When given some good relaxation time, many would probably spend this glorious gift either asleep or binge-watching Netflix. Then again, there are some people in the world who genuinely seem to enjoy a fair amount of productivity. Take a look at Dave Stephens. Yes, the Dave Stephens from We Came As Romans. During his time away from national tours, he spends his days with his other band, Crucible, which is made up of members from other professional bands. Joining Dave in this new, DIY project are Andrew Glass (WCAR), Lou Cotton (WCAR), Todd Jansen (Assassins), and Nick Freddell (Taproot).
While it’s tough to deal with all of the lunacy of being in one band, the five members are bringing their love for creating and performing to the next level. And to make this new band completely their own—without any stress from labels or outside artists. Here, these guys can play around with their music, create their own graphics, and call the shots.
While the band was away on tour in Europe, Dave was able to explain what Crucible means to him and why he pursued this dream. But not to worry—the members will still be playing with their other beloved bands during Crucible’s offseason.
I heard last month right after the EP (The Trials) release, you guys were number one for metal on iTunes—how did you guys feel when finding that out?
I started this band as something to do for fun on the side whenever WCAR was off tour. It’s somewhere I can express myself in a different way so when I saw people were enjoying it and supporting it as much as they were, it was a great feeling. Popularity wasn’t something we cared about at all so it was cool to have people genuinely like something we were just doing for fun on the side.
The Trials has six songs, so while on tour, are you guys playing anything else?
We’re all big Limp Bizkit fans so at our first show a few weeks ago, we decided to do “Break Stuff” as our encore. I’ve loved Limp Bizkit since I was a kid and so young, my parents bought me the censored versions of their records. So to cover that song was a blast and the crowd really enjoyed it too. We’ll be throwing a cover or two in at the shows we’re playing this January too.
Most of you guys are from different bands—how did this project happen?
I’ve been trying to get this project started for so long and it just never seemed to work out. I had so many members come and go, I was starting to give up on the idea. It’s hard to have a professional band full of guys from other professional bands with often opposing tour schedules. But this lineup basically fell into my lap.
Todd and Nick from Taproot and Assassins both tech for WCAR during their off time and one day it just hit me. I was like, “Damn. Both these guys can play, they’re creative, awesome, and fun to be around.” I brought the idea up to them and they were stoked! Being together on the road for several months, we were able to brainstorm and write during every moment of downtime we had together on the road. Crucible’s first practice was actually in the back of the WCAR bus while we were on our last headliner in the States!
How did you come up with the idea for the band name?
A crucible contains an often violent reaction and the point for making the reaction is to separate impurities out of the chemicals you’re working with and come out with a different chemical than you began with. We use this band in the same way. We’re using aggression, anger, and intensity to separate the impurities of our society out and shine a spotlight on them for everyone to see.
This is a side project; how do you handle being in two bands?
It’s very difficult especially since Crucible is 100% DIY. Every graphic, every song, everything about Crucible is created by one of the members. We didn’t want a record label or anyone else to try to control this. It’s awesome having complete creative freedom, but at the same time it makes for a lot of work. But at the end of the day, WCAR is my main priority and having that mindset helps me manage my time.
Does it get tricky when touring or writing music?
It was tricky writing for this band because we were creating an identity for ourselves. Once I figured out a mission statement (that we wound up using for lyrics in our intro) the other songs fell into place more easily.
As for touring, our first tour is this January. I don’t think it will be tricky because there is no stress involved. This band is purely for fun and creative expression so there’s no way we won’t enjoy ourselves.
When writing music, how do you remember which band you’re writing for? I’d get so confused.
Both bands are entirely different so it’s not very difficult at all. When I write lyrics for both bands it’s as if I’m playing two different characters but since they’re both me, it’s easy to choose which one I want to be and whose perspective I want to write from. It helps that each band writes about different topics as well.
How did you guys compose this new EP?
We went into [producer] Nick Sampson with way too much material and we were all over the place creatively. He helped us organize it and create a signature sound. From there, everything was rewritten and the lyrics got much more in-depth and visual than they were prior.
I understand you’re touring around Europe now, how’s that going?
It’s going great! It’s been a lot of travel and sleep has been a little hard to come by but the shows have been awesome!
What’s a typical day on tour for you?
When I first wake up, I drink a lot of coffee then read at least 50 pages of whatever book I’m currently into. I read first thing in the morning or I won’t do it the rest of the day. While eating breakfast I study Spanish for an hour. I then go to the gym, have sound check, meet VIPs, warm up, perform, have a couple drinks, then go to bed!
Clearly the EP was well-received. Do you have a plan for a full-length album yet?
For sure! Probably not for a little while since WCAR is starting to write, but down the line we will for sure.
What are your plans for after the tour?
We would really like to play some West Coast and Southwest dates soon! We’ll see if we can make it happen. We’d also like to tour the Northeast, Midwest, and South more extensively.
Check out Crucible on Jan. 14 at Voltage Lounge in Philadelphia and Jan. 15 when they pull into The Studio At Webster Hall in New York City. Their new EP, The Trials, is out now. For more info on these guys, visit their Facebook page: facebook.com/crucibledetroit.com.