On an almost sunny thursday afternoon, on the 21st of March, I sat down with Craig Mabbitt, the vocalist from Escape The Fate and he shared with me the concepts behind the two new singles ‘Ungrateful’ and ‘You’re Insane’, what his thoughts about the rock scene are, how the band handled tensions in the past, and much more! Curious? Then start reading from part 1 (click) and continue with this one here:
Alexandra: In ETF, who takes care of the lyrics, who makes the music?
Craig: It’s pretty much split 50/50 between Monte and his brother, and i take care of all the vocals and melodies. I always work with other people so ‘This war is ours’ was written with me and the producer, one of the songs i wrote with Josh Todd from Buckcherry, the self-titled album was just all me, because nobody else was there. For some reason Monte doesn’t like that album anymore.
A: I love it, it’s like my favorite!
C: It’s like one of my favorite ones! And this one was like a lot of back and forth ‘Let’s write this and let’s do that’ we just wanted to make sure that everybody absolutely loved everything. Some of the tracks i wrote with Brandon from Atreyu, he’s in a band called Hell Or Highwater now, i worked with Martin from Boys Like Girls for a few tracks. I love working with other people because it’s cool to listen to the music, you hear something in your head and you have somebody else tell you ‘Well i hear something else’. ‘That’s cool and new, i didn’t hear that!’ And then you mix all the ideas together and the result is something really cool. It helps me grow as an artist.
A: Lately there has been this thing with VIP packages: paying extra for a meet and greet at gigs. Some artists are totally up for it, some are not. Where do you stand?
C: I think it’s awesome! When we first started doing it, every band we were on the road with were like ‘Yeah thank you so much! We’ll be at the merch table after the show. Come hang out!’ I don’t think that bands are doing that anymore, I don’t see bands hanging out at the merch table anymore. The VIP package is better because, even if the band does show up at the merch table, a lot of people don’t feel comfortable going up there because it’s such turmoil happening. The meet and greets, its like a one on one, you can actually have a quick conversation, it’s not this pandemonium of ‘Let me squeeze in there really quick!’ It’s way more intimate, you can tell the artist what you have on your mind.
A: In 2012, you announced your side project Dead Rabbitts. You already have a single ‘Edge of Reality’ out. Is an album coming out soon?
C: It’s out right now, you can grab it on iTunes, it’s titled by the title track ‘Edge of Reality’. I did it all with my buddy Caleb from Attack Attack! . People seem to like it, it’s not something that’s super crazy, that’s everywhere right now, because i’m doing ETF, there’s no record label behind it, it’s all self-work: self released, self promoted, but hey if you follow me on twitter and you like me. I feel like there’s lots of people that don’t even know about it. Nobody from the press has contacted me to get the word out there, it’s just me like ‘hey, if you are a fan of me, here’s another project I did, go get it and hopefully you like it!’. I’m actually trying to get a music video for the project and we are also writing new songs for it now. As far as that project goes, i’m looking to get heavier and heavier and heavier with, and ETF is rockier. I still love how everyone on stage are rocking out on breakdowns and all that heavy shit, i love it! Plus, i don’t have to get anybody’s opinion on it.
A: Personally, i love it! I have listened to Edge of Reality and I think its really good! It’s very catchy!
C: Thank you! Well, all the songs are on Youtube so you can always get them there.
A: Also, in the past you had some collaborations with bands like Get Scared and Eyes Set To Kill. Do you have any plans for a new collaboration?
