Interview with Brendon Yeagley
Conducted by Dave Smiles
Over the dirty groove rock of Crobot are some dark and deranged, but always interesting, lyrics that are the brainchild of frontman Brendon Yeagley. There are those who claim that exposing kids to horror movies and heavy metal will end in disaster. In contrast Brendon Yeagley is an example of how these influences can instead create a talented lyricist and energetic front man. I was lucky enough to spend some time talking to him about the formation of his band Crobot and the debut full length album Something Supernatural, which has been greeted with exceptional reviews since its release a few months ago.
First of all mate I have to say congratulations on Something Supernatural. It’s a fantastic album.
Thanks Man. Thank you. We’re defiantly excited to have it out.
When it was finished and ready to be released, was it everything you’d expected it to be or did it exceed expectations?
We’re a little surprised at the response we’ve been getting. Everything’s been pretty good so far, we haven’t had any real haters. I don’t know if we’ve necessarily been through it yet. You know. We sort of need to be justified by that one hater I think. (Laughs) But in all seriousness it’s been really awesome. Here in the States, the radio stations have picked up Nowhere To Hide and been spinning it for the last few months and we really didn’t expect that venture for us. We don’t consider ourselves a radio rock band and to see all the radio support, all the support, journalists, it’s been really cool.
I think people have been starved for something fresh and something new. It’s been a while since there’s been something like this come along.
Yeah, you know there a still a lot of cool bands out there sort of putting their own spin on that classic sound. We’re glad that things are finally starting to reach the boiling point and people are looking for real music, you know, genuine music. Hopefully some of the bands will start leaving their tracks at home. That’s the next step.
For someone who hasn’t heard Crobot yet, how would you describe your band to them?
We like to go by three words – Dirty Groove Rock. People seem to think that sort of sums us up in a nutshell. We like to keep that head bobbing factor and defiantly like to be riffy and dirty and funky all at the same time. So, Dirty Groove Rock would be in three worlds how I’d describe Crobot.
Dirty Groove Rock. – Like it. So how do you guys compose your songs?
Really we just lock ourselves in a room with a few cases of beer and a couple joints and really start to work on the music and sort of let the songs write themselves. We don’t try to think of anything too much, or try to go in any certain direction we just sort of let the songs… take flight if you will. Jamming, a lot of improvising, and I think that really keeps things fresh for us and keeps everything real. We don’t have too many conversations as to what the Crobot sound is. We just know what we like and we know we don’t want to sacrifice our integrity and our sound and we’re so happy with the album, the way it turned out and finally being able to campaign the record and it really feels good.
It really comes across as spontaneous. You can really hear the band jamming element to it.
Yeah, you know, we’re a live band, that’s our bread and butter. Even during the live show, sort of the songs will take a different turn, so to speak, then say the album does. We’re defiantly that type of band at heart and that’s why the song writing is so easy for us. It just something we naturally do. And even getting up there on stage every night we try and throw that into the mix as well.
What was the inspiration behind the name Crobot? Where does that come from?
Really it’s just a mixture of, in the beginning stages we sounded crowbar and the riffy-ness, you know, and musically and (guitarist Chris) Bishop uses robotic effects so one of our buddy’s, Cousin Dave, he came up with the name Crobot through those two elements. It’s something that when we heard it we just fell in love with it and we just ran with it. I’m really glad we didn’t chose some of the other names we came up with. (Laughs) It’s one of those ventures that’s just a dreading one to come up with a name you can fall in love with. It’s really hard, you know. Nothing was really sticking. When we heard Crobot being thrown in there we were like yeah that’s the one.
In terms of lyrics, I’d be understating if I said there was a darkness to them. What inspires you when you’re writing?
I grew up watching horror movies and science fiction and all the occult and things that surround bands like Black Sabbath and Zeppelin always seemingly went hand and hand already, but to further that influence I’ve defiantly been raised on Evil Dead and Alien series.
Yeah, to name a few, and I think it really comes through in my lyric writing process, when I sit down to write the words I really pull them from those sort of things. A lot of native American Mythology as well, just mythology in general and you know songs like La Mono (De Lucifer) about the devil… that to me is modern mythology, and the devil is one of the greatest antagonists in literature in any story. I’ve just really had a fascination with the unknown and mysticism in general. I think the key elements are the gore factor and the ‘nerd-ness’, they defiantly come through.
Are there any songs you’re particularly proud of?
