The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
He Is Legend Schuylar Croom – Interview
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Whatever you make of "He Is Legend" where their crazy and varied style has helped put the band on the musical map over the years, there's no doubt that they are pretty unique. The band are still touring for their latest album "Heavy Fruit" and are about to head to Australia for the 2015 Soundwave Festival so we had a chat to vocalist Schuylar Croom to discuss everything about the band.



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Andrew: So how's things with the band at the moment? What are you guys up to?

Schuylar: We're just working getting ready for the set. It's been pretty good, we got this run and then straight from Australia to South By Southwest. So just kinda getting everything worked up and ready to go.

Andrew: So I suppose 2015 will be full of touring pretty much?

Schuylar: Yeah we're trying to get back into the studio but we got so much going on this end with being on the road. We're trying to stay out as much as possible but I think the studio is calling already if you know what I mean.

Andrew: Yeah it's only been 6 months or so since your last album came out. How has the reception for "Heavy Fruit" been from the fans?

Schuylar: It's been great! The response has been amazing! Our fans have been so loyal and they stuck through a while. The response has been great for sure, it's just been really overwhelming and we're super happy to have everybody coming out and checking it out and loving the record, it's really cool.

Andrew: Yeah especially since it's your first album since your time away for a couple of years. Obviously that's a bit of a testament to the fans who stuck around because noone was really sure if you were coming back or not.

Schuylar: Yeah we were just waiting for the right pieces to fall into place I guess. A matter of getting the right musicians on team and on board to get us back on the road.

Andrew: Can I ask what was the reason for you guys taking some time away?

Schuylar: We had been on the road for close to 9 or 10 years and just had it with maybe a month or 2 at home at a time and I think at the time we felt maybe a little not appreciative but things weren't going the way we needed and the components weren't right. We weren't vibing the way we should have and we had been going for so long, you get jaded pretty quick after the tedium of being on the road. And especially while we were playing with bands that we may or may not have meshed well with. I mean there's a lot of things that can go, in the right situation one person can stop the whole band from going. So I think at that point in time we all were just like what are we doing? Why are we doing this? But those are all past things, we were different back then and we're very different now and it's nice to feel the vibe higher than it's ever been. We don't even have to really make plans, everything is falling into place like little magic things that are happening left and right and we're just kind of going with it.

Andrew: What was the major thing that changed the most since last time? What has kept you going this time around?

Schuylar: I think a lot of it had to do with getting Sam (Huff, drums) and Denis (Desloge, rhythm guitar) in the band and just the vibe of these 2 guys along with me, Matt ( Williams, bass) and Adam (Tanbouz, lead guitar). It feels like these have been the guys from the beginning where we have such a...I don't know how to explain it. It's like explaining why it didn't work out with an ex-girlfriend because sometimes it just doesn't work or you don't find the right vibe and when you do and it finally grabs you, it's undeniable. And we've been on that since the fruition of the new band and the way things have been going it just all makes sense and it works well and we get along. I think it's mainly positivity is the forerunner of the whole thing like we all got on a positive vibe just knowing that things are going to be great and that it doesn't always have to be drab. You can go out and have a blast and just be thankful for what you're doing and I think we were too young to understand that when we stopped touring last but too old to make ourselves realise that was the reason. But yeah I think now we're at a point where we can take charge and it's nice to have Denis and Sam in the back here with us and vocally and the new drummer. These things are important for us because we found a completely different vibe and a better vibe and a sexier vibe and things are just cool in that way and you can't stop it when it starts. Andrew: It sounds very positive. How has this all affected the writing and recording of new material?

Schuylar: Well Sam is definitely trained in jazz, he's very technical, one of the most proficient, best drummers I have ever heard. I grew up a drummer and so that has always been the most important part for me. Like when I think about writing music, I think about it in those terms like percusion so to have someone so talented coming onboard, it pushes me to write in a different way because I like to write with a drummer. I don't think there's another person that could of filled Steve's (Bache, ex-drummer) shoes and Sam not only filled them, (he) surpassed them in a way where I could watch this dude bashing away like a heavy metal drummer but he has so much precision and he's so good at what he does. He's just great at it! That for me added another level and then when Denis came on and was excited to do vocals and singing backups which when you're looking for a second guitar player, you want that to be something that they want to do. But they may not have a voice for it but Denis (has) fronted a band, I mean he's multi-talented. His voice is beautiful and he can do things that I can't do live so it's amazing to have him there. And the way we vibe off each other strictly on vocals standpoint is amazing. I've never had that in the band so it's great to have that shine through. I think those are the things that really push us to write differently and that's kinda where the overall question is we've just being going real hard at that. Our live show is insane now, it's just the right vibe.

Andrew: Do you think this whole thing will affect the next album in an even better way? Make it even better than "Heavy Fruit"?

