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Thousand Foot Krutch

Months before the world would hear the band's latest venture, we sat down with Thousand Foot Krutch frontman Trevor McNevan to discuss their album The Flame In All Of Us. Kicking back in a hotel room during GMA Week 07, we discussed the band's musical progressions, calling, and the unique process for recording the new record...
This interview took place on: 4/23/07.

  • Jesus freak Hideout (John DiBiase): So howve you been?
    Trevor McNevan: Good, man. Doing good, working hard, keeping busy. My wife and I just moved to Brentwood actually, about five months ago, so it was kind of a new move, a big move for us. Definitely feels like where were supposed to be for a season, you know?

  • JFH (Amy DiBiase): Were you in an apartment? Or what?
    Trevor: No, we had a condo, owned a condo out home, and we bought a house here.

  • JFH (John): And home is Canada?
    Trevor: Yeah, were a Canadian band. *laughs*

  • JFH (John): Well I wasnt sure if you were still in Canada or if you moved somewhere else around here.
    Trevor: Yeah, the other guys still live in Canada. And well see what happens, well probably be here a couple years, and then well see what happens. It feels more like home all the time though. Kind of settling in. I havent been here very much because we just finished a new record not too long ago. And were on tour with Toby, just finishing that up too.

  • JFH (John): I wanna talk about the new record, totally. When is it coming out?
    Album cover Trevor: Yeah, right now its September 11. [NOTE: was later changed to September 18] Yeah, were going there. But no, it feels really appropriate for this record. I mean, its one of those things that could possibly change, but were excited about that. Coincidentally, theres a song on the record that starts with someone waking up on the morning of 9/11, its a song called What Do We Know?, on the new record, and its kind of talking about a lot of stuff that has happened in the past five years, with Katrina, and 9/11, and even recently, it definitely applies to Virginia Tech. The experience is just crazy. Things as a nation that have just made us stand back, or worldwide, just be like, wow, were not in control. You know what I mean, no matter what you believe. People on this planet, I think its made everyone stand back and be like, "sheesh." It just makes you remember whats really important. So thats kind of what that song is about. That was coincidental with the whole September 11 thing, yeah, but it works out.

  • JFH (John): Thats really cool. Explain the reasoning behind the title, The Flame In All Of Us.
    Trevor: Its about a couple things. One thing, on a spiritual level, I try to get across the point that sometimes - other Christians will have a problem with this but - I really believe 100% that all of us that are doing this, that are making music, just Christian people writing about life the way we see it, that whether youre Chris Tomlin, or Hillsong United, or someone whos doing what theyre doing in that platform, which is incredible. Or someone like us who might be a more hard rock platform, we do things very differently but we both love the same God. We both have the same purpose, and we both have the same hearts. Were doing what we do for the same reasons. So, The Flame In All Of Us is in a way symbolizing. I really feel like when we do what we do, we are worshiping, in the way that we do that. We are worshiping, every bit as much as someone would in a traditional church sense. So I think thats something important to us to kind of get across. Thats on a spiritual note. I think the title also stemmed from; I just recently read that book that Donald Miller wrote, Blue Like Jazz, I know its probably like way after the fact, I know everybody probably read it years ago, but I finally read it because people were recommending it. Just the way he looks at stuff. He had some really good points, just in general, how our nature - the human nature - is imperfect and were born with a void to fill. Who are we? What are we here for? All that stuff. He puts it in a really cool way, its pretty stinkin cool. Thats the other element, to The Flame In All of Us. Theres a lot of things, no matter what race you are, no matter what you believe or what you listen to, that we have more in common than we think.

  • JFH (John): What can fans expect, musically, from the record?
    Trevor: I honestly think, take this for what it is, Im not trying to pump up the record, as much as I hope everyone digs it, I think its our biggest, freshest version of just who we are as a band, and who we want to be. Its got the biggest, heaviest sounding moments weve ever been to, and its also got - for the first time I got to work with an orchestra, on about three songs, and Im really stoked about that. So its got even the gentlest, most quiet moments that youd probably never have thought wed go there. Its really cool though, Im really excited about it. I think it flows, its completely honest, and we werent like lets do a slow song! (John: It just came out, felt natural.) Completely, and theres about four slower songs on this record, which is really different for us, man. But theres also a lot of everything in between. I think its got something for people who have grown up with the band a little bit, and then people who maybe have just heard the band, its something new, and then it kind of gives you an idea of where were headed to.

