Interview with Crossfade frontman Ed Sloan

- Oct 14, 2006 at 10:40PM
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From the southern sunshine of North Carolina comes the rock group known as Crossfade. In their brief history, Crossfade have endured much adversity, including a lengthy delay in the release of their debut album and a member leaving the group, but the band is back and tighter than ever with a new record called Falling Away. Since its recent release, Falling Away has been performing incredibly well for the group, continuing the momentum they had built up with their debut record in 2004. Recently we were fortunate enough to get some time to talk to Crossfade’s lead singer Ed Sloan about the new record, how the band actually got its start, the departure of one of their members and the opportunity to perform for several U.S. troops stationed overseas. Here’s more of what Ed had to say:

Crossfade has been around now for a while, but how exactly did the members meet and how did the band come together?
Ed: It’s funny, because we got a brand new guy Les Hall who’s from, you know, those guys, Trey Anastasio and Phish and all those cats and Howie Day, those old Columbia Records acts, he’s our brand new guitarist, for two days he’s been out with us now but before that, it was just me and Mitch and James and we had been playing together for about three or four years since the first Crossfade record. Mitch and I met when we were back in high school, we started a high school band and you know, we’re all kind of old cats, we’ve been around the circuit for about ten years now.

In the early days of the band, you guys all worked day jobs which forced you to log crazy hours to jam and write your music. What was this grueling experience like for you? Did you ever consider quitting the band and just working a normal day job?
Ed: Well, not really at all actually, we were forced to work day jobs actually while we were grueling and just trying to find our forte and a way to get our music out there. I was a computer programmer, Mitch the bass player was a supervisor for a bunch of apartment complexes so we all had day jobs and we all had all kinds of stuff going on, but it was all about the band always.

Although your new record is now in stores, there was quite a delay between its release and the release of your first album in April, 2004. Can you briefly discuss the reasons for the delay in the release of the new album?
Ed: Oh man, yeah, you know, the whole first record was like a whole whirlwind, you know it was our first record, first time going out on tour and we met so many kick ass bands that we played with and we got off the road and we were all ready to just crawl in our caves all for a little while. We thought it was just going to be for two weeks of R&R, but it wound up being four to six months of R&R, just chilling and getting our bearings back together and after that, we were all like enough of this, enough of home life and we all just came back together and got back in the studio. And actually after that, it was about two to four months later, we just had the whole record together, it was like three months of excruciating, night from night, sitting on our own writing this record and this is what came out of it. It was a long time I know, like sixteen months since we finished touring the last record, a lot of it was just getting our bearings and writing this new record.

Your new record Falling Away was just released a couple of weeks ago. How do you personally feel about the record and what would you say is your favorite song?
Ed: I think in comparison to the first record, it’s exactly the same heart and emotion and I think I speak for the rest of the band when I say this; it’s something we’re very proud of. We feel exactly the same way we did about the last record, we can still listen back to it and love every minute of it. My new favorite song would be "Falling Away" the title track you know, it’s got a lot of meaning behind it.

Speaking of the new record Falling Away, what was the recording and songwriting process like? Did you do anything differently in making this record compared to your debut?
Ed: There were definitely a lot of differences. The first one was kind of like me trapped alone in my basement writing the record by myself pretty much, all the songs and then all of us working together after that, but you know like we talked about earlier, we all had day jobs and all that stuff. But this record was um after the whole touring thing and the success we had from the first Crossfade record, we at least had the means of not having those day jobs and come together to write a record together and just be focused on that. So it’s much more of a collaborative process between all of us on this second record than much was the first.

Crossfade of course lost a member last year when DJ Tony Byroads left the group. What was it like adjusting to Tony’s absence in the making of Falling Away?
Ed: It was just like he was never there. Absolutely! [Laughing] Enough said you know what I mean?

Your first album was produced by Randy Staub who had previously worked with Metallica and Nickelback. Did Staub also produce Falling Away? If so why did you decide to work with him again?
Ed: Well the first record was actually mixed by Randy Staub, but it was recorded all by us by ourselves in our basement. And the second one was recorded in exactly the same way as far as us recording the tracks, but both records were ultimately mixed by Randy Staub. The second album, we actually had the good fortune to actually be able to travel to Vancouver, Canada and sit with him while he mixed it. And so some of the production kind of thing came into play as far as some of the songs, we got a song called "Invincible" where his creative genius came into play but um, it was wonderful to work with Randy Staub in that respect you know.

I read that the first single from Falling Away "Invincible" was co-produced by the very famous producer Steve Lillywhite. How did you get Lillywhite to help produce the track and what did it feel like to work with such a huge figure in the business?
Ed: God bless our good fortune to have Lillywhite like kind of fall into our laps the way he did. He was hired by Columbia Records to be their head of A&R and at the time, Columbia was going through great troubles as far as the change in industry and their whole role and their merger with BMG and he just happened to be our A&R guy at the time and he liked our record. He found "Invincible" and he said you know, "I really want to produce something with "Invincible," a little more than an A&R guy would do, I really like this song as well as the rest of the album." It was just our good fortune that he found his way into Columbia’s employment realms and we were just very blessed to have him right by our sides.

About a week and a half ago, Crossfade was named Grand Marshals by NASCAR and the California Speedway for a race on September 2nd. How did this opportunity come about and what was the experience like for you?
Ed: It was great. I guess like five weeks before that, I sang the national anthem for the Daytona 500 and it was like a big ordeal, and I was hanging out with Brandon Roth the new Superman, he was a grand marshal and somehow it went off really well. And we talked to the cats over in California for this race and we were just like, we can’t play but we can do the grand marshalling thing. It was just a whole networking of things that started with me singing the anthem at the Daytona 500.

Back in May you guys performed eight shows in thirteen days for members of the U.S. military stationed at several bases in Europe and the Middle East. How did this mini tour come about and what was the feedback like from the troops?
Ed: Well that came about from our home town, Columbia, South Carolina where we’re from, there’s a big base there, Fort Jackson where the military troops go to for basic training and then they carry on from there. And somehow I guess from the success of Crossfade in our home town, someone got in touch with someone in the military about getting Crossfade out for a show and we had a show out there at Fort Jackson and it just went phenomenally well. And from that very show, they contacted us and asked us if we’d like to do those shows overseas and we were like, "of course" who wouldn’t really. And um, it just took off from there, it all sprouted from our home town really.

Finally, what does Crossfade as a band have planned for the rest of 2006 and 2007?
Ed: Ah, we’re just going to ride the wave, see what the rest of the country has in store for us. I think it’s going to be another good year for Crossfade, so we’ll just wait and see, but it’ll all just play out in the cards.  [ END ]
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