“Fuckin’ idiots. I’ve told them fifty times to break up,” Confession’s Michael Crafter says of the Sydney grind band that shares his name. “I can’t believe they’re still going. I just want my 20%!”
He thinks about that for a moment, then offers a chuckle. “They probably don’t make any money, so I can’t take it. I’ll get paid in potatoes in a hessian sack made out of their worn-out dreadlocks! I don’t care. I’ve listened to them a couple of times. They can have a band, they can use my name. If that’s what they’ve got to do, that’s what they’ve got to do. If they say anything that’s outta line… well. I know what they look like. They’re skinny dudes, with beards! But… the only thing that would piss me off, if you mention my child or my girlfriend, I’ll be a very pissed off person. Other than that, say what you fucking want about me! I’ve got a fucking box for a head, have absolutely no neck, play in a shit band that plays heaps of breakdowns… I’m a fucking walking target for controversy!”
Crafter is a man with few illusions. He is very clear about how he has been perceived throughout his career, which he finds to his surprise and delight has now lasted more than a decade since he first stepped out with I Killed the Prom Queen. A string of different bands have followed, most of whom have seen him depart almost before fans got used to him being there.
“For some people, they can do the same thing. I like mixing it up a fair bit,” he says with another chuckle. “For me it’s never been about being big, it’s been about touring and seeing what happens. When I was with Prom Queen, there was obviously a few issues, and things change and stuff and then other things came up and then another thing came up and things changed… I’m stoked I got to do what I got to do. I never thought that in ten years I’d still be in a band. I never thought I’d still be doing tours. It lets me do some pretty cool shit, and that’s the best thing about it.”
Confession is in the final stages of getting down a new album. Crafter says that while the band is together during the Warped Tour, they’ll finish off the songs and then head “somewhere in the US” to record. With the history of the band taking a bizarre turn last year when the rest of the former line-up announced that Crafter had been sacked and a list of previous members that seems way too long for a group that’s only been around a few years, the vocalist has candidly compared Confession to a sporting team where the goal is the same despite who is making up the numbers. Some bands would find it difficult to work in that situation, but Crafter has no such problems.
“When I started the band, I pretty much made the band – and someone’s gonna get offended by this – retard-proof,” he says. “The fact that almost anyone can write it. I never went out and said, ‘Oh yeah, I wanna sound like the Dillinger Escape Plan so I have to get in a genius everytime to write the songs’. It’s like, OK, breakdown, fast part, melodic part… something that I myself can write. Not that I do, cause I’m useless. My guitar skills aren’t that good. But the people that have obviously been in the band for some time now, they’ve been writing the album and been working pretty hard.”
Crafter knows exactly what he wants his band to sound like. He is unashamed to reveal that Confession works to a formula that relies on nothing more than simplicity and heaviness. He knows precisely what works, even down to the marketing level.
“We have a base, we have a base of what the band sounds like. We know what the last album sounded like, we know what the album before sounds like, we know what people go on when we play. It’s the trial and error of playing and seeing which songs do the best. And to be honest, it’s always been the heaviest tracks that have done the best for this band. The really pissed off ones with lots of swearing. They’ve been the ones that have appealed to the crowd the most. And sell the most t-shirts! That’s another theory of mine. If you can’t put the song lyric on the t-shirt, it should not be in the break down.”
He likes to play what he likes to listen to, and with his time in previous groups perhaps proving that he doesn’t necessarily work well on other people’s terms, Confession is his own vision. It’s not rocket science, and he doesn’t want it to be.
“I know what I like. I’m not looking to do what other people like,” he asserts. “If I wanted to sound like what everyone else fucking sounds like these days, we’d have fucking keyboards and fifty million things going on, basically sound like a DJ with a breakdown going on behind it. I try not to sound like everyone else. I try to sound like what I liked when I was young. I loved Bury Your Dead and I loved Carpathian, and then I was in Carpathian and when I started this band, I just wanted to do something heavy and simple. Even though we have some singing parts in some songs, we keep it heavy and simple, and the biggest songs are always real heavy.”
Having played to huge crowds at Soundwave and with his best buds Parkway Drive already this year, Michael Crafter is looking forward to Warped with easy-going enthusiasm. Once again he’ll be sharing the stage with Parkway, whom he’s known since “the day before they played their first gig” and getting to see and hang out with a line-up of acts that he grew up listening to. He couldn’t be happier.
“It’s good to be able to do this kind of stuff,” he says. “Especially Warped because it’s a lot of bands I used to go see when I was a kid and stuff. It’s good that we can tour Australia with friends and a bunch of bands and hang out as well.”
Confession plays the Vans Warped Tour this week:
29/11:RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane QLD
30/11: Coffs Harbour Showground, Coffs Harbour NSW
1/12: Barangaroo, Sydney NSW
6/12: Exhibition Park, Canberra ACT
7/12: Birrarung Marr, Melbourne VIC
8/12: Ellis Park, Adelaide SA