Capra’s Crow Lotus talks Errors, collabs and self care

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On October 6th, metallic hardcore outfit Capra will unleash their sophomore full-length Errors via Metal Blade Records / Blacklight Media Records.

Maintaining all the elements that made their 2021 debut so compelling – raucous energy, frantic riffs, the from-the-gut lyrics, and soul-searing delivery of vocalist Crow Lotus – Capra has stepped things up on this record with stronger songwriting and a determination to reach the next level.

Tracking in Estuary Recording Studios in Austin, Texas, with Andrew Hernandez, Errors was mixed by Taylor Young and mastered by Brad Boatright, the latter two having worked on In Transmission (2021). Guitarist Tyler Harper comments, “I knew that I wanted it to pick up where the first album left off, but that it needed to have an entirely new attitude. If you listen to the last song from ‘In Transmission’ into the first song on ‘Errors’, it’s a continuation. From there, the album steers off into a direction that still feels similar but is new.” Coming primarily from a hardcore background, giving listeners a sense of nostalgia for the sounds of the late 90’s and early 2000’s hardcore and punk scenes, but also incorporating elements of metal that complement the overall tone, everything the band does on Errors resonates with emotion; nothing is forced. 

For collaborations, Capra recruited Walls Of Jericho vocalist Candace Kucsulain-Puopolo to add her inimitable tones to “Human Commodity,” while their friend Dustin Coffman from Glassing added backing vocals to a handful of tracks. Producer Hernandez also added some piano to “Nora,” which closes out the album very differently than anything they’ve previously explored. In a complete juxtaposition to the tracks preceding it, “Nora” is atmospheric, lithe, delicate, and haunting. 

Montreal Rocks caught up with Crow Lotus via Zoom to chat about the record.

You just home from a long tour of Europe. How was it?

It was fun. We had a good time, but I’m happy to be home for privacy.

Any highlights?

I will say, honestly, Italy was my favourite, but there was a show in Italy. It was a festival called Frantic Fest. We showed up, two stages, so I didn’t know what to expect, but everyone there, maybe 2,000 people, showed up to have a good time. It was so much fun. Everyone had a lot of energy in the audience, and it made a difference.

When you’re doing these festivals, do you stick around? Do you watch the other bands make a weekend or a day of it?

Yeah. Sometimes we have to make it to another show that night, so we have to leave as soon as possible not to be late for the next show. But if we have the opportunity, we will try to stay for the whole thing. For Brutal Assault, we played really early, 10.30 AM or something, but then we ended up staying the entire day, and it was the funniest time ever. I got to catch a bunch of different bands that day.

Who did you catch? Did you catch any new bands you haven’t seen before?

I’m not going to say new because they’re not new, but I had never really been exposed to Gatecreeper before. I know that sounds maybe ridiculous, but they were incredible. They were so good, and we caught them two times because we played Summer Breeze with them, and then they also played Frantic Fest as well, and they were amazing both times.

On this tour, were you playing stuff from the new album?

Actually, quite a bit of the set was from the new album. It was like four songs. I’m pretty sure it was four songs from the new album, and then it was maybe like a 12 or 13-song set, so a good portion of it. 

So you must have been playing some songs that people haven’t heard before. How was that?

It’s a little nerve-wracking because usually, we’re still kind of like a baby band, is what I would call it, I guess, but there are usually a few people at the shows who know the words to a lot of the songs, which is kind of humbling, to say the least, but it’s a little nerve-wracking because when you play the newer songs, you don’t know how people are going to react, and you don’t know if the people who know all the older stuff are just going to be standing there, just like, “Okay, what is this?”

But people have been really receptive and really great, so even while we’re playing the newer stuff that nobody knows, they’re still able to kind of at least move around or still actively be a part of the show, in my opinion. I think that the audience is just as much a part of the show as the people on stage, so I’m always really grateful whenever they receive us well. 

How does it feel in this period before it comes out? The record is done, but you’re just kind of sitting around waiting for it to come out. 

It’s always just like this excited anticipation. I like this album better than the last one we did. Of course, that was our first album, and it’s something that I hold near and dear to my heart, but this one, I feel that we’re all a little bit more honed in as musicians, as writers, and I think that this one is just a lot closer to what I always wanted to sound like. So I’m really excited for people to hear it, and I just hope that people feel the same. It’s a little bit different. My vocal style, I would say, in my opinion, is pretty different from the first album, but I don’t know if anybody would agree. But it’s just this anticipation of whether or not people are going to like it as much as I do, but I’m excited. I’m ready to release it. 

How do you think your vocal style has changed?

