Check out the song: “We All Bleed”

Over the last six or seven years, Crossfade has established themselves as one of the U.S.’ top hard rock acts, but it hasn’t been without its challenges. The band got canned from major label Columbia Records in 2008 which resulted in a lot of discouragement as well as a year-long hiatus. Despite these dark times the group has persevered and just released its third studio record We All Bleed at the end of June. In this interview with lead singer Ed Sloan, Ed talks about parting ways with Columbia and how the band ended up signing with Eleven Seven Records. He also takes us through the writing and recording of We All Bleed, how the band goes about writing music and why they chose to self-produce the new record. Look out for Crossfade on tour this summer and in the fall in the U.S.

You signed with Eleven Seven Music after you parted ways with Columbia. What specifically attracted you to Eleven Seven?
Ed: Well Allen who is the CEO of Eleven Seven, almost the day after we left Columbia Records he started contacting our management wanting to sign us then. As you know, it took us three years to get this record out which comes out June 21st. About three or four times a year he would call me up and say “hey Ed, Alan here from Eleven Seven, I would love to get you guys on board.” Over the course of three years and probably twelve to fifteen phone calls of his persistence was the main thing that attracted us to them almost to the point where we didn’t even shop the record around too much. We knew we wanted to go to Eleven Seven, obviously did a little shopping around, but it turned out to be a fantastic label, they’re on their game, they do a great job for us, but that’s really what it was, his persistence.

The group’s third studio record We All Bleed is due out next month. Take us through the writing and recording process. When did you start writing and how many songs did you record?
Ed: Well there’s ten songs on the album, we probably wrote about fifteen. We didn’t want it to be too long of an album, we’ve got one song on there that’s I think ten minutes and ten seconds long so we just wanted to keep the album short and sweet. But since we weren’t signed to a label at the time, that’s kind of the reason it took us so long to write the record because we didn’t have any deadlines and we were just able to do it all on our own terms and not have somebody looking over our backs. It took us about two and a half years to write it, some songs were written in a couple of weeks, some songs were written over the period of a year and of course after we finished each song that was our new favourite so that’s what kept us going. But um, yeah it was really just me and Les and sometimes Mitch locked inside our home studio with no windows, just dark, no clocks, no nothing, just wasting the day away recording and writing and having a ball with your buds man.

The album was originally due out last Fall, but was pushed back a couple of times. Was there any particular reason for the delays?
Ed: You know we were just told it was bad timing. I think at one point it was close to Christmas and there were all these giant Christmas albums coming out and then the second delay was because like ten super bands were coming out with their new records so it was just a label decision to push the record back so it could have some room to breathe amongst the other giants that were coming out. I think that’s the only thing that really happened there.

Now I understand that you self-produced the album? Why did you do it this way instead of seeking out a big name producer?
Ed: Well this is our third album and all of the albums we’ve recorded we’ve recorded at the same studio that we have at home in Columbia, South Carolina and that’s just the way we work at it. The three of us work great together and to have another brain and another opinion in the room, we’ve never even attempted it. It’s just the way we work and everything works out fine. Who knows, after this record we’ll see what it does and we may in the future decide to go with a big producer, but we’ve built success off of doing it all on our own and we just really don’t want to mess with that formula yet.

We All Bleed is definitely influenced by the recent ups and downs the band has been forced to confront. What would you like listeners to take away from this album in terms of a message?
Ed: Um, well you know the first two albums, life obviously has ups and downs and with the first album, a lot of the lyrics were a lot like this album and then towards the end of the album I noticed that there were a positive message in a lot of the songs. So what I realized is that even for a musician writing records, the records go up and down so it’s kind of like, I’d like for people to just realize that even though life really can suck ass sometimes, that as long as you just keep pushing forward with everything, everything happens for a reason I do believe. And I do believe that all bad things must come to an end at some point and um you know, life doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it. As long as we have good backdrops, good friends and good music to help us live through that then everything will be okay.

I like the fact that the record only has ten songs which prevents any filler tracks from being included. Is this the reason why you decided to only go with ten?
Ed: Well you know like I said, we had fifteen or so ready to go but… it wasn’t so much about the length of the album, it was more about the content. We wanted the album to be completely enjoyable all the way through and for there not to be any filler tracks. Every note that was sung, every guitar that was played we wanted to have meaning and not just be some riff we wrote that doesn’t fit in. It’s short and sweet because we wanted it to be the absolute best thing that we put out there on the shelves.

Check out the song: “Killing Me Inside”

What do you have planned in terms of touring for the Summer and the Fall?
Ed: Yeah, I mean hopefully this record, it comes out June 21st, we’ve got tours scheduled, mostly headlining stuff all the way through to the end of the Summer and I’m sure by the middle of the Summer once the record comes out we’ll get dates all the way through the end of the year. We’re doing a one or two month run with Pop Evil starting pretty soon here and um hopefully the record will have longevity, but hopefully we’ll be touring right through to the end of 2012 you know do a good twelve to eighteen month tour and then get back in the studio for the fourth album so that’s the hope.

Do you have any side projects going on or is this your only focus these days?
Ed: No this has been my only focus. Les Hall, the guitarist for the band, when we’re off the road he’ll do a lot of side projects, he’s a floater in terms of that.

When you guys write and record, do you do it all together? What’s the process?
Ed: I used to do everything myself, but Les joined the band about three or four years ago, he’s an incredible musician and he kind of took the reins on a lot of these songs, on most of them actually. So this album is pretty much co-written by us and usually he’s our greatest writer so he would create these incredible riffs and backdrops of audio goodness and you know, I’d come in and write melody and lyrics over a lot of his stuff but sometimes he would have melody and lyrics ready to go for me to sing as well. So it’s completely a collaborative process.