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INTERVIEW: BRANDON YEAGLEY of Crobot – November 2014

| 9 December 2014 | Reply

Having released a killer disc this year and touring as much as possible to get the word out about Crobot, the band has positioned itself for an even bigger 2015, with a year end tour with Chevelle and a much coveted spot on the upcoming 2015 Volbeat / Anthrax tour.  Just before the Thanksgiving holiday and heading out on the road, lead singer Brandon Yeagley took a little time out for us…

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Toddstar: Thank you so much for taking time off for us today, we really appreciated it. We know you’re busy around the holidays.

Brandon: Oh, no problem, anytime Todd.

Toddstar: Well, let’s talk about what you guys have going on. Just about a month ago you guys released a killer album, Something Supernatural.

Brandon: Thank you.

Toddstar: What can you tell us about the album that fans might not grab first or second listen through?

Brandon: You know, in the studio, producer Machine did some pretty unorthodox things with the recording process. One of them that really intrigued me was he overlaid live recordings on top of the recorded process as well. Most of them being during solos and what-not. So some of the time when you’re listening to Bishop soloing, and I’m not sure which songs specifically have this in it but, it’s actually Bishop there in the room, just playing live. It’s really cool, it gives it a really cool feeling, a really wide feeling, and I think that adds to the wide sound and the big sound that that record has. Working with Machine was such a great thing for us and that was one of the many things that he opened our eyes to.

Toddstar: Now when you went in to do the recording, before you hit all these different things that Machine tipped you guys to, just the writing process: was there a different process or different thought that you guys had going into this project, than you had previously?

Brandon: No, not really, it’s pretty much the same every time. Somebody has a riff that they’ve been jamming on and we’ll just push and pull that for an hour or so. Sometimes I’ll ad lib over top of it, sometimes I’ll wait and digest a little bit but, more often than not that’s pretty much how every song that we write is written. I think that keeps everything genuine for us. We never really have any kind of conversation as to what type of song we want to write or if we want one song necessarily to be maybe a radio song or something. That was never anything on our radar when we wrote these songs. To see the songs like “Nowhere to Hide” being picked up by the US Airways was really all a surprise to us because we don’t enter the writing process like that. We don’t consider ourselves, stylistically, to be something sounding similar to the mainstream rock sound of today. It’s pretty much the same process each and every time. “La Mano de Lucifer” might be the exception to that and I might be forgetting another one or two but “La Mano” was one that we digested a little bit and pieced together and it fell together on its own in stages. For the most part, they all just pretty much come out of the same sessions and we’ll digest them and make a few changes here and there but that’s pretty much what we do, we lock ourselves in a room.

Toddstar: Cool, you mentioned “La Mano,” and I love the fact that it just turns into a cool heavy track. For me, when I heard the baseline kick in, all of a sudden this got cool and heavy at the same time. It gave you guys a little bit of depth and diversity inn your sound I thought, on the album. Looking back at the album, again it’s been out about a month, you guys have had a lot more time to digest it. Are there any songs, looking back, that you remember that gave you guys hell from the time you started writing it to the time you finished recording it. Were there any songs that just didn’t want to come together for you guys?

Brandon: No, I don’t think so. We entered the studio with I believe fifty songs or something like that, for this album. We narrowed that down to twenty-five and then down to fifteen and then eventually down to eleven that are on the album. Usually when we have problems like that it’s a song that we sweep to the wayside and put on the riff pile to be chopped up and placed amongst the others, you know? We tend to stick to things that flow freely and easily for us. Most often than not, in the recording process, it was just, “Hit record and go” and it didn’t take us too terribly long to lay down the tracks for each song.

Toddstar: OK. The album is seamless from song to song to song. It gives everybody the feel of the groove and the vibe that you guys create. You guys have a sound that is prevalent and runs through every song. Yet you guys closed, in my opinion, with “Queen of the Light,” which has a mellower sound? How did you guys come up with the track list, and playlist to be able to make it so seamless from first note to last?

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Brandon: It was something we tossed around between the team a little bit. Between Wind-up and Machine, Machine does a great job of sequencing albums and he has this crazy formula to it all. It’s pretty awesome, how analytical he is and how much he puts things under a microscope. He and the label, and all of us, we came to terms with the same exact listing. Maybe one or two was different from track-listing to track-listing for me just. But most part we pretty much came up with the same listing and it’s so important especially for bands like us and we certainly love the album feel, the way that you can put our vinyl on, and just experience it. That’s really what we’re all about. We love albums in a whole. Some of the greatest albums and songs of all times have come on the greatest albums of all times and maybe would’ve felt differently amongst, surrounded by other sonic works. It’s very important, the sequencing, especially of our stuff. I think we really hit the nail on the head with it.

Toddstar: I would agree. That song itself made me want to go back to the beginning and start all over again, so I think you did the job. Let’s talk about touring a little bit. You guys have a big tour lined up, you’re getting ready to head out, you’re going to do a couple days or a day with Crowbar, and you’re going to hit the road with Chevelle. How big is that for you at this point?