C: Yea, there’s a buddy of mine I met when I was doing an UK tour with Funeral for a Friend and his band is called Secret Eyes and he hit me up he was like ‘Hey buddy! Would you like to sing for a track?’ and i was totally up for it. So I did that, I’m writing songs with Dead Rabbitts, i’m managing a band in Arizona, strictly because two of them are my room mates so I go to all their shows and they are really passionate and I’m trying my best to help them. I am not a manager, but I have been managed for a while so i know certain things to do, maybe it’s a good experience for me too, because if my band doesn’t last forever, i think i would like to go out there and help make their dreams come true, and help them do what they wanna do. So i’m gonna sing on one of their things that i’m working on right now, i’m trying to help them produce their things. I just played a show in Texas with Chelsea Grin and the singer was like ‘Yea’ man let’s get you on a track!’ , I was like ‘Totally, i’ll fucking do it’ so I might do something with Chelsea Grin in the future. I’m sure there’s gonna be a lot more things because I just like music and i like hanging out and being friends with peeps, it’s always cool being featured in a song!
A: And maybe you attract other target groups because they can be like ‘Oh i like this dude’s voice, where is he from?’
C: Yes that and, like i say, music is supposed to be a fucking family! It’s weird to me how in rap music or pop music, there’s still a lot of turmoil and competition in those genres. That’s all rappers do they talk shit about each other, but for some reason, every artist, on every record, collaborates with everyone else. Why? Because it’s a huge family, and people like to see that, they like to see the camaraderie like ‘I love this artist, i don’t know who the other artist is but it sounds awesome!’ or ‘I like both these artists and they did a song together? It’s gonna be the greatest song ever!’ And it’s cool for people to see stuff like that, I still love seeing it, and it’s like, I wonder why it’s not like that more in the rock/metal world.
A: Because you know, some people have egos.
C: I know so why is the rock world such a fucking competition? Why don’t we have so many collaborations like rap or pop groups? That would be so awesome, if rock was that diverse! Like how about instead of doing ‘Punk goes pop’ – which i love – why don’t we start doing ‘This band featuring that band’ or ‘This band featuring this guy and that guy’? And it’s always cool, every single time somebody does it, everybody loves it, so i don’t know why they don’t do it more often! For instance, Pierce the Veil did a collaboration song with the singer of Sleeping with Sirens, and i love it, i think it sounds great. It’s so cool to see the camaraderie, i mean, i can give you numerous combinations of people that make me think ‘Damn, that would be such a sick song!’, like if, Jeremy from A Day To Remember did something with Bring Me The Horizon, or Bring Me The Horizon did something with A Day To Remember, that would be dope! I used to tour with A Day To Remember back in the day, when we brought 10 kids to our show, and nobody gave a shit about who any of us were, and I’ve liked them since then. I just wish people did it more!
A: You have a daughter: Leila Rose. How old is she? Do you get to spend time with her?
C: She’s 6. I have spent time lately, cuz we have so much time off. But if i’m not on the road, i’m definitely hanging out with her.
A: Did you ever consider taking her on the road with you?
C: I brought here on the road a few times, she’s been here, in Amsterdam, before.
A: Did she like it?
C: Yeah, she was a little young, but she definitely liked it. I feel like, she would like it even more now, because when she came with me she was around 4, so now she’d remember more of it. But i made sure to take a lot of pictures and i made her a scrapbook with postcards and photos of us like ‘Here’s us in Amsterdam’ so she can look at it like ‘Whoah, I’ve been there?’
A: Does she want to be a rockstar?
C: Well her mom is a hairstylist and i am in a band so I’m like ‘Leila, do you know what you wanna do when you grow up?’ she’s like ‘Umm..i either wanna do hair, or I wanna sing’. I hear her sing sometimes and she hits notes. There’s people that are just tone deaf. And she has got a pretty decent voice so let’s see what happens. I mean she is not like ‘America’s got talent’, they had a 6 years old girl there that sang opera, she’s not doing shit like that, if she was i wouldn’t be going on tour, i would be like ‘Dude, this is crazy!’. But she has a bright future no matter what she decides to do, she’s a smart ass little girl! She can do a lot!
A: Thank you so much for your time! Any last words you would like to share with our readers?
C: Thank you for reading! Thanks for seeing the band name and my name and wanting to read the article and thank you for interviewing me!