An Interview with 36 Crazyfists

In case you forgot, 36 Crazyfists are coming to South Africa in April this year. They’ll be playing at Mercury Live in Cape Town on the 27th of April and at Rumours Rock City in Johannesburg on the 28th of April 2018. They will be supported by Only Forever, Newtown Knife Gang and Riddlebreak in Jozi and by Only Forever, De Wallen and  Atlantic South in Cape Town. Tickets are on sale nationwide for R380 each via Computicket.

I recently had a chat to Brock, Kyle & Mick from 36 Crazyfists about their upcoming South African tour. This is what they had to say…

Are you guys still based in Alaska?

Brock: “Only myself these days”

Alaska looks like such an amazing place, but it looks really cold, is that why you have a beanie on in some of the latest music videos?

Brock: “Yes, Winters are a bit chilly”

Not many people know that you got your band name from a Jackie Chan movie, please tell us that you guys know Kung-fu!?

Brock: “Not even a little bit :)”

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Photo by Bobby Bates

Who do you think would win in a fight between Jet Li and Jackie Chan?

Brock: “Jackie is my man, always bet on Jackie”

What about Fred Durst and Vanilla Ice?

Brock: “Freddy D”

Neil Degrasse Tyson and Elon Musk?

Brock: “Elon. (I am genuinely of the opinion that these guys would just have a telepathy battle, like some kind of Jedi but with no lightsabres, two dudes rubbing their temple angrily at each other.) Yeah pretty smart mofo’s.”

You guys blew our eardrums when you jammed at Krank’d Up in 2015, what was your favorite part about visiting South Africa?

Brock: “Meeting all the fans at Krank’d Up was awesome”

Did you eat any new and interesting foods? Please tell us the Turning Tricks guys introduced you guys to a South African Braai?

Brock: “Yes they did and it was awesome, I really loved Ostrich.”

Do you guys have any touring traditions?

Brock: “Drink lots of beers”

Will we be hearing any tunes from your latest album, Lanterns?

Brock: “Yes, indeed”

What is your all-time favorite song to play live?

Brock: “‘Slit Wrist Theory’ is always a great time.”

Many South African drummers have mentioned that 36CF’s drum work is some of the most influential, both in technique and in adding dynamic and movement to a song. How do you guys get your drummer to behave so well? Do you feed him treats after every song?

Brock: “*laughing* That dude never eats:)”

What important advice would you give aspiring drummers?

Kyle: “One thing I would say that I think is very important is to watch other drummers and see how they play. You can learn so many things from watching someone else play whether it be style, technique, charisma or just the fact that they are fun to watch. You can learn a lot by giving other guys a chance even if you’re not into the music they play. Also, pay attention to what your band mates are doing. Knowing exactly what they’re playing can enhance what you do behind the kit tremendously. Lastly, listen to all styles of music. You can find rhythm in all styles whether you like the music or not, you can always think of a way to play drums to it. Broadening your horizons musically will make you a much more rounded drummer.”

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Photo by Bobby Bates

How do you warm up before a show? Especially for a show that’s in a cold climate?

Kyle: “I am honestly pretty bad at warming up. I usually will do a bit of stretching while listening to music. I’ll stretch my hands out and rub my forearms with my sticks for a little while but that’s about it. When it’s cold I try to wear gloves but mostly I just keep blowing on em and moving them around. If I can twirl a stick than I’m ok, but if that feels weird than I’m in trouble and will usually run warm water on them and try and get the blood flowing better.”

Are you a barefoot drummer? Are you a fan of the heel / toe technique?

Kyle: “I can’t play heel toe. I’ve never really been a double bass guy so I never learned how to do it. I think it’s awesome but I don’t know how to do it.”

What is the magic behind the music? Give us an idea of the band’s songwriting process, and how have you stayed inspired for so many years?

Kyle: “I think the magic behind our music is we just genuinely love to play music. We don’t do it for fame, or money, or status. We do it 100% because we love to play music. The song writing process usually starts with Holt writing a riff or a song and he gets it to a point where he’s got the general idea of where the song is going to go/sound. Then I’ll come in and rework the drums and give him arrangement ideas. After we have the song put together we’ll send demos to Brock to write vocals to. Then when we record vocals we’re all there in the studio with Brock bouncing melody ideas off of each other until we find what we like best. I think we’ve stayed inspired for so many years because besides the fact that we love playing music, we love playing music with each other. We’re a family and we genuinely enjoy playing with each other and that for me personally is the most inspiring thing there is.”

It sounded like there was some experimenting with lower vocal ranges in the new album. Did you grow these new ranges with practice or were they already comfortable for you?

Brock: “I have a pretty low speaking voice as is so i think felt pretty natural to have the lows and highs mixed together.”

Also, you use a variety of techniques do you have specific advise for aspiring vocalists?

Brock: “Don’t do drugs kids:)”

Mick, I am a bassist at heart and I just have to ask, how on earth do you blend the varied guitar work, with even more varied drums, and still find space within a song to still add your own nuances? It’s a genuine talent dude, and I want to buy you a beer.

Mick: “Wow!! Ill take that beer… um do you smoke!😎… man I just love bass!! If you listen to all Great bass players . They play the riff , accent the drums and then find the feel and it’ll come out of your fingers!! It’s the best!! Fucking love bass guitar!🐻

I’d like to thank 36 Crazyfists for this interview and I wish them all of the best with their upcoming South African tour. If you don’t have tickets yet, make sure that you get yours on Computicket.

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If you’re not familiar with their tunes, crank up their song “Better To Burn” below:

Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Matt Haddon

Business, leadership and career consultant, coach and columnist.

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