Holding Fast: I Am The Storm’s ‘Fight Musik, Vol 1’

If you’ve heard anything from hard rock mainstays Thousand Foot Krutch– in particular, if you’ve heard anything from their early years– it’s clear to see that their musical legacy is twofold: hip-hop and rock and roll, inextricably intertwined. That rapcore sound has launched them up the charts and into arenas over the past 20 years. As TFK developed a legacy in the rock community, frontman and veteran songwriter Trevor McNevan began hinting that he’d also like to honor his hip-hop roots at a deeper level. The time for that desire to come to full fruition is finally here with his hip-hop passion project I Am The Storm and its first release, Fight Musik, Vol 1.

The 8 song project displays the same attention to detail that McNevan has put into every song he’s crafted before, fueling a hip-hop experience that’s tight and engaging. “Beast Mode” is a hype song, full of electric enthusiasm. “Freq Show” has a funky edge and a delightfully skillful flow on McNevan’s bars, spitting “when I was 10, I realized I was dangerous with a pen.”

“Fire in the Booth” and “Man vs. Machine” feel like vibing club anthems, fusing the hip-hop flow with electronic sensibilities. “Man vs. Machine” in particular validates McNevan in the hip-hop arena, showing his ability to drop bars with incredible speed and accuracy. “Hip Hop Hi(story)” backs up that credibility, taking listeners back into his history with the artform.

But it’s not all party in this collection of songs. Listeners have grown used to Trevor McNevan’s thoughtful songwriting, and that is present here in tracks like the melancholy, introspective “These Lines” or the organic instrumentation of “Home.” Songs likes these (and closing interlude “Who Are We?”) ask key questions about identity and purpose, looking beyond genre mechanics and subcultures to reflect on our need for grounding, for living with intention. With a lot more melody on these tracks, we also get moments of that classic vocal style that ranges from buttery smooth to searing in a heartbeat.

Although the sound that Trevor McNevan has developed with I Am The Storm is very distinct from Thousand Foot Krutch, it’s created with a blend of craftsmanship, adrenaline and humble grounding in divine purpose that the TFK Army will instantly recognize and be able to enjoy. But beyond how Fight Musik, Vol 1 relates to McNevan’s other work, these songs are so exceptional as hip-hop pieces that they easily stand alone. McNevan can clearly hold his own in the hip-hop arena as well as on the hard rock stage.

Find Fight Musik, Vol 1 on Spotify and iTunes.

Related Artists: LZ7, Manafest, Thousand Foot Krutch

Trevor McNevan’s I Am The Storm Releases First Song, ‘These Lines’

Trevor McNevan (lead singer of Thousand Foot Krutch) has finally unveiled the first long-awaited single for his hiphop project I Am The Storm, a song titled “These Lines.”

“These Lines” is the first song from the project Fight Musik Vol. 1, the I Am The Storm inaugural release which was funded by fans through PledgeMusic. McNevan is no stranger to the independent artist model, with his band Thousand Foot Krutch being a significant forerunner for that model in the rock world. You can hear “These Lines” below.

 

I Am The Storm brings the hiphop influences McNevan has always woven in the background of Thousand Foot Krutch tracks up into the spotlight. “It was so inspiring to dive into this both creatively and holistically for me on FIGHT MUSIK VOL.1, exploring different things musically, vocally, and lyrically along the way,” the accomplished musician shared. “It’s a creative room in my house that I haven’t invited anyone else into for a long time.”

For more updates on all of Trevor McNevan’s musical endeavors, find him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Breathing Out: A Conversation with TFK’s Trevor McNevan

This interview originally appeared on NewReleaseToday.com in June of 2016.

If you’ve been anywhere near the Christian rock scene in the past two decades, chances are you’ve heard of Thousand Foot Krutch– and for good reason. From their humble beginnings as a Canadian rapcore-influenced garage band to their status as an iconic name that can easily carry an arena in fist-pumping, adrenaline-laced rock and roll, Thousand Foot Krutch has infused every moment with a passion for their craft and a dedication to their calling that has kept audiences captivated.

With the release of their last album Exhale, TFK takes that passion and dedication and breathes it out in one of their most bold and spirited records yet. I had the opportunity to talk to frontman Trevor McNevan about Exhale, Thousand Foot Krutch’s legendary live performances and the view from the band’s milestone 20th year.

You just released a new album and had a new baby on the same day. What has it been like trying to juggle those two things in these first couple weeks?

