I met Brandon Yeagley, frontman of Crobot, for the first time tonight. I’m talking about a Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde personality! Sitting down with him and doing this interview; I interviewed a calm and collected version of Brandon. The onstage Brandon is something to experience live. Polar opposite of who I met during the interview. What a fun and energetic person to have as your lead vocalist. I had a chance to sit with him during their tour stop in Sturevent, Wisconsin at Route 20.
Crobot band pic
Hi Brandon, I’m glad to have you on Grande Rock. “Motherbrain” is truly an exceptional album. One of the best that you’ve released so far… if not the best!
B: For sure man, thank you so much!
Well, it’s been almost three years since your previous album. What happened in the meantime?
B: You know, apart from some lineup changes, we went through label changes as well. We just really wanted to take our time when it came to you know, to get back out there. Then we went through the whole rebuilding process. We just didn’t want to force anything. We wanted to make sure that we had the right guys on board. And have a good label supporting us, that won’t try to push us into anything that we were really uncomfortable with. So, we took some time, and good things take time. But the silver lining with having such a long period of time in between albums is that we wrote the entire time. We usually don’t ever stop writing, so any given amount of time between albums has always been utilized.
You’ve also signed with Mascot Records (MLG)? How did the deal occur? Was it time to move on and try something new?
B: Yeah absolutely, we love the family that we had. We were with Wind-Up records and Nuclear Blast, and we still communicate with a lot of those people because they were a huge part of building the band. We still have a good personal relationship with those people, but Mascot has been great to us. We are really proud of what we put out with our new record.
Do you have more coming out with them at this point?
B: Honestly, we’ll see what the Horizon brings. I would make that assumption, but you know, right now is to focus on “Motherbrain” and continuing this record cycle. We will see where we’re at then. Then probably a year-and-a-half of touring, and new wheels on the van.
What does the album title “Motherbrain” declare?
B: Well, “Motherbrain” actually started out as a song title that we had during the demo process. That just for whatever reason, didn’t make the cut. There’s always a loosely based concept going into a record for me when I’m writing the lyrics. I knew I wanted to really dive into this whole hive mentality, and the “Motherbrain” title stuck. Actually it led to other ideas of the songs and the concepts in the album. The title kind of started as “Motherbrain”, and kind of went the way of how we’re looking at the song list, and what does it sound like, what is the theme, and “Motherbrain” kind of kept coming back. We’re always suckers for one name titles.
Do you feel your lyrics come before the riff, or do you feel like it’s the other way around?
B: It’s usually the other way around. There’s been times where I’ve had ideas and lyrics from songs that I’ve written, or just like jotted down, because I thought they sounded cool together that end up making the songs. But generally, it’s just a lot of working with the feelings that the rest of the guys lay down. I like to take a step back and just kind of be in tune with how the song makes me feel, before thinking about words and lyrics. I let the music dictate things.
You worked with Corey Lowery (Seether, Saint Asonia, Sevendust, Stereomud) for the album’s production. Which are the new things that Corey brought to the game?
B: It was amazing. Corey is such a great guy, and such a big ball of energy. It really lent to us making the best record that we have today. Just getting in a room with somebody that, you genuinely look up to, and inspires you to be a better band, it’s worth its weight in gold. Corey’s a big dude, so that’s a lot of gold.
Will you go on as it is, or do you plan to announce a permanent bass player at some point?
B: Yeah, I mean we’ll see where it goes. We like to let things happen organically. Eddie’s been great, he’s from around where I grew up. It has been a natural progression. So, when James couldn’t do it because he had Wilson obligations, Eddie would come in and it all worked out. It’s been a blast. He’s a great bass player, and a phenomenal musician all around. We’ve known him for a really long time, so just kind of works in every way.
How would you characterize “Motherbrain” and what are your expectations from the new album?
B: It’s a lot darker of an album, it’s a lot heavier of an album, but at the same time we kind of tore down the walls and took the reins off and and some aspects. There are quintessential Crobot songs on the album as well. Whether it is something like a stoner rock riffage like “Stoning the Devil”, or like the super funky stuff that we always love to throw at the wall like “Alfa Dog”. It’s got all ends of our sonic abilities, I mean honestly, record to record, is just more songs to cut from the setlist. As our catalog grows, we’re leaving songs out, which is a good problem to have. I mean, like I said, I think it’s our best record to date. We’ve got quite a few new songs that we added to the set, like I said before. We never really stopped writing, so we’re always looking forward to the next thing.
Do you think that “Motherbrain” is the album that will give you the boost to take your next big step in your career? “Low Life” has already become a mega hit and it’s been known all over the world.
B: Yeah, I think so. I mean any band will say that their best record is their new record, but I really genuinely think that this is the all-encompassing Crobot record. Where people that have never heard the band before will be able to listen to it, and you get the gist of what we’re all about. Pick a song on the record and you would definitely be able to understand what we're trying to out there. What we did with Corey, it was such a huge part on bringing the best of us out, and onto the record. We’re excited about this record cycle.
How’s the touring so far and how’s the fans’ reactions to the new songs?
B: It’s been great. We were always a band that just never kept things under wraps, so we’re always playing new songs. Whether they’re recorded or not, so we’ve been playing some songs for a while, and the reception has been great. Our fans are the best, and they’re like family. So, every time we come back out on the road, and see some familiar faces. But this time around, we saw a lot of new faces.
Do you prefer to be on the road or in the studio writing and recording?
B: Studio is definitely better, only because there’s more time allotted for being creative. When we’re out here, it’s kind of like hustle-bustle, no time at all, and then try to set up the mobile studio. Sometimes we do. Sometimes we can set the computers up and just record and go, and lay things down. But for the most part, we’re out here, we’re not sleeping. Where we barely have time to eat.
How did you come up with the name Crobot initially?
B: So. we were searching for a band name, and nothing was sticking. We didn’t really like anything that we were coming up with, so we got some of our friends to think of some names. Our good buddy Dave said what do you sound like? Bishop described us as, “Well, we want to be riffy like Crowbar, but I use robotic effects”. Well why don’t you call the band Crobot? It wasn’t that great of a story, but, that’s how it came about.