We recently named the mighty Black Crown Initiate as our Artist of the Week! In celebration of this, our very own John Whitmore conducted an interview with the man Andy Thomas for an in-depth look at what makes this band work so well. Read up and learn!
And don't forget to listen if you haven't already. Click HERE for our full album review.
TCP – Hi Guys. Firstly, I am a huge fan and I think that The Wreckage of Stars is a phenomenal debut that, if there is any justice in the world, will lead to immense success and significant recognition.
Andy – Thanks so much for the support and kind words!
TCP – How did you come up with the name Black Crown Initiate?
Andy – The name is derived from the Karmapa, a leader of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He wears a black crown as a symbol of light to humanity; a representation of his guiding and healing abilities. I, however, am a perverted, sad, angry Westerner, and the only way I see to show people any type of light is to illustrate to them how sick we really are. The name and words are all reflections of that mindset.
TCP – What is your writing process?
Andy – Rik, Nick, and I get in a room together and present our own individual ideas. We then structure songs out of them, and because we all have similar musical preferences and goals, we never run out of ideas. We then present the songs to Jesse, and he adds his amazing drum parts. I then write the lyrics, melodies, and vocal patterns.
TCP – Song of a Crippled Bull is a feels like one piece of music, divided into 3 songs. Was there ever a thought of doing something similar for the album?
Andy – There was talk of it, but we decided to see what we could do with a more song-oriented album. I would wager that we will do more concept-based albums in the future, so if you preferred that, worry not!
TCP – Your songs are all highly dynamic. How do you decide on the flow of intensity within a song?
Andy – Honestly, it isn’t hard for us to write songs, and since we all love dynamic music, we sort of naturally allow the songs to ebb and flow. We have never forced an idea, and songs tend to show you what they need.
TCP – How was the recording process? Any difficulties/mishaps/murders/anecdotes?
Andy – The recording process was very stress-free, mostly due to the fact that we were pretty well rehearsed when we went in. Also, working with Carson and Grant at Atrium is very laid back. They are incredibly fun to work with, because they are mellow guys that are simply excited to get to the best end result possible. We would highly recommend Atrium Audio to any band in need of a killer album. The best part of recording, for me, was watching Jesse do his drums for the whole album in about nine hours. The man is insane, and we are incredibly happy to have him in the band.
TCP – Your lyrics are very erudite and incisive. What themes do you cover in The Wreckage of Stars?
Andy – I sincerely appreciate the fact that you think so, as I put a great deal of effort and emotion into my lyrics. There is a good deal of symbolism on this album, mostly derived from Eastern spirituality and Nietzsche. At the same time, the entire album is about my personal life and my struggle to find meaning in a very painful world. This time around, I’m asking a good deal of questions. What if none of this is real? What if there is no truth? What if there is no love? What if there is no you? It has been proven that our senses FILTER reality, not ENABLE it, so what the fuck do we really know?
TCP – When you write, which do you think about more; How it will sound on record or how a song will come across live?
Andy – When we write, we are mostly concerned with whether or not the piece conveys emotion and excites us. If it does both, you can generally rest assured that it’ll sound cool anywhere.
TCP – You seem to have found your authorial voice as a band very quickly, creating a sound that is uniquely yours. How would you describe the music you make? And what influences do you hear in it when you listen?
Andy – We hope that the music we make is emotional and dynamic. I don’t mean to be too repetitive, but it is very true. We hope that our music continues to grow, evolve, and change, and we hope our fans expect that from us. I honestly hear too many influences to name, depending on the instrument or song; from the very obvious to ones that you may not guess.
TCP – What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened to you at a concert or while touring?
Andy – Probably when our trailer tire flew off and into a muddy creek bed in the middle of bear country in Yellowstone. We were about twenty miles from cell phone reception and caught in a snow storm as well. We had to leave the trailer in the park and drive back to the nearest town to call U-Haul. Then, they went to the wrong park entrance, and the whole ordeal took about twelve hours. We were soaking wet, and James and Rik were covered in mud and bear shit. At that point, I missed the comforts of home, to say the least!
TCP – Any Possibilities of touring outside of the US in the near future?
Andy – We hope so very much! We want to play or music for everyone that we can, in every place that we can!