Quad-Cities millenialcore band Empty Graves is on the rise, with an addicting new song, “Dog Pills,” an upcoming album, “Virulent,” and a burgeoning tour slate.
The group — Brockton Reddish on vocals, Benjamin Larson on guitar, and Brendan Cone on bass – is currently in the search for a permanent drummer to join them for the journey, but the act has been together for a little over a year in one incarnation or another.
“We’ve been a band since February of 2022,” Larson said. “I started the band as a fun side project. After a couple months we brought in Brock and started writing the more current Empty Graves style of music. Brendan is a new addition, taking over for our previous bassist, and friend, Chase Myers.”
Empty Graves performing
The group plays what they describe as “millenialcore,” Larson said.
“The internet has probably labeled us as accurately that I’ve seen. They call us ‘Millenialcore’. Which is essentially metalcore but with millennial style jokes/references in songs and live.”
That humor translates off-stage and off-record as well, as the group has been known to do unconventional things to market themselves, such as the infamous cinnamon challenge.
“We try to put our authentic selves forward and it’s one of the ways our personalities shine the best!” Larson said. “As for the cinnamon challenge? It was a nightmare. I thought the issue would be the heat or spice because of the bulk amount of cinnamon. But, as Brock had accurately surmised, ‘it’s when you try to breathe that it becomes hell’. And boy, was he right!”
Crazy stuff doesn’t just happen off-stage with the band either. Their live gigs have a reputation for being fun as well.
“There have been a few things that have happened at shows,” Larson said. “For New Years 2022, we played a show in a coffee shop that fits no more than 10 people. Except, there were about 50 packed in there. The whole night was amazing. Fans singing every word to every song, energy was off the walls, our first time playing our Unholy cover, and last but not least, a 50-something-year-old woman was walking by and opened the window by the stage and leaned in with her phone and started recording.”
An example of the unexpected.
The unexpected is just one thing you can expect from an Empty Graves gig.
“You can expect three things for sure at our shows,” Larson said. “Memes, slams, and fun button ups! We really just come out to have a good time. Our music and lyrical content is serious and we love when people dig in to analyze it. However, when it comes to live shows there is a certain catharsis to forgetting the outside world for a few hours to mosh out your frustrations.”
Which fits Empty Graves in nicely with the rising tide of metal in the region.
“The Midwest has a pretty decent amount of small towns that don’t have much to do. If you want to stay out of trouble you only have a couple options, music being one of them. Pair that with good ol’ seasonal depression and you got a pretty decent alternative music scene! The Quad-Cities are no exception but we do have a decent community of artists and promoters that keep things interesting in our area.”
The group boasts a wide range of influences ranging from show tunes to death metal, Larson said. “I’m big on stuff like the Black Dahlia Murder, Haste the day, and Broadway musicals, Brock grew up on a lot of nu-metal and ‘90s-‘00s hip-hop, and Brendan takes a lot of influence from Van Halen, Periphery, and I Am Abomination!”
The new single “Dog Pills” featuring Hunter Black echoes those resonant sounds.
“’Dog Pills’ was the first new song we wrote for the album and we knew immediately that this was going to be quite different from our old stuff,” Larson said. “We wanted to use that song to showcase some of the different areas we wanted to improve and expand on this time around. Hunter and I connected on social media through seeing each other’s content and immediately knew we wanted to work together. We had the song ready to go and after hearing the demo he was all in!”
Empty Graves artwork
It’s just a cool harbinger of what looks to be a great debut record.
“We’ve gone through several member changes and phases in the band up to this point so this is the first release that feels like we’ve really tuned in our style,” Larson said. “People can expect most of the same elements from our old music, only much more intense. We’ve tried to push ourselves to the limit on every aspect of the album. The recording process is definitely one we’ll never forget! We track ourselves so being able to do it from the comfort of our HQ is nice, however that doesn’t come without its drawbacks. We experienced our fair share of technical difficulties and gear problems but at the end of the day we learned a lot and ended up with a piece of art we’re extremely proud of.”
With a full slate of touring set to support the new tunes, the band is looking forward to the future.
“We’ve all grown up with the dream of being able to tour the world and sharing our art with anyone willing to listen,” Larson said. “Now that we’re adults that hasn’t changed, but we’ve realized we can also use our platform to talk about issues we find important. Music has also been a positive outlet for all of us so we hope to provide that for other people as well!”