One of the most exciting bands I've heard in a while is Pennsylvania's Crobot. Their sophomore release, Something Supernatural, was released a few months back and what a meaty affair it is. Crunchy yet groovy, it sounds like the robots from the Transformer movies on an alcohol-fuelled rampage. Cool story-like lyrics really draw you in and the powerful music hammers you the way all great music should. I had the pleasure of speaking to vocalist Brandon Yeagley recently to talk about their new record and found out that he was as nice a guy as he is a wicked singer. Excellent music and nice guys...they should go far.

antiMusic: For newbies like me who are just getting exposed to the band, before we talk about the record, would you mind bringing us up to speed on how long the band has been around and what took place leading up to the getting ready for this record.

Brandon: No, not at all. Well, Bishop who plays guitar and me formed the band in 2011 out of the ashes of another band that we were a part of. I was actually playing bass and just doing backup vocals in that band. But we really enjoyed playing together in that project and we played some acoustic shows around the area at that time. So we really got comfortable with each other and knew that as musicians we kind of come from the same cloth in that we grew up with the Skynyrd and the Zeppelin and Sabbath and that's something that we've been passionate about musically.

We've always wanted to be a part of something like that. So we just said, "Why don't we give it a go and jam and see what comes out?" And we just played as many shows as we could and wrote as many songs as we could. I think that every band goes through the adventure of finding the perfect chemistry between members and the guys that have the same drive and dedication as you and you strive to be on the same page musically as well.

After we released our independent release in 2012, we got the attention of Windup Records and I believe it was two days before Windup or maybe two days after...I don't really remember...Bishop and I fired half of the band because it wasn't really working out. And Bishop called Jake and Paul Figueroa who are in the band now on bass and drums to see if they wanted to join the band.

We had played some shows with them when they were in a band called Thick Leather Brick. Jake was playing guitar, singing and fronting the band. They were really riffy and soulful and groovy, much like we are and were, especially at that time. And we really just enjoyed them as human beings too. It just really made sense when we had problems and we knew they were looking for something as well. We caught them a week before they were going to move out to LA to start anew musically.

So they moved into my house and slept on my floors and we practiced like six to eight hours a day. Then a month to the day they moved into my place, we showcased for Windup Records and that led us to SXSW. A few years ago was the first time we played the festival and there we had a showcase with Windup Records and also where we met our producer Machine. Coming from New Jersey, he had the alarm on his phone set for Eastern time and he accidentally caught our set. He approached me afterwards and just said, "Hey man, I don't know who you guys are and whether you have a label or management or anything of the sort but I really enjoy what you're doing. I just want to see if we can possibly work together.

And it's just crazy because a month before that, we all sat at my kitchen table shooting the sh*t. We were asking, "Who would be that dream producer? If we had to pick that one guy, who would it be?" And Machine was the guy. So I think it was just serendipity and synchronicity that brought it all together and it's a crazy thing but going into this album we were just extremely comfortable with Machine as a person. We had hung out with him for the entire week after that gig at SXSW and really got to know him. And his track record speaks volumes in itself.

One of our favourite bands is Clutch and speaking for myself, their album Blast Tyrant is just one of those albums that has resonated so much with me. And Machine being such a huge part of that album is just something that we just sought out. And we've just been so heavily influenced by Clutch. They've just got so much groove and funkiness while remaining riffy and heavy all at the same time. So just the fact that he worked on those records would make us want to work with him. It was just a very comfortable atmosphere when we entered the studio and he would jump around on the couches when stuff would go right and scream at us if we did something wrong.

It was just really cool. It was a great experience and we definitely evolved making this record and here in the next couple of days, we'll hit the writing shed again and continue the process all over again.

antiMusic: Your sound like is like you combed through your Dad's record collection and pulled out some Vanilla Fudge and Cream records and sat them next to some Soundgarden and Wolfmother CDs and somehow you absorbed the sonic energy that was emitted from the collective combination. Did you guys set out to capture this particular vibe or was it merely a matter of came rushing out when you all plugged in together?

Brandon: It's really what just comes out. We don't ever have conversations, at least not extensive ones as to what songs we want to write. I think the only exclusion to that is "La Mana..." where we set out to write a slower song. But the rest of them really just fell into place after jamming or even sometimes just after 20-30 minutes of jamming.

Like "Nowhere to Hide" was one of the first tunes we wrote with the Figueroa brothers once we started the writing process. And I think that song took....maybe an hour to write musically. And not to much more went into the lyrics or melody on that one so that was one that really just came out. And I think it shows because that one especially is just a really genuine, high energy rock and roll songs and there's not too many bells and whistles on that one. We're not reinventing the wheel by any means. Like you said, we're definitely tipping the hat to bands like Zeppelin and Sabbath and Deep Purple and even bands like Soundgarden, Clutch, Rage Against the Machine....all of those bands. If it's riffy and groovy, we're into it. That's what you'll find us listening to in the van on our rides as well.

antiMusic: They say that you have your whole life to write your first record and about a year to write your second. Did you feel any pressure to write Something Supernatural and was more external or internal?