I would say that for the first album, it seems a little bit more; I don’t know if I want to say clean because it wasn’t really clean, but it’s a lot more yelling than kind of like screaming or harsh vocals. And for the newer album, I would say that the vocals are a little bit more harsh, not to the level of just like total and completely cradle of filth the entire time, but I definitely tried to push myself a little bit more. I think that I still, when you’re recording an album, it’s still that fear of like, I don’t want to push myself too hard on the first song, and then the rest of the album sounds like shit because I’ve lost my voice. So I was kind of still, I don’t want to say holding back, but trying to be responsible, I guess, that my voice was still intact throughout the entire recording process. But it’s a little bit, in my opinion, it’s a little bit harsher than the first album.

When you’re trying this new vocal style and pushing yourself, in the back of your mind, you must be thinking, you’ve got to go out and sing these live. You don’t want to kill your voice on the first day of the tour. So is that a concern?

It’s absolutely a huge concern. So before every single show, I have that anxiety of like, am I going to be okay today kind of thing? But I did have one experience that was pretty terrifying, and it wasn’t a big show. It was a show outside of New Orleans, and I did something during the set where I had like spit, and then immediately after I spit, my throat just went dead. Like it was so strange. I guess it’s just like I dried it out too quickly, but I went to open my mouth for the next line of lyrics. It was in the middle of a song, and nothing came out, like no sound. And the entire show was really a nightmare because after that, I just kind of was speaking the entire time, but I was like, I can’t just stop the show. So it was so embarrassing the entire time. But ever since that moment, I have been really, really conscious of trying to preserve my throat and trying to make sure that I’m doing everything correctly.

Admittedly, while we were touring the last album, I was being very irresponsible in my opinion on how I was performing. So I wasn’t warming up. I wasn’t really like trying to be as conscious of diaphragmatic breathing. So for this album, or at least the touring we’ve been doing within the past year or so, I’ve been really, really conscious of trying to stretch a lot beforehand, stretching my upper body, stretching my neck, warming up for at least a good like 20, 15, 20 minutes. Trying to drink a ton of water before we play a show; I drink like two gallons of water or something crazy like that. It’s been making a world of difference. I’m able to push myself a little bit harder and try different things without totally losing my voice after the second or third show.

I think that’s good advice for anybody, especially people in the extreme heavy music world.

Right, absolutely. I’ve done it so many times. I’ve hurt myself so many times, but I think people have this idea that if you’re doing harsher, more extreme vocals, it’s not the same as when you’re singing. But we should be much more conscious of trying to preserve our voices than people who are doing singing or smooth vocals because we’re doing something a little bit more extreme and pushing ourselves harder. So it’s important to warm up and hydrate.

Watch the full interview below:

So I spoke with Tyler a couple of years ago when the first album came out. What do you think you learned from that album that’s helped you with this album? 

So I will say the writing process for the first album, I was very concerned about my lyrical content. I was worried about how people would receive it. There were a lot of things I wanted to talk about or things within my personal life that I wanted to mention, but I was too afraid to either bring up or expand on. For this album, it was more like, just allow yourself to be a bit more honest and uninhibited as far as what I’m talking about. It might be vague, especially if you don’t know exactly what’s going on in my personal life, but there are a lot of songs that were like a bearing of my soul, discussing struggles or personal battles that I allowed myself to talk about. I think that’s important for me not to worry about what I’m writing, if that makes sense. 

Why do you think it’s important to share that stuff? 

I just think, for me, it’s being able to look back on it and think, “That was something I really gave from the bottom of my heart.” It just wasn’t something I felt was safe enough to release. I can be really proud of what I’ve created.

On this album, you got a couple of collabs as well, including the last single. Tell me about why you wanted to do that and how that all came about.

It was actually more of Tyler’s idea. He suggested having a spot for guest vocals, so I picked a song. This song had similar lyrical content to “Red Guillotine” from the first album, but it’s a little bit different, a bit angrier. I thought it would be a great opportunity to work with another female vocalist, which I’ve always wanted to do. We were excited that Candace (Walls of Jericho) agreed to it, even though I thought she might be too busy. She’s been incredibly gracious and hands-on, making it a beautiful experience.

Hardcore royalty. Is that somebody you were paying attention to early on?

Yeah, for sure, especially more now that we’ve been working together. She’s a powerhouse live, and it’s been a privilege working with her.

Let’s talk about the song “Nora,” the last song on the album. Something very different for you. 

It was something I didn’t write lyrics for until we were in the studio, the day of recording. So I wrote something down that day and decided to do something outside my comfort zone, like a spoken word clean style. It’s different for me, but I like it. It allows me to try something new. It’s terrifying for me not to yell or scream because I’m not used to hearing my voice like that.

Any more tour plans you can tell us about?

We’re scheduling stuff for early next year. Many people missed us this year, so keep an eye out for shows in the first quarter of next year. We want to keep the ball rolling and not stand still for too long. Just keep an eye out.

Errors is released 6 October via Metal Blade Records.

Band Photo credit: Tyson Pate
Album artwork by Nat Lacuna
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