  • JFH (John): Have you started playing any new songs live?
    Trevor: Yeah. Just one right now, I mean, everyones got a fairly shorter set on the Toby tour, so we only really have a chance to play one new one. But weve been playing the title track, "The Flame In All Of Us." Its been really cool, to see the response weve been getting. Its been encouraging too, you know, when you play a new song. If I go see a band that I dig, you kind of just take it in, right? You just listen to it. Im probably not freaking out during that song if Im going to see a band I love, cause I just want to hear it. But we get responses from it like songs weve been playing for years, so its been awesome.

  • JFH (John): Who did you work with, production-wise, on the record?
    Trevor: We worked with a cat named Ken Andrews. Hes an LA guy, and he did some stuff we really dug for Beck and Tenacious D, which is kind of funny, and some Chris Cornell stuff, and I love him. Hes mixed in a lot of stuff. Hes worked with a lot of bands like Perfect Circle, and we really dug what he did, so we initially were supposed to work with another guy, but the timing wasnt right. So were glad that things ended up the way they did. It was cool. Its the quickest record we made too. It was refreshing to go in, cause for us, this was a new thing. Usually you go in, and its pretty standard. You do drums, then bass, then vocals, or guitars, and all that stuff in a certain progression. This time, we went in and we had drums, rhythm guitar and bass all playing at the same time, and recording stuff in the other room, so we played everything live off the floor. (John: That's awesome.) Just rocked it, and recorded like six takes, and added it to the best stuff that we got. It turned out really wicked in my opinion, for what we were going for. Im really excited.

  • JFH (John): So its kind of like, an almost live studio album feel to it.
    Trevor: It does, but its still probably the biggest sounding record weve had. We still managed to get that because that was important, but it has more energy I think. For us, for a band like us, you get more energy that way. It just feels like it, its not so 'cut and paste,' yknow?

  • JFH (Amy): Youre also together, so you can feed off each others performance.
    Trevor: Right, and thats what we do. Thats why live is so important to us. It worked really well. Id recommend it.

  • JFH (John): A lot of records, when thats done, it has such a unique sound, and an energy, and its like, why dont more bands do that?
    Trevor: I dont know man. It probably sometimes comes down to producers wanting to do it the way they feel comfortable. Other times, theres quite a few bands that wouldnt feel comfortable doing that either. You have to come in prepared to play your songs front to back, and have the songs. Its not coming in with a chorus and saying hey lets try and write a song! Its like heres what were gonna do. Here it is. 1, 2, 3, 4, bang. It suits us man, and we dig it.

  • JFH (John): So you think youll do this in the future?
    Trevor: Oh yeah. Hopefully. Thats the goal.

  • JFH (John): Is there a particular song on the record that youre just totally stoked about?
    Trevor: Thats a tough question, because as a songwriter, they all have such a meaning to me. But in different ways, there probably is, yeah. Theres a song called Wish You Well, and its a slower song, and we actually used a quartet, and it just really hits home, on a personal level in a lot of ways. Its kind of about having a loved one, someone who youre really close to and youre really on the same page - just who you are, what you believe, what youre living for. And then whenever someone that close to you, for whatever reason, decides to take a 180 and make a lot of life choices that go in the completely opposite direction. Its just one of those things that hurts. It hurts to have to sit there and watch that, but in the same sense you really, as a person, all you can really do is be there for that person, you can listen, and you can pray for them. At that point its completely God. When theyre ready to accept that, God will be there to meet them where theyre at. But it cant be you or I trying to make it better. Thats not gonna work. The songs called Wish You Well and the chorus is just like I wish you well, I wish I could help, I wish you well, but I cant help you find yourself. So its just one of those things.

  • JFH (John): Its true though. Its a hard thing.
    Trevor: Yeah man, its a rough thing. In the end you can just hope that someone can get through to the other side of what theyre walking through.

  • JFH (John): Even if its after youve parted ways, to a degree. Just hoping that Gods got them, and Hell take care of it at some point.
    Trevor: Thats probably the most personal, in a sense.

  • JFH (John): Is that about a certain person that helped you write it, something you had in mind?
    Trevor: It is, its about a couple of things. Its generally about a certain person, and then other people that were close to me that went through the same thing, in sort of the same way.

