He Is Legend: “The isolation we were feeling shows through on this record a lot.”

He Is Legend: “The isolation we were feeling shows through on this record a lot.”

By Rhian Wilkinson

Apr 20, 2017 11:59

We caught up with Schuylar Croom of He Is Legend ahead of their upcoming release, ‘few’, out via Spinefarm Records on April 28.

‘few’ is the fifth full length record from the Wilmington, NC four-piece, ambitiously undertaken as an indie-go-go campaign that asked fans to put their money where their mouths were when demanding a new record.

Schuylar explains that crowd-funding wasn’t a path taken lightly. When they finished touring ‘Heavy Fruit’ he says there was a moment when they were asking themselves if they were important anymore, and putting themselves out onto that ledge paid off – literally. He Is Legend met an impressive 124% of their funding goal for ‘few’.

“It took a lot of deliberation for us to really make that leap, but I think it was the right move. At the beginning, before you press the button the doubt is there, but once we started seeing the support roll in we were pretty confident that it was going to meet our goal.”

“We didn’t know that we were going to go over, and that was just, just…” Schuylar pauses, fumbling for the right words to show his gratitude.

“We were elated, I mean, we knew we had die hard fans, we’ve been doing this for a while, but it’s easy to get discouraged when you don’t see that day to day. The snowball effect was overwhelming! We were meeting up every day and high-fiving and cheersing every night you know? Like woo! We hit another grand! It was just a good morale boost for us.”

Having that direct interaction with a fan-base, and allowing them to directly impact the creation of a record is a bold move, and one that Schuylar acknowledges as incredibly important to the way the record sounds.

“It was just a way for our fans to speak up and be known, and have their hands on from the beginning of the record to now. It was daunting, and it was interesting – the freedom we got from it, I don’t think it was different from any of our other records, but it was in our minds. This outpouring from our fans made it a more important record for us.”

Schuylar says it was hard not to be authentic about making a record in this way.

“Obviously when we release records they’re for our fans, and for ourselves first. We have to like it to get behind it, if that’s not there then you don’t have good music. But this was almost more of a gift from our fans to us. That’s the most amazing thing we could have asked for. We couldn’t just wear our hearts on our sleeves anymore. You had to pour yourself into this project because there was a lot at stake. If it wasn’t authentic and it wasn’t us through and through, if it wasn’t personal and we didn’t bare all, I think our fans would feel like they had been short-handed, and that was something that we couldn’t do”

The record has been misunderstood as having been recorded at a remote snowy cabin in Carrboro, North Carolina during December of 2015. As idyllic as that sounds, the reality is while the band did call the cabin home during the recording, ‘few’ was actually tracked in the same studio as ‘Heavy Fruit’ and ‘It Hates You’ – Warrior Sound, around 25 minutes away.

“The cabin was just a really nice way to go and get lost. It was a good way to go home after a day of recording and feel that isolation. Light a fire, drink wine and see the stars, things you couldn’t do in the city recording. It just gave us all a bit of brotherhood, we could all be in this one spot and talk about what we were doing, or not doing. It was pretty cold so we were keeping the fire going all the time and it was just really nice. You can be in the city recording and really get lost in the nightlife afterwards, and that will change the sound. I think that the isolation we were feeling shows through on this record a lot.”

It was a come and go spot for the band during the writing and recording of ‘few’, they spent time there together, but also alone. Schuylar credits its isolation and as a source of inspiration in the booth.

“Vocally, the cabin definitely impacted me, the cabin was where you went to decompress afterwards. I was there alone when I was doing my part so I could really push these limits. The day I started recording was the day after David Bowie died, so I was super bummed out about that. I had been listening to his new record constantly, it’s a two hour drive up to where we were recording and I listened to it all the way there so I was just in an emotional state. I’m sure that some of that came through somehow, it was just a dark time. It was cold, I was by myself up there, trying to push my emotional limits to get a good performance out of my vocals on the record. I think a lot of that shows through.”

Having been working on ‘few’ since December 2015, this record has been a long time coming for a lot of fans, and Schuylar says it has been for him, too.

“We have it, our friends have heard it, certain people have heard it and want it, and we can’t give it to anybody yet. We want our fans to hear it more than anything. That’s the strangest thing about it, there was just red-tape involved with us trying to figure out what to do. What comes next? We really sat down and wrote out our budgets for getting the thing made, and then you know, some of the numbers were way higher than we thought, and some of our numbers were dead on. For us it was like okay, now there is what would have been a week of mixing maybe turned into a month of mixing, or like, what would have been finished in a month we had delivered in maybe two months because there was no time limit other than we knew what we had done before and we didn’t want to go too far from that.”

“But we were given our own freedom. So when the record was done that was kind of where we were calling in favours to friends, and you can’t really rush them! You can rush yourselves, but you can’t really rush your friends to do their jobs any differently. And then looking for a worldwide release date, we had to figure that out, we could have just let the record come out and do what it’s gonna do, and hope that word-of-mouth would get going, or we could really go for it. That’s kind of where Spinefarm came in, our friends there were like ‘it’s easy for us, it’s not going to be easy for you’, so that made the most sense after everything was said and done.”

He Is Legend: “The isolation we were feeling shows through on this record a lot.”

Everything seems to have lined up right when they were searching for a label home for ‘few’. Schuylar says it seemed serendipitous, finally having the perfect chance to work with long-time friend and Spinefarm A&R, Darren Dalessio.

“Darren’s been a fan of our band for a minute now, but that’s not something we ever really expected to be looking at. We didn’t expect to be put in that category with Spinefarm when it came time to figure out how to put this album out to the world. It’s kind of an honour to be considered! So we were really grateful for that, and they’ve helped us out alot.”

So, you can get the record through Spinefarm, but where does Schuylar visualise you listening to it?

“You should definitely be in the car. You should probably be in the car like 90% of the time when you’re listening to music. It should be night, you should be driving, probably fast, and you should be heading to like a dance club of sorts, that’s probably going to be playing only Top 40’s hip hop. That’s your destination after the album is finished, get out then go into a club where they’re playing Drake or Young Thug or something like that.”

With a massive set plugged in for He Is Legend at Groezrock in just a few weeks time, Schuylar let us know why it’s special to be on a lineup with some of his favourite bands, and hinted at where you might find him when he’s not on stage.

“There are a lot of personal reasons that I’m excited. Deftones and Thrice were massive to me in my youth and still have a huge place in my heart today. It’s great to see them still putting out these amazing records that make me feel young again. Of course bands like The Bouncing Souls, Strike Anywhere, Anti-FLag and Stick to Your Guns just sound like growing up to me. As for bands like MeWithoutYou and Underoath, we’ve been playing with those bands since the start of our career so it will be really nice to see those boys perform as we are so proud of what they have become over the years. “Broing Down,” that’s a must.”

“Personally I will be most excited to see Thrice and Deftones obviously, as well as The Cro-Mags, Deafheaven and Oathbreaker. I’m more excited to wander around and take the whole thing in. Festivals put me in a strange headspace. I’m hoping to walk away with some new favourites after the day.”

Check out Schuylar’s Groezrock must have tracks in the playlist below, and catch He Is Legend playing their first ever Groezrock set on Saturday, at the Watch Out Stage from 18:45 – 19:35.