Brandon: There's never really any pressure on us when writing. I think we went into that album with like 50 songs or something like that. Then we narrowed it down to like 25. Some of them we not as complete as we had hoped or maybe some of them weren't jelling or we didn't feel it in the live aspect of playing the song. And then we narrowed it down again to 15 and decided to work with those tracks. And I believe there was only one song that ended up on Something Supernatural from the first album. The rest of it was all new material and I feel like we'll have the same rush of creativity when we go to write the third album as well.

It's just something that seems to come easy for us. When we get in a room and jam, it's just something that feels natural for us and we're lucky to have that chemistry in all of us that we can push and pull ideas and really mold them in a timely and efficient fashion. I'm really excited about going into do the next album actually. I don't want to look over our recent effort by any means but we really enjoy writing music together and it's always exciting. But looking back and reflecting on the things we've learned with Machine....it's going to be really cool.

antiMusic: How differently, if at all, did you approach things from your first record?

Brandon: I think it was a lot easier for us. The bulk of the work wasn't just on my and Bishop's shoulders to refine things. He and I were definitely the main writers in the first stages of the band but once we got Jake and Paul in the band, it definitely got easier for us and continues to get easier as well. I don't think we really approached things any differently. It's sort of the same thing every time. We just get in a room together and jam. We're always recording jam sessions and we'll listen back to them and even sometimes it's even months later we'll have forgotten a tune that we had jammed out. But we sort of have a stockpile of songs always at the ready where if we are not feeling creative, we can always go back and try to maybe pull things a little differently. Like I said, it's just something that comes really natural for us. We just plug in and go.

antiMusic: Considering titles like "Legend of the Spaceborne Killer", "Wizards" and "Chupacabra" I take it that you guys are sci-fi or at least fiction-oriented.

Brandon: Very much so. (laughs)

antiMusic: You like the horror movie stuff do you?

Brandon: Yeah, I grew up with all that stuff. I think the very first movie I ever saw in the theatre was Halloween 6. I'll never forget that opening scene where the pregnant chick gets stabbed with the pitchfork. I was probably like 8 years old and I probably shouldn't have seen that movie (laughs) but that was my upbringing. I could pick out Ozzy Osbourne records by the cover when I was four years old --- couldn't even read yet.

And I've always just know hard rock to go hand in hand with the occult and the mystique and the very mystic writing and lyrics. And I think with my upbringing, it was just a very natural thing to tap into those subjects. I mean probably my favourites movie of all time is Army of Darkness and the Evil Dead trilogy is just one of my favourites. That and the Alien movies and the George Romero zombie flicks. They're all just classics and I grew up watching those movies and at the same time, listening to Sabbath, Zeppelin and Uriah Heep and Dio and all that stuff too. I think I'm just a product of my influences, I guess. (laughs)

antiMusic: Tell us about a couple of the songs. Maybe starting with "Legend of the Spaceborne Killer", either what's it about or something about writing or recording it.

Brandon: That one is just my perspective on what would happen if during our first encounter with an alien species in the public eye of today in modern society and the pandemonium that would go with that. It's got kind of a Godzilla-esque kind of feel. I definitely wanted to keep it tongue in cheek. That's why I repeat the line, "He's got something in his hands".

"Cloud Spiller" is another that delves into the realms of like Arthurian fiction and Lady of the Lake, if you will and mixes that with Native American mythology. I really enjoy fiction, like you said, and sci-fi and lyricists like Neil Fallon of Clutch...I always tip my hat to that guy cuz he's probably my favourite lyricist of modern times. He just has a way of mending words together and telling a story so descriptively at the same time. And it's fun every time. I'm really, really influenced by his lyrics and Dio for the mysticism and fantasy involved in his lyrics and just the way he commands every word. He struck a very huge chord for me as a kid. And that all definitely comes out.

antiMusic: My favorite cut is "La Mana de Lucifer". What's the story behind that one?

Brandon: That's actually about the biblical tale of Lucifer's fall from heaven. I'm in no shape or form a religious man but I think the devil is probably the coolest and greatest protagonist of all time. His story of fall from heaven is just a great story. When we were writing that track, we were looking at the bulk of our work and he had probably 20-30 songs at that point. We joked that we'd probably have to write a slow song eventually. So that's what led us to "La Mana...". It started out as a jokey ballad thing. We'd jam it out now and then just for laughs. But it was one of those that when we went from pre-production to the recording process, it didn't really change, Machine just said, "Wow this track is just extensions of the Crobot soul. We're not going to touch it. We're just going to let it record and whatever happens is what we're going to go with."

antiMusic: You guys are headlining a tour right now. Will it be difficult to switch gears and revert back to opening act status for Volbeat and Anthrax next spring?

Brandon: No way. We definitely enjoy playing a longer set but it's sort of fun to put together a set list every night. We don't want to cut anything out of the set but when we have opening gigs, you might only have 30-40 minutes and you just have to cut some songs. But we just love playing and doing tours. It's our bread and butter. It's definitely the way to experience Crobot if you have the chance. We look forward to all the gigs. We just got word a few days ago that we'll be heading out on a full European tour with Black Label Society so we're extremely excited about that. We've yet to tour Europe so it will be life-changing and we're certainly excited about the next year.

Morley and antiMusic thanks Brandon for taking the time to speak with us.

You can get your copy of the new album on CD, Digitally and on Vinyl here.

Visit the official website here.

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