When we asked the guys of up-and-coming Canadian band Young Empires about their ideal on-stage wardrobe, we didn’t expect to receive the answer we got.
"Saint Laurent. Head to toe," says drummer Taylor Hill.
Hill, who claims his style icon is the ultra-fashionable Miguel, proceeded to flash us his slick, pointed toe black YSL boots, one of his first big fashion purchases as a musician. A few minutes later, however, before the band's private gig held at East United condos in Toronto, Hill unzipped the boots and opted for a more practical shoe before hitting the stage: a pair of Common Projects.
Young Empires, who have just released their new album "The Gates," formed in 2010 in Toronto. Hill, alongside vocalist Matthew Vlahovich and bassist Jacob Palahnuk, have always admired the fashion world. Describing their style of music as "Haute Rock," a term coined by Palahnuk, the sound of the band is an eclectic mix of rock music with influences of house and hip-hop.
"'Haute Rock' was meant to be catchy and fresh. It’s trying to separate yourself. We do something that’s a little bit more sophisticated than rock music because it’s much more detailed oriented, much like haute couture fashion. We wanted a classier, sexier feel to rock music," Palahnuk explains.
With 'The House of the Young Empires,' an umbrella organization through which the band members run multiple projects, they originally wanted to create a clothing line, but opted for another direction instead.
"We found it a lot easier to just collaborate with other clothing companies," Vlahovich tells us. One of the group’s first style collabs was with their friends at Handsome Clothing, creating pieces inspired by the group’s vision and sound.
Matthew then goes on to reveal that a long-term goal for the band would be to create "a clothing line that doesn’t look or feel like traditional 'band' clothes." Adding on, Jacob says, "We want to make clothing that can actually be sold in retail stores. We want more of something you could actually wear as opposed to a band fan shirt."
That's not to say Young Empires haven't nailed traditional band style, however. With their all-black ensembles, and of course, Taylor's trusty Saint Laurent, it's clear that the band is dressed the part. According to them, touring this past summer has helped them establish a signature style that's also practical for performing.
Here's what they learned:
1. Wear a lot of black. Like A LOT
"It’s practical wearing black because you don’t see the stains. You know … tour life," Matt confesses. "I’ll buy six of the same black shirts and just rotate through them," Jake reveals.
2. It’s all about a rubber sole shoe
As a singer, it's crucial Vlahovich has a good shoe: "I really need a thick and good quality rubber sole on my shoes to be able to ground myself properly to sing."
3. Saint Laurent … always Saint Laurent
Labeled the "fashion man" of the group, Taylor’s Saint Laurent boots are one item he can’t live without: "I wear them too much."
4. Tide to Go pens are important, as are Magic Erasers
One of the best tips the boys learned from touring on the road? Always carry a Tide to Go pen. And how does Hill keep his Project Common sneakers so white? A Magic Eraser.
5. When in doubt: Throw on a jean jacket
"You can always wear a jean jacket. Always."
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