It’s been unbelievable, man. We’ve had a pretty surreal couple weeks. To have the blessing of a beautiful new baby girl on the same day you release your musical baby is such a special experience. So it’s been awesome, it really has. It’s been wild, I’ll tell you that much! Never been a dull moment!

So Exhale is the second part of a two part story you began with Oxygen: Inhale. How did the creative process for part two look different than for part one?

It’s just such a great feeling to have Exhale finally released. Because it is part two to the Oxygen: Inhale/Exhale idea. Because we’ve been around 20 years actually, as insane as that sounds, we’ve made a bunch of records. So this idea was just fun and inspiring to us, to kind of be able to dive deeper on Inhale into the quieter moments that have always been a part of our records. And then on Exhale, to just be able to jump the gun towards the more aggressive side of the band that has obviously always been there as well. So it was fun, it was really inspiring and a lot of fun creatively. And we’re really happy to finally have part two out.

So that said, with you guys having been a band for 20 years and releasing 8 studio albums, is there anything you still dream about doing as a band?

You’re always dreaming, it’s just a fun part of this. You start dreaming in your bedroom when you’re a kid about if you feel called to music, and you never stop. 20 years later you’re still dreaming and not taking it for granted, that’s for sure.

I think for us, we’d love to do another live DVD. We’ve been talking a lot about the last one we did, Live at the Masquerade, which we did in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada actually. And that was in 2010, so we’re due for a new one. We’ve got a lot of new music and just new dynamics and show elements. And our live show is a big part of who we are as a band. So we’ve been talking a lot about doing that, and we have new music videos in the works, and there’s always bands it would be a blast to tour with. But overall we just love making music and love sharing it, and love just connecting with people. That’s our heart, so we feel blessed and feel like we’re just getting started.

You guys are taking some of those new songs out on the road this fall. You’ve got two big tours coming up, your own Exhale tour and then serving as support for Skillet on their Unleashed tour. What can fans expect to see from you guys on the road in the coming months?

Exhale starts in about two weeks, and that’s our headlining tour. We really wanted to do something special and intimate to release this record, just classic rock clubs and smaller spaces. So we’re really excited about it. We’re bringing out our good buddies in Adelitas Way, and then Smashing Satellites and 3 Pill Morning. It’s going to be awesome and a really fun rock show. These bands are great. We feel blessed to just be getting back out and connecting with this new music. So we’re going to be trying to mix it up between the older catalogue and records and trying some fun new stuff as well.

The Skillet guys have been old buddies for a long time, but it’s been a long time since we’ve toured together. So both of us have new records this summer, and we’re excited to go out and support those guys. Devour the Day is coming out with us, so it’s going to be a good one. We’d love to see you guys out there!

As you’re moving into this new season with those tours and the new record, what do you feel is kind of at the heart of TFK’s band in this season? What are the themes that are really important to you right now?

Exhale being the new chapter of this journey for us, it touches on a lot of that stuff. This record has a lot of ties to just dealing with obstacles and issues and things that we deal with that feel like mountains at the time in our lives, those times when you’re just standing there and that mountain in front of you looks impossible. It’s about the faith steps, faith and fear and hope, and all those moments and the big God that we serve.

There’s a level of vulnerability on this record, talking about the moments and the times in your life when you just come to the end of yourself. We’re all imperfect, we’re all broken, and we serve a big God, and it’s OK and it’s necessary to say “hey, I need help.” That’s a beautiful thing, not a downfall.

So this record really embraces that. There’s a lot of conversations we want to have, to bring to the light. Whether it’s obstacles or issues or anxiety, it’s just a very honest and vulnerable record, and we’re excited to have those conversations.

Out of all of those songs, do you have a personal favorite?

Man, this is always a hard question for me because as a songwriter, they’re all special to you in different ways. But I will say I have a soft spot in particular for a song called “The River” off the new record. It just has this guilty pleasure vibe to me, and I love it. It’s a little different for us. It’s almost like a hard rock hymn. It kind of has this southern-gospel type vibe.

I think the reason it went there is that I’ve always thought there was something awesome about the verbiage that they use in old hymn. Whether someone goes to church or not, there’s just something cool that we all relate to about the story of redemption. To me obviously, faith is my lifestyle, it’s who we are. But to other people, whether they’ve been to church ever in their life or whatever they do, there’s just something about the verbiage of being “washed in the water” talking about redemption, the idea of us all having stains and wanting that second breath, wanting that second start. I’ve always thought it’s so cool that that’s such a universal thing, regardless of the fact that a lot of that verbiage is in hymns. So this is kind of a hard rock hymn for us.

