Six Picks With: Awaken The Empire

“Six Movie Scores That Changed My Life…”

By: Damien Lawson (Vocals/Guitar/Programming)

My older brothers are a little obsessed with movies… As in human IMDB’s…and I have had the pleasure of spending half of my life in a self-induced, semi-conscious/vegetative state while listening to them go back and forth about things like who directed the 1984 classic “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” and who were the three writers of the 1969 counterculture crime-drama “Easy Rider”… (Guaranteed they just answered those questions out loud at their computers…) With the non-stop cinema-fest that was my house growing up, It was really easy to be exposed to a lot of amazing movie scores… and being a hyper little child person-like creature, a lot of the times the dialog in a movie would pass right by me… but I was always emotionally moved by the background music… The score would take hold, and I’d imagine myself terrorizing overly sexualized camp counselors, or riding a giant flying puppy-dragon creature…hmmmm… Now that you know far too much about my family, and why I started a band that is equal parts alt/electro rock and movie score… I give you my top 6 picks for amazing Movie Scores… Enjoy.

1. Beetlejuice. Where do I even begin with this score… You’ve got Danny Elfman (Who also composed the main theme for The Simpsons) harnessing the power of Tim Burton. (If you don’t know who Tim Burton is…hmmm…It’s not that I’m mad… I’m just disappointed). The score is such an amazing mix of creepy and fun. It’s like stabbing someone that’s filled with strawberry jelly… Don’t look at me like that. I don’t need to explain myself to you. (For the record, Awaken the Empire does not condone the stabbing of strawberry jelly people).

Listen to: “Main Titles” – Danny Elfman

2. Inception. Ever wanna plan a fucking illegal heist? You know, the kind with vans and masks (not of ex-presidents) where one guy gets shot in the leg, and you don’t want to leave him, but you have to because he’s gonna slow you down, and at least one of you should get to keep the diamonds? Yeah you do. .. I know I do. Well, when you’re all ready for the heist to go down, put on this score, and start loading the guns… I’ll go steal the van, and send a nice thank you card to Hans Zimmer while I’m out…

Listen to: “Dream is Collapsing” – Hans Zimmer

3. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. I don’t need to explain this one to you. It’s fucking Star Wars.

Listen to: “The Imperial Probe/Aboard the Executor – Medley” – John Williams

4. Fight Club. If you have never seen Fight Club, stop reading this… See you in 139 minutes. Now that your life is changed forever, we can finally talk…about…Fight Club… hmm… nevermind!

Listen to: “Corporate World” – The Dust Brothers

5. Donnie Darko. Tied for the prestigious “Favorite Movie of All Time” quadrant of my brain meats, the most beautiful thing about this score is Michael Andrew’s simplistic, almost childlike arrangements. Half of the score is just ambient noise and swelling keys, but it is perfect in every way. (What other movie is it tied with? The Crow… Yeah, I’m that goth kid.)

Listen to: “Manipulated Living” – Michael Andrews

6. The Dark Knight. If I had the power or money to commission a struggling renaissance artist to sculpt me a bronze statue of Hans Zimmer… I would bow to it every morning, and offer it sacrifices every night. This score is fucking ridiculous. You will be moved, and disturbed, and emotional, and ready for another heist… but you get the van this time..

Listen to: “I’m Not a Hero” – Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard

Do you have a favorite movie score that you think I should know about? Tell me about it on Twitter: @damienlawson

Awaken the Empire hails from California and is in the same vein as 30 Seconds to Mars, My Chemical Romance and has the push and drive of Rise Against. Their newest tracks were produced by Erik Ron (Panic! at the Disco, VersaEmerge). The band consists of Damien Lawson (Vocals/Guitar/Programming), Jaymz Marcc (Bass), Daryl Falconer (Drums), and Shivan Somaratne (Guitar). Possessing a sound that lies somewhere between that of a movie score and an alternative-electronica band, Awaken the Empire brings a new perspective along with their new sound.

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