Talk Crash Karma
by Patricia Forrest
SoulMatters: I’d like to start by thanking you for taking the time to talk to us about your band, tour and album. What does the album Crash karma mean to Crash karma?
Crash Karma: The album is a collection of four guys who got together through Amir Epstien, and have developed a wonderful friendship and a great musical trust, ultimately the end result is some great rock songs that highlight each members strengths, from Mike Turner's guitar playing and production and Amir’s song writing ability and killer bass playing and Edwin's very very unique vocal styling’s, there’s plenty of good singers and then there’s what I bring to the table so, you know it’s a very good mix.
SMM: Who has been the driving force behind Crash Karma?
CK: The driving force musically? I guess it’s all four members so far as that it's a very unique experience because of the way we came about was so different from anything else. It’s Turner who is steering the ship as far as engineering and producing and gathering all the sounds together, and from a musical point of view, Amir came in with sketches for the songs that we’re working on. Ultimately everyone’s input is the end result, so not one particular person is a driving force, everyone kind of leans on each other, no one has any egos that we have to worry about so we each push each other along and with such good communication going on, it’s an open relationship like that musically we are our own captains and then we surround ourselves with a great management team, agency team and a great record company.
SMM: Smaller venues provide a more intimate experience do you feel like you guys get a better connection with your fans?
CK: The smaller venue issue is the fact that we are brand new. Regardless of whom is in the band and the notoriety or pedigree that comes with the bands we were previously in, the fact is we are new and a lot of people don’t know about us, I mean Paul McCartney could be in a band called The Appletrees but if you don’t know he’s in the band and he’s playing one block from your house , you’re not going to go see it, right? So we weren’t ever thinking of anything but to do the smaller places, it just seems kind of natural we’re trying to work ourselves from ground level, to whatever level we’re having a great time. The only difference you’d see in the show is the production, the lights and so on and so forth but nonetheless it’s a rock show. Getting back to that level is great for us and seeing now with people it’s almost like a nice new experience again, it’s nice seeing people becoming more acquainted with the music and singing along. So far as playing in smaller gigs it wasn’t by choice it’s where we should be really. We don’t expect anything.
SMM: In relation to this album and your future albums, do you feel that you have more pressure from your fans because of your previous successes? Do you feel that more is expected of you? Or has the Crash Karma experience been a breeze due to your previous experience?
CK: We don’t feel any pressure from our past we do what we do you know, were not like some crazy pro band we’re good at what we do, we’re not the best, but we have written some very good songs. We put more pressure on ourselves more than anyone else would put on us anyway we wouldn’t want to put out a crappy record. The only thing that we feel pressure about is to make the show better and now getting geared up to write some new material and putting some more stuff down because it’s all a part of the fun game we get to play.
SMM: What are your anticipations for Crash Karma?
CK: It’s weird we set out originally to hopefully get a few songs down the beautiful part about it is that we’ve really had no expectations, we got a good record done we got to hang out we got to do it all again and before we know it we released our first single on our own, completely independent of management, independent of an agent and independent of a record company, and no one really knew who we were and before we knew it, it was top 10 and it stayed there for over 3 ½ months so there’s just nice little surprises that have come along, and with each one, the smile increases more and more on our faces. We set goals for ourselves, but none of it has been based on cracking the market or reaching top 10 or sales figures and so on and so forth of course it would be nice it’s all been such a nice surprise that we’re rolling with it. It’s a happy place.
SMM: How do you feel you impact Canadian music’s reputation? What do you offer that sets you apart from other musicians/bands?
CK: What sets us apart I think is probably a lot more melody driven songs and you won’t find on this debut record. A lot of similarities to each other’s songs on the record it’s a pretty eclectic mix of songs. Each song is to our band I don’t think that we are going out to change Canadian rock history for that matter but we are offering something that is different from what is out there. It’s strange, a lot of the headlines are "they are hoping to try to renew the '90’s," and I really have no f-ing idea of what that means it’s like what are you talking about? We all had success in the '90’s and we all had success after the '90’s I mean the tea party didn’t disband until 2006. It’s really weird and if '90’s music means that it's far more melodic and a little more in depth than a song that should be played in a strip bar then so be it that’s what we’ve created.