You went soft for one song on this record, and that song is “Honest.” How did that song come about?

It really felt like the right way to end this record, to have this beautiful kind of quiet moment. And for this particular song, there was no other title that it could be. This song is very emotions-on-the-sleeve and very real to me. And the lyrics in the chorus, those are questions and words that I’ve spoken very many times in my life, where you’re like “God, my heart is 100% for You, I want You to lead my life, I want to take my hands off the wheel.” Yet you always find yourself back in those moments and those places where you’re like “man, how did I get back here?”

So I just felt like it was a good time to talk about those questions and have that conversation. It’s been a really special moment on the record for me. And yeah, it is the quietest moment by far, and it’s been a bit of a common thread with our records before where the quieter moment caps off the end of the record. It just always kind of feels right.

So aside from that, the record is definitely pretty aggressive. Did you write these songs with the live show in mind? Was that part of the decision making process?

At this point in our career, it’s not like you write it just for live, but it’s definitely something always in the back of our heads when working on stuff as a songwriter. When you’re out there touring all the time, and when you’re creating new music outside of that, you’re also thinking “what moment would we love to have that we don’t have right now?” Or “what would be really fun to expand on?” And you kind of get stuff in your head as you go, you kind of collect it in the back of your head as you tour a record and get ready to make another one.

So it’s not all you think about for sure, but it definitely plays a part.

Exhale is available on iTunes here.

Exhale by Thousand Foot Krutch: A Hard-Hitting Sequel

The double album concept is an old one, but not one that has been frequently employed in recent culture where attention spans are the length of a single and the ability of an artist to endure is challenged on every side. It takes a special band to pull off that kind of scope successfully. Fortunately, rock music mainstay Thousand Foot Krutch has exactly the work ethic and creative intentionality required to make it work.

Enter Exhale, the follow-up to Oxygen: Inhale. This is an album that kicks down the auditory door with guns blazing from the first searing chorus of empowering “Running With Giants.” Songs like aptly-titled “Adrenaline” bring the rapcore elements from Thousand Foot Krutch’s early days to the fore, with frontman Trevor McNevan’s voice stretching effortlessly from scorching raps into a hooky melody. Gritty “Different Kind of Dynamite” and brooding “Off the Rails” lock in place Exhale’s status as an undeniable, unashamed rock album through and through.

Lyrically, this album is encouraging and bold. “Give Up the Ghost” declares “I’ve met trouble and I’ve met rain / laughed with joy and cried with pain / but now I see and I believe / that the ghosts that haunt me have been out-haunted,” a sense of victory through adversity affirmed with every beat of the kick drum from Steve Augustine. Although many of the songs certainly express and encourage confidence, it’s done with refreshing realism, such as on album highlight “Incomplete.” Here the band acknowledges the struggles and sacrifices inherent in the journey of chasing our passions and callings.

To fully understand and enjoy Thousand Foot Krutch’s Exhale, it has to be heard in context with its 2014 counterpart Oxygen: Inhale. Inhale was at least half tracks showcasing TFK’s softer side, often exploring deep prayers of the spirit in restrained but lush sonic atmospheres. Tracks like “In My Room,” “Oxygen” and “I See Red” left many fans deeply moved, while others asked where the hard-hitting Thousand Foot Krutch we know and love had gone. Exhale is the answer to that question, the perfect guitar-laced pairing for the gentle Inhale. Taken by itself in fact, Exhale might feel almost too relentless in pace and theme, lacking a little in sonic texture (there is only one song on this album that slows it down for even an instant). But paired with Inhale, the complete work displayed between the two is a breathtaking example of TFK’s range, both musically and spiritually.

Aforementioned ballad on Exhale comes in the form of “Honest,” a musically simple but lyrically visceral prayer that begins “They say heaven is a place where all pain is washed away / with no room for all the torment of choices that we’ve made. / I’m a broken man, saved by grace, tossed along inside this maze / and I am just a question to the answer You convey.” The song closes the album on its most emotionally fragile note, giving voice to an earnest conversation with the God who meets our hearts in the most difficult places.

Exhale is full-bodied, infectious rock at its finest, empowering and emboldening listeners even as it serves up searing vocals and thunderous guitar riffs. Although taken on its own it might feel a little incomplete, it is the perfect completion to what Oxygen: Inhale began, and is sure to satisfy fans craving a dose of Thousand Foot Krutch’s signature arena-sized, adrenaline-inducing sound.

Related Artists: Papa Roach, Spoken, Pillar

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