Real Talk – Michael Crafter

I Killed the Prom Queen pionerred the entire heavy music scene in Australia in the early twothouands and were also a key player in the early-mid two thouands metalcore movement. Frontman Michael Crafter lives a much more tame lifestyle now running the Tattoo and Barber company Against the Grain in Perth. Michael is a true legend of Hardcore. Any fan of Parkway Drive has this man to thank for discovering them. Michael has seen so much change during his time as vocalist so he chatted to Faultline recently to to give an update and reflections on life, music and everything inbetween.

Your a legend of the Australian hardcore scene and your band put Australian heavy music on the map. How does it feel having such status, and for your work to be still highly regarded and appreciated all these years later?

To be honest its pretty weird its all been so long. I feel like my life is so far removed from music now days and different I nearly don’t appreciate it all enough. Music gave me the life I have now and its good to reflect on the past and be stoked on what I got to do.

Coming from Adelaide, how was the scene there growing up, and when Prom Queen was starting out, was it tough to establish yourselves, or was the local scene always good to the band?

The good thing about that time period is there was a bunch of bands before us doing some pretty big shit such as Day of Contempt doing big tours and touring oversea’s. We we kinda followed in the bands footsteps so to speak. We had already been in bands before, so the moment we had something new we were getting on heaps of shows and support slots for bigger tours.

How was your recording experience in Sweden for Confessions second record?

Fredrick is one of my favourite humans to work with. He’s a true metal legend and its super funny. He’s either super serious or he’s a massive child. We knew he’d smash it out the park with that cd and it still is so heavy when in listen back.

What inspired you to move to Perth? 

I always loved Perth and coming here on tours. I met a girl here and she was worth moving for. Although we are not together anymore. We have an 8 year old daughter named Kennedy and she’s the best thing in both our lives. Still the best decision I ever made was to make the move west.

How did the idea come about to open your own Tattoo and Barbershop?

I was stuck between music and what was next in life and it resulted in me doing this. I saw other people I was friends with do similar projects in other states and felt I could pull it off. Now 4 years later I have 2 shops and it is still ticking over.

If you could change anything about the music industry what would it be?

Ego’s. Legit I had one and I was a total wanker for so many years. Its something about bands doing well that changes people. I have former friends I don’t talk to now cause their egos are so big. Everyone needs to relax and realise its just music. We are all equal and no ones better. Bands come and go. Something thats big now won’t be in 6 months. Support each other, respect each other and help eachothers bands rise to bigger heights. Don’t act like its a competition for bragging rights.
Tupac once said “Just because you lost me as a friend doesn’t mean you gained me as an enemy. I’m bigger than that, I still wanna see you eat just not at my table.” So if you are building up bands with your friends around the same kinda music scene you’ll rise together and you’ll eat together. No time for ego’s and competition.

What records stand out in your memory as the best metalcore records of the early 2000s?

I think Parkways Horizons is the stand out for me. It just captured everything it needed to. Its so heavy and catchy at the same time and it really took metal core to another level in Australia and I guess world wide. Hatebreeds Perseverance also was insane and still such a good album. It legit took hardcore to a whole different world of people.

What was your favorite hardcore record of the decade just gone?

The new ghost inside… is off its head.. Not last decade but fuck its so good. Been smashing it all week. So thats the album I’m going to say right now.

Is music something you will always be involved in? Is doing shows something that you need every now and again to regain some inner peace?

Thats the thing going back and doing shows years down the track has been refreshing. I don’t need to tour anymore. But every now and again it brings me something that business and a normal life can’t. I build a lot up in this big head of mine and sometimes playing some shows gets all those emotions out. Its an amazing feeling to see people sing along and truly believe in the lyrics I’ve written.

Do you feel international bands have ever struggled or neglected touring Australia over the past twenty years? With flights and costs of a tour being one of the highest countries to tour in, was there ever a period of unsuccessful shows or bands not bothering to visit on an album cycle?

It was the case for years but then when sound wave and other tours started bringing heaps out it was nearly to flooded. Probably contributed to the demise of SoundWave and the Big Day Out etc. It stopped a lot of Aus bands doing well and touring cause they were overlooked to get on the festival. The rise of Australian music both here and worldwide has been the greatest thing for me to see. After this corona thing who knows what will happen though. Crazy times for music and world wide touring.

Do you feel some Australian bands struggle to push their music outside the country? With the number of places to play shows in being very limited in their home nation, do you feel once they have established themselves in their home nation is harder to take the next step as compared to American and UK bands?

I think there’s a point where you have to get out or get left behind. Prom Queen and Parkway left Australia early and now days there so many more touring opportunities world wide than back home. But also no one should overlook their own backyard. Plenty of bands can still rise in this time and create a solid foundation back home. I guess Australia becomes the building block with money for the ability to tour the world. Make some cash here, blow it trying to make it somewhere else. But its all about learning and living. Gotta take risks to do better I guess?

What is your preferred vocal style? When and how did you learn to scream?

I like heavy stuff. Always loved Jamie hatebreed, Ben from Day of Contempt, Winno from parkway etc. Just that heavy low vocals has always been my go to because I’ve been influenced by the men I’ve mentioned. All legends of the game…

Interview by Rob Kent

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