April 11, 2014 Interview – Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch
Music should be uplifting, inspiring, and an escape from everyday life. Canadian rock band, Thousand Foot Krutch, have crafted music in this vein since 1995. Beginning as a rap-rock act, the band naturally morphed into a hybrid of heart-stopping guitar, and vocal driven rock, leading them to become a premiere hard rock act. After completely their record deal with Tooth & Nail Records, Thousand Foot Krutch took matters into their own hands, independently releasing The End Is Where We Begin in 2012. The result was their most commercially successful album to date and rave reviews from critics and fans. Recently, we sat down with lead vocalist/lyricist Trevor McNevan for an in-depth look at the band’s progression, their decision to move only independently, the future of the band, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – You formed Thousand Foot Krutch almost two decades ago. A lot has happened for the band in that time. You have released seven studio albums, toured consistently, and have built a name as a premier hard rock band. In retrospective, how would you describe the past two decades of Thousand Foot Krutch?
Trevor McNevan – It has been a ride, it has been an adventure, that is probably the best way I can describe it. Just when you think you understand where you are going, everything changes. It has been incredible and I would not change it for the world. It has been a blessing and a very humbling and exciting experience. We feel very honored to be able to make music, do what we love to do, still be able to do that, and have people that support it. That is something that we will never take for granted and we feel very blessed. We definitely give all the glory to God for that, we feel very blessed.
CrypticRock.com – It really is a great thing to see the band grow. Now, the band originally began as more of a rap metal act and started to change your style slightly around 2003 with the release of Phenomenon. Since then the band has offered fans an array of styles and sounds. What inspired you to alter the band’s sound?
Trevor McNevan – Honestly it was a natural progression for us. The only thing I would say that was intentional, outside of following our own inspirations and what inspirited us as we have grown up along the way, was at the time I remember in the late 90’s there was so much hip hop integrated into rock. There ended up being so many bands doing that, and that particular kind of stamp in music was leading into everything across genres. In some ways it was a really cool thing, in other ways it was something we just didn’t want to be another one of those bands so to speak. I grew up on hip hop, that is actually all I listened to when I was kid. I put out a hip hop record when I was thirteen and another when I was sixteen, which had instrumentation and rock stuff on it too. It has grown from there. I think that influence will always have a place in our music one way or another. I think from the beginning that was definitely the intention; we didn’t want to just blend it, we wanted to make music that we were excited about and not be another one of those bands. It has been a very natural progression I would say.
CrypticRock.com – It has been very natural from album to album. The band still does have some rap aspects to it which is sprinkled in on tracks on each album. The lyrical content of Thousand Foot Krutch is always very emotionally moving and often inspiring. How does it feel to convey your feelings so profoundly through words and see the effect it has on others?
Trevor McNevan – It is something that always really blows you away as a song-writer or lyricist , just witnessing the power of music and getting to be a small part of that. I think as a song-writer we all write about the same things. We write about the things we see, the way those things make us feel, the experiences we have, people we meet, or situations we go through. I think that all pours into what you say and who you are. To us, our faith is our lifestyle; it is not a name tag or something we are trying to preach at anyone. That is going to be a big part of the heart of who we are in our music as well. I could not be more humbled and blown away about the stories we hear by people being touched by the music. We have had a lot of cool letters and emails from people who feel like there is no hope for them and they say they heard this song earlier tonight and something grabbed them. We are so thankful for those stories and those moments for how powerful music is. It is such a blessing to be passionate in words and have that resonate. I think that is something I can relate to, we are not all so different.
CrypticRock.com – It is great that you can convey a positive message like that regardless of people’s faith. With that said, the band has reached new levels of success in recent years with Welcome To The Masquerade (2009) and The End Is Where We Begin. The End Is Where We Begin came out in 2012 and the album is full of amazingly well-written songs. Tell me about the writing and recording process of this record?
Trevor McNevan – Thank you first of all, I appreciate that. The End Is Where We Begin marks a pretty monumental moment for us as far as the timeline of this band, where we finished a record deal with Tooth and Nail Records. We felt like the right thing to do was step out on our own, and we wanted do this directly connected with the people who support this music and this band. It was a scary, exciting, and crazy couple of years, but it has been so awesome. There has been so much freedom in that, and again the support that has come along with that is not something you can count on or expect. We feel very blessed by that. That record, even the title The End Is Where We Begin, it really marks that for us.
We started out independent, then were with a major record label for ten years, then choose to go back to being independent. For this band it has definitely been the right thing, we can be who we are not that we ever weren’t that is for sure. We can just follow our passions, get excited about something creatively, and we can just do it. We can just do a lot of other things. There are a lot of exciting things, for sure, coming up in 2014 and 2015 as far as the way we want to put out new music more often. We are making changes, we feel good about it, and are excited to present it. We just finished writing for a brand new record that we are heading into the studio to record, we definitely will have a new record out as well in 2014. The End Is Where We Begin has been a special one for us in a lot of ways, it means a lot to us, it was kind of that first step back to independence. Really, our heart is on our sleeve all the way through this new one.
