Wednesday 12 February 2014

***CASEY BOLAND / WE ARE EMPIRE / You And I / Hot Cross / exclusive interview***

GenresPunk / Rock / Noise Rock / Math Rock / Grind / Emo / Shoegaze / Instrumental / Post-Hardcore / Metalcore / Screamo
Related artistsAtypical, Sky Falls Down, You And I, and Hot Cross.
CountryNew Jersey, USA
Years Active2003-2004
Song: "Tomacco"
Album: "We Are Empire demo"
Year: 2004
Label(s): Level Plane Records
This post's artist is from the February 2014 Mix. This is track #10.
You can download the March 2014 Mix#3 right here.
For fans ofHot Cross, Superstitions Of The SkyExcitebike, North Of AmericaSloan, 
                  Animal Faces, Hue, Tricky Woo, Despistado, Rye Coalition, Holy Shroud,
                  and Desiderata.

CASEY BOLAND. That's all I should have to say. Okay young'uns, I'll expand.

CASEY BOLAND is a guitarist who also dabbles with vocals. He played guitar in the seminal screamo/hardcore outfit You And I, followed by the genre bending Hot Cross. In the middle of his Hot Cross days, CASEY started a rock band called WE ARE EMPIRE that recorded a demo but quickly dissolved due to his Hot Cross commitments. Here is his resume, in all its glory:

Atypical- 1993-1995 (me, Chris Boland, Jay Thomson, Adolfo Lagomasino, three cassettes)
Sky Falls Down- 1995-1997 (me, Chris Boland, Jay Thomson, Adolfo Lagomasino, Chris Byrnes who played for a bit in Every Time I Die- cassette, split 7" on Moo Cow Records with Parade's End, split 7" with Bearing on I Defy Records)
You and I- 1997-1999
F44:876- 1999 (for me and Josh. The band continued until 2001 or so without us) (Justin Hock from You and I, Josh Jakubowski, Seth from East of the Wall, Neil Simon, assorted others; one CD that I did not record on)
Hot Cross- 2000-2007
We Are Empire- 2003-2004 (me and my bro, one CD EP)
2007- Present- Various projects that didn't last long enough to earn a name

During 2003 and 2004, CASEY BOLAND and his brother created WE ARE EMPIRE and recorded a 6-song demo EP. It had some seriously good songs and moments of brilliance, all embedded in a subdued version of Hot Cross. Overall, the songs have some hits and misses but this comes as a result of the job being a little rushed due to CASEY going on tour. If you are a Hot Cross fan, simply imagine any track where CASEY is singing. Remove the breakneck speed, shouting/screaming and breakdowns - there ya go, WE ARE EMPIRE. Amazing noodley, post-rock/indie/garage duo with deep, glazed vocals. While listening to WE ARE EMPIRE, it will become apparent to fans how much creative influence CASEY had on Hot Cross. Let's deconstruct each song quickly, shall we?

"T.V. On Drugs":
A great opening song that has a lot of Hot Cross going on, but sneaks into much more melodic vocal territory. The song has a sassy/indie rock vibe and is one of the best songs on the demo.

"Greatest American Hero":
This opening riff is so Hot Cross a lot of readers will probably download the EP after getting no further than 30 seconds in. It's a great song with guitar riffs that easily could have made it onto 'Risk Revival'. Vocally the song is less experimental than "T.V. On Drugs" but this works with the song, and it comes across sounding like a Hot Cross b-side. That in itself made my day when I first heard it!

The cornerstone of the EP is this - and it's fucking unreal. This is one of the main reasons I spent 10 years tracking down whatever the hell band made this song. It originally appeared on a Level Plane sampler as a one-off and no info was ever given about it. When I contacted CASEY I inquired if he was, in fact, part of WE ARE EMPIRE, at which point my search finally ended. Seriously, this song is so good it's ridiculous and is easily one of my favourite mathy/bouncy rock songs of all time. Again, serious.

"Murder Horn"
This is a pretty little acoustic instrumental ditty that shows off a side of CASEY that listeners haven't heard before. Serene, short and simple.

Another typical WE ARE EMPIRE song that, in my opinion, shows the rush that CASEY was in before leaving for his Hot Cross tour, as the vocals just don't seem "complete". It's a decent song, but the weakest of the 4 "full song/band" tracks.

"Salt In The Wound"
The final acoustic song, this one with vocals, sounds to me like a punk lullaby. It's a decent song with a trippy/spacey ending that closes out the demo nicely.



2004 - Demo cdEP (download here)


(2004) WE ARE EMPIRE - "Tomacco" (from 'Demo')

(2004) WE ARE EMPIRE - "Greatest American Hero" (from 'Demo')

(2004) WE ARE EMPIRE - "T.V. On Drugs" (from 'Demo')




  1. Please, re-upload the broken link of the demo. PLEASE.

    1. I'm in the process of re-acquiring the songs. I will post them as soon as I get them!


  2. Yes, please get that demo up! This band is too good to not hear the rest of the songs.

    1. I'm still awaiting a reply but will email him again next week!

  3. Also just thought to add. If at any point these are taken down from youtube and anyone wants these vids email me @ and I will send them to you.

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