Chimera Magazine was given direct access to Monster Energy’s Rock Allegiance , and with that opportunity granted interviews with bands like Biters, He Is Legend, DED, and August Burns Red. Not to name-drop but these bands opened for iconic Rob Zombie. If you’re kicking yourself in the ass for missing out, go to https://rockallegiance.com/ to get in the loop.
My colleagues and I arrived to the BB&T Pavilion to be greeted with a mob of people outside- it was the line. If you’re not familiar the venue it’s located in Camden, New Jersey; directly across the river from Philly, which makes for a beautiful backdrop to the festival. We slipped in using our press passes and set up outside the press room.
There were over 20,000 people walking around the event center between the three stages, rows of food trucks and craft beer tents, as well as the pop-up record shop. The energy levels were overflowing. Everyone was out for a good time.
We made our way to the second stage where He Is Legend put on a memorable show. It was a bucket list experience for me, as I owned their first album, I Am Hollywood, from 2004. April of this year the band released their 5th studio album, Few. Their sound has changed, but the quality is consistent. Check it for yourself http://heislegendnc.com/
After He Is Legend played their set they took the time to talk with us. I co-interviewed with Derek Jones from Chimera. We both were blown away at their live performance. It was heavy, but still had a distinct groove about it. At some points it had a sludge metal vibe and then mellowed out to sound more like southern hardcore. If you like fast rock music then He Is Legend is the next band you should listen to.
I opened the interview… channeling the 14 year old punk kid inside of me.
He Is Legend is:
Schuylar Croom – Vocals
Denis Desloge – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Adam Tanbouz – Guitar
Matty Williams – Bass
Jesse Shelley- Drums/ Percussion
Chimera (Sierra): Would it make you feel uncomfortable if I said I Facebook stalked you guys a little bit before this?
Schuylar: Individually or the band?
Chimera (Sierra): A little of both.
Schuylar: I think only 2 of us have Facebook. There is an impostor out there with my face on his book.
Chimera (Sierra): And Instagram, too.
Schuylar: Oh you did Instagram too, that might have been me.
Chimera(Sierra): I was trying to all of it. So this is cool for me because I feel like a fangirl a little bit right now.
Schuylar: But you haven’t listened to our music.
Chimera (Sierra): I have! This was back in like, 2007/2008, I went to Warped Tour and wound up with a CD of you guys.
Schuylar: That’s weird because we’ve never played a Warped Tour, but that’s good that they sold our music.
Chimera (Sierra): It was on a mix, it was a bunch of different bands. Half of them weren’t even there, but that’s how I first heard your music. And I was re-listening to one of your albums, and I was like, “oh my gosh”. I must have worn out the one track, “China White”. I must have worn that shit out because it was like super…
Schuylar: So the CD skips.
Chimera(Sierra): Yeah, it was pretty cool. I’m super stoked, but I wanna talk about your progression as musicians because it’s definitely changed. I feel like you guys were a little more melodic in a way, it was a little softer. I feel like you guys have gotten heavier in a way and more aggressive. Do you feel the opposite?
Jesse: The newest album I feel is more middle influenced as far as the riffs go.
Schuylar: I think it’s like ya know growing out of a phase of wearing shell toed Adidas. I don’t wear those anymore but at one time I used to.
Derek (Chimera): Yeah?!
Schuylar: Oh you’re wearing them right now. Shit. And I always think about wearing them because I don’t anymore mainly because I haven’t bought a pair in a long time. I guess you could relay that to music. Our writing process is just, I don’t think we go into it with influences that we’re to throw down on a record. We know our sound and we know how we record. I think when we’re writing new music it always comes out to be a He Is Legend album and not sounding like something that we were influenced by because we mainly listen to hip hop in the van. There’s a lot of rock bands that we love but I don’t know if there’s a lot of influence on new rock rather than the classic. By classic I mean like Nirvana, White Zombie, stuff like that that we would really put ourselves in a category with what we’re trying to emulate, or wear on our sleeve. We’ve definitely gotten heavier and more aggressive, but less whiney. I don’t feel like I’m whining but I don’t know how to judge what that is.
Chimera (Derek): Do you feel like the themes of your albums have changed as you’ve matured in a sense? Like, the concepts behind them, do you ever feel like you guys could go out and create a concept album, something that start to finish has a message?
Schuylar: Certainly. The process has never changed for us. Adam has always come in with the bones of an idea and work with the drums and him and Jesse will get in there and write a song and then we’ll have a skeleton of what I ultimately have to unlock this door of where the music is going. From demoing a rough skeleton and then when you get into the studio you can see the skin and the hair and all the gross whatever and then vocals just cut the thing open and climb into the carcass of the thing. Sorry I’ve been watching a lot of True Crime documentaries and I’m in public.
Chimera (Sierra): That was very poetic. So I mean, compared to when I first heard of you guys, almost ten years ago, I guess you are obviously successful, so I’m wondering what you would define your shining moment as? Like, ‘holy shit, we’re kinda famous’ now?
