Galactic Empire – 'The helmets severely limit our field of vision, which is counter-intuitive to playing instruments'
- Henry Northmore
- 1 February 2017
The imperial march of costumed Star Wars themed-band who play heavy metal covers of John Williams' classic score
'A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …' it's hard not to fall back on Star Wars clichés when discussing Galactic Empire. Because if you thought John Williams' classic score was just a bit too lightweight, Galactic Empire are the answer to your cosmic conundrum. A four-piece heavy metal band dedicated to hard hitting covers of the epic sci-fi soundtrack. And they play in full costume.
'A few years ago our drummer, Grant McFarland (aka Boba Sett), made a drum video of himself playing along to the 'Imperial March'. Shortly after that he began considering adding guitars to the same arrangement and building on his initial idea, which is when he involved Carson Slovak (aka Bass Commander) and myself,' explains guitarist Chris Kelly (aka Dark Vader). 'Within a few months we found ourselves with an entire album's worth of demos, all rearranged themes from the Star Wars saga.'
With Star Wars fever reignited by Force Awakens and Rogue One it's the perfect time for Galactic Empire to strike. Slaves to the Dark Side: 'We do the bidding of Emperor Ovaltine,' chuckles Kelly. 'Even people who aren't fans of Star Wars know who Darth Vader is. A bunch of dudes in Jedi robes just wouldn't have had the same impact. Plus we play heavy metal versions of the original compositions, which fits the image.'
Massive fans of George Lucas' universe Galactic Empire are paying tribute in their own unique way. 'We all grew up on these movies so there will always be the nostalgia factor, but the story itself is just one that stays with you … at least the original trilogy,' says Kelly. 'Memorable and relatable characters, a compelling story and awesome action sequences. Plus the original trilogy was just so far ahead of its time, it really set the stage for pretty much every sci-fi film to come.'
Galactic Empire are ready to unleash their debut album, featuring covers of 11 Star Wars themes. 'Each song has every section of the original orchestration represented on guitars. We love this music so much that we felt we needed to dive as deep as we could.'
Now they are preparing for their first full UK tour. However, playing in full costume poses its own particular problems. 'It's difficult,' admits Kelly. 'Albeit the new costumes are far easier to perform in that the original ones, but even so it's not an easy task. The helmets especially severely limit our field of vision, which is counter-intuitive to playing instruments. Lucky for us we have a few shows under our belts now so we've gotten pretty comfortable with it.'
Galactic Empire tour the UK until Thu 16 Feb