Singers Soundoff: Schuylar Croom

Contact: Jon Freeman
[email protected]
Website: heislegendnc.com

Schuylar Croom has been the lead vocalist for modern hard rockers He is Legend since their inception in 2003. The North Carolina-based quartet has steadily been building an avid cult following by consistently delivering energetic shows, inventive arrangements and a take-no-prisoners attitude. Their sixth album release on Spinefarm Records is 2019’s White Bat.

Vocal Background
I was in marching band, jazz band and in a southern gospel band with my folks. My senior year in high school my chorus teacher asked me if I wanted to be in the play, Grease. I played “Danny Zucco” and it was odd and weird for me, but very cool at the same time. But, at that time, I had also carved out my niche at starting a rock band as well. This was my way of really jump-starting that, I guess. I had fun kissing a girl and singing falsetto, but I had no other formal training other than that music teacher. Also, when I was in LA recording our album, Suck Out the Poison, I had one lesson with this guy who gave me some warm-ups. I tried to stick with him, but my philosophy has always been 99% of the job is just showing up.

Vocal Support
I’ve never done any teas or throat sprays. I just bought a microphone for personal use two years ago. I had always used the shitty in-house mics that have probably been stuck in precarious places. I think that has kept me healthy. I use a Sennheiser and it’s a good rocker mic. What’s really important too is getting adequate sleep. I’m trying to be more protective of that.

In-Ear Monitoring
No. I usually have a monitor mix on stage and we’re lucky if we have side fills. But I don’t like in-ears or wireless microphones. I like to have the music blasting pretty loud. And I would rather not hear myself on stage as much as a lot of singers would. The vibe will hit the way that it needs to if I hear myself through the mains. I don’t really remember my stage time. That’s the part of the show that usually disappears. I like the vocals a little under the mix, like a classic Ozzy/Black Sabbath style.

Tom Waits, Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave and Bob Dylan. I like storyteller singers. They portrayed stories that were more than just love songs. When I got older I got more into Deftones, Misfits, Joy Division, dark wave, dance and goth.

Working In The Studio
We track the drums first, all of the guitar work and then I usually go to Mitch Marlow, who played in our band for a while. He’s a lifelong friend and producer. He knows my vocal stylings and I trust what he can pull out of me. It’s a very intimate thing doing vocals. It’s a part of you that takes a certain warmth and grit. You essentially have to pretend like you’re doing the best show of your life to an audience of one who is your engineer. And you have to capture that energy and emotion that would only come as a conduit through the fans.

Selecting The Proper Vocal Approach
White Bat called for more aggressive or metal vocals. But mostly, I’m looking for the pop sensibility in these jarring songs. I like wordplay. I like to think about a sentence for a long while. I’ll walk outside and sit with a melody between takes and know that it will change the entire structure of a song.

Best Career Advice
When I was young we were signed to the same label as this guy Chris McClain. And I remember I was so excited to talk with him. And the only thing he told me was, “Get it in writing.” Also, for aspiring bands, play every show you can, try to get out of your town as much as possible and just get out there and continue. •


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