Hard rock band Thousand Foot Krutch is approaching their third decade together as a band. In their career thus far, they’ve had an album reach #1 on the Billboard chart for Top Christian Albums, they’ve seen several of their songs receive airplay during sporting events, and this year they’re playing the Winter Jam Tour for the first time. Staffer Tim Dodderidge talked to vocalist Trevor McNevan about the group’s past achievements, present endeavors, and future goals. Hint: they’ve got a lot left in store.
MEB: How’s Winter Jam been?
Trevor: Great. It’s a unique tour in a lot of ways. Overall, it’s been awesome, man. There’s something for everyone on this musically. It’s a big, big tour, so we’ve got a good community going on.
What’s it like playing to so many fans in such a big setting versus playing small club-sized gigs?
When you play an arena, it’s a different kind of energy. And we really love both. It’s something uniquely intimate to play in a more intimate club that you can’t get at an arena. And there’s something at an arena that you can’t get at a club. They’re both a blessing to be able to play. I think they’re different kinds of energy. With this many people, it’s so vast, it’s such a powerful connection that you can have, and it’s such an honor to be part of it out here. Last year, on the War of Change Tour, we set out to just do small rock clubs. “Let’s not do anything big. Let’s keep it intimate so we can see everyone’s faces.” Just to go back to our roots and have an awesome, intimate tour, it was so powerful in a different way. And then to be able to share a room with this many people is incredible.
You guys recently have had your song “Light Up the Sky” all over the place, especially in sports arenas. What’s that like, knowing that your music is having such wide circulation?
It’s incredible. That’s something that any band would love, but especially as a rock band. To see professional sports grow into what it’s become to this band — NBA, professional baseball, NHL, every sport has just opened up their doors to the band in the last decade in a big way. And that’s just an honor, man. We definitely give all the glory to God for that. That’s not something you can create. We appreciate it. There’s a lot of adrenaline that goes along with that. We love seeing those two things together. If you’re at an NFL game and you look around and there’s 80,000 people, or at a NASCAR race, a couple hundred thousand people, and you hear that music match with the energy of the people. It’s a powerful experience, man. So we’re blessed to be a part of it.
Are you guys big into sports yourselves?
Yeah, we love sports. My younger brother played pro hockey, my dad did too, one of my best buddies plays pro hockey. The whole band, we’re from Canada, we’re from the Toronto area, and I’m from a small town called Peterborough, Ontario, and all of the guys, we all love hockey. We maybe watch two or three games a day (laughs).
While they both have their distinct qualities, Welcome to the Masquerade and The End Is Where We Begin have a lot of similarities in sound. Would you say the band has found a sort of niche there?
I don’t know, man. I wouldn’t say niche, no. Every record, I feel like we’ve grown organically. Every record’s been an inspiring process in a different way. You try to challenge yourself every record as a musician and as a songwriter. You write what you’re inspired by at the time. So that’s always going to change. We’ll always be a rock band, but I grew up in hip-hop too, so that’s always been a part of our music and at times, kind of been more a part of our music than others and it kind of comes in and out. So I think we’re just big fans of music in general, and that’s always going to pull into what we do, it’s always going to be a reflective thing. I think that’s what keep us fresh too. We’re definitely not scared of change. We’re not scared to take a risk as a band if we feel inspired to do something. We’re actually in the finishing stages of writing a new record right now that we’re so excited about. It’s so uninhibited, man. It’s just a new page and we’re very excited. We feel like we’re just getting started.
I know you guys have been talking about that theme of “uninhibited”. So what does that mean to you guys, and what kind of role has that played in your lives?
“Uninhibited” is just no boundaries, man. No perimeters. But I think musically, it’s easy, especially for a band like us that’s been around a long time and has a lot of records and singles, and just has a lot of experience in this world, to kind of let all the other voices try to speak into what you do or all the experiences speak into what you do. It’s easy to try to consider a lot of things, like “Hey, we should try these kinds of songs” or “We need to have this because remember that.” When I sit down to write a song, I just want to write a song that I feel is a great song, that has the heart and meaning behind it and that our faith is backing up and we’re proud of. Regardless of who’s doing what in music right now, we’ve just never cared less about that. We just want to make great music, make great songs, and most of all, honestly, let people see our hearts through our music, man. We want to create change.
