SiriusXM's "" and was chosen by CTV as the background music to "relive some of the best sights and sounds from the London ." Since the release of their EP, the band made an appearance on 102.1 The Edge CFNY on January 30, 2012 and on The Verge (XM) Online Radio on February 8, 2012. Young Empires was a guest on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, which aired on February 17, 2012, on CBC and on MTV Live. In late January, 2012, they hit the road throughout North America to promote their first recorded efforts and will be present at the 2012 SXSW in Austin, Texas.
They received a highly favorable review of their first 2012 US tour gig at the Mercury Lounge on March 1, 2012, by According 2 G entitled, "10 Reasons You Should Always Go See Young Empires." The #9 reason was "After their set was over, the crowd refused to accept it and was literally begging for them to play more songs. That's a site, I've rarely seen (and I see hundreds of bands a year!)."
Some of their tracks have reached the top spots on iTunes Canada Rock Charts (#2), The Edge 102.1 CFNY, while two of their demos have reached the top 15 on The Hype Machine’s charts. Their song, White Doves, was voted #6 on SiriusXM's .
On May 28, 2012, Young Empires released the world's first Facebook Connect that was featured on on May 31, 2012.
On July 27, 2012, FIFPLAY announced that "Rain of Gold" would be featured as one of the songs in the FIFA 13 soundtrack .
Young Empires have recently been nominated in three categories of the 2012 CASBY Award presented by The Edge 102.1 CFNY namely for Best New Artist, Best New Single, and Best New Album.
The debut EP, 'Wake All My Youth,' was released in Canada on January 31, 2012, and in the US and worldwide on February 21, 2012. The EP contains seven tracks and was released on Pirates Blend with mix production by Al-P of MSTRKRFT and Burke Reid.
- Rain of gold - 3:16
- Enter through the sun - 3:25
- White doves - 3:49
- Against the wall - 3:52
- Beaches - 3:34
- Let you sleep tonight - 3:37
- Final call - 3:11
Two more unreleased tracks can be found on Last.fm and Youtube: "Diamond Rings" and "The earth plates are shifting". The latter, which was dropped in mid-December 2010, amasses over two million views as of July 2013.
|2011||"Enter Through the Sun"||—||Wake All My Youth|
|2012||"We Don't Sleep Tonight"||30|
|"—" denotes a release that did not chart.|
The band has been commissioned to remix for Geffen Records, Kitsune and Paper Bag Records. They remixed "Self Control" by Sunday Girl, "This Moment" by French Horn Rebellion and Two Door Cinema Club’s hit "What you Know".
Many TV Shows and Record labels such as Kitsuné and Poule d’Or, a German Kitsuné, have featured their tracks.
“Against the Wall” has been featured in an online advertising campaign for NYLON TV in October, 2011.
“Let You Sleep Tonight” appeared on Ringer (TV series) in Season 1, Episode 4. The canadian Manitoba Telecom Services featured the song in their commercial spot 'Meeting' in 2012.
“Glory Of The Night” was released on Parisian music label Kitsuné Maison 10 Compilation, on Poule d’Or Compilation 4 and appeared on Cougar Town in Season 2, Episode 9.
“Enter through the sun” appeared on Suits (TV series) Season 1, Episode 7. Virgin Mobile featured the song in their commercial for the 2012 MMVAs.
“Rain of Gold” was released on Poule d’Or compilation 3 and appeared on I Just Want My Pants Back season 1 episode 5 and on Rookie Blue Season 2, Episode 11.
“White Doves” was released on Poule d’Or compilation 5 and appeared on Teen Wolf (TV series) Season 1, Episode 5, I Just Want My Pants Back in Season 1, Episode 5 and on Jersey Shore (TV series) Season 4. This song is also used in the end credits of the film Sisters & Brother by Carl Bessai premiering at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.
On July 27, 2012, the song could be heard on CTV London Olympics pre-show .
“Beaches” appeared on Real World San Diego aired on MTV on October 5th 2011 and on Jersey Shore (TV series).
“We Don't Sleep Tonight” appeared on Continuum (TV series) Season 3, Episode 4.
The French Rock magazine Les Inrockuptibles wrote online: "Young Empires' cheeky electro, best anti-crisis remedy ", “These Canadians are fighting against the crisis with their extravagant colored pop."
Among the many reviews, the Toronto NOW (magazine) in its February issue stated, "Wake All My Youth is unashamedly earnest, in a way that makes you wish you were 16 instead of making you cringe with embarrassment." The same magazine noted their performance at the NXNE Festival 2011 was rated in the top 10 out of over 500 bands. The bands EP was also reviewed by the online music blog, When the Gramophone rings, which gave it an 8/10 rating and stated: "The now four-piece band from Toronto has now delivered an EP on which every song has been layered and arranged with the upmost care, and delivered with the most devastating precision."
Numerous Toronto music critics considered Young Empires to be the breakout Toronto band in 2010, while Entertainment Tonight Canada has referred to them as "one of the most anticipated acts for 2011."
NME Magazine paid the band a significant compliment in their August/2010 issue by comparing Young Empires’ sound to bands, such as The Killers, Arcade Fire, Yeasayer, and Foals. An excerpt from this magazine praised the band as follows: “...the mathmania of Battles, the gloss’n’grandeur of The Killers, and the calamitous quiver of Arcade Fire... Young Empires have consummately summated this generations’ achievements in Rock. Not they’re total retread merchants; no, they’re master weavers of our disparate indie threads, forging a fine tapestry of future disco...”
Other renowned magazines, such as The Fly (magazine), Nylon, News of the world, and Dazed & Confused have also praised the band.