With the one-two collective album punch of Oxygen: Inhale and Exhale successfully under their belts, Thousand Foot Krutch is back on the road with the Winter Jam Tour. JFH's Michael Weaver caught up with TFK frontman Trevor McNevan to talk about the albums, touring life, parenthood, and Trevor's side projects...
This interview took place on: January 14, 2017.
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Yeah. It's been about 3 years, man. It's our second time.
Trevor: It's been fabulous, man. The tour has been a great experience so far. This is only the second weekend and you can already feel the community out here. I think that, other than bands and music and everyone sharing the same heart and worshipping in their own way and a great variety of music for music fans -- aside from that stuff, which you can find on a lot of tours, I think what makes this individual to me, and we've done a lot of touring, obviously, in our lives, at this particular tour it is the family and the community to it that makes it special. That's really the truth. This has always been the heart of this band too. That's why I love to connect with a tour like this. It's not competitive; we're cheering each other on. It's for the greater good. Nobody's out here to be like, "Wait, what are they doing in merch? How's the show? How can we one up that?" That's so not our heart, man, and not who we are as a band and it's so awesome to be out here with so many like-minded people just lifting each other up and doing what we feel blessed to do and giving God the glory for it. It's been cool.
Trevor: For sure, man. It happens in every genre and, rock is, unfortunately, pretty known for that sort of thing, but it's all good. It's been great.
Trevor: Yeah. That's another really unique things about this, -- it's not just the variety factor -- but as a band on the tour, it's really cool because there's a bunch of people here that wouldn't normally come to see this band and vice versa for the other acts. It's really cool to just be able to do what you do and love what you do and have a bunch of people see that and maybe connect with that in a way they wouldn't have expected. You build some really cool relationships that way, new friends and family, and that's what it's all about. It's a good awareness builder, whether you're playing worship or rock or hip-hip or folk; it doesn't matter. It's kind of just a good tour all around.
Trevor: *laughing* It's pedal to the metal, baby!
Trevor: Absolutely, man. The idea, because we've made a whole bunch of records and you always want to follow your inspiration and you want to be honest and feel inspired -- You know, we've just been blessed to make a lot of records... We were at a point where I had this idea one day while traveling about, "What if we did like an 'oxygen inhale and an exhale." The inhale could be the lighter side of this band, which has always been a part of this band and each of our records has always had those quieter moments too, some more than others -- and usually it's always been a minimal part of our records, but it's still something that's really important to us as a band and who we are and our heart, what we love about music. So this gave us an opportunity to be like, "Okay, wait…" It'd be a fun challenge, but it would also just be fun and inspiring to be like, "What if we just dropped all of the rules, so to speak, and say over here, [with] Inhale, we're going to be able to dive deeper into the lighter side of the band and however that looks and whatever that sounds like because we've never even taken the chance to really explore that further. "So let's do that." We ended of including some rockier stuff on there as well, but it was obviously primarily the lighter side and then part two, Exhale, was always supposed to be the exact opposite. It was to be like, "Let's dive deeper into this aggressive side of this band," which we have obviously been a part of our whole career, but this gave of the chance to be like, "You know what? Let's just forget what an album 'needs' to look like and let's just dive into this part of what we know about music. It just really did kind of take the fences down and we're so appreciative for the support and the people following us through this journey. I know sometimes stuff like that can get confusing as the audience. Like, "Wait a sec, did these guys just get soft? What happened on this record?" We tried our best to explain that, to say, "Hey, this is Inhale, but there's going to be an Exhale; this is the idea of these things," but there's so much content in all of our lives that it's hard to catch that stuff. I'm sure a bunch of people were like, "Whoa! Hold up! Where did the band that I grew up with go?!" or whatever. So that was always to intention, man, for sure.
Trevor: Right on, man. Thank you.
Trevor: It's amazing, dude. I grew up with up with WWF --
Trevor: -- and then it changed to WWE. Obviously, we've been aware of that our whole lives and it's just been such an awesome thing. It's huge. We've always loved the synergy of sports and music and movies and TV and extreme sports and NASCAR and all that stuff. We've been very blessed through our career to have those doors open; God's opened up some amazing doors for these people to be able to use the music. So to be a small part of that with WWE, or anything like that, is such an honor. It's just really cool too; it's exhilarating because you're just like, "Man!" It takes the song to a different place because you're seeing this with this, and hopefully that adds a cool soundtrack to what they're doing. It's a blessing, man, and very, very cool for us. It's something that doesn't stop being like, "Wow!"
Trevor: I have no idea, man. I know that we are all very fortunate and blessed to be a part of it. I don't know. I don't think that's the case, but we have someone looking over us either way [JFH (Michael): True. True], so giving credit where credit is due, but they've been very good to us, man. And UFC and Winter X-Games and extreme games and all of that world plays a vital role, I think, in just nourishing and keeping rock alive for a lot of rock bands.
Trevor: Yeah, ESPN has been very good to us too, man. And TSN in Canada. That stuff is so cool, man. When you see pro NFL or NBA or hockey teams and baseball, or whatever, coming out to the music it's just so cool. That's what it's all about: that synergy and just seeing that. I didn't grow up with football, but I have a buddy who plays for the Titans and whenever I've been to a Titans game in Tennessee I just love the experience. The power of that many people there together, the loyalty, the music; it's just powerful. So to hear one of your songs at something like that is just like, "Wow, this is crazy!"
Trevor: Yeah, thanks, man. Very cool.
Trevor: Trevor: Yeah. I think we have lyric videos for most of the tunes off of Exhale by now.
