now that i Am Empire has signed with Tooth & nail Records, there’s no doubt its visibility will escalate more than ever before. nonetheless, the San Jose based-band got pretty far on its own throughout the last three years, opening for the likes of Flyleaf, Sublime, Deftones, Thursday and The Wedding, while earning mainstream nods from Alternative press, AOL and San Francisco’s LivE105. These days, the Austin Lyons-led pop/rockers are putting the finishing touches on their official debut disc Kings, which as the front man so candidly explains to CCM, deals with issues of childhood abandonment and eventual forgiveness. CCM: What type of message are you hoping to communicate on the record? lyons: i want people to know that there is hope in the worst situations and that it’s okay to be mad sometimes. it’s healthy to express whatever you feel when you go through trials, and in the end, if you choose, you can look back and find some peace and possibly joy from your situation. CCM: A lot of the group’s songs deal with issues of abandonment. What type of advice would you give to someone experiencing that situation? lyons: Don’t bottle up your feelings. it will only cause more damage. Find a way to express it in a healthy way. The pain of abandonment most likely won’t ever go away. Learn how to cope with it and move forward. The hardest thing i ever did was go to therapy over this issue. i viewed therapy as a dumb and embarrassing thing to do, but it helped me more than i thought. CCM: How has faith helped contribute to your personal healing amidst having a fractured upbringing? lyons: My faith is what keeps me going. i’m glad God throws hard stuff my way because i quickly learn that i need Him. A lot of the time our brains forget about God when life is good. it’s not easy for me to view God as a father being that the only father figure in my life completely let me down and hurt the ones i love. i’m slowly understanding it more as God reveals His goodness to me. My faith in God is a constant journey, struggle and joy. A true faith in God isn’t meant to be easy. i’m grateful for God breaking me down because i know His will is good and that He will rebuild me stronger than before. CCM: What are the group’s long term goals? lyons: i want i Am Empire to be a home for anyone who wants to be a part. We are also hoping we can make a career out of music since we all love it so much. — Andy Argyrakis I Am Empire roCk highlights the act: Eisley the site: the sound: Alternative/Ethereal Rock the Buzz: Eisley fans will want to mark March 1 on their calendars for the release of The Valley, the group’s first full-length album in four years and first for Equal vision Records. the act: Haste the Day the site: the sound: Metalcore the Buzz: After 10 years together, Haste the Day is heading on its farewell tour this spring, visiting 32 cities across the US and Canada from now through mid-March. the act: needtobreathe the site: the sound: Modern Rock the Buzz: With more than 1,000 shows under its belts from churches to coffeehouses and colleges, needtobreathe finally rises to the arena level this summer supporting one of today’s most famous (and wholesome) country/pop stars Taylor Swift. CCM 41