Since emerging in 2011, Crobot have quietly cemented themselves among the rising rock vanguard. Four albums into a career that has seen them tour with the likes of Clutch, Monster Magnet and Motörhead, and the band are readying the release of their forth; the musically and thematically dark ‘Motherbrain’. We caught up with the band at Ramblin’ Man Fair in Kent, to talk the new set. Nowhere to hide; Eamon O’Neill.
Welcome Ramblin' Man Fair Crobot; how are you all?
Chris Bishop: Good! Caffeinated, a little jetlagged.
Brandon Yeagley: We flew in yesterday. We rode on the back of Chris, like we do every show!
It’s your first time at this festival; what does it mean to you to be on the bill?
BY: It seems like it’s going to be a perfect fit for our style of music. We’ve never been here, and we’ve only just seen the posters and stuff online of the line-up, but I think it’s going to be great.
Where have you come from today?
CB: Pennsylvania is the home base. We’re all kind of spread out; I’m in Austin, Texas, and these guys are in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.
Listening to your sound, and your biggest influence seems to be Black Sabbath.
BY: It’s one of them, for sure. We grew up with a heavy, heavy dose of Black Sabbath in our diet, so that’s always going to come somewhere in the sound, I believe.
Does it mean a lot for you to come over here and play in the home country of some of your influences?
BY: Absolutely, and you guys all are rabid for what we do in our style of music. The crowds, everybody’s always so up for it, and we know what we’re getting into when we come over here. It’s apparent just by playing one show. Last night [at Norwich’s Waterfront Studio] was just a prime example of what we get when we’re over here; everybody’s just so welcoming, and just really into music. It’s a huge part of the culture, and I think that’s one thing that our nation lacks, is that the culture of music has taken a back seat to being spoon-fed popular music, and it’s definitely not like that over here.
Your new album ‘Motherbrain’ is due for release on 23rd August, and it’s your first for new label Mascot Records.
BY: I think we’re always looking to take the next step, and Mascot’s been great to us. There’s been so many bands that have been on that label and are on that label that we look up to, it’s just great to be a part of it.
Do you have a sense of trepidation leading up to the release of a new album?
BY: Yeah, it’s soon to be out there for everybody to judge. So we hope everybody’s going to like it, but you never don’t know!
You’ve said that it’s a much darker record, musically, lyrically, and thematically, however it’s not a down record, per se; what brought that direction?
BY: I think it’s just as you progress through life you go through trials and tribulations, and those things all come out in the music. I think it’s also a natural progression of the music. I mean, we love bands like Soundgarden and Black Sabbath; bands that always bring this dark, heavier edge to everything that they do, and I think we really wanted to bring that to the forefront with this record.
That’s apparent on latest single ‘Keep Me Down’ which is a real heavy song, with groove.
CB: I've loved groove music, since I was a kid. I was always more onto the groove side of metal and rock than the thrash side. Now, I like thrash, but, growing up, I didn’t. Everyone was talking about the first four Metallica albums – which are great – but ‘Kill ‘Em All’, for example, I still can’t connect with. I’m more Pantera, so it’s just a weird thing; I always loved seventies riffs like Hendrix and stuff like that because it’s groove.
Why did you go with that as one of the first releases?
BY: I think it was kind of a collective decision between us and the label, but I think it’s the perfect first track to release because it’s still kind of the complete spectrum of what we do, in terms of being funky and heavy and groovy all at the same time.
‘Drown’, which follows it is a really dark track.
BY: I think that’s probably one of the prime examples of just that grunge that we wanted to bring to this record, and that Soundgarden influence. I just remember when we wrote that one we always came back to that one.
CB: It was written at the end, right before we went in the studio, and it was probably the heaviest thing we’ve ever written. Even just musically, it's what Dan [Ryan, drums] brings to the table to make things hit harder and be more metal, you know? It’s almost like ‘Drag the Waters by Pantera meets ‘Mailman’ by Soundgarden; that world of heaviness. It’s got that feel; that just groove. It’s definitely evil. It’s one of our favourite songs to play.
So with the album release coming up, what’s next for the band?
BY: Just to try and stay on the road. We’re getting ready to go to Europe, play some festivals, and just play more shows in the states, and then get back over here before too long.
Who are some of your favourite bands that you’ve played with?
CB: Clutch, The Sword; that was a great tour. Black Label Society, that was a great one for us. Motörhead, even some of the smaller ones we’ve done.
BY: The one we just did was awesome; He is Legend and The Damned Things, that was so much fun. It’s awesome.
Are you looking at your own headlining slots, or more package tours?
CB: We’ll see how well the album does, and we’ll get back to you! [*laughing*]
Crobot's 'Motherbrain' is released on 23rd August 2019 via Mascot Label. To pre-order, click here.
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