July 14, 2016 Interview – Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch
By definition, concept means an abstract idea, a general notion. With that said, Canada’s veteran Hard Rock outfit Thousand Foot Krutch tackled a concept with the release of OXYGEN:INHALE back in 2014. Taking fans by surprise with a softer style than previous records, patience was a virtue for anxious fans, and the second chapter of the saga brings the vision together with 2016’s EXHALE. Now with the full, colorful picture available for all to collectively absorb, Thousand Foot Krutch show why they are one of the most interesting bands around. Now approaching two decades of Thousand Foot Krutch, this polished, well-oiled machine shows no signs of slowing down. Recently we caught up with the upbeat Trevor McNevan for a closer look at the work behind EXHALE, the band’s positive outlook on life, touring, movies, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – Last we spoke, Thousand Foot Krutch were on their way to their second straight independent album. With that said, it has been five years of label independence for the band, and it has proved to be a good move. What has the experience been like?
Trevor McNevan – It’s been great man. It definitely suits this band, that’s the best way I can put it. It’s different for every band, because they are a different animal, but for us, it’s the right thing. It’s been awesome to walk the life together with the audience, together with them, and connect on a close level. It just takes some of the fences down. If we get inspired to do something, we can just go with it. It’s been good.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, and it is also giving you the opportunity to be very hands-on with your band. It has also given you the ability to be able to steer your own direction in which way you want to go.
Trevor McNevan – Yeah, absolutely. We were always fortunate with Tooth & Nail Records for about 10 years before that. They were always great that way. We actually always had creative control, 100%. We were blessed and thankful for that, but there are a lot of our buddies and friends who are in bands with lots of different labels that don’t have that. We are fortunate to just be able to just stay inspired and stay honest to our inspiration.
CrypticRock.com – Excellent, that is a positive thing. Each Thousand Foot Krutch record has seen a steady progression. The band’s latest album EXHALE, continues that. What was the writing and recording process like this time around?
Trevor McNevan – This record a blast to make. It was always intended to be the more aggressive than 2014’s OXYGEN:INHALE. We kind of dived into the lighter side of that. EXHALE is guitar heavy. The End Is Where We Begin (2012) was the first record where we started entirely making these records ourselves. I produced the records, myself and a friend of mine, Aaron Sprinkle, helped us out through the years. We make the records in the studios, I work on the songs on the road, and we come together and formally select the best. It’s cool, it really is an independent process, making the record, as well as releasing it. It’s a lot of fun for us to be able to try to see the vision through to the end.
CrypticRock.com – Absolutely, this new record is a two part chapter, OXYGEN:INHALE and now EXHALE. What brought about the inspiration for this concept?
Trevor McNevan – We are very blessed to be around for 20 years this year, so we made a few records. We thought, what if we do an Inhale and Exhale, there are always lighter and heavier moments in each one of our records. Both of those things are important to us, so what if we just kind of look at this differently and maybe kind of took the parameters away and go further into the lighter side of this band and those moments. It’s important in OXYGEN:INHALE and on EXHALE we dive deeper and sort of throw away any sort of boundaries. It’s been a lot of fun, it’s feels great to have a second part out there now. Anyone who didn’t understand that, or you catch that, they might have thought that we were going soft or something (laughs). It was always intentional to be a two part thing.
CrypticRock.com – Right. What is quite interesting Is OXYGEN: INHALE, which a much softer textured mix of songs, and with EXHALE, sees essentially a record that is non-stop heavier Rock from start to finish. Did you see some people showing concern about this, like you said, were people kind of a little leery?
Trevor McNevan – Some people, we were thankful that a lot of people stuck with us through that. The audience has grown in different ways after OXYGEN:INHALE, some people maybe enjoy that side of the band, but maybe not the heavier stuff. It’s been really cool in a lot of ways. I think some people kind of did not catch what we were doing and thinking this is not what I was expecting. There were definitely a few people wondering. It’s been exciting to get EXHALE out and just kind of be able to read a story. It’s always been a two part situation.
CrypticRock.com – It is exciting to have both out together now. Sometimes, in order to see a concept like that through, people have to be patient and understand what it is all about. One of the most vivid aspects of Thousand Foot Krutch’s music is the positive lyrics. Many of the lyrics convey a message of difference, but embracing that and overcoming struggles. Are many of the song topics from personal experiences?
Trevor McNevan – Yeah, a lot of them do. Sometimes it’s just stuff that you see or someone close to you experiences. A lot of them are personal for sure. That’s always been a plus to be able to write songs as an extension to your life and your journey, as opposed to what’s going to work for radio. I love a big hook, a catchy song, and just a great song in general, but the intention and integrity has to be true to me and the guys to put a song on a record.
CrypticRock.com – Right, of course. What it comes down to is about the quality of the music, not worrying about if it is going to be on the radio. The radio cuts will come naturally. It is just about writing the music, and what you want to write. You had also mentioned in the past you had received a lot of touching letters and emails from fans about how your music has impacted them. That has to serve as an inspiration when you write as well.
Trevor McNevan –That is big part of it. There’s a lot of incredible stories that get shared with you. We love to just hang after shows and hang with everyone. That’s the whole point to connect with everyone and live life together. When you hear so many great stories and just powerful stuff, that should be bigger than us, bigger than music. It’s exciting and it bleeds into the songs for sure.
CrypticRock.com – That is really fantastic to hear. The band has been extremely busy over the past few years and you have even had a chance to tour abroad. From your experience on the road, what are some of the most important things you have learned?
