Empires (band)

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Empires 2014.jpg
Empires performing in 2014
Background information
OriginChicago, IL
GenresIndie rock, Garage rock, Alternative rock
Years active2008 - 2015
LabelsIsland Records
Chop Shop Records
History Recordings
MembersSean Van Vleet (vocals)
Tom Conrad (guitar)
Max Steger (guitar)
Ryan Luciani(drums)

Empires was an indie rock band from Chicago, IL. The band consisted of Tom Conrad, Sean Van Vleet, Max Steger, and Ryan Luciani.


In early 2008, Empires was formed when longtime friends guitarist Tom Conrad approached singer Sean Van Vleet about writing music together.[2] Conrad and Van Vleet spent the year writing music together, and the induction of the other band members soon followed, Max Steger, Ryan Luciani and Al Smith. The band's name, "Empires", was thought of by Tom Conrad and Sean Van Vleet at the same time, albeit on opposite sides of Chicago (Tom was on the 'L' Train at the time, while Sean was at their shared apartment).

The band has consistently mentioned having a very DIY ethic when it comes to recording and releasing music with Max Steger as their producer / engineer, Tom Conrad as a designer and Sean Van Vleet as a writer.[3] In 2014, the band's third full-length studio album, Orphan, was produced by John Congleton and released on Island Records / Chop Shop Records.[4]

Empires made their national television debut on David Letterman on June 17, 2014.[5]

Lead singer Sean Van Vleet confirmed in an Instagram comment on August 23, 2017 that the band was no longer making music.


Sean Van Vleet[edit]

Upon leaving Empires, Sean Van Vleet began writing songs for film/TV, as well as for the experimental indie pop project NVDES. He has had more than 70 song placements in film/television, promos, and advertisements. His songs have been featured in newer shows such as The Bold Type, The Brave, The Good Doctor, and Marvel's Inhumans, as well as more established shows such as Lucifer, Grey's Anatomy, Shameless, Empire, and The Vampire Diaries. Van Vleet has had his music featured in the series premieres of Dynasty and 24: Legacy.

In 2015, his cover of "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" with Josh Mobley was featured in the official trailer for Victor Frankenstein.

Van Vleet's songs have found success in ads as well, landing big campaigns with Apple, Macy's, Oakley, PacSun, New Balance, Volkswagen, Victoria's Secret, and PrettyLittleThing, as well as a Fortnite trailer.


HOWL (2008)
BANG EP (2010)
Garage Hymns (2012)
How Good Does It Feel EP (2014)
Orphan (2014)

Tour history[edit]

Empires has performed and toured alongside such artists: Geographer, Alkaline Trio, Kaiser Chiefs, The Whigs, Augustines, Deerhunter, Saint Motel, A Silent Film, Death Cab for Cutie, The Temper Trap, Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, and Black Francis, Chain Gang of l974,

Austin City Limits Music Festival (2014)
Bunbury Music Festival (2013)
• Big Guava Music Festival (2015)
Bonnaroo Music Festival (2014)
BottleRock Napa Valley (2014)
Hangout Music Festival (2014)
Forecastle Festival (2015)
Lollapalooza (2012)
LouFest (2014)
South by Southwest (2014)


  1. ^ "We Are Empires – Music Un-nerved". Retrieved Oct 20, 2019.
  2. ^ DiMartino, Dave (Jun 19, 2014). "Empires Are Feeling Very Good Indeed". Retrieved Oct 20, 2019.
  3. ^ "Hear Empires Exclusively Premiere Epic New Alt-Rock Album 'Orphan'". Billboard. Retrieved Oct 20, 2019.
  4. ^ "Album Review: Empires - Orphan". Sep 22, 2014. Retrieved Oct 20, 2019.
  5. ^ "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert - CBS All Access". Retrieved Oct 20, 2019 – via www.cbs.com.