High Hopes: Crobot

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Crobot are sci-fi nerds. So much so, that the Pennsylvanian stoner rocking four-piece would love to be the house band on The Big Bang Theory. “That would amazing,” says frontman Brandon Yeagley. “We’re proud to be nerds. You’ll always find loads of DVDs in our van. Right now we’re watching the Alien collection, and there are always Stars Wars movies or Star Trek episodes being played.”

Crobot have only been around since 2011, when Yeagley and guitarist/vocalist Chris Bishop got together (the current line-up, with the Figueroa brothers Jake on bass and Paul on drums, has been going since 2012), but they have the assured sound of a much more seasoned band.

Their music draws from Soundgarden, Zeppelin, Sabbath and Clutch, but it’s taken in a distinctly modern direction, linking the songs thematically through the idea of the ‘Crobot’ as a creature roaming through space. And with their debut album Something Supernatural – and a blistering first London gig, at Shoreditch’s XOYO last month – the band appear very capable of becoming new, funked-up stoner heroes.

“Most of our influences are typically stoner,” Yeagley says, “but we also have a few more off-the-wall inspirations – I’m well into Prince and Funkadelic; you can hear them in our songs. We call Crobot music ‘dirty, groove rock’.”

The album – a mighty thing – was produced by Machine, who has worked with King Crimson and Lamb Of God, among others.

“We got hold of him almost by accident,” Yeagley explains. “We played a South By Southwest gig earlier this year, and there was hardly anyone there. But afterwards this guy came up to us and said he loved what we did so much he wanted to produce us. That was Machine. What made it stranger was that the only reason he saw Crobot was because he was so jet-lagged he turned up an hour early to see the band he’d really come to check out.”

Crobot are currently touring intensively, and it seems they’ve already got a strong posse of diehard fans: “At every gig there are people who sing the words to all of our songs. I have no clue how they know these, as some of the tunes aren’t released yet.”

While much about the band is connected to the cosmos, their most distinctive visual aspect is more personal.

“We’re all growing long beards,” Yeagley says, laughing. “It’s not that we’re trying to create some sort of rivalry with ZZ Top, but none of us can be bothered to shave. And we all have very different beards. Mine’s a bit patchy, but I’m proud of its girth.”

Elsewhere the band have plans to move into the world of comics: “We’re creating a separate piece of art to illustrate each song. This will appear on the vinyl edition. We’ve also got ideas to do our own graphic novel, based on the idea of the Crobot… So there are lots of ideas in the pipeline.”

Something Supernatural is out now via Nuclear Blast.