Brandon: Yeah. You know, I’ve always been a fan of Chevelle and it’s going to be a great tour, great run with those guys and especially to start the whole tour off with the Crowbar Show, we’re all ecstatic about that as well. It’s going to be a great little run for us. I don’t know, I think we’re going down the East Coast, and going to hit the Midwest, and be home for the holidays. We have a few shows popping up from then until February, we’re doing the Shiprocked in early February, and then from then we’re doing the European tour with Black Label Society, which we’re grinning from ear to ear about. And then the Volbeat and Anthrax tour to round up the festival season in May. Hopefully some more great news to come.

Toddstar: That’s cool, being in the Detroit area myself, it’s great to see two dates, the one with Chevelle and the one with Volbeat in the Detroit area. It’s a couple hours away, but it’s close enough. You talk about the midwest, and touring. When you’re going to places, you guys have played big places, you’ve played small places, but I know that there’s a place locally that loved you guys, The Machine Shop up in Flint, MI. What is it about a small place like that? You guys seem to just crank it up on stage, you seem to find that extra ten percent to be able to give the crowd. What is it about a small Rock crowd that does that for you guys?

Brandon: You know, especially with a place like The Machine Shop, I think you get the perfect world, really, especially in that place. Like I said, it’s a lot of people that just enjoy music, that are just there to see a good show, there to see a band that maybe they haven’t heard about or maybe haven’t seen too much of, or a band they’ve been seeing for years and are still going back to The Machine Shop to see them. I think it’s just from everything from the people that are in the venue and have the crew and the venue. The fans are hungry there, at The Machine Shop. It’s cool, you know that they’re going to appreciate a good show and they’ll give you just as much energy back. And that’s what really makes it for us, is to see that.

Toddstar: Awesome. Let’s talk about you for a minute Brandon. We’re talking about tour, and you’re getting ready to hit the road. As you’re looking around your place through the holidays, what are the things that you’re going to look around in your place and think, “I got to take this with me, and I can’t leave home without that.”

Brandon: My copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, that thing goes everywhere with me. I’ve still yet to finish it, but a few books that I’ve had and that I’ve been staring at for the last month or so that I’m just wanting to read. I really want to buckle down on some of the reading. That and my beard brush, I can’t forget that this time around. I’ve been dealing with a rat’s nest for the last couple tours and I’m going to start taking care of this thing.

Toddstar: On the next tour, there you go. Let’s say you were at a venue and you left your phone behind, or whatever you listen to music on. What’s the one piece of music that you’ve bought or downloaded, that some of your fans think is way left field for the lead singer of Crobot?

Brandon: I don’t know. I don’t know if it would be necessarily left field but Funkadelic is something that is always in my phone, or somewhere that I can just pop it on and listen to it. Because Mothership Connection is probably one of my favorite albums of all time. And it just can brighten any day so that’s always at hand.

Toddstar: Cool, cool. Well that said, if there was one song that you could talk the guys in the band into covering. Something that you would love to put your stamp on, what would it be?

Brandon: I would love to cover Prince’s “Bambi.” I’ve always listened to that song and thought that it was such an awesome fuzzy riff and we could definitely put our spin on that one. I’m going to have to go with that one, Prince’s “Bambi.”

Toddstar: Good choice. Obviously, Funkadelic and Prince’s “Bambi” have a little different sound than Crobot, so it makes me ask: who made you want to get behind a microphone and do this for a living?

Brandon: I think it really just finds us. I’ve just always been a fan of music and I guess I grew up in a Rock ‘n’ Roll family. My uncles pretty much all played instruments and if they didn’t play instruments, they were fanatics about music. I grew up in record stores. And just listening to the classics like Sabbath and Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. It’s just who I am I guess. Among the collection of hair nets and name tags, you just never find anything to fill that void. When I was eighteen, I’ll never forget that the first time I went out on tour and really took that plunge, it was the ultimate test for me, in this career especially, to just know that whole free spirit aspect of what we do is something that I long for day to day. I won’t stop getting up every day and making that my goal. Just play music and travel the world. It’s been great to us thus far, the way things have been snowballing and the support that we’re getting from the fans is really leading us to some really cool places. I wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for music. I think it really finds us. We’re a different breed.

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Toddstar: I know you’re busy so I’ve got one more for you. Building on that, again, you guys dropped a great album a little under a month ago, so you got that going for you. It’s getting great reviews, we love it. You got two great tours lined up plus the European tour, everything’s looking up for Crobot right now. So if you were to look back and put things in a few words, for you right now Brandon, what’s the meaning of life?

Brandon: “Forty-two.” I have to quote my man Douglas Adams. Really it’s just sticking to your guns. We’ve just continued to be genuine about everything and really we’re not faking it. This is who we are and we’re laying ourselves out on the line and just letting it all out on stage and let it all up there. It’s us, and it’s what we live for.

Toddstar: Very cool. Again, Brandon, we really appreciate you taking the time out for us. We can’t wait until to roll through Detroit in the middle of December, and the Chevelle tour, and then again in May in Saginaw. We wish you well on this one and look forward to seeing you middle of December.

Brandon: Hey, thanks man, and we’ll see you there.

Toddstar: Sounds good we’ll talk to you soon.

Brandon: Take care.

 

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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