36 Crazyfists

author PP date 24/06/08

Whilst waiting for our interview to begin, myself and TL had the pleasure of just hanging out in front of the metal hammer signing tent, where countless fans were lining up to get their stuff signed and take pictures with 36 crazyfists for an hour. Everything about this band from their behaviour at the tent to their live shows to Brock\'s answers in this interview suggests that the guys are a lot closer to their fans than many other bands out there. After the signing was complete, we lead Brock through Rock Am Ring toward the press area at the pit stop lanes to conduct the interview in at least relative silence. Read on for some frightening Roadrunner Records stories as well as an insight into the band life of 36 Crazyfists.

RF.net: First of all, thanks, and welcome to the interview! So if you could start off by introducing yourself to the readers?
Brock: My name is Brock, and I sing for 36 Crazyfists.

RF.net: How are things right now in 36 Crazyfists?
Brock: Excellent! Record came out last week and just kinda getting the whole touring cycle going, so it\'s gonna be a long year of that stuff, so everything\'s good!

RF.net: So I wanted to ask first, where does the name come from?
Brock: Jackie Chan film from the 70s. We were just big kung fu fans in high school and stuff, you know. Stupid name, it lasts for fifteen years [laughs].

RF.net: We are at Rock Am Ring right now, and you guys are playing later at the club tent. How are you guys feeling about the festival?
Brock: Grateful to be asked to play, yeah. It\'s awesome. When you think about the big picture of it, and there\'s so many frigging bands, you know, and to be asked to play.. this is our second time, so yeah, we\'re grateful for it.

RF.net: What are your expectations for the show?

Brock: There\'s crazy Germans, you know, people that are ready to get down. It\'s definitely different over here compared to the states for us. It\'s a little bit better for us over here, so it\'s a lot of fun, everybody gets pretty crazy and stuff.

RF.net: How would you say it\'s different to play on a festival than, say, play on a normal club tour like you guys do sometimes?
Brock: Since we are doing the club tent, it\'s somewhat intimate, but it\'s still quite large. I think when you play these festivals, the interaction and connection that you\'re trying to make with people is a lot harder, because you\'re very far from them, and people are over there talking or whatever. In a small place, everybody\'s in tune. So I guess just the connection is different. Certain bands are really good at it, and certain bands have to do it a few times to get better at it. I think that\'s where we are, where we haven\'t done a tonne of these things, you know, so you get on these stages and you\'re like \"wow, it\'s pretty overwhelming\", you\'re like humans on display. But you know, it\'s exactly what you dreamt of when you were a kid and wanted to do this, to play to thousands of people and have their horns in the air. That\'s what the dream was about. Now it\'s here, that\'s amazing, and we\'re thankful for that.

RF.net: Are these the biggest shows you guys have ever played?
Brock: Download.. we did main stage Download a couple of years ago, and it\'s like a hundred thousand people, and we\'re about to do it again in a couple of days. That\'s the biggest show. But these are definitely the second biggest, for sure. We did Rock Am Ring/Rock Im Park two years ago, and we did the Alternastage, so I think it was a little bit bigger than it is in the tent. But I like tents, because it\'s more of a club feel, I guess, even though it\'s big, maybe 5,000 people, I\'m not sure.

RF.net: Like you just mentioned before, you guys released a new album called \"The Tide And It\'s Takers\" a week ago or so. What are your thoughts on it, how do you feel about it?
Brock: I feel that it\'s just another extension of the band. A collection of songs from the same dudes that have been writing music together for a long time. It was a lot of fun to write, there wasn\'t really.. there never really is much expectation for us, we just kind of get in there and do what we always do, which is somewhere between the rock and metal world, you know. But I\'m really proud of the record. I love it, it\'s heavy, and that\'s what I\'m probably the happiest about, just because I\'ve been wanting to continue to get a little heavier as we went on, as opposed to bands that I really loved when they came out with their first records, and it was really raw and they went the other way. People are entitled to do whatever they want musically, that\'s the beauty of it, but for me, personally, I never wanted to do that. I always wanted to continue to have a little more metal, and a little more metal, but still be melodic, obviously, and moody and all that stuff. So, I\'m just happy that it\'s heavy, you know, at the same time that it\'s moody and melodic.

RF.net: Are you happy the way it\'s been received by the media and the fans?
Brock: You know, I haven\'t really seen much media about it, but fanwise, obviously my biggest fan out there is Myspace, and it\'s been amazing. The shows have been killer. This is also the first time we ever hit the BillBoard charts in the US, so that was pretty crazy. We found that out the day we flew here. So the band is probably in the best place it\'s ever been, and that\'s been kind of the nice thing about the band, it was never an overnight thing for us, it\'s been a very slow, cool climb. We\'ve got fans that have been with us from the very beginning, and some that just showed up. So I guess that\'s what we were always hoping for, just to have longevity, I guess.

