The Crease Rule - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Kyle Hohmann of The Crease Rule. We discussed the band’s origins, the process and success of an indie band, his thoughts about last year’s EP, and what fans can expect next. Check it out below.

The band consists of session players and touring artists. How did you come together to form the band and how does this benefit the band? 

I was sitting on a large folder of songs a couple years back. They were fully tracked demos, alot of them were inspired by some real things. I got around to finally saying “whatever, I’ve toured for a decade and played for others, it would be weird to try and play these in a room with a drummer at least.”

So I went into my drummer - day - planner (I work with ALOT of drummers because I run a party / wedding band business). I think to myself, who lives close (downtown Toronto), and ISN'T on tour right now. I messaged my good drinkin’ buddy Jonny Wiebe. He’s from Vancouver, and had recently moved to Toronto. Jonny has skillz!

He worked at a reputable Toronto company and was super busy at the time, but right away was like “yup, let’s jam some of these” so we did. 

It sounded kinda good? Good enough for punk rock. I wanted some bass, Jonny did too. Luckily one of my closer buddies at the time was Mike Chhangur from Cambridge, ON. He’s a talented session bass player and has worked for a bunch of artists in the past. 

Chhang came in, learned a few tunes, and it sounded good? Once again - good enough for punk rock.

Then came Dakota. Long time hometown buddy (Bowmanville where the 3 way stop is). He’s a jazz guy, but he crushes beers like a punk rock guy. He’s in. Sounded good.

I chatted with a buddy at the Canadian Country Music Awards later in 2019 while we were both there working. His name was Brent Fortin (Farva). We bonded over punk rock while having a pint in the hotel lobby. Brent said, “hey these songs are cool why don’t we engineer them? Do a few with me?” So I did. Brent’s a great producer. We tag-teammed the 3 Way Stop EP in a weekend, and the rest was history.

Eventually Jonny was too busy with work to jam and I don’t blame him, because from the beginning he was just helpin me out. We needed a good fast drummer. So Brent goes “dude we gotta ask Pete (Brian Chiarcos) if he’ll play in this band.”

Brian recorded the drums on the 3 Way Stop EP before I even asked him to be in the band. Brian said yes to being in the band. 

Sooo, now there’s 5 of us dads happily playing loud punk rock together.

As an indie band, you have seen success with gaining fans and getting streams without having a label behind you at this point. How do you reach listeners and engage with them?

As much as I believe in being authentic from a musical sense, I have a big tech industry background. I have friends here and there in the music industry that have kept me up to speed on the ever-changing ways artists launch their careers. Real talk, it’s hard to keep up. 

There are way too many ways to give someone money to put a big fabricated wall between you and new fans. I knew THIS: we would record the songs well, and release them properly to the best of our abilities. We as in me and the band, me and my close-knit team. I won’t be handing over what little cash I had to anyone that does the same thing I can do myself after seeing it happen over the years again and again. 

This theory of business may only work for so long. The beginning stages, however, when nobody knows you, nor do they care; you’re best to grow something you care about organically and slowly. 

So we launched the songs, showed then some common interest-based platforms, sent to our friends, and sent friendly hello emails to companies we thought we could benefit from.

We caught a few breaks with 3 Way Stop. We even got some nationwide news coverage. It was weird. But it gained us some great fans right away. As one human to another, I engage everybody that appreciates the band. Even if it was 5 people. 

If the songs are good, people will listen. There’s a world of fast loud music lovers that embraced The Crease Rule.

You write and produce all your music and you and your bandmates engineer and mix it. Tell us about your process of recording and releasing music.

Sooo, the recording process:

I write a buncha crap, sketch it out in a demo, and share the folder with the guys and other industry friends. I get everyone to rank em in order from funnest to most boring. We go from there.

I get into the studio with Brian, and we engineer the drums. Then we take a break. Sometimes weeks, haha.

Next I get together with Brent and we track guitars. I play most parts while Brent runs the pro tools rig. We’ll switch while Brent cooks up some lead sounds or something cool. We run 2 different amps for 2 different guitars and do most of the songs that way. We have used several spaces so far to do track, including Brent’s living room. 

We then take a break while either Chhang, myself or Brent tracks bass. Lol somebody put the puck in the net already eh?

I go into a studio alone for a day or two after guitars are done. I’ll crank leads, and sing harmonies over them.

Next step is getting the gang together. It’s been harder during covid, but I round up 4-7 people with different strengths of voice and we add the crease rule cherry on top by yelling and screaming gang vocals. I also make sure these people can sing too, so we can have some choir parts added.

Next I ship it off to a new set of ears for mixing, then another set of ears for mastering. 

These songs are in several different hands before they’re done, but I’m usually there for all of it. I think the new ears bring perspective and life to the songs. I’m also too poor and unsuccessful to pay someone famous to do a whole album in one place over a 2-3 week space like cool bands do it. DIY BABY. 

You released ‘The Brotherhood EP’ last year. What are your thought looking back at it now? 

The Brotherhood EP was special. The songs were very close to my heart. They were very real, and kinda sad. I wrote the riff for ‘I Drink Alone but With My Friends’ while I was a bottle of liquor deep dealing with some serious health issues. At the time I could only write songs, drink, stay up all night with Seinfeld on loop, and skate early in the morning on the outdoor rink. It lasted weeks but I got about 13 songs out of my sorrow. 4 of those were The Brotherhood EP. I had to put it out, and close the book on my struggles. Looking back, maybe I’d track the guitars differently? I insisted on a wall of unneccesary guitars in certain spots where the vocal stacks were more important but buried in the mix. That’s it though. Songs are deec I guess?

You hosted a livestream concert on January 23rd. What can viewers expect from your livestreams?

Our livestream this weekend is going to be The Crease Rule hanging out in a living room playing songs completely unrehearsed so it may be so fucking terrible people will turn it off. HOWEVER, it features our live arrangements of the songs with 3 GUITARS. So it’s cooler!

You’ve been working on EP 3. What can you tell us about that? 

EP #3 is going to be 5 songs. The songs are perhaps more thoughtful? Moments of sheer speed and danger, but many moments of dialed back vocal passion. There’s even some acoustic guitars in it! GROSS. FUCK THAT. 

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Is there anything else that you want to add?

Thanks so much for the interview, I sincerely appreciate the promo!

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