“We don’t have a problem being as artistic as we can on record and live, but that is something that has come with age.”
Music is all about progression. If you don’t evolve your sound as the years go by, then your band will get lost in the shuffle and potentially forgotten. This was a scenario which was put in front of rock ‘n’ rollers He is Legend. Bursting onto the scene in the early 2000s, the band were relentlessly touring and recording new material, but reached a point where they were running the band into the ground.
With the core of the band in place since they were all 18-years-old, for vocalist Schuylar Croom, it was a case of either burn out and fade away, or take a break and come back stronger. He told Already Heard: “We were at a point that we couldn’t continue to kill ourselves, we were lumped into a category of bands that we didn’t necessarily feel like we were part of. We were living for being on the road constantly and that was our motto for a long time.
"For us, it was a clear and deciding moment when we knew we were killing ourselves. It was either continue what we were doing in an over saturated scene and fizzle out, or we take a break re-evaluate as we knew we were still making relevant music.”
It was this hiatus in 2009 which reinvigorated the life of He is Legend. Fast forward to 2017 and the band are about to hit the road once more and are set to release their latest album, ‘Few’, which is as Croom says is the closest to a He is Legend sound the band has achieved.
“If you look at this record as a departure from ‘Heavy Fruit’, it sounds like a He is Legend record,” states Croom. “We had no clear direction where we were going to go, we were writing songs for us and our fans. It was just the idea of writing a new record. And what came out was us embracing how heavy we can be and how moody we can be, with a certain amount of sex appeal and all these things which are synonymous with rock and roll music.
"We have an idea of what will sound badass live. And the live aesthetic is what we are always looking for when we are writing. There is no ‘what can we add to make this heavier’ etc.
"On ‘Few’, we played around with our sound a lot more and it was under a lot more scrutiny on our part as we were giving this to our fans.”
And for Croom and the rest of the band, made up of Adam Tanbouz [lead guitar], Matty Williams [bass], and Denis Desloge [guitar], have nothing but their fans at the forefront of this new record, and they are under no dissolution that they would not still be a band, if it was not for the cult like following which they have developed over the years. It is this dedication to their fan base is how ‘Few’ ended up seeing the light of day. The band set up the crowdfunding campaign to get the record off the ground, with fans feeling like they had a real hand in the records creation.
As part of the campaign, fans were offered unique incentives such as smoking jackets, amulets, and action figures, with He Is Legend impressively raising 124 per cent of their goal. “We were wary that it was not a very punk rock way of doing things, but then we started thinking about what our fans have done for us in the past, and we have a bit of a cult following, so from there it wasn’t hard to finally push the button and say if we get the money, great, if not we were prepared to do things DIY,” explains Croom. “After looking at how other bands had done crowdfunding campaigns it just seemed like a really good way for us to get in touch with our fans.
"It kind of gave us a street team right off the bat, as we had a group of people who allowed us to make this record. It made the whole experience a lot more personal to us, and made us think more about that we are writing for those fans who have invested in us.
"The name is ‘Few’ because it is dedicated to the few people who got behind us and do this project.”
With this fan input, it allowed He is Legend to take more artistic license to the record and experiment with what sound they wanted to come out with.
Even from the days of the ‘I Am Hollywood’ record, which for a lot of people was their first impression of He is Legend, Croom admits that they always knew they weren’t just going to be a cookie cutter band, and that has transitioned to the formation of the band which we see in 2017.
“When we were younger, I think we were definitely a little bit afraid to do Avant Garde things in the band because we didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously,” adds Croom. “But now we don’t have a problem being as artistic as we can on record and live, but that is something that has come with age. Musically there has been a growth, it isn’t necessarily something we noticed as we were going on. Whereas now we wear our influences more on our sleeves as He is Legend sort of has its own sound and we have a format of what we sound like.
"Rock and Roll is hitting a new incline and I think we will see a lot of awesome rock records coming out because of what is happening around us.”
‘few’ by He Is Legend is released on 28th April on Spinefarm Records.
He Is Legend will be touring the UK on the following dates:
7th Joiners, Southampton
8th Rebellion, Manchester
9th O2 Academy 2, Newcastle
10th G2, Glasgow
11th O2 Academy 3, Birmingham
12th The Dome, London
13th Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
14th Exchange, Bristol
Words by Tim Birkbeck.