The Empire strikes back

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The Regina-based band is back and making their presence known

Article: Robyn Tocker – A&C Editor

Not pictured: An Ewok with  Princess Leia

Not pictured: An Ewok with Princess Leia /Source: Stick Productions

Being compared to bands like Mumford and Sons and Civil Wars doesn’t happen every day, but when it does, it makes people take notice. For Terrance Williamson, the husband in this husband-wife group, it’s hard to comprehend.

“A lot of people say our music sounds alike. I guess it’s kind of the same style where it’s indie, folk, and acoustic rock. I get that, but it’s a bit of an overshot from my perspective. It’s fun to be able to connect us with that group, though.”

The Empire Associates came together over a year ago, and since their beginning, they have made a huge impact on Regina’s music scene. They bring an alternative folk-rock sound that makes a good first impression on any new listeners. Their latest album “In Times of Trouble” hosts tracks that Williamson wrote along with his wife and band mate, Kelsi Kerestesh, who sings and plays the mandolin alongside her guitar-playing husband.

“I usually just sit down and write with the guitar and the music just comes,” said Williamson. “It all has to do with the subconscious of everything and what we’re dealing with in the day.”

Although his inspiration is fluid, one of Williamson’s favourite songs is “Horizons” from their album.

“I was just playing around on the guitar and my wife said that would make a good song. I wrote it in about 5 minutes.”

The smooth rhythms along with lyrics that tug at the heart-strings make the song a definite hit.

While recording new songs for their second album, The Empire Associates have been performing all across Saskatchewan since January.

“We’re playing at places on sporadic dates. It’s not quite a tour.”

They played live in Moose Jaw and Regina during the JUNOS week, the Cathedral Village festival’s wrap-up party, and at various locations in Saskatoon, Swift Current, and Regina. Later this month, the band can be seen performing in Swift Current at the Living Sky’s Casino Livin’ Up Lounge on August 23 and 24. They will also hit up The Artisan in Regina on September 13, a favourite spot to play for the group.

“It’s beautiful inside and the sound in there is great.”

Since their start, The Empire Horizons has been a part of Saskatchewan’s music scene, and Williamson admits it comes with its own unique challenges.

“It isn’t as bubbly as it could be or has been in the past but it’s getting back to that point as more bands are emerging, especially with the JUNOS being here.”

Williamson said there is a spotlight to put on Saskatchewan.

“There’s lots of potential as the city and province grows.  I see Saskatchewan’s music scene growing quite a bit with the emerging bands and artists. I hope that we’re one of those bands.”

Williamson and Kerestesh have been doing music most of their lives and their natural progression has made them one of Saskatchewan’s up-and-coming bands. You can get updates on their album and upcoming shows from their Facebook page “The Empire Associates.”

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