They all have their special place for sure. They’re each a weapon for certain scenarios, so to speak, I guess you could say. We get asked the question a lot if there’s one song in particular that first time listeners who have never heard of Crobot should listen to. Probably Skull of Geronimo. That pretty much covers the Crobot spectrum from start to finish. It’s got a little bit of everything in there. La Mono is one of my favourite songs to play live, that really takes a different venture in the live atmosphere; that’s certainly one of my favourites. A staple of ours has been Legend Of The Spaceborne Killer. That song was one of the first songs we’d ever written as a band and continues to sort of define us. Night of the Sacrifice, I love that song cause it’s just so funky and Chupacabra for the same reasons. It was so hard to narrow down these songs to a group of songs, they all hold their special place. They’re like my babies.
A lot of bands are taking the ‘Do It Yourself’ route these days, with home produced EPs and so forth. Crobot signed to Wind Up Records. How did this come about and do record companies still have an importance in the modern music world?
Yeah, I definitely think that record labels still have an importance, you know. They are always going to get you to the short cut. Definitely, if you’re a hard working band and believe in what you do and you have the time to put into it. Sometimes it comes down to finances more than anything. A record label can really give you more than just finances, it’s a short cut to all the connections. You know, maybe not even a short cut, maybe it’s a tier above what you could obtain on your own. Seemingly, it’s not a necessary thing today, but with the help of a label it definitely makes things a lot easier. Especially for a band like us, we like to tour a lot, as much as possible. It’s certainly a lot easier for us with the help of a label. To obtain tools necessary to do what we do and to keep us out on the road. The way it all came about with Wind Up is we had our video entered into a place at the Grammies competition and our manager at Wind Up, Shawn Collins, was actually watching a video on this same contest that his friend had led him to, who said check out my video. We’d entered our video into this contest to play the Grammies. He sat down, watched his buddy’s band, through his computer, and had heard our song cause our video came on afterwards and he went back to his computer and watched the video, which would have been for Legend of the Spacebourne Killer and he loved it. He was really into what we were doing and kept a close eye on what we were doing online for about three weeks and after that he contacted us and it was actually right around the time we had got Jake and Paul in the band. We’d just fired half the band and we got a call from Wind Up Records saying they were interested in the band so we immediately started practising six to eight hours a day and really got ourselves ready for the showcase that we did a month and a day from when Jake and Paul moved to Pennsylvania into my place and we’ve just been going at it since. It’s really been a great ride thus far. It’s awesome to have landed a Nuclear Blast deal as well. Wind Up really had a huge part in helping us out with that. We’re really in a great spot right now. 2015 is really looking to be a great year for us.
What’s planned for next year? Any chance you’ll be coming down to Australia for a tour?
Hopefully, we’re really gunning for an Australian tour. We’ve been looking for that for a long time. Seeing the Nuclear Blast deal go through, we jumped and clicked our heels knowing that one day it was going to happen. I really think that 2015 is going to hold something for the land down under. We’re definitely, definitely looking forward to it.
That would be great. Love to see you guys live.
It’s a good live experience. Crobot.
What first got you interested in music, and what are the bands who have influenced you the most?
I was sort of just raised on rock n roll I guess. My uncle tells me the stories all the time of how he used to work in a record store and he would take me with him sometimes and I would pick up the Ozzy Osbourne records just for the covers, you know, I listened to them that much. I think I’m just a product of my environment, like I said before with the horror movies and the Black Sabbath, you know it sort of goes hand in hand but that’s what I was raised on. The band as a whole were sort of into bands like Graveyard, who through their own spin on a classic sound and create something awesome. It’s been cool, we’ve had the pleasure of playing with some really cool bands too and we’re definitely looking forward to next year we’ve got some shows with Volbeat and Anthrax coming up. It’ll be our first arena tour which we’re super excited about. We’ve got ShipRock which we’re going to be vacationing to the Bahamas, with a bunch of fans. That’s the way I look at it, vacation. We’re going to be on a ship, playing to fans, to the Bahamas. Certainly sounds like a vacation to me. We also have a big European tour which we’re not allowed to officially announce yet, but February and March we’re going to be in Europe for a good part of those months. Hopefully we’ll wind up the new year with some Australia dates, that would be killer.
That would be great. We’ve got some awesome bands over here so it would be good to get you guys on a bill with them.
Yeah, what are some good bands to check out?
Check out a band called Massive.
Massive? Very cool.
Anyway mate, thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
Oh no problem. Thanks for the tip, I’ll defiantly check out Massive.
Cheers, and good luck for the future.