Belief can be a powerful thing. When shared even among a small group, possibilities remain endless.
That brings us to He Is Legend’s fifth full-length offering, few [Spinefarm Records]. The communal faith belonging to a cadre of musicians, artists, and fans brought the collection to life. That’s why the title, a nod to Madame Helena Blavatsky’s occult treasure The Voice of the Silence, feels so cosmically apropos for the Wilmington, NC quintet—Schuylar Croom [vocals, piano], Adam Tanbouz [lead guitar], Matty Williams [bass], Sam Huff [drums], and Denis Desloge [guitar].
“This is dedicated to the people who supported us through everything,” declares Croom. “I was inspired by the words of Helena Blavatsky. She’s basically the godmother of the occult, and she dedicated one of her books to the few. Basically, that means the few that follow the way. I thought it was very fitting for what we do. It took just a few artists and a few thousand of our fans to come through and say, ‘Fuck yeah, we want you to do another record.’ We left it up to them.”
In 2015, He Is Legend wrapped up a marathon tour cycle for 2014’s triumphant Heavy Fruit with the likes of Maylene and the Sons of Disaster and Wilson. As songs like “This Will Never Work” cracked 370K Spotify streams, Heavy Fruit elevated the group to a new plateau with acclaim from Alternative Press, Revolver Magazine, L.A. Music Blog, New Noise, Ultimate Guitar, and many more.
Returning home, the boys allowed their audience to make a decision on what would become album number five…
“We started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo,” Croom goes on. “If we met the goal, we’d do it. If not, we wouldn’t. It was all or nothing. The response was pretty overwhelming. We found new life, energy, and creativity in this as a result.”
With unique incentives like smoking jackets, amulets, and action figures, He Is Legend impressively raised 124% of their goal. During December 2015, the band retreated to a remote cabin in Carrboro, NC just 20 minutes from Warrior Sound: the studio where they cut both Heavy Fruit and It Hates You. The snowy setting and isolation instigated inspiration within Croom.
“The cabin was really pivotal for us,” he says. “There was no cell phone service. The couple that owned it had dogs and cats roaming free. It’s this nice place literally in the middle of nowhere. Rather than turning on the TV at night, we’d be sitting around a fire to stay warm drinking wine. It brought an element of darkness out of me. I was in a strange place, dealing with some personal and family issues. I channeled that as I was stuck in the snow lonely. There was this longing for summer. In my eyes, the cabin had more to do with this music than we would readily admit.”
This time around, the guys produced few with Warrior Sound owner Al Jacobs. They amplified every element of their signature style. Summoning ghosts of White Zombie, Soundgarden, and Nirvana, the riffs hit harder, the lyrics cut deeper, and the rhythms stick longer.
“We tried to go for a minimalist approach,” he goes on. “We wanted to focus on all of the aspects we’ve ever brought to the table. There was a lot of anger and hostility in the music. That mainly came out of us redefining what we used to do really well. Our sound has changed a lot over the years, but that’s important for us to grow.
Our fans expect us to morph a little. There’s a little bit of all our previous records in this.”
fewtakes flight on the hypnotic guitars and haunting harmonies of opener “Air Raid.” It quickly blasts off into a gut-punching slam and powerful chant, “I don’t know why she’s out of breath at the door of death.”
“‘Air Raid’ hits you like the fucking end of the world,” he exclaims. “It’s pretty self-explanatory as far as the lyrics go. It’s about how the earth wants humans to be gone. We’re a fucking cancer. It could shake us off like a dog shakes off flees. It’s as political as I’ve ever gotten.”
“Sand” snaps into a barrage of distortion and percussion before slipping into one of the set’s most unforgettable choruses. “It’s the shortest song,” he continues. “It’s a banger that gets in and gets out. Lyrically, it’s about personal issues in my life I’ve been facing for a while.”
Elsewhere, the psychedelic elegance of “Gold Dust” unlocks another facet of the five-piece. “That might be my favorite song,” he admits. “There’s always one song that pushes where we are and shows where we could go next—or might not ever go again. I used a lot of imagery from a story that a friend told me. He ate mushrooms and had a spiritual awakening. I wrote from his experience and weaved some of my own into it. It’s about trying to see again what you’ve seen when you’re under the influence.”
Completing the album, He Is Legend found the right partner for release in Spinefarm Records. Now, few are about to become many in 2017.
“I want fans to feel like this album is theirs since they were ultimately responsible for it,” Croom leaves off. “We had to make it perfect for them. It’s important for us to hug them and say thank you as much as possible. We accomplished something great through having a cult following that wanted us to continue. I think it’s important for people to know that and see this came to life because of them.”