Schuylar: I don’t see fame really in that aspect. You know being in a rock n’ roll band there’s a lot of struggle. It’s not glamorous at all, this is obviously one of those times where you’re like ‘shit…I’m playing with Rob Zombie’. But it’s also saying like ‘I live in the same city as Rob Zombie’ because he doesn’t you know… But this is amazing, we’re getting a lot of exposure for this. I don’t necessarily… fame is a weird word to use in rock n’ roll nowadays because there’s so many of us, ya know there’s so many rockers and so many bands. There’s a lot of oversaturation just in, even in this one arena, in this one genre, you see like everybody in the crowd has a band, everybody on stage has two bands, it’s just like there’s a lot of music out there now.
Jesse: I think now this day in age doing things it’s hard to not be humble because it’s just, it’s constantly black and white. Like there are nights where I play to 1400 people and literally 24 hours later I play to 25 people in a bar. So it’s like those cool moments are really cool but like 12 hours from now someone’s gonna be blow me a bad glance at the gas station and just think I’m a piece of shit, but it’s whatever.
Schuylar: I mean, he said it best. The black and white moments, is cut down the middle.
Jesse: I rarely run into people on the road that don’t stay humble by what we deal with everyday. If you’re not being humble you have to go out of your way.
Schuylar: I think it’s going to that moment where you knew you had a specific moment, where you’re like “I’m famous”. We’re not really that band anyway, not that ego death has happened to us a million times. Like we’ve had moments where we’ve been forced to be humble, like we took a break after we released our 3rd full length record, gave us some time to work real jobs and roll burritos and be bartenders. So we got back into living a life where you can do these social experiments with humans that might hate you just being alive because you caught ‘em a dick when you ordered a drink wrong. Crowdfunding our last record was so key to us to keep that moment of stardom out, that should be a thing for us because we’ve involved our fans so heavily in the process of making albums and being present when we’re at shows. Just like walking through this festival, like most people won’t walk through the G.A. but you know, it’s like the fact that’s the term. It’s just not for us to be this shades on indoors, I mean there’s a time and a place. When you’re working with your fans and making new fans it’s definitely important to be present and be available and shake some hands and take some pictures. Ya know deal with some silliness, fame is a really bad thing. Jim Carrey just said it fame doesn’t exist, we don’t matter. But it’s true. I had to get deep, sorry. Jesse just threw up.
Chimera (Derek): That was a great answer, dude. Do you feel like there’s a problem in the music industry right now? Do you feel there’s not enough innovation musically? Do you feel like it’s structured too corporately and it hurts bands?
Jesse: I have a lot of opinions about that, but I think to put it nicely people have made it too easy to do it. I remember when I was getting started and I wanted to play a club I would have to give them my demo cd and they’d go oh your band sucks and then they don’t let me play. And I think that’s a great thing. Now buddies are putting on shows for their buddies and it’s made it kinda, not special anymore and not a cool place to hang out and I think that’s the problem. But I don’t know…
Schuylar: But also we’re also being very genre specific. Cause I mean I think the hip hop community has the music industry in the palm of their hands because they’re dropping mixtapes and putting them out for free and gaining millions of fans off of just being present and being there and giving back. They’ll drop it without mentioning anything and you know they’ll have millions of downloads in the night. So i think the music industry, that new, formulaic model is not broken. That’s new and fresh and like really cool bands can do that because the internet has changed everything.
Jesse: I feel like our world has suffered greatly.
Schuylar: I think rock n’ roll has gone backwards for sure. And I mean maybe not gone backwards but popped off at one point. We’re doing the same thing. I think there are some bands out there changing the game for other people, to mention like Highly Suspect that opened for us a year and a half, two years ago and now they’re top of the charts, headlining. That speaks too for what can happen, but is that the way it goes for everybody? Absolutely not, we’ve been grinding for over a decade and we owe most of the happiness and the fun to new life and you know ancient friendship. You know Adam and I have been playing music together since we were 18, I’ve known Matt since I was 16, but then we have Jesse who I consider one of my best friends now who recently joined the band and keeps me humble on stage and keeps me excited about playing. So I mean there’s a lot of reasons for these things to work out properly and it’s also very inspiring because I do think rock n’ roll is on an incline, like Louder Than Life, the brother festival of this show we just played in Kentucky. The estimation was like 65, 000 in 2 days. We walk through all of it, we walk through the crowd after the show. It’s uplifting to know that is happening, to know people still love heavy metal. Because you know this could just be done in a club, like they do in Texas and places where you put 17 bands on a bill and you’re just like cool… Not that music is dying or rock n’ roll is dead because it’s very fine and alive but it has a long way to go to rival some of our hip hop idols.
Chimera(Sierra): I just wanted to say you guys are very gracious when you speak and, like you said, you do maintain this humbleness about you- which is very refreshing and cool. Thank you!
There ya have it!
Was Schuylar throwing shade at Adidas sneakers?
Is Jesse gonna get blown a bad glance at the gas station?
Check out their website http://heislegendnc.com/ to find out and stay updated. They’re on Facebook @HeIsLegendNC, Instagram @heislegendnc, and Twitter @HeIsLegendNC
Also be sure to check out their latest album, Few, if you haven’t already. It’s available on vinyl, CD, and MP3, as well as being free to stream on Spotify.