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BIOGRAPHY: 2015

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In March 2015, Here is the Place featured in Season 4 of Catfish, MTV’s popular reality TV show about people assuming fake identities online, which brought the band further exposure, particularly in North America.

 

Empathy Test added drummer Adam Casey to their live line-up ahead of an appearance at Hard Rock Cafe London’s Battle of the Bands in April 2015 and a Bombay Bicycle Club support show in May, before heading to Wave Gotik Treffen in Germany on 23rd May 2015, where they performed to over a thousand people. In the 30 minutes following the performance, the band sold all of the 200 self-produced CD EPs Isaac had brought with them.

 

Joining forces with fellow London-based Synthpop band Vivien Glass (now Strange Eyes), Empathy Test booked a ten date co-headline UK tour over the summer, with keyboard player Liza Sweeney standing in for founder member Adam Relf. This would prove a watershed moment for Empathy Test, with Adam disliking the fact that Vivien Glass were "a Goth band", declining to be involved, and Isaac sharing organisation of the tour with Vivien Glass.

 

The joint UK tour with Vivien Glass, dubbed The Jura Demons Tour after the bands' respective upcoming singles, was held on weekends over a number of months, on a shoestring budget raised in a joint crowdfunder on IndieGoGo. The crowdfunder raised just 35% of its £5K target and Isaac, Casey and Liza travelled with the budget coach company Megabus to and from every show. Apart from London and Brighton, the shows were poorly attended, but Empathy Test managed to turn a profit overall, of around £200.

 

In between the UK tour dates, Empathy Test also found time for a headline show in Oslo (Norway) and appearances at Kopparberg Urban Forest and SOS festivals in London, Create Festival in Kent, and BAS Festival (discontinued) in Basildon, Essex, the birthplace of Depeche Mode, with Adam Relf on keyboards and Adam Casey on electronic drum pads.

 

It was at BAS Festival that they met Jan Winterfeld of Pluswelt Promotions for the first time. Impressed by their performance, he offered the band a place on a European tour with Mesh the following year (2016). Adam was unsure they should accept the offer as he didn't like Mesh's music, which later led in part, to his declining to be involved in the European tour.

 

A third Empathy Test EP, containing remixed tracks from the Throwing Stones EP was scheduled for a release via Stars & Letters Records in August 2015. Throwing Stones Remixed featured a Thomas Datt remix of Here is the Place which was the first track to premiere, courtesy of Earmilk, who praised the “emotional electronic music with a depth in its measure”.

 

Datt’s remix was later picked up by UK Trance DJ Solarstone, who re-released a dub mix of it on Pure Trance Volume 4, in November 2015. French Darkwave band Minuit Machine provided their take on Throwing Stones, which premiered on PopMatters and Brooklyn based Aeon Rings' remix of the same track later premiered on Berlin based website, Kaltblut.

 

During the promotional campaign for Throwing Stones Remixed, the band reached a mutual agreement to part company with Stars & Letters Records. Label boss Mark Roberts had begun working on his debut album as We Are Temporary and after much consideration, felt he was no longer able to provide the level of support Empathy Test required. Isaac completed the PR campaign himself and, like Empathy Test’s first EP and all releases since, Throwing Stones Remixed was self-released by Isaac.

 

Empathy Test rounded off 2015 with a headline slot at Riba Rocks festival in Spain and support shows in London with The Japanese House (reviewed here) at Camden Barfly and Summer Heart at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen. On 3rd October, Empathy Test returned to Dresden, Germany, for a headline show at Reithalle Strasse E. Jan Winterfeld was in attendance and after the show he asked to become Empathy Test’s booking agent in Europe. It was also the first time they met future live drummer David Leisser, who impressed the pair in the support band that night, Those Goddam Hippies.

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