SMM: What has been your greatest struggle as a band is it being labelled as '90’s revival?
CK: Honestly the only struggle that we have as a band is the pressure that we put upon ourselves you have to remember that each one of us was a part of a band that had their hits and were successful but believe me if you don’t think the tea party got slammed as being a Jim Morrison look alike in front of Led Zeppelin or Our Lady Peace getting their share of slams they had a record go diamond in Canada and got mediocre reviews by the all knowing credible critics. No one likes to be slammed you get a thick skin it’s one person's opinion it’s no pressure we aren’t trying to revive anything, all of the songs are brand new, it’s not like we remade the Tragically Hip's "Fully Completely".
SMM: I actually just read this article by a writer, and you guys had a lot of people that were in strong disagreement with her review.
CK: The thing is, it’s only her opinion, she might be a 21 year old kid, she might be a 55 year old woman, it makes no difference, she’s entitled to her opinion, but you know the only problem that we’ve had with critics is when they don’t critique the music, that is your job critique the music, give some valuable points as to why this is not a good record musically. If you’re going to critique anything but that then you are not a critic, you are just somebody spewing at the mouth thinking you’re cool because the pen is mightier than the sword. It's pretty weird, I don’t give a shit.
SMM: How would you define success?
CK: Defining success is a strange thing. Success is happiness, essentially where you can lay your head down at the end of the day and you’ve got a smile on your face, you’ve worked hard, you’ve touched on many things you wanted to be a part of your day anything from reading some of the book you’ve picked up to having a workout in the morning to sharing a great story with your kids and telling your wife that you love her, that’s success, the more I am involved in any and ll of this, it's all about creating memories, it's all about hopefully having an impact on other people’s lives with the little things that you can do. And that’s success really. Doesn’t matter how many dockets you have in your bag at the end of the day it makes no difference.
SMM: What is your most memorable experience to date?
CK: I don’t know we’ve had some great musical times! Opening for STP was a riot, we did that twice we’ve had some interesting shows on the east coast. We’ve had some pretty crazy drives, kicking off this tour was very interesting we had a 16 hour drive from Winnipeg to Cold Lake, Alberta. With the snow storm at the very end just to wrap it all up, other than that just getting this record done was a big highlight, and the whole process that has followed it. That has been the highlight.
SMM: Any pearls of wisdom to offer smaller bands that are trying to break the music business?
CK: Write, write, write. Use any ways and means possible. By all means PLAY your instruments! It doesn’t matter if you’re Steve Fry or Neil Peart on drums. Do what you do best and play your instruments. Personally a pet peeve is bands using so much track when they play live and half or ¾ of what you hear in the audience is recorded music on a cd it drives me insane! I have no beef with people using it to colour their tunes as added little bonuses here and there, but if you’re going to play your music, play your music, plug in your guitar, turn on your amp.
SMM: Do you have any particular causes that touch your heart or that you help raise awareness for?
CK: Personally I do some work for a charity in my home town called “Transitions to Betterness” that helps refurbish hospital bedrooms for children with cancer. So instead of being in a drab, scary looking hotel room, a kid will be in a playful colourful totally refurbished room it has your iPods, your flat screen TVs and toys, everything for them to do just to keep them occupied and make them feel a little more normal, we do everything from the ground up, the floors are replaced with beautiful hardwood, and everything. When they get to leave to the hospital, they get to take their iPods and all of their electronic games. It makes the waiting rooms more comfortable for families they’ll put in kitchenettes, so that if a family is staying there with the kids.
SMM: How did you become involved with this cause?
CK: Through friends. Selfishly I get to see the smiles on their faces nobody likes to see a sick kid especially when you have 3 healthy kids at home it makes it all worth the while. They help out now too with my wife.
SMM: Do you have any fancy rituals that you do before you perform?
CK: No, no we talk, we do a little huddle and then we just get ready to rock it. You’ll hear the train rolling before we get on and it just gets us all vibed and ready to play.