Empress Hotel's Ryan and Eric Rogers discuss the band's new album, yacht rock, drinking on the job and more in the My Spilt Milk podcast.
Empress Hotel broke my heart. When I saw on their band bio that the New Orleans-based rock band listed Sparks as an influence, I was flabbergasted. Sparks have always been the sort of band that divides people including Sparks fans. Diehards swear by Propaganda, Kimono My House and Indiscreet and give up on anything after those highly eccenctric art-glam albums. I stayed with them through the Giorgio Moroder-produced No. 1 in Heaven, but after that, the aggressive weirdness and rock muscle was too watered down to speak to me.
When I saw down with Empress Hotel's Ryan and Eric Rogers on the patio behind PJ's on Magazine Street, they revealed that they deemed Sparks an influence after fans heard them and told the band that they heard similarities. When they heard 1979's Terminal Jive - also produced by Moroder - they recognized similarities.
Last week, Empress Hotel released Heavy Halo, a lovely, unpredictable album with songs whose hooks come from surprising places. Some are structural; others come from singer Micah McKee, who makes lines and thoughts seem more meaningful than they seem when read.
Ryan Rogers writes the songs, and he along with his bandmate and brother Eric discussed his priorities as a songwriter, along with the challenges of working with bands and more in this week's podcast.