It’s a bit of an oddity in a music industry fixated on immediate returns and flavors of the week for a band like The Veer Union to be around and making an impact. This is a band lead by founder and lead singer Crispin Earl, an intriguing front person whose own personal struggles with depression have enabled him to channel an inner strength both personally and artistically. While a lot of bands spend too much wading in the shallow end of the lyrical pool, this band tends to dive in head first in the deep end. Their songs are lyrically deep and rich in content, which is a refreshing alternative to some of the fluff dominating the airwaves. The band’s about to release a new studio album appropriately titled Decade as they celebrate ten years of making music. I sat down with lead singer Crispin Earl recently and we discussed this new album, their upcoming tour and much more.
It’s been four years since your last studio album Divide The Blackened Sky and the attention span of the average listener seems to be getting even shorter these days. Did you feel any added pressure when you started putting this album together since you’ve been out of the spotlight a bit?
Crispin Earl/The Veer Union: This is the first time that I summed up our deal before making a record; sometimes it can be tough when you’re making a record in hopes of licensing it to a record company after the fact. This time around, it was really nice for us because we actually had the licensing deal already put in play and I already had a very clear vision of how I wanted to do the record. For me, it was do the best record that I can do, people hopefully will like it, but it has to speak to me first and foremost. If I feel like I’ve done it right, then I feel like people will connect with it and that’s all you can really do as an artist these days. If you get too caught up in thinking of trying and making a successful record, then it’s not going to be real. That’s always been it, since the beginning of music, for me; I want to make a real record, with real lyrical content that has real meaning behind it. I’m old school in the fact that I believe you should have a great record versus one great song on your record.
I think that’s missing today because too many band and artists seem to be focused on singles and not overall content. The lyrical content today seems to be a bit shallow, but you’ve never been like that and that’s a big appeal to your fans. When you’ve been writing, have you ever thought that you might need to pull back a bit and not put so much out there?
As you said earlier, it really is a crazy industry and there is no rhyme or reason anymore and you just have to trust your gut. For me, I’m not to live in regret; some things have worked for me in my career and some things haven’t worked. No matter what, I believe in what I’m creating and I stand by what I am creating and I have from the beginning. I don’t look back on my career and wish that I would have never done that. I look back and think that I’m proud of what I did then and I’m proud of what I’m doing now. Truthfully, I’m more proud of what I’m doing now than ever; it’s always a challenge of a songwriter and as a producer to always be evolving. I’m always pushing myself to evolve and I feel I’ve really achieved that on this record and I’m proud of that.
You mentioned being in a better head space earlier and is that the reason that you’re more proud now than ever before of what you’re doing?
I think it’s the head space, but even more so is that stuff that I’ve been through, it usually breaks bands and puts them in a position where they can’t continue. The music industry has made it very difficult for independent artists who aren’t on major labels to survive and get any recognition. Myself, I’ve been through all of the above and I’ve seen both sides of the coin, but I’ve made it through. I feel that I am more proud of what I’m creating now than I’ve ever been in my life and that usually doesn’t happen for most people. For most, they start to burn out, but for me I’m most proud of myself for the fact that I’ve got more fire for the industry than I’ve ever had, even this late in my career.
That’s a really cool thing to hear and I think it definitely comes across in these new songs. Is your current lineup totally different from the one who recorded Divide The Blackened Sky?
Yes, it’s completely different.
What was it like going in and recording with a new team this time?
I think it’s going to be different every single time you go in and record a record. I would say that it was more of a challenge going in recording our EP Life Support because I was in a tough spot both financially and mentally. I had just left my core group that I had been working with for years and it was also my first crack at engineering something by myself as well as producing. I worked with one other guy Ryan Ramsdell who is still our rhythm guitar player, but we had to work through a lot of cobwebs because we’d never worked together. He and I were working together on that EP and we developed a way of working together. Then, we brought in the new guys one by one and slowly we developed everything together and I feel like we kind of worked out all of the cobwebs. When it came to making Decade, it was very easy to make and it was very smooth and I feel it was exactly what I had in my mind of what I wanted to do.
This album consists of some older songs that you had written, but not recorded and you decided to dust them off and bring them to life. Two of those songs, “Watch You Lose” and “Make Believe,” were on (Motley Crue) Tommy Lee’s solo album TommyLand, which came out in 2005. I actually have that album and when I read that, I had to go back and listen to those songs because I had no idea you had written them. What made you decide to bring new life to those songs?
I think that the biggest thing that drove me to do that was the fact that I feel like this is a whole new period of time in my life and it’s a whole new fresh start. Truthfully, the original members who were on Divide The Blackened Sky weren’t even in the band when I wrote a lot of the songs that are on this new record. I actually shelved that record and two of those songs were the Tommy Lee songs. One of those songs from those sessions way back in the day was “Seasons” before the original lineup of The Veer Union ever even existed. I had written that song and plus around twelve or thirteen others and I took five of them for this new record. For me, I wanted to get back to the nucleus of where my head space was when I first started this project. I wanted to do five songs from then and five songs from now and bridge the gap since it’s been ten years since our first album Time To Break The Spell was ever released.
I think “Defying Gravity” is a great first single and a great way to kick the door back open and proclaim that you’re back. Was it tough to pick a lead-off single or was this one a no-brainer?
It was a little bit of both; I remember writing that first riff and really feeling it and I had to call our bass player and tell him to come down to the studio because I was pretty sure I had the first single. Another great part was the fact that with our record company and our management company, nobody ever told us that we had to send demos so that they could sign-off on stuff. They told us to make a great record and send it to them and for us to tell them what we thought the single is and that’s exactly what we did. We sent them the finished record and told them we thought that the first single should be “Defying Gravity” and they said yes and that’s how easy it was. It’s been a really great process recording Decade, really great energy, we’re really happy with our team and that’s how it all came about.
You guys are heading back out on the road starting February 18 in San Diego, CA and I’m sure you can’t wait for that to happen.
Oh, for sure; we’re really excited for that. We’ve played some shows with Bobaflex before and we’ve heard so much good stuff about Bridge To Grace and I’ve seen so much great stuff about Artifas online, so we’re really excited to heading out with these bands and I think it’s going to be a really great tour.
What a great tour package and one that I’m sure a lot of fans are stoked to see. Speaking of hitting the road, what are two or three tour essentials that you make sure to pack in your personal bag before hitting the road?
I’d like to say that that I have some really, really crazy things, but I need my computer, my Apple music and as a singer, I need as much sleep as possible. I’m a pretty simple person, but if I don’t get enough sleep, then you start to kind of lose your voice.
I’m not sure if you’re into all of these super hero movies that are coming out, but if you could be a super hero or villain or have a super power, what would you choose?
That’s pretty simple; I’ve got to be able to fly man because that would be the coolest thing. I’m not necessarily saying that I’d like to be Superman because that may present some disadvantages to my personal agenda (laughs).
I guess that our time is just about up and I wanted to thank you again for taking the time to talk to us. We’re definitely going to check out that show when it hits our neck of the woods. Is there anything you’d like to close with?
We are offering on our website an acoustic bus experience for fans. At the end of each show on the tour, we’ll be doing a private acoustic set on our bus and we only limited room for people to come and join us. We’re offering it and other VIP packages (click HERE) on our site and they’re 50% off right now and very reasonably priced. We want to offer something really cool to our fans and offer and be able to have an experience with them. One of the great things about the music industry these days is that we get to different things and more innovative things with our fans. We’d like fans to add us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook because we’re always online and we answer all of our own messages.