RF.net: This is your first release on Ferret. So how is Ferret different to your previous record label?
Brock: Umm... [hesitates a bit]. They\'ve just been good friends of us for a long, long time. Carl, who owns Ferret, is also in a band called Nora, and we used to tour with them in the late 90s. So there\'s like three or four guys at Ferret that are in bands. That\'s already different than Roadrunner. Roadrunner, you know, is a big business over there, and Ferret is more like a bro-vibe I guess. It\'s not that I didn\'t feel free at Roadrunner, I mean, I think they were great, and I\'m eternally grateful for them for signing us and making my dream come true in the beginning. I think as it went on, the relationship soured because... they\'re a big business and we aren\'t. We don\'t generate the sales that some of these bands do. And I get it. I understand the business. So being over at Ferret is a way more.. just our speed, you know. The expectations are hopeful. We\'re a bigger band over there, not the biggest band on the label, but you know, we sell 50-60 thousand records, where 50-60 thousand records at Roadrunner ain\'t shit. So anyway, at Ferret, it\'s pretty decent. It\'s quite good actually, it\'s just a better fit for us.

RF.net: I\'ve heard that on Roadrunner, they really pressure bands to write singles. Did you get the same kind of pressure on you guys?

Brock: Yeah, I mean, as you\'re young, when you\'re younger, and you\'ll write the record, they\'ll be like \"hey, we\'ll put this on the radio if you sing this part instead of scream it!\". And I never wanted to do it, although I was manipulated into doing it. That\'s the type of thing that\'s going on over there. And then you do it, and then you regret it, and then they don\'t do what they said they were gonna do. And I think that\'s the shittiest part about it. But you learn not to do that again, you know, and I think what I\'m talking about is \"Bloodwork\", which they made me re-sing some stuff.

RF.net: Do you think you\'ll ever record that song the way you intended it to?

Brock: We did! It actually came out on the first promo. So the people that reviewed the record had it that way, and then before the record came out, they were like \"hey, we\'ll get this to radio and you\'ll be rock stars\" and that was a bunch of hogwash I guess [laughs]. But anyway, I\'m not trying to talk ill about them, I think they\'re good people over there, just we were on different pages. We\'re like a lifestyle band, we\'re not looking for the right hair cut or the right fan t-shirt, you know, we\'re just trying to do our thing and not worry about that shit.

RF.net: Your sound has changed quite a lot from album to album, with the latest one being pretty close to a metalcore album, at least what you read on the net what people say..it\'s quite a change from your debut album, so what things have inspired the change from album to album?

Brock: I hear that word a lot. I don\'t think anything in particular, just as you get older... I don\'t really know, to me, it\'s just an extension of the band. Every record we try to do something that was similar and different. I guess everybody\'s trying to do that, but I think we did a decent job of changing a little tiny bit each record just so it showed we were progressing, or regressing, whichever you think, but we were doing something that was not the same every record. And that was not even really the plan, it just seemed to happen. The thing about \"Bitterness\", the first record, is that it\'s songs from 1996 to 2002. So it\'s not very focused and I was never a big fan of it, but it\'s obviously what everybody heard first. Then \"A Snow Capped..\" came out and everybody was like \"oh this is good\". I wish \"A Snow Capped\" was the first record to be honest with you, because it was more on the path that we\'ve been on. I don\'t know, but those were just my thoughts on it [laughs].

RF.net: So what would you categorize yourself as? Are you happy being labeled as screamo or a metalcore band, or what do you think?

Brock: It\'s absolutely irrelevant to me, I could give a shit really. It\'s a different thing every week. Every time I read something, it\'s like \"oh they\'ve got a new one!\", you know, it\'s emo-creamo [laughs]. The emo thing, yeah, I guess it\'s to belittle metal bands if you have emo on your thing, but if they\'re talking that the band is about emotion and the lyrics are emotional and I\'m serious about this stuff, then yeah, I guess I\'m emo. But I\'m 6 foor 4, 220 pounds, I\'m not really worried about my manhood or anything [laughs]. I just think we\'re a rock band that loves metal, like a moody rock band, you know, one that\'s trying to set a mood but be really aggressive about it at the same time.

RF.net: I guess it says something about you having succeeded in extending the band on every record, on that record people said nu-metal, then on next record they said screamo, and on this record they say you\'re metalcore, so I guess you\'re pretty successfully in that sense.

