Empire is Kasabian's second studio album. It was released on 28 August 2006 and peaked at #1 in the UK charts.
Empire was recorded between December 2005 and February 2006 at Rockfield Studios in Wales. Starting out with half of the songs written - three of them still co-written by Chris Karloff, who had left the band shortly prior to the recording - Kasabian wrote the other half of the album in the studio, according to Chris usually between midnight and 6am. Empire, like the debut album, was produced by the band and co-produced by Jim Abbiss. Jay Mehler joined the band on tour to replace Chris Karloff while Ian Matthews had joined the band permanently in April 2005, having only been a touring member before.
The band described the album as being less psychedelic and more personal than the previous one, and explained that they wanted it to feel like a live gig. With "more of a heartbeat" to it, Empire reflects the band's experiences on the road and in their lives. In an interview with NME, Serge explained that while writing the songs they were aware that they would be played to large audiences later. "It almost soundtracks the buzz we got from playing live last year," he said.
The title, often mistakenly perceived to be political, comes from the band using the word "Empire" to describe something good and, according to the band, is not to be taken too seriously.
With the band wanting to move on from the previous album's military tinged theme and "explore different aesthetics", the artwork of Empire was inspired by vintage playing cards. According to Tom, they happened to see a deck of cards and "it looked cool." The album and single covers are adapted from Paul-Émile Bécat's Le Florentin, a set of erotic playing cards, and were designed by Andy Hayes. "It just looked amazing," Serge explained. "I loved the colours, the look in his eyes and the way he's holding the girl. They're strange things, playing cards. They have a mad history. The things that have been won and lost through cards is insane." The album sleeve also contains original art by Julie Verhoeven, depicting the four band members and select lyrics.
In May 2006 the Empire Tour started in Mexico City, where the majority of the album tracks were first performed live as well.
Empire was released as the first single on 24 July 2006, the same day it received its first radio airplay. The album was released on 28 August 2006 in the UK, on 4 September 2006 in France, 19 September 2006 in the USA and on 22 September 2006 in Germany. It was followed by the second single, Shoot The Runner, on 6 November 2006, and Me Plus One on 29 January 2007, the latter being the first Kasabian single featuring Serge on lead vocals.
Empire debuted at #1 in the UK charts. In August 2007 the album was awarded double platinum status in the UK.
In June 2010, Empire was included in The Albums, a boxset consisting of Kasabian's first three albums. In September 2011 it was reissued in a bundle together with West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum as part of Sony's Two Original Albums series. In 2012 it was included in Sony's Great British Albums boxset. In March 2013 it was released together with Kasabian on a double CD as part of Sony's Double Pack series.
- Shoot The Runner
- Last Trip (In Flight)
- Me Plus One
- Sun Rise Light Flies
- By My Side
- Seek & Destroy
- British Legion
- The Doberman
- Tom Meighan (Vocals)
- Sergio Pizzorno (Guitars, vocals, production)
- Chris Edwards (Bass)
- Ian Matthews (Drums)
- Joana Glaza (Backing vocals on track 1)
- Gary Alesbrook (Trumpet on track 11)
- Farhat Bouallagui (Violin and viola on tracks 1, 4, 5 and 11)
- Bouzid Ezzedine (Violin on tracks 1, 4, 5 and 11)
- Jazzer Haj Youssef (Violin on tracks 1, 4, 5 and 11)
- James Banbury (Cello on track 7)
- Jo Archard (Violin on track 7)
- Fiona McCapra (Violin on track 7)
- Vince Greene (Viola on track 7)
- Nick Attwood (Trombone on track 2)
- Craig Crofton (Saxophone on track 2)
- Jim Abbiss (Production)
- Barny (Mixing)
- Andy Wallace (Mixing)
- Jean-Loup Mourette (Engineering)
- George Marino (Mastering)
- Julie Verhoeven (Illustration)
- Andy Hayes (Design)
- Main article: Awards and Nominations
Empire was nominated at the NME Awards 2007. The video for the title track was nominated at the NME Awards and Q Awards.
- Main article: Empire Tour
The Empire tour started in May 2006 in Mexico City, Mexico and ended with Kasabian's Hogmanay gig in Edinburgh, Scotland on New Year's Eve 2007, covering 21 countries in between.
- "As NME readers will know, 'Empire' has long been Kasabian's buzzword for describing something that's 'fucking ace'. "I think it started with 'That's Roman Empire,' remembers Serge. "You know those old ruins and stuff? Those mad buildings like the vatican or whatever, Tom'd be, 'Fucking Roman Empire!' And then it got ducked down to 'Empire'. It's just a fucking mad word, we're all pissing ourselves laughing. It was the same when we got a song in the charts called 'Club Foot'. There's a lot of tongue in cheek about the band that goes over a lot of people.""
- — NME, 9 September 2006
- "This album is about very simple things. It's about your best mates and your missus. It's about your own little life and your own circle - it's not about changing the world; it's about your own little fucking life you've got. It's about the stuff which became massively important when all the shit was kicking off, about the people that really mattered and about having a fucking good time with your mates."
- — Serge (Clash, 2 September 2006)
- Empire CD Album (PARADISE37)
- Empire Album Promo CD (PARADISE35)
- Empire 2x10" Vinyl Album (PARADISE38)
- Empire CD/DVD Album (PARADISE39)
- Empire CD Album (Japan)
- Empire CD/DVD Album (Japan)
- Empire CD/DVD Album (Europe)
- Empire Album Promo 2xCD
- Empire Album Promo CD-R (USA)
- Empire Album Promo CD (UK)
- Empire Album Sampler
- Empire Instrumentals
- The Albums (PARADISE66)
- Empire / West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
- Kasabian / Empire