How much of a reflection of your faith is expressed in Thousand Foot Krutch’s music? How do you keep things from being too watered-down or too forceful?
I think for us, man, our faith is our lifestyle. To me, our faith is who we are. It’s always going to be our lifestyle, not our genre of music. As a Christian writing a song or playing music, everything that I am is going to be bleeding into that music and who God created me to be. That’s everything. I don’t think you’re going to hear preachy, “This is the way it is and this is how it needs to be done” approach from this band ever because that’s not something that ever communicated with us. That’s not something that feels honest to us. I think, most of all, we want to share a message of hope for this generation. We believe there is a big God who loves us, who has a plan for each of our lives, that if he can use us, he can use anyone. It just takes one voice, it just takes one Christian standing up to make change. So if we can all be a small part of that, it can be a great thing and God can use that, man.
You’ve played with a ton of bands and to a lot of fans in your career who aren’t Christian. What’s your Christian, kind of evangelistic approach, when you go out into the world?
You know what, for us we’re going to be the same people on the Winter Jam as we are anywhere else. I think it’s more about that. It’s living the same life, being the same people, and loving people the same way you would on Winter Jam as on the Uproar tour or with anybody — the Foo Fighters or whoever. I think it’s more just about being who you are, and just loving people. I think if we were a different band or did things differently than we did in this way, I don’t think it would be honest. In that scene, out of the Christian market, they respect you for your music first, and if they respect you for that, then they’ll listen to what you have to say. It’s kind of the other way around there, and I think that’s great, man. So if we’re blessed to be in a spot where we have that trust, we just want to love people. We’re not judging anyone for what they do. And they love us back and reciprocate that, and then you get into some great conversations and you can get into some real talk.
What should we expect next from FM Static?
FM Static is kind of just been on the back burner, for lack of a better term. There’s just really been no time, man. I think it’d be a blast. Steve [Augustine, drummer] and I talked about possibly putting out some new music, and I think it will happen. We’ll do it independently like we’re doing our new TFK stuff as we do. But it’s just been such a TFK world in so many ways. It’s been very busy, and we’re 100% independent now. The minute we did that it just [meant] that much more work, and there hasn’t been a lot of time (laughs). But there will be a time.
We’ve seen a lot of faces from you during your musical career — whether it’s hip-hop, straight-up rock, slowed-down balladry, and then the pop-punk stuff from FM Static. How are all of these sounds a representation of who you are and what interests you?
Yeah, to me that’s the exciting part about music. A good song is a good song, whether it’s country or hip-hop, R&B or EDM, whatever. So I think that’s always going to pour into our music because I’m constantly inspired by all of those things, and all of us are in the band. Every Monday night at midnight I’m checking out all of the new music. We are still just huge music fans — of music in general. I think as long as you’re still a music fan and you still love what you do and you’re passionate about it and none of it feels like a job or something, then you’re always going to be inspired by everything. For me personally, yeah, I do a lot of songwriting for other artists. I’ve been involved with writing some country songs for some country artists, and some hip-hop and lots of rock and pop. It keeps it interesting, and I think that’ll always be a fun new challenge. And with TFK, it always just keeps it that much more adrift. TFK doesn’t have to sound like this or that, we’ve always been big on shifting this way or that way — to follow our inspiration.
Thousand Foot Krutch has been around for over a decade, and has had an incredible career thus far. What else is left for you that you haven’t done or accomplished yet?
We’re incredibly blessed, man. We’ve been around since 1995, and to even still be a band we’re just so honored. Total glory to God. We never take it for granted every day we’re out here. That said, we really feel like we’re just getting started. I think there’s a lot of legs left in this band, and we have a lot of ground to step on still. Musically, as a band, and as a movement, we’re encouraging people to be the change. We’re really excited to see what God’s doing, and we’re excited to be a part of it. There’s a lot left, man. I think there’s a lot left.