Killyourstereo.com chats with Confession's Michael Crafter.
With the band playing their final shows this month, Killyourstereo.com caught up with Confession's always forthcoming frontman Michael Crafter recently to discuss the career, the tour and also the musician's thoughts on the demise of Soundwave.
Crafter, how are you?
I fully forgot about this interview and then I remembered and I was like... 'fuck...I gotta do this interview.’
What are are your thoughts on how Soundwave has folded?
It’s unbelievable. Honestly, I kind of saw it happening, like I feel they were always going to do it. In the end you are going to run out of bands and then...I don't know...how many world class big bands are [out] there nowadays? I said to someone the other day that there are only like four or five bands that are big enough to properly pull the numbers...you can put a Metallica or a Guns N Roses on...but there are only a certain amount of bands that are suitable for a football stadium full of people, you know? You can’t put 10 fucking headliners on one year, and then announce a tour that has 20 bands and expect people to pay the same ticket price. You don’t find millions and millions of dollars from nowhere. Say someone announces that they are having a festival, and your deposit has not been paid...are you going to want to go? You’re not going to be like ‘oh yeah, our deposit isn’t paid, but I’ll go anyway'. Confession had no problem with them at all, but we heard stuff from other people, like people struggling to get paid for tour work and stuff. I don’t even fucking know.
With your Final Tour, looking back, there has been so many different members - as you said, a ‘footy team’. How did you choose the final line-up?
We asked a bunch of dudes that have been in the band before but everyone had work on or Christmas holidays or they had just finished stuff...lots of people couldn’t get the work off. It was also something where I was thinking that someone needed to be able to sing, and Dan Brown is obviously too busy with Amity just coming off a stadium tour, so the last thing that he wants to do is to be getting in a van. He said he would love to help, but he is so fucking busy it’s ridiculous. But Adam who has been playing a few shows for us (he was in the original lineup anyway) and Jake has been there for years. But then we just thought, “how about we just get a few of our mates?” And then we decided that Richie and BJ would do. They will have fun, Richie can sing, and it will be a stress free tour, which is what we wanted.
Obviously, there was the infamous band mutiny in 2011. How has Confession operated as a touring unit in the past?
Honestly, when we started there were three of us. We had some band photos, and the people who were in the first band photos never even played a show. Then we did the first tour, and the people who played drums and bass never played a show again. Then on the next tour, someone else played drums and someone else played bass, and then the next after that we had another drummer and bass player. We never really solidified a lot of stuff. Half the time it was like “...can you do this, or can’t you? If you can’t do this then sweet.” Then at one stage, the band was playing as a four-piece, it was never a really solidified line-up because there are people in band photos, but at the end of the day it was always two or three people going into the studio and doing everything. Like, it was either me and Dan, or Dan, Shane and I, from when we did the Long Way Home. Before that it was me, Dan and Adam who [did] the Cancer CD with fake drums, and before that, it was me, Dan and Adam, and we got a session drummer for the first EP. On the last album, Jake, Russ and I went in, and Jake played 95% of everything you here on that album. He played drums, guitar, bass and everything. It wasn’t like we would go into the studio as a band and go, ‘oh hey, what do you think we should do here.’ It was always two or three of us writing. Some bands all go into the studio together and go through what they think should happen, but I used to just think that they were fancy. Too many cooks in a kitchen and you’re just going to fucking end up with a mess.
How did the band maintain that same sound?
The Life and Death CD has a completely different person writing it, but we have the same idea. We sat down and were like ‘add this breakdown, melodies, this and that.’ When the band started we just sat down in my house and decided that we wanted something that was a bit melodic and pretty heavy, and at that time those bands like In Hearts Wake hadn’t even come along yet. We just wanted to sound like Bury Your Dead. If you listen to In Hearts Wake or a few other bands, all you have to do is listen to Bury Your Dead to know where all the riffs come from, because it’s that sound. Just open string mosh you know, just fucking heavy and melodic. Confession is just meat and potatoes music. There is nothing over the top about it, no fucking crazy solos or anything like that, and I’m not fucking singing about fucking the moon and the planets and how I smoke this or that. I’m just singing what’s on my mind. I’ve always just wanted to keep it as simple as possible.
On that note, I do feel like on 'The Long Way Home' and 'Life and Death' lyrically there were some pretty complex personal themes. Did that make you feel vulnerable putting yourself so out there?
No, I don’t think so at all. I think if you’re real, like if you throw everything out there and 100% real shit, when you’re older you can appreciate what you have done more. But if you go out and write a bunch of fucking lyrics that are about getting pissed or whatever, I feel that you should write lines that would definitely be popular, that you can put on t-shirts and all that. Dan Brown and I would always say that ‘if it can’t go on a t-shirt it can’t go on a breakdown’, so I would always think that unless I’m writing real shit that’s coming from my mind, it’s just going to be another Prom Queen where it’s a bunch of lyrics that I don’t even understand. Like I fully admit I was just a young kid yelling “yeeeeeah this, this and this”, plus this soppy bunch of emo shit about no one that even existed. At least with 'Life and Death' I wrote songs about Cancer and about my hometown and my daughter and everything around me. I wrote real fucking shit. I still read back over the lyrics and I think “at least it’s real.” Each album is a story from that part of my life. I read back over the Cancer CD, and I can remember exactly what I was doing, what it was about and why. Same with all the CD’s. I think that’s a good thing. I sit there and write shit when I’m emotional, and what comes out comes out.
I saw a post on Facebook that you believe that Asthma Attack is one of the best songs you ever wrote. What was it about that one in particular, and what are some other Confession songs you’re proud of?
I like that because of how we did the album. Me, Shane and Dan wrote it all in basically a month. We went to the Parkway house and set up all their gear and a mini studio, and just kind of wrote songs and decided, “let’s write a Parkway styled song because we are here.” It was nothing really more than that. We thought it was a cool thing to write in a house that has so much history with one of the biggest metalcore bands, as well as our good friends. It was just fast and aggressive, and it just worked. I listen to it now, and it’s also a song that we haven’t played in a long time, so it makes it even cooler. So now I’m going over the back catalogue and I feel like I’ve got a good bunch of songs together from all CD’s. Other songs like March 23 that song's about [my daughter] basically, it’s a letter to her about how I felt about her when she was born. It just so happens there is a song and a film clip for it, but she will understand it when she gets older.
One last question, have you guys got anything special planned for the final show at the UTS underground for ‘Strike Hard Fest’?
I’m just going to go to a party supply store and just buy heaps of random shit and just make it fucking psycho. I was thinking about it the other day, and we can’t afford anything that changes the way we are gonna be onstage, but we can change the vibe of the room by hammering it with confetti and balloons and pool toys and shit. Just try and change the general vibe for the fact that it’s the last show. But I think that show is going to be crazy no matter what. It’s sold like 750 tickets. I was honestly expecting 300-400 hundred, but it did that in a day. I feel like there will be a lot of people that miss out too, they will be like, “aw yeah I’d love to see those bands...oh whoops.” I said to some Sydney friends that there are only so many people that I can put on the guest list. I know it’s going to be a day though where I’m just hanging out with mates.