Trevor McNevan – For us, the lives that go into this band is a big part of who we are, it’s always so special. Every record and every tour, we get a chance to get out and connect with everyone, whether it’s in Russia, or it’s in the US, or Canada, or whatever. Those are the moments where we get to break bread together and share our love for music and for people. As far as what we’ve learned, I think there is always so much to learn, I’ve definitely learned that we’ve never been happier or fulfilled than when we are on tour getting to share those moments together with people.
CrypticRock.com – Exactly, you are living your dream so it has to be amazing. On the other side of the coin, you are a family man, you have children, you have a wife. How does this affect your family life? Do you manage to space times out so you can spend time with the family? Do you bring them out on tour with you?
Trevor McNevan – A little bit of both. It’s one of those juggles that you never feel like you can perfect. We are very blessed to have strong and beautiful wives, they are just such a big part of this all being able to happen. That support system of our families is everything to us. Through the years, we have been fortunate to be able to tour a little bit smarter. You create more time and more space for family in between touring, where you weren’t able to before. Even the way you tour, we don’t always do this, it depending on the situation, but a lot of bands these days, especially with kids, take pockets of three days off each week. You just create more time, it’s definitely more time back. No regrets there, our fans are so special to us and a big part of this band. Family has always been a priority though.
CrypticRock.com – Excellent, that is a great thing to hear. Speaking of family, a lot of bands, some of them are like family. Some of them kind of do not even speak to each other after shows. Would you say you are the latter in Thousand Foot Krutch and this is more of a family situation?
Trevor McNevan – Yeah, we are very fortunate. We are definitely a brotherhood. Every band has their stuff where you get a bunch of dudes, or girls, whatever the case, and you are in close quarters for so long, it’s just going to happen as far as disagreements. You learn over the years each other’s sensitivities, you know how to push each other’s buttons. We keep each other accountable and have a great time out there for sure. It really is a quality of life situation depending with who you are on the road with. Also, people who you tour with it makes a big difference. We just tour with good people and good music.
CrypticRock.com – Speaking with being on the road, you have a few shows lined up in July. Tell us more about the upcoming tour.
Trevor McNevan – Yeah, we recently announced our EXHALE tour. We really wanted this to be more of an intimate kind of Rock club tour. We are kind of just bringing it in and really excited to get out there. We are going to be out supporting our good buddies in Skillet in their Unleashed tour in September, along with Devour the Day. That should be a lot of fun, we’ve know those guys for a long time and we both have new records coming out. It’s going to be fun to kind of unite on this one.
CrypticRock.com – That is a great mix of bands right there, Skillet obviously, and Devour the Day are also good people. It is going to be a fun time for you guys, fans are really going to enjoy that. Besides Thousand Foot Krutch, you also partook in the project called FM Static. Is there a possibility of the band’s return, or has that book closed?
Trevor McNevan – It’s a definite possibility. We had four records that we released on Tooth & Nail Records and it was always a fun side project for Steve and I. I have been writing some Pop Rock stuff for a long time, and I have been songwriting for other bands for about twenty years besides our band. It’s been giving me that kind of outlet to kind of have fun with the lighter side of that stuff. Steve loved that kind of music too. We finished our record contract the same time we did with Thousand Foot Krutch, when we went independent. Honestly, it has been more of a time thing, we just haven’t had time to really do that. I can definitely see some new music happening at some point, that would be a lot of fun. We will have to see. I am working on a lot of new music in general. There is always something new going on.
CrypticRock,com – That will be exciting to see. Speaking of writing new music for others, you actually co-wrote and performed the end credits for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows film.
Trevor McNevan – That was a huge honor. I grew up with The Turtles man, for sure. It was a lot of fun to work on that. They wanted a remake of the old ’80s original theme song, so it was a bunch of good buddies who are really great musicians that played on that, and I was blessed to be able to sing on it.
CrypticRock.com – Very cool. You had said in the past you are actually a big fan of Horror films. If you have seen any newer Horror films, what were some of your favorites?
Trevor McNevan – I have not seen one in quite a while, it has been such a busy season. I really had not seen much. I heard The Conjuring 2 (2016) is great. I haven’t gotten to see it yet. Someone told me that Krampus (2015) is pretty cool. What about you, have you seen any?
CrypticRock.com – The Conjuring 2 is being said to been even scarier than the first. Some other recent releases from the past few years worth checking out are As Above so Below (2014) and It Follows (2015).
Trevor McNevan – I did see It Follows and it was excellent. It’s always kind of special when you see a movie like that, it’s not like it defies the odds, that it’s a new idea, you know? It’s awesome to see something that’s thought well and directed well, and also it’s kind of a new idea, like man, it’s so creative, I love it.
CrypticRock.com – Absolutely, agreed completely. My last question, you have said you are a big fan of classic Hip Hop. With that said, do you think of this new project Prophets of Rage?
Trevor McNevan – I think it’s pretty rad man. I think when everyone first heard buzz, everyone who is a Rage Against the Machine, including myself, was pretty excited about even the idea of those guys reuniting and making a record. There’s so many bands making comebacks. I was talking to someone a couple of months ago, before they even announced, just saying, “Man, of all the bands coming back, that’s a band that needs to make a comeback.” Everybody would love that. It’s a great way to build buzz. It’s a fun idea, I can’t see how it could be bad that all elements of that are pretty cool. I think it will be a lot of fun either way. It wasn’t what we had hoped for as far as the band getting back together, but hey, you can’t really go wrong with all those counterparts.