They may not exactly be the next Traveling Wilburys but it’s hard to dispute that Crash Karma is a bona fide Canadian super group in the making.
When you can combine the vocal talents of former I Mother Earth frontman Edwin with the guitar wizardry of Our Lady Peace’s Mike Turner, the percussive drive of Tea Party drummer Jeff Burrows anchored by the sonic bass of ex Zygote Amir Epstein and you have quite a potent force.
It’s a force that was unwrapped again when Crash Karma debuted their new release “Rock Music Deluxe” at the Toronto’s Hard Rock Café August 6th and all indications are that their second record release could be a monster.
With a self-titled debut album already in their catalogue and a year’s worth of touring under their collective belts, Crash Karma are just hitting their stride and front man Edwin couldn’t be happier with the band’s progress.
“We don’t want to be tagged as just a super group,” allowed Edwin, prior to their CD premiere. “There are no egos with us; we originally took to working together really easily. “I’ve always admired Mike’s guitar playing with Our Lady Peace and I’ve always considered Jeff to be one of this country’s premiere drummers. Amir is a prolific songwriter and I think they were excited to see what I could bring to the project so we were all buzzed about working together, especially with us all coming from successful backgrounds.”
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Crash Karma originally formed in 2010 when, Edwin, despondent after his solo record, “Better Days” had failed, took six months off to try to rejuvenate his lost confidence. “When a record fails it really takes the wind out of your sails, I was put off for quite a while.”
A mutual friend introduced Edwin to Epstein, formerly of Zygote. “We originally met over coffee, just to talk about song writing together when Amir suggested we should form a band,” reflected Edwin. “He tells me he has Jeff and Mike, and I’m thinking `Yeah, right you do, but if you do have them, I’d consider it.’ Well guess what! Amir did have them. So we all got together in the same room and it just felt right.”
[quote]“We don’t want to be tagged as just a super group”[/quote]Edwin initially had his doubts; “It was like, what do I have to lose! Let’s do it, this could be fun and if it doesn’t last, so what! There were no expectations but so far it’s worked out great.
He admits the first record was a bit of a hit and miss effort. “But I played it back and I thought, I really like this record”. As for the band’s name, “We went through the usual bullshit process and every time we came up with something, we’d Google it to see if anyone else had it. Someone came up with Karma and then we added the word Crash. At first, we thought `well there’s been Crash Test Dummies and Crash Vegas but when we checked Google, Crash Karma was clear for us to take. And as cheesy as it may seem, there was a certain karma about the way we crashed together so that’s how we justified the name.”
A year of solid touring brought the band together and when they hit the studios to record Rock Music Deluxe, Crash Karma have melded themselves into a potent musical force. “The new record is more cohesive, less searching and more knowing who we are, “enthused Edwin. “The first record was more of us all doing our own thing but this time I know what to expect. The songs are stronger; overall they are more listener friendly. We sound like a band that’s been together for more than a few months. The songs seem more fluid than the first one. Initially, it was let’s try a little of this and a little of that – this time we were a little more focused.”
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Ironically, `Tomorrow’ which is being touted as the record’s most accessible single, almost didn’t make the record.
“We had recorded the whole album, 10 tracks, and sent it to our radio tracking guy, Dale, “explained Edwin. “His reaction was `I really like it, I’ve played it for some radio guys but we don’t think you’ve got the big single here to start the project. If you go back into the studio, I think you could come up with one more great single.’ We weren’t too happy to hear that! We thought our work was completed in that department. But we went back into the studio, Amir banged out a couple of really strong ideas and we were galvanized.”
“So we came up with two new songs; `Tomorrow’ and `Appetite For Life’ that both eventually made the final record,” confirmed Edwin. “We’ve been playing `Tomorrow’ live in our concerts and the crowds really like it – and when the crowds respond to a song they haven’t heard before – that’s a good sign.”
Edwin is aware that today’s musical landscape has changed drastically from the time that his former band, I Mother Earth was being wined and dined by U.S bigwig labels all fighting over obtaining their contract. “It’s all about the live performance,” agreed Edwin. “No one (or hardly any one) buys records these days so it’s hard for a record label to sink money into something that nobody is going to pay for! So it’s all about ITunes and selling records at your gigs – but because we collectively have such a strong live background, we are at a distinct advantage.”
Edwin notes that at the end of the day, Crash Karma is alive today because of the buzz they receive from playing live. “If we were in it for the money, we’d be doctors or lawyers or something,” he cracks. “Playing for the fans is what it’s all about. There is no bigger rush than when fans sing one of your songs back to you. Once you hit the stage, and feel that adrenaline hit you – no drug can replace that feeling.”