New Music Heaven : The Federal Empire

May 6, 2019
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The Federal Empire's "I Never Liked Your Friends" is this week's featured New Music Heaven track. Hear it all week on 94/7, and text HOT or NOT to 44624 to let us know if we should keep playing it!

Music necessitates unity. It hinges on the harmony of notes, rhythms, and beats as well as the confluence of its creators. The Federal Empire chart a new frontier for alternative folk pop by welcoming listeners everywhere to participate in the union shared by the duo of Chad Wolf and McKay Stevens. In fact, an ambition to bring others together underlines the pair’s poetic, passionate, and powerful growing body of work thus far.

“In Latin, ‘E pluribus unum’ translates to ‘Out of many, one’,” says Chad.  “Our idea was to have all of these voices rising up from one place. We want to bring everybody together into this place. It represents what we stand for and what we’re trying to do as a band. We consider all who joins us family.”

McKay agrees, “Early on, we wanted our music to cross boundaries and appeal to individuals of all races, religions, and sexual orientations. They can unite under one banner, forget about their problems, and unify. We want as many people as possible to be part of these big movements as an Empire.”

After meeting at a 2015 writing session, the two musicians quietly worked towards engineering such movements. Both brought invaluable experience, wisdom, and talent to the fold with Chad fronting multiplatinum rock stalwarts Carolina Liar and McKay receiving a 2014 GRAMMY® Award nomination for co-writing Kaskade’s “Atmosphere.” Straight out of the gate as The Federal Empire, they occupied coveted real estate on Spotify’s “New Music Friday”. They joined forces with Sam Feldt for “Shot By Own Gun” and landed high-profile syncs on shows such as The CW’s Valor. Not to mention, they played shows across the country.

Signed to Sumerian Records in 2018, they officially released The American Dream EP via the label. Standing at the intersection between indie electro, alternative, Americana, and pop, It speaks to an exploratory spirit.

“Everybody used to come to the West Coast in search of gold, riches, and a brighter future,” McKay continues. “There’s a similar energy. Music is a new frontier in that you can pull out a laptop and use it as an instrument.”

By early 2019, the EP’s four tracks had quietly amassed upwards of 5 million cumulative streams. Powered by hypnotic harmonies, subtle electronic transmissions, and lush instrumentation, sardonic and sharp storytelling guides the single “I Never Liked Your Friends.” With wisdom and wit, it culminates on the chantable chorus, “I never liked your friends. I never want to see them again!”

“You’re at the end of a really tumultuous breakup, and the best thing that comes out of it is you don’t have to hang out with your ex’s friends anymore,” laughs Chad. “As soon as we thought of the concept, we both agreed, ‘Damn, that’s so true’. Being around these people you hate was probably the worst part of the relationship.”

“We sort of laugh about these tragic situations together,” adds McKay. “It’s therapy.”

“As musicians, we’re supposed to serve,” Chad leaves off. “We’re providing listeners with a service. Music has given so much to us. Hopefully, we can give something back with our own stories.”

“This is a community to us,” concludes McKay. “We can all get together, heal, and share friendship.”