Let me preface this interview by saying, quality rock and roll music is still alive and well. But, however, gritty distorted guitar riffs and howling vocals are not quite as plentiful in the scene as they once were. At least that’s what I thought, until I met the Pottsville, Pennsylvania-Based band Crobot, an up-and-coming band that is reviving the spirit of hard rock in their own unique way.
The band is signed to the New York City-based label Wind-Up Records, and is currently on the cusp of dropping their second album, Welcome to Fat City, which is scheduled for release on September 23. Crobot can certainly be described as heavy-hitting, both instrumentally and through their use of cannabis. As frontman Brandon Yeagly’s voice rides upon the band’s vigirous instrumentals, Crobot produces a sound that will keep your head banging throughout their small, yet prominent discography.
Their newest album, which was produced by renowned metal producer Machine (Clutch, Lamb of God, Every Time I Die), is sure to be jam-packed with the lustrous distorted guitar riffs, wide-reaching vocals, and an altogether substantial journey through gritty rock and roll. I had the opportunity to visit the band at Wind-Up Records, where I spoke with bassist Jake Figueroa and drummer Paul Figueroa, the two brothers who joined forces with lead singer Brandon Yeagly and guitarist Chris Bishop to form a refined version of Crobot in 2013.
MERRY JANE: You guys sell some interesting merch, like your own rolling papers and jalapeño sauce, why is that?
Paul Figueroa: The rolling papers and the hot sauce, in particular, came from the idea that we needed merch that we could also use on the road. We didn’t like driving around with bowls and paraphernalia, if you get pulled over, you’re beat. But, if you’ve got ‘merch’ you can use, then you’re never without feasible means for getting stoned. And as for the hot sauce, I’m pretty sure one leads to the other…
MJ: How does the sound on Welcome to Fat City differ from the last album, Something Supernatural?
Jake Figueroa: The first album Something Supernatural, we recorded in New Jersey with Machine, this newest album was recorded by the same producer, but we were in a totally different setting. He’s got a ranch down in Texas that has a giant studio. So, there was a familiarity in the recording process, since we were still working with Machine, but we’ve really developed our songwriting in this next one, everything is a little different. We come at the music with the same approach, we’re trying to have fun and doing what we enjoy, but I feel like the thoughts and all of that came together a little more coherently.
MJ: What role does cannabis play in the band?
PF: To me, it’s kind of just something that we do all of the time, it’s a factor of peace of mind and quality of life.
JF: It’s like a warm blanket…
PF: We all like our own strains. I’m more of a sativa guy fan, I feel like when I smoke a nice sativa I can really dig into the riffs and still focus in on the music without getting too stupid dopey stoned, which has its time and place, don’t get me wrong, but I love just smoking and digging into a riff, you can work every end of it without outside hinderance.
MJ: What’s your all-time favorite strain?
PF: Yeah, I’m terrible at remembering the names of my favorite strains, I think it has something to do with short term memory loss (laughs).
JF: Most recently, my favorite strain is called Harlequin. It’s a sativa hybrid, but also has a high CBD to THC ratio. Apparently, the high CBD mellows out the anxiety effects that a sativa can sometimes give you, so, it achieves the effect of being an indica hybrid, but that effect is achieved by adding the CBDs.
MJ: How about your favorite way to smoke?
JF: I’m a bong dude.
PF: If it was a really sweet bong I’d probably want to take a rip, but I do like rolling up little cones. I can just sit with my dog and talk to him.
JF: I like rolling up too, but bongs are quicker though.
MJ: Favorite city you’ve been to on tour?
PF: Recently? Definitely that one town in Holland.
JF: It was great. Right down the street was this coffee shop called Capricorn Cafe. We went in there and they treated us like kings, it was awesome. We were in the Netherlands for this one-off show, and right down the street.
PF: Great hash, great flower. They thought we were crazy because we were twisting up joints with hash in, over there they usually mix their hash with tobacco. So they’re all looking at us like, you’re putting hash in your weed? Well yeah dude, the better to get stoned with. Super good tasting, my god, it was awesome.
While you’re waiting for Welcome to Fat City to come out in September, you can stream to their first single from the album, called “Not For Sale”, via Soundcloud, or purchase it on iTunes. You can also listen to the new single from Welcome to Fat City, which they just released today, below.
Fans of the band can head to their online store, which is packed with unique shirts, as well as their own brand of rolling papers and jalapeño sauce. After Welcome to Fat City is released, Crobot will tour all throughout the United States and then the world, so be on the lookout.
Oh, and lastly, the Figueroa brothers wanted me to relay this message to the world: “We highly encourage anyone who comes out to see us. We will hang out with you, if you wanna bring weed to smoke,” they laughed.