  • JFH (Amy): As you bring hope to those who hear it, does it bring hope to you as well, singing it?
    Trevor: Yeah, I guess. Its a sort of an uplift thing. Yeah. Were just totally stoked to be a small part of what Gods doing with the generation. Just to be able to do music still, and still communicate that way. Couldnt ask for anything else, thats for sure.

  • JFH (John): Its cool to see where the bands come. I remember seeing you guys at Purple Door years ago, when you were still doing the Set It Off type stuff. Its cool to see the progression, and the maturity in the sound.
    Trevor: Its funny when you look at it. We had our indie record, Thats What People Do, and then Set It Off, and then we signed with Tooth and Nail, but that stuff was so fun to do, and it was who we were, and you just try to be who you are.

  • JFH (John): Well thats important. Because if you try to be something else, people can tell. People can tell that youre faking it.
    Trevor: Yeah Im always trying to encourage younger bands too, y'know? Do what makes you excited. Dont try to be these guys because its cool right now, because by the time your record comes out thats not even gonna be cool.

  • JFH (John): Yeah, because thats going to happen. Especially in the Christian industry.
    Trevor: Yeah, that whole thing with us, for what its worth, I feel I need to say it sometimes, we were just looking at music in general. Were just huge music fans, still. I feel the same way about music since I was ten. Im still excited about it. I mean, we were kind of doing that when there was Rage Against The Machine, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, and whatever. It was before that whole Limp Bizkit rush. It was all honest and it was exciting to do. And it got to the point where music took some serious turns, and kind of became, at least to me, almost stagnate. At the time, we wanted to do something fresh and not just be another lets fuse hip-hop with rock! type. I still think its a great thing, and bands are doing it great still. Sometimes I look back and I think it would have been fun to carry that out as well. But I think we did what we needed to do. As you grow older, your musical tastes change. You gotta stay true to that. Im not going to say the same things that I write today in a song that I would when I was like 15.

  • JFH (John): We were recently at a show of a band that has really progressed lyrically, and yet they have a very strong fan base that wants to hear their older, less matured songs. And were in the audience hearing their newer, fresh stuff and all the fans are like, why wont you play the old stuff?? and we couldnt believe it. The band gave a little intro to a fan favorite as almost if to say thats not who we are anymore, but we'll play it cause you like it and I dont know if the audience members heard it, but I heard it. It was very interesting.
    Trevor: It is funny though, and you appreciate those people just for supporting you, but in the same sense theres a lot of people that wont let it go. Theres a lot of people that wont move on with you. Its funny though, theyll still support you, theyll support us now, but even with us, it seems most people have stuck with us and weve been able to open the door to some other people and kind of keep moving. There are still those people that will come to a show and be like, dude we love that first record! I dont know about the other stuff, but we love that first record! Theyre still there because of that first record.

  • JFH (John): What has God been teaching you lately?
    Trevor: I think hes always teaching me patience man. Its an on-going thing, and I feel like Ive been saying that for a while, but its still so in the forefront. You know? Its still the main thing. No matter how patient you are, I mean, Im a pretty patient person, but were still tried, a lot of the time, a lot of things. You know. as a band too, we went through a lot of stuff in the past few years where we were really outreach hard as a band. Just like everyone, Im sure everyone says, but we make music for everyone. You dont write songs for just Christians or people like that. Thats kind of silly, y'know? We make music for everyone, and I think you just want people to take it as music and accept it, and be able to spend time with it, and God is so much bigger than that, than us making a song. So I think were constantly learning new things in that. Weve been faced with a lot of new things over the past few years of where you almost come to this crossroad... The whole general market/Christian thing, where are we going as a band, and I think our heart has stayed 100% the same where its always been - where its like exactly that: we've made music for everyone from the beginning. We really enjoy doing outreach stuff and just being out there, and being with people that were just talking to. But also, at the same time, were not for a second ashamed to play a church, or play anything like that. Weve tried to make, just out of respect for everyone, try and play at neutral venues. Thats what we try to do. On our own tours, we try to play at a place, whatever the big rock station is in town, where theyre screaming F-This and You Rock! Well still feel comfortable coming to the show and doing what they do, and be a part of that, but so will Way-FM and whoevers out there. We want to focus on the people, to be honest. We dont want to have Christian kids have to come to a bar all the time that parents wont let them come to if theyre young. We also dont want people who woul never go to church to have to go to a church. That gets weird too.

    Thousand Foot Krutch's latest album The Flame In All Of Us hits streets September 18th!

    Thousand Foot Krutch


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