CrypticRock.com – It is exciting to hear that you are coming out with some new material in 2014. It seems as if the record has a clarified concept behind it from the lyrics of the tracks right down to the artwork. Your words seem to come from a distinct prospective of us as humans. Did you have this image in your mind of exactly the story you wanted to tell with it?
Trevor McNevan – I think, when you are putting thoughts together for a record, it depends when you get that title in your mind that you feel the right thing for the record. Then you start putting the artwork together based on that; you have a vision of what that looks like. I think you try and get as close to it as you can, and most importantly keeping the music authentic and everything in the place that feels right to you, you hope other people feel the same way. I think with The End Is Where We Begin, and the same with these new songs, it was a very inspired process. In a lot of ways it felt like starting over for us. During the process of going independent we literally changed our entire team, so in a lot of ways it was like starting over. We are blessed to have a very awesome team we put together, that everyone is equally passionate about what is happening and what is going on. From that perspective, you try your best to keep it authentic and hope other people feel the same way.
CrypticRock.com – Makes perfect sense. Going back to the vocals, as you stated, you were very influenced by hip hop and that was your passion. As things went on you started to sing more, did you know you had this very powerful singing voice or did you just stumble upon this other talent you possess?
Trevor McNevan – Well you know what, it is a bit of both to be honest. I think I first sang, actually sang, at eight years old on this TV show in my home town, which was a Christmas special. Music always spoke to me, from that young if not younger. I remember my parents bought me this Michael Jackson Thriller (1982) 12′ vinyl record. I sat there at the stereo, for what felt like a whole year, memorizing every inch of that record. I always loved singing, but as far as creatively as an artist, it being the forefront of that. I always thought, creatively, I enjoyed rhyming. I loved the artistic side of that, that connected with me. I was always singing, just not as much in the band. I think it would be safe to say I kind of found my voice in that.
CrypticRock.com – That works well, and each style compliments each other well from song to song on each album. What are some of your musical influences?
Trevor McNevan – There was a lot of really great early 90’s hip hop which I grew up on. From Public Enemy, to Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Black Sheep, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and Gang Starr. Those are the guys I grew up on; a lot of east coast hip hop. There was just so much in the music happening, they were heavily sampling back then, there was just so much jazz, rock, and infusion. It was kind of a beautiful thing, when you look back you don’t even realize, you almost feel like you took it for granted. It was so great at the time that you didn’t even realize how special it was in the timeline of music. It is looking back at a lot of great 90’s bands too, when Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden were all at the same festival and we were all having a great time; we didn’t realize how special it was.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, it is really true. That is why it is great to appreciate music as it happens. There really is a lot of amazing hip hop from the 1990’s. Public Enemy had so many amazing powerful records. My last question for you is regarding films. Crypticrock.com is a rock/metal and horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. Are you a fan of horror films and if so what are some of your favorite horror films?
Trevor McNevan – Absolutely, I am a fan. Me and a few of other close friends from Nashville have this little horror club, that whenever we are all home from touring, we all go see a scary movie together. My all-time favorite horror film was the original Halloween (1978). I am always going to be such a fan of that, it is my all-time favorite. I have to say, I feel like there has been a couple of really good ones in the last few of years. To me Sinister (2012) was great and scary, and The Conjuring (2013) was really well-done I thought. To me those were movies that kind of follow what I loved about Halloween. It was scary because of what you did not see. It was not super gory, it was just actually scary because you were frightened about what they did not show you. You got to use your imagination a little. Those are different, definitely my favorite.
CrypticRock.com – There is something about the atmosphere that makes a horror film good. It seems like a modern film like Sinister focused more on sound qualities to frighten you.
Trevor McNevan – Absolutely, I feel like there are few and far between, these days, that have that greatness to them. I feel like we are in a bit of a dry season and we need some good ones.
Be sure to check out Thousand Foot Krutch on the following tour dates:
Apr 27 Arena Moscow Moscow, Russian Federation
Apr 28 Zal Ojidania Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
May 03 Monster Energy’s Carolina Rebellion Concord, NC
May 11 Central Iowa Expo Boone, IA
May 16 Rock On The Range – Columbus Crew Stadium Columbus, OH
May 23 Rocklahoma Pryor, OK
May 24 Edmonton EXPO Centre Edmonton, Canada
Jun 07 cuddy park Anchorage, AK
Jun 12 AtlantaFest Stone Mountain, GA
Jun 20 Big Ticket Festival Gaylord, MI
Jun 21 Wonder Jam – Canada’s Wonderland Vaughan, Canada
Jun 27 Spirit Song Mason, OH
Jun 28 Kings Fest Doswell, VA
Jul 19 Sonshine Festival Willmar, MN
Jul 20 Rock Fest Cadott, WI
Aug 03 Jefferson Federal Amphitheatre Morristown, TN
Aug 06 Unity Music Festival Muskegon, MI
Aug 09 Soulfest Gilford, NH
Aug 30 Joshua Festival Quincy, CA
Sep 13 Air Canada Centre Toronto, Canada T
Sep 20 Uprise Festival Shippensburg, PA