Schuylar: Absolutely yeah! That's what I was saying before, we're kinda itching to get back into the studio because we do have talented members and when you push yourself to do it, you may get one thing but when you want to do it, you can't not do it. It's definitely setup for more of a reward in that way because we do have another vocalist in the band now where that wasn't the case before. We have a guitar player with amazing ideas and we are together all the time so we can bounce these ideas off of each other. I'm certain it will change the writing process but only for the better like we were talking about trying to be in the desert to write and record which would be great because I think that's another raw start where bands don't do what Gram Parsons and Crosby, Stills & Nash and all that these people would is kinda lock themselves away and write these albums in a facility away from everything and just be there and let it flow. So I think that's one of the things that we're really excited about doing and we just got to figure out how to do it while we're out on tour so much. I think 2015 is going to be a pretty hectic tour schedule but either way we're happy. We definitely want to write new tunes and we'll be doing that but I think it's more about right now we're half way through the "Heavy Fruit" cycle and people want to see us play so we want to go where they want us to.

Andrew: And speaking of that, you will be coming here next month for the Soundwave Festival in Australia. How do you think it's going to turn out?

Schuylar: I have no idea actually! We're just super amped to go, we're really excited to be going and other than that we have no idea what to expect. I don't know much about that festival, I just know that I look at the lineup and it looks pretty intense. Some of my all time favorite bands are playing, hopefully I'll get to see a few of them. It's an honour! We love Australia, the first time we came over we had such a blast so really excited to be back again.

Andrew: What do you remember from the last time you came over here? What were some of the things you did?

Schuylar: I think we played every major city and we didn't have a lot of time off, it was mainly just gigging. But just the little tiny things about the culture that I liked, mainly having fun with the people and meeting people. We were lucky enough to be on tour with 2 really good bands so we were just kicking it with them. Just the little things, just feel so far away and your coffee is different. You gotta order it a different way, little things like that which I love about going overseas. I do remember loving the instant coffee and that's before we had little tablets of sweetener so say you put sweet n' low in your coffee, you get your little packet of sweet n' low but they would be 2 little dots or breath mints of sweetener. Over here it's the powder and it's little things like that your mind explodes when you get off the plane like 'What the hell is this?'

Andrew: Haha yeah one of the interesting things about travelling is you pick up on different cultural changes. Especially at live shows, do you think the crowds are any different in Australia or is it the same as anywhere else in the world?

Schuylar: I remember it being pretty intense over there. I remember the crowd response...we just didn't expect to have such a good fanbase over there. I guess that was 2008 right around "Suck Out The Poison" so we were riding a really dope wave and also had no idea what to expect because we had only been doing support tours when we would travel overseas. So for us to just go and play gigs over there and have that many people show up and have such a fun time, you guys get rowdy and like to party and that's kinda our biggest thing is having a blast. That's why you go to a show, to cut loose and we'll certaintly cut loose. We had a blast man.

Andrew: Yeah definitely and I think a lot of fans will do that at Soundwave this year.

Schuylar: I hope so!

Andrew: What are some of the bands you mentioned that you are looking forward to seeing?

Schuylar: Obviously the headliners which is mindblowing. Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden and Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Faith No More. All bands that I bought every one of their records when they came out when I was young. I can't imagine another band you could put on there, there are other bands but if Rob Zombie were on the tour like White Zombie were doing a tour there, that would be it, I could quit after that. I've seen Manson once before when I was really young but I've followed his music since the beginning, I've loved him for a long time. Even his new record which I guess came out today, it kicks ass. I don't even know if I have an opportunity to see him but to be playing the same festival, it's amazing!

Andrew: Who do you conisider to be your biggest influence on music?

Schuylar: It really depends I guess on what we're listening to at the time. I would definitely say as a whole our band would probably be the Deftones and Pantera and White Zombie. Bands like that which we grew up listening to when we were teens but we all grew up on different stuff. All our southern boys grew up on a little bit of country, a little bit of rock n' roll. I grew up on hip hop too, I was on the drumline in high school so I got a lot of urban music that I was into when I was younger. So I think it's a lot of different things and you can tell we have crazy tastes I guess. Some of the stuff that comes through our music you can definitely catch the vibe but there are some of the influences in there that people might not pick up on. We listen to everything, our CD booklet is full.

Andrew: Yeah your music is quite varied, it's quite all over the place and it's hard to pinpoint what genre you belong to and what style you have. Is that something that you wanted to do when you first started the band?

Schuylar: I think the one thing I kinda say that went for us is Adam is the heavy metal dude. He's the guy that got me into black metal, he's the one that put me onto a lot of grind stuff. I never really got down with super heavy stuff before, I mean granted we were young bucks. But when I met him at the record shop that we had here in town, he had a Cure sticker on the back of his truck and I just kinda knew that dudes wierd. He's blasting black metal and listening to Cannibal Corpse but I know at some point in his life, he's put on Disintegration and vibed out super hard. So I guess the goth part of me and the heavy metal part of him, we needed to make music together, we were really interested. And what came out was his pop elements and my darker elements kinda complimented each other because we were 2 extremes and then kinda became very similar dudes growing up together and doing this for so long now that I think it's just ridden that same wave with his riffs and my melodies. But it's an intense thing, that's why our music stays so intense because we've always played off each other that way. I think visually if you could look at our muusic, it would always have that darker, horror element to it and that's how we would start writing music. It was never 'Oh we should write songs that sound like this', it's like 'We should write songs that look like this sound'.

Andrew: Awesome! Well it's been a pleasure talking to you and we will see you at Soundwave next month!

Schuylar: Right on man yeah, we will see you there!

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on January 20th 2015