Trevor: Well, part of it was that we wanted to serve the song in that and, part of it, we wanted to redeem [ourselves]. We had shot two videos. We had shot one for "Fired Up" way back in 2010 and one for "Born This Way" off of Inahle and just shelved them. We didn't like what happened during the videos; it wasn't stuff that we could be proud of between the vision and the director -- his vision and the way it came together just wasn't something we could be excited about. We ended up having to spend the money on it, but it wasn't something we wanted to release, or something we could get behind. So we had, as a result, like you said, a big chunk of time where we hadn't had any music videos. We really wanted to put something out that we could be proud of, but also we were thinking, "Man, you know for this particular band, we're a performance type band, and that's who we are, so why don't why try to capture that and just act like you're at a rehearsal." You know what I mean? That's kind of what we ran with on that video.
Trevor: Thanks, brother. That's awesome. Good to know, man. Well, that was kind of the objective: You know what, let's just capture who we are.
Trevor: I know! It was in Nashville and we were in Toronto. That was tough.
Trevor: I did, man, yeah. There's a friend of my father's who actually hand-tapped it out of metal. His son was a chiropractor so apparently it's fairly to scale. We call him "Spinal Tap" and he's got own little coffin that he boosts around in.
Trevor: Yeah, dude. I think, to me, that song, in the writing process, not only did I love it because it was a very different song arrangement -- it broke all of the rules of songwriting and I spend all of my time songwriting outside of the band for other bands, so I love that as a songwriter -- but I loved that also it was almost like a hard rock hymn to me. That type of verbiage, talking about the river [JFH (Michael): Okay, yeah. I see that.] and like a redemption song talking about the blood, being washed in the water, and those types of terms, to me, I've always loved. I've also always been fascinated by the fact that if you look at those old hymns, people who have never been to church and have no faith tie in their lives at this point, still really connect with those terms and those lyrics, and those type of like, "the river and being washed in the blood." Something about all of that doesn't offend those people. And by "those people," I just mean our culture. [JFH (Michael): I know what you meant.] It doesn't offend us whether you believe in the name of Jesus or not. So there was something really unique about that that I was appreciating through the process. To me, it was kind of almost like our version of a heavy hymn. And some of my favorite stuff is still a lot of the 90's stuff. Just musically from hip-hop to rock there's just so many different identities in that music and I miss that.
Trevor: *laughing* Yeah, sure man. They always do. I'm sure our parents felt the same. There was something that era. Like the Stone Temple Pilots of that era and the Alice in Chains type... This song, to me, was some of my love for those bands growing up coming out musically, too. The Days of the New type stuff.
Trevor: There's a bunch of stuff we're in the works of figuring out. As far as touring goes, on the books at the moment, we're looking at doing a European tour at the end of the year. We're looking at a bunch of summer festivals. We may do a tour before then, but we're certainly working on a couple of exciting projects to release to people. We have a new live DVD in the works; it's going to be really cool. And a couple of other projects I can't mention yet, but it's something we've always wanted to do and hopefully we'll be able to pull it together by the end of the year-ish. I've also been working outside of the band and family time -- just whenever I've felt inspired to. I've been working on my own project called As Thick As Thieves. It's like ATAT. I came up in hip-hop like 100%, man, and it's always been in my DNA and I love it. It's come out in the TFK stuff whenever it felt honest. Hip-hop's always had a correlation with our music as far as the grooves and the underlying vibes of the riffs and stuff. But, it's a project I'm doing for me and I'm going to release for everybody and it's so fun to work on and so inspiring. And it's not just hip-hop. It's that, but it's also got a fresh twist on a lot of soulful vocals. No guitars; total opposite of TFK, but very fun for me, man, and I hope people enjoy it.
Trevor: Thanks, man!
Trevor: You know, we actually… I can't say no, and I can't say yes. Static has always been so fun to write; Steve and I love it. There hasn't been time up till now with TFK and families and kids and stuff to really be able to do it, but we talked on the plane, actually, on the way here about the possibility of putting out something. So, we'll see, man. I think it'd be a lot of fun.
Trevor: Oh, yeah! Well thanks, man. I wouldn't be surprised. I hope we get to do some more with that as well. The As Thick As Thieves stuff is not taking the place of either of those, it's just some of the most fun I've had making music in a while.
Trevor: Yeah, a new outlet for me. For sure.
Trevor: *laughing* She's the exact same age as the record, yep!
Trevor: Yeah. She's amazing, dude.
Trevor: It is. It makes it harder every time for sure. I have a 3-and-half-year-old boy my wife and named Cohen, and Jade is our daughter. It's a whole new world, buddy, but it's awesome; I love it. We're having so much fun with it. It does make it harder to leave, but it's all part of it, man. I've been blessed, and the guys in the band are blessed, to have amazing, supportive wives and they're just as much a part of this ministry and this band as we are. So it's very cool.
Trevor: Yeah, for sure. It's good though, brother, thank you.
Trevor: Yeah. First off, just thank you. Genuinely from my heart, and from our hearts, to yours. Just thanks for your support and for walking this journey with us. We love and appreciate every second we get to make music and communicate back and forth with you guys. Keep reaching out and telling us your stories. To us, that's what it's all about. Music spoke to me, and it still does to this day. I have my stories about what God's done in my life through other people's music and it's so powerful to be encouragement and to hear what He's doing through this music. It's so much bigger than this band and music what God is doing. We'd love to hear it. Let us know what's happening in your lives and hopefully we'll see you guys out here soon!
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