The annual Krank`d Up music festival at Sundowners in Alberton has become a staple diet for alternative rock and metal fans in South Africa. With top international acts like Protest The Hero, Monuments, 36 Crazyfists, Unearth and Dead Letter Circus having graced the Krank`d Up stage in the past, the metal hordes will be pleased to know that international acts, Norma Jean and Peripery will be appearing at 2016`s edition of this ever popular festival alongside local talent the likes of Juggernaught, Boargazm, Newtown Knife Gang, Zombies Ate My Girlfriend, Art Snakes, Only Forever Cadillac Sun and many more. Do yourself a favour and get ticket right now for this amazing one-day metal show.
We had the opportunity to phone up Cory, vocalist from Norma Jean. It kinda goes like this:
You guys are coming to South Africa shortly. Excited?
Yeah, definitely. Very excited.
Do you guys know anything about South Africa or have you guys been here before?
No, we have some friends there and stuff. Heard about it a lot. From other bands too, so yeah. Stoked man!
The new album is coming out, Polar Similar. How did it go with the writing process and what’s the whole theme and idea behind the album if you can tell me a bit about that?
Oh yeah, sure. We probably started writing Polar Similar, in like really getting together in like January 2015. We had kind written sporadically by ourselves at home and stuff… sharing ideas. We took off last summer completely. Usually you know, a band wants to be on tour in the summer but we took off the entire summer and had like four five writing blocks of around two weeks each and just kinda knocked it out.
So what is the writing process like? Does someone come in with a riff, pre-programmed or what’s the whole synergy like?
Really we just kinda write separately at home. Myself and Jeff are really the main songwriters in the band but everyone kind of contributes. It isn’t just like “here’s an entire song, OK that song’s done. Next song.” We kinda get a few parts and a basic structure and everyone throw in ideas. We try everything. That’s the thing that Norma Jean does for sure. Different form every band I’ve ever been in. Believe it or not, we try everything. Sometimes it sounds stupid when you say something and you’re writing so we choose not to talk it out because you never know what’s gonna sound good. It might not sound good in your head, you know, without hearing it first.
Talk to me about the lyrical content. Which ideas did you tackle? Which concepts did you approach lyrically with this album?
Uhm.. politically nothing. I guess that’s probably not the right word though… The thing that we tried to do with our songs throughout every single record… I always try to write about stuff that have a classic kind of history to it. I don’t wanna sing sing about anything that is going to go away soon, you know? The climate of what people are angry about or upset about or just worried about at the time being kinda comes and goes. It passes. So I always write of things I know about, things I’ve been through and then try and turn it into something that kind of anyone can relate to rather than it being just so personal that no-one can relate to. That’s my favourite thing to do – just try and make it a little open-ended so that anybody can get anything out of it.
Tell me, Cory, your voice – when you tour a lot – how do you keep it from not fucking out? Do you do warm-ups? Do you just wing it?
I don’t do anything. I have taken vocal lessons before and learned all the warm-ups and I see other vocalists doing the tea and all that stuff. I don’t do any of it, really. The thing I always tell other people is that the voice is just like any other body part – if you use it a lot it does get some damage to it and just like any other thing when you’re sick or you had surgery or something or you wanted something internally to heal, the best thing you can do is sleep. Its really not rocket science. I just make sure that I get plenty of rest and stay hydrated and I’m usually pretty fine. I mean you can’t help getting sick on the road. Sometime it happens but I just try and tough it out and get the rest.
Anything special you thing guys got lined up for Krank’d Up her in South Africa or just a banging, hard fuckin’ set?
The record comes out on the 9th (September) so we will be playing some new stuff and some old stuff. We’re gonna do… We’ll do something from every single record, for sure. It doesn’t matter which record you like the best – you’re gonna get something from it for sure.