Listening to Crobot is like taking a trip back in time aboard an alien spaceship, and even though vocalist Brandon Yeagley is eager to discuss the band’s future, they had to look back into their past to release their latest self-titled EP, due out May 13.
The Pottsville rockers released infectious songs like “The Legend of the Spaceborne Killer” on their own in 2012, but after a chance encounter with famed producer Machine (Lamb of God, Clutch, Gym Class Heroes), Yeagley and guitarist Chris Bishop decided to professionally rerecord the four tracks with him and bassist Jake Figuroa and drummer Paul Figuroa, who joined after the initial recording.
“It was really cool working with the old songs for the simple fact that we walked out of there and we thought the songs were better. … It gave a breath of fresh air to the old songs,” Yeagley told the Weekender.
“The stuff from the self-released we’ve played for so long. It’s sort of old news to us, but the new songs are really what we think is the evolution of the band. We have the final lineup. … We finally found the rhythm section that are the Brothers Figuroa. It just feels more like Crobot than it ever did.
“The Machine is just a genius at what he does, and he really pushed us into an evolution period for the band. We’re really excited to go back and write again just for the simple reason of we’ve learned so much working with the Machine on the EP and (a full-length) release for September. It’s just the best foot forward that we could have ever possibly dreamed of.”
Recently signed to Wind-Up Records, Crobot has garnered a reputation for a wild and dynamic stage show, exuding a natural energy that grabbed Machine’s attention at a South by Southwest showcase that got this latest project rolling.
“I really don’t have a choice. It’s like simple possession. Sometimes it’s kind of tough to get up there and do it every night from night to night to night,” Yeagley said, describing his performances. “Sometimes you just don’t get a lot of sleep and you have a lot of scrunched sleep, if it is sleep, in the van. It can be tough, but really we just love doing what we do and we love playing music. You’ll hear us whine more when we’re at home doing nothing than when we’re out on the road.
“The road is home for us. … We don’t have to fake what we do up there. We just get up there and we be ourselves and whatever comes out is the show. That’s the cool thing about live music, too. It’s something different every time.
“It is important to play every show like your last. You just don’t know.”
Yeagley has been living and breathing this music even before he could read, identifying artists by their album covers whenever his uncle took him to the record store. Immersing himself in the “supernatural quality” of bands like Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Rainbow, Judas Priest, and Led Zeppelin at such a young age easily explains why Crobot is the band it is today.
“We’ve grown up listening to this kind of music, and we’re really starting to see the classic sound come back and the fuzz come back. It never really went away, and that’s the thing, is it’s starting to reach the ears of many now. It’s cool for us to look at what we’re doing now and realize that we’re not really in the wrong era like we thought once before. We’re in this new rebirth, I guess you could say, of what we love and what is at our roots. It’s exciting for us as a band, but even as a fan, for myself it’s exciting to see bands like Graveyard and Truckfighters and even Clutch continue to do what bands like Led Zeppelin and Sabbath and Deep Purple and bands like that started,” he explained.
“It just began with a love of music, and that’s why I’m still here. That’s why we’re still doing it, and that’s why we’ll always be happy.”
Seeing his own record released on vinyl has allowed him to come “full circle” in that sense, and Yeagley is taking nothing for granted by remaining true to his youthful passion.
“It’s crazy to look back and see that it happened this quickly for us in our careers. A lot of people unfortunately have to take a long time to get to where we are, and we’re just so thankful and happy that we at least have ourselves, if nothing else, and the music,” he noted.
“It’s really just us being ourselves, and we never had a conversation of what kind of sound we were going to go for or what kind of artwork we want to do here and there, nothing like that. We just kind of be who were born to be and it just kind of fits, weirdly enough. That’s the thing – for us, it’s just so easy. Writing, just everything that has to do with Crobot is just an extension of who we are as people. People can smell that, I think. I think it really has a lot to do with where we’re at right now. People understand that the energy that we bring on stage and the energy that we pull towards the other aspects of the band are just simply because we’re so passionate about what we do. We love each other, we love what we’re doing, we love the music.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel by any means. We’re just a rock band from outer space, and it’s cool that people can dig it and appreciate it. We’re super thankful for that.”
His lyrics tell stories as epic as the music surrounding them, and the two are often intertwined.
“Bishop has a great way with his guitar and the effects that he uses to really paint a picture, especially for us sci-fi geeks, so it’s a mix between that and just being a fan of all the nerdy stuff and growing up on horror movies and science fiction and things like that,” Yeagley pointed out.
“It’s just us being individuals, and somehow as a collective it really, really works.”
And like any admitted geek, he enjoys the discussion that songs like “La Mano de Lucifer,” “Skull of Geronimo,” and “Nowhere to Hide” can generate.
“In the stories and the things that I come up with, I try to leave room for the readers’ imagination, the fans’ imagination, just because it’s fiction. Most of it is fiction or very exaggerated truths. It’s whatever they take from it,” he continued.
“It’s definitely about the experience. I’d be interested to hear other people’s perspectives on things. That’s another thing – it’s so cool to hear what it means to somebody else.”
It’s an experience that local fans can appreciate this Saturday, May 10 at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster with Metrix, Minshara, and Metalwulf, though it isn’t complete without Crobot’s unique merchandise, which includes hot sauce and leather-scented air fresheners.
“We love hot sauce, and we love the smell of leather, so I guess it just makes sense to have hot sauce and leather air fresheners, right? We’re also getting rolling papers. They’re on their way,” he added with a laugh.
For obvious reasons?
“For obvious reasons.”