The DIY drive of Trevor McNevan has grown from the local Ontario underground scene, which launched his music career some 16 years ago, and has matured into a double headed monster making huge impressions in the diverse worlds of both heavy music as well as pop-punk genres. 2012 will bring the next evolution of sound for Thousand Foot Krutch as well as the return to their self production roots with the release of their latest album, The End Is Where We Begin, which will be dropping April 17th. Special thanks to Josh Eldridge of The Musebox for setting up this hurdcore.com interview with Thousand Foot Krtuch songwriter and singer, Trevor McNevan.
Every start up band is fighting to get signed, yet with recent developments and trends in the music world the tools are available to take the DIY approach. What did you enjoy most about your time with Tooth & Nail?
Trevor McNevan (Vocals): Tooth is a great label family. Our experience together was deeper than music, we built great relationships and friendships with the staff there over time, and it’s a great home for any band. I think what we liked best about the label itself, was that they allowed us to have full creative control, that’s something a lot of labels don’t allow their artists to have. I could write about whatever I was inspired to write about and move wherever we felt we needed to move, and that was a key factor in TFK being who we are and growing where we’ve grown, and where we’re growing now.
What all went into your decision to release this latest album on your own?
TM: We took a lot of time to do our homework and pray about the right decision for this band here. We had some very generous deals on the table from a lot of labels, but in the end, we felt confident that this was the right move for us. It was definitely a faith step we had to follow our hearts on. What most people don’t know, is we were independent for a LONG time before signing with Tooth and Nail/EMI, we used to manage ourselves, book ourselves, drive ourselves (I’ve spent more time in a van with the band than probably anywhere else in my life!), hire our own radio/video, and everything in between. After a while, we picked up distribution through the Diamante Group and ended up selling 80,000+ records out of our van. It’s always been about the connection for us, so this allows us to make more of that direct connection and do it on our terms.
Even as you prepare to release this album yourselves, who are the members of your larger team that are helping you assemble all the pieces?
TM: We’ve been working hand in hand with our manager Tony Patoto and his Fuel Music team as our core group, and have brought on radio and publicity in both markets, as well as a film/tv team to continue our strong ties there. Things have been moving quickly on both radio fronts and across the board, so we’re busy getting things ready for the April 17th release!
Die-hard fans often have a difficult time when a band significantly changes their sound, as a band did you intentionally set out to alter your tone or was it more of a natural progression?
TM: We’ve always been a moving target that way, variety has always played a big part in my musical tastes/influences. We’ve always been a rock band first and foremost, but have enjoyed following inspiration through the years and keeping the music honest to what we feel best paints that picture at the time. I’m not a fan of bandwagons, we’ve always stuck to what we wanted to do and followed inspiration when it comes to our records.
If you were to take your knowledge of the business side of music and package it into a summary, what are some of the essential components and/or people your need on your team to make a realistic run at being successful in the industry?
TM: Wow, that’s a long conversation haha, but if I had to nail down a few quickly, I’d say:
a) Make sure you have a passionate team, who understands what you’re trying to do and shares the vision, a team that believes in you and will fight for you in the areas you can’t.
b) Make sure you believe in what you’re doing, because if you don’t, no one will. Don’t make decisions based on money. Follow your heart and inspiration, because that is the one thing you can control, your own songs/records, they’re your voice to the world. If you follow someone else’s plan for you, against your will, and it fails, you’ll regret it, if you follow your heart and fail, you’ll know you tried your best, get up and keep fighting.
How have you worked to keep yourselves focused on what is important to you as you continue to grow in popularity as a band?
TM: Staying true to who you are and what you believe is a daily refocus sometimes. Life gets busy, things get complicated and lines get blurred sometimes. Our faith is a our lifestyle, it’s who we are, not our genre, so it keeps us focused and grounded on what’s important and keeps things in perspective. We try to keep each other accountable on the road, and have incredible wives who are a very big part of keeping life balanced. The same things that were important to us then, are important to us now. To make an impact in our world, through making the best music we can, in the most honest fashion we can.
What is the story/meaning behind the name, “The End Is Where We Begin”?
TM: The title track “The End Is Where We Begin” was actually written before the album title was chosen. This title summarizes everything we’ve been through as a band, and where we are now, the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another. We’ve been through every transition you could face as a band in the past year (aside from the band line up), and our entire team couldn’t be more excited. Against all odds (not to mention some pretty lucrative record contracts), we’re following what we feel the right thing for us to do is, and at the end of the day, that’s our responsibility. We’re very blessed to have the support/trust we do with our audience, they’re as much a part of our team, as anyone else. We wanted to do this together. I can’t thank everyone who’s already supported us in this enough, we’re growing together, and look forward to each new step we take together.
With years under your belt performing with TFK (and noteable side projects such as FM Static) how has your vision and passion for music evolved from the days when you were breaking into the local Ontario scene?
TM: Our vision and passion are still the same, we’re just as excited to write a great song, get out and play shows, and connect with people, as we’ve ever have been. God’s so good man.
Do you remember the first piece of dream gear that you purchased?
TM: YES! I was 12 years old and saved up (with a little help from my P’s) for 2 turntables, a mixer, and a sampler. I think I locked myself in my room the next 2 years having them slide food under the door.
Read anything interesting lately that has your wheels spinning?
TM: “Best Practices Are Stupid: 40 ways to out-innovate the competition” by Stephen Shapiro
Last song you heard that blew you way (what about it grabbed your attention)?
TM: Everything by Ed Sheeran. “Lego House” and “The A Team” were the songs that grabbed me, but I can’t get enough of his stuff right now. I love the songs, it sounds great and he reminds me of just sitting on the bed with a guitar, writing a song. My favorite thing to do. Also, Ross Copperman -”Holding On And Letting Go.” Great song. I heard it on a TV show and had to find it.
Top 5 Songs currently on your iPod?
TM: Ed Sheeran “The A Team”, Gary Jules “Mad World”, The Parlor Mob “Into The Sun”, Rival Sons “Gypsy Heart”, ” Carrie Underwood “Good Girl”.
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