by Ryan Meehan
No hardcore or metal fan can be unaware of Earth Crisis or the contributions the band has made to heavy music since their founding in 1989. Regardless of passing trends, they have maintained their vision, dedication to their craft (and causes), and most importantly respected their fans. Media giants CNN, CBS, and MTV have applauded the straightedge, vegan band that to date has released seven full-length albums, two EPs, and two live albums, and their new album “Salvation of Innocents” comes out on Tuesday. Founding member Scott Crouse is our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: Earth Crisis began as a band back in 1989, but went on a hiatus between 2001 and 2007…What was the reason for taking that break; and was the feeling of being back on stage at the Maryland Metal and Hardcore Festival that year the main reason that you continued to play shows and eventually compile material for the album that would eventually become “To The Death”? What did that show feel like and could you briefly describe how that experience was different from the live shows that you had done up until the breakup?
SC: When we stopped in 2001 it was simply from being burnt out. We had been touring nonstop since 1993 and that lifestyle had gotten to all of us. We all remained good friends, and even worked on music together with Freya and Path Of Resistance and the idea of bringing EC back had been discussed. I think we all knew it was going to happen sooner or later and that we were really just on a hiatus. When we were approached about doing the Maryland Fest we agreed, not knowing what the future held for us. It felt so good to be doing EC again we decided to continue doing it, but on a level that was comfortable for all of us as to not get burnt out again.
RM: How have the straight-edge and veganism movements changed since you made a name in the hardcore community with your early records back in the 1990s? Do you feel that the internet has helped or hurt the way that individuals who identify with either of those lifestyles are viewed?
SC: Straight Edge has always been hot and cold in the hardcore scene. I think it’s not really the popular thing in hardcore right now, but as we’ve seen happen a few times, it will have its day again. Veganism has been very trendy over the last few years, which is great. If you would’ve told us when we were first touring you could walk into just about any restaurant and ask “what’s vegan,” and they would understand the question, we wouldn’t have believed you. I think the internet has helped both those ideologies because the information is readily available to whomever is interested.
RM: Speaking of the term “hardcore”…Earth Crisis has always been one of those bands such as Integrity that seems to be commonly classified as both hardcore as well as metal. Do you feel like it’s equal parts both, or that you are more so one than the other? Likewise, do you sometimes feel that the music and lyrics when viewed individually can be more metal than hardcore or vice versa?
SC: Karl, Ian, Erick and myself all come from very metal backgrounds. When it came time for us to write music of our own, naturally what we were fans of would influence our style. We all grew up on metal, but also liked hardcore and punk music so there is a little bit of all of that thrown in the mix. I don’t really like all the genre labels that are out there right now, but I would describe us today as more of a metal band with hardcore roots.
RM: What do fans need to know about “Salvation of Innocents”? In what ways is this disc different from your 2011 album “Neutralize the Threat”? Were there any major changes in the production aspect of your approach towards getting the sound you wanted in the studio this time around?
SC: We have always tried to create albums that are different than the one before it, and Salvation is no exception. We try and retain the sound we are known for, but play around with other elements that keep it fresh. On Salvation the goal was to try and create an album where each song really had its own identity and not necessarily sounds like any of the others on the album. We played it a little safe from To The Death to Neutralize so we tried to shake it up a bit on Salvation.
RM: What made you decide to choose “The Morbid Glare” as the lead single from this album? What type of a sound were you trying to create with the guitar hook on that track; and what is the meaning of the lyrics to the song?
SC: The Morbid Glare is a different type of song for us, mainly because of the fast paced tempo of it. We are somewhat know for our mid tempo groove feel, and this song was dramatically different than that. Lyrically the entire album is about an animal research laboratory and seeing it through the eyes of the different individuals, and animals, who frequent it. The Morbid Glare is lyrically about how the animals view the scientists who perform the experiments upon them.
RM: Could you tell us a little bit about working with Matt Miner and how you came up with the idea of releasing a comic to accompany this record? How does the main character’s agenda and priorities fuse with the concept of the album; and how much creative control did you have over the visual aspects of the project?
SC: Karl has always wanted to have a comic book to tie in with the lyrical concept of one of our albums. This didn’t really seem very realistic, until I saw Liberator which Matt Miner created. It’s a professionally done comic that has all the ideals and ethics that Earth Crisis has stood for. I approached Matt, and he was very excited about working together. It was actually very easy to my surprise. Karl and Matt worked together on the story and a few of the characters. Visually we left that to the professionals.
RM: What do you think are the two biggest social issues facing our youth today and why? What steps do you think can be taken by individuals in their everyday life to address these problems; and why do you think that they have become as severe as they are?
SC: Wow, to just pinpoint two is very difficult. One that bothers me is not accepting and embracing individuality. I think the fear of being the outcast leads young people to some very dark places and it’s the desire to fit in that creates superficial, non self-aware adults who just follow the herd so to speak. Adults and young people need to realize that everyone’s life experience isn’t the same, and it’s not always a threat to your way of life to allow someone else to have theirs. Another would be the social media craze I suppose. I’m not completely against it, but like most things moderation is key. My fear is that creativity and genuine human interaction will be replaced with cyber interactions with “friends” you hardly know. It’s naturally the way the world is headed and I embrace it, but I think it’s important to not lose our connections to each other as well.
RM: What’s up next for Earth Crisis in the remainder of 2014 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
SC: Just a lot of shows in the U.S. and hopefully hitting Europe in late 2014 or early 2015.
Earth Crisis on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/earthcrisisofficial
Earth Crisis on Twitter: https://twitter.com/earthcrisis
Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.