Brock: Yeah, I guess we\'re genre-hoppers like crazy if we listen to the press. [laughs]

RF.net: On the new album you have this one track where you have spoken word for quite a bit of the track. Can you talk a bit about the track?
Brock: Yeah, we had this music, or actually the piece of music that the song \"Only A Year Or So...\" is, and I had befriended a guy on the internet who was serving in Iraq for two years, an American soldier, and he was a big fan of the band. And he was telling me that the music was getting through bla bla bla, and I thought that was really cool. Then one night I just had this idea that it\'d be cool to hear real life letters from him and his wife, cause I knew he had a wife and two kids. Then I was like, man I don\'t really know if I can really ask that, becuase that\'s really prying into his life. But then I did ask him, and he sent me seven letters from him and his wife, and it was crazy, man, super intense stuff. Some of the letters were like \"I think I killed like 12 people today\", like really heavy.. this dude\'s 27 years old, and I was reading it and I was like \"wow, man, this is so intense\", so anyway, I took the best parts that I could, and a real good friend of mine that lives in Oregon.. the girl, her brother, has been serving in the war. So I thought \"hey, you wanna read this wife\'s part, because you got an association a little bit?\", so the first verse is the wife\'s letter and I did the guy\'s and then I wrote the choruses. In the beginning, I didn\'t think much of it, and I\'ve done all the press about it, it\'s way bigger than I thought it would be in my little small word. The coolest thing about it is that I was just on tour with Napalm and DevilDriver, and we went to Fort Bragg, which is a big marine base in Virginia, and he\'s stationed there. So I met him for the first time, and he had brought all his marine buddies, you know, and we all kinda got drunk. I brought him on the rig and he heard the song for the first time, and he started crying. And his buddies were crying, I fucking started crying. And I was like \"wow man this is so heavy\" and it was such a cool moment, and I\'ll go to my grave with it. I\'ll never be able to re-hash it or make it sound cool in print, but it was one of those things that you could never write up, it was a really cool deal and now we\'ll be life long friends, you know, so it\'s cool!

RF.net: So if we talk about your liveshow a bit. You\'re pretty known for your energy on stage, for example you like to throw yourself off the stage quite a bit, I\'ve noticed. How does a perfect 36 Crazyfists show look like to you.
Brock: Just no lulls. I don\'t like lulls. I like this connection to stay at the same level and heightened as it goes. Although as I\'ve been getting older, it\'s difficult to.. like when I was 18, I was like a cat, I was all over the place. Now it\'s different, it\'s a little harder. But i\'m still trying to give everybody their money\'s worth, but I need more from them, I think. I really enjoy the singalongs that we\'ve gotten over the years, and that\'s kind of become something that the band gets to do with their fans, which is my favorite part about the band now, the connection with the people. It\'s the only reason I\'m doing it. Obviously, it\'s an outlet for me to write music and have a lot of fun with it, but if the people weren\'t there, it would absolutely suck. I remember when they weren\'t there, and it did suck. You know, we were just \"well, hopefully somebody shows up someday\" [laughs]. The best shows for me are the ones where everybody\'s involved, everyone\'s smiling, everyone\'s having fun. And that\'s what it\'s about, trying to bring some kind of positive, something into their lives.

RF.net: Have you ever jumped off the stage and not been caught?

Brock: Yeah, well sorta. I kind of have it down where, when I jump, somebody\'s shoulder\'s getting grabbed. I always make sure I grab somebody\'s shoulder. So I kind of hold myself.. but I went off this really tall.. probably as tall as that [points towards a three-four meter high structure] in Scotland at this show, and once I got up there, I was really high, and I was like holy fuck, I shouldn\'t have got up here, but I couldn\'t get down, you know, they would\'ve boo\'ed the hell out of me. I jumped off, and I had a clear pretty good thing, and... there was a bunch of girls and.. I\'m a pretty big dude falling on 12 year old girls [laughs], so I almost went down that time. But for the most part, everybody always usually keeps me up. I don\'t do it as much as I used to, and my drummer gives me a lot of grief about it, because he\'s like \"you have to do it\". So now he puts this pressure on me, and then I\'ll look at the gap, and I\'m like \"dude it\'s too far, I can\'t get out there\", like this one here is really far, I won\'t be able to, unless I put on some better shoes or something [laughs], get a better run off for it.

RF.net: The last question is: how does the future look like for your band?
Brock: I think there\'s been a nice little new life breathed into the band, just with the new label and the new record. We\'ve been up and down a lot emotionally with the band, so it\'s hard to keep the flag flying. So for us now, it\'s nice. We have the new record and a new label who seems to be a lot more on our page, so I feel good about it, we\'ll be touring all year. I\'m married and I have a home back in Alaska, and I don\'t really enjoy the touring as much as I used to. It\'s great, I love it, but when you\'re out for a year plus, and you see your wife for like two months total of the year, that\'s not right. So certain things have changed in our lives. Everybody\'s married in the band now, except for the guitar player, who\'s an absolute.. um.. whore [laughs], but anyway, it\'s gonna be a lot of touring, and I gotta mentally prepare for that.. also just being away from home, the dogs and all that good stuff.

RF.net: Okay, well, thanks for the interview. Do you have anything you wanna say to your fans as last words?

Brock: Thanks a lot! Just thanks for everything, if you support us in any way, and we\'d really love to come back to Denmark for sure.

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