I was getting right into writing for Blunt at this point, and it doesn’t get much more Blunt niche than a band like Mayday Parade. Clean-cut pop-punk boys making adorable little tunes, a true proper hangover from the MySpace era. I don’t remember a single song by these guys, but by gosh they were so darn polite that I could have gone out and bought their entire discography based on charm alone.
Around this point, I think I’m really getting the hang of feature writing. I know as much because I was even creating a convincing article about a band I didn’t really care about, and I was starting to pick up more and more work around this time. Not to toot my own horn or anything… he said while building a website dedicated entirely to himself. Anyway, Mayday Parade!
Pop-rockers Mayday Parade are here to break hearts and chew bubblegum – and they’re all out of bubblegum. BLUNT spoke to frontman Derek Sanders about the band’s monstrous new album.
The next time you’re told that the Gen Y age group is lazy, perhaps it would be wise to point the perpetrator in the direction of Florida’s Mayday Parade. Since forming in 2005, the quintet have shown a devotion to the write/record/tour cycle that’s borderline evangelical. It’s taken them across the world several times and allowed them to accumulate a fanbase that’s nearly 1.5 million strong on Facebook alone. The cycle continues on into their fourth studio album, Monsters in the Closet, and momentum has not waned for a second.
“Usually, what happens is we record an album, we release it and then we’re on the road for a year or so touring it,” explains Derek Sanders, the band’s lead singer and occasional guitarist and keyboardist. “In that time, a lot of us are usually working individually on song ideas; so a lot of these songs started out as things we were writing on the road. We got together in January at a beach house in Florida, and we spent about a month together writing the album.”
Although he asserts that Monsters in the Closet has developed a vibe of its own as an album, Sanders certainly agrees that if you’ve found yourself tapping your feet and singing along to any of the band’s prior three albums – 2007’s A Lesson in Romantics, 2009’s Anywhere But Here and their eponymous 2011 release – then there is a very strong chance that you’ll enjoy what they have to offer this time around. “It definitely sounds like a Mayday Parade record,” he says. “If people are fans of the old stuff, then they’ll probably be into this as well. Obviously, we tried to do things a little bit different – I think with each album, we try to go a little more outside the box and incorporate everyone’s ideas. It’s all about becoming more comfortable with writing together. This album was just the next logical progression.”
One of the more significant changes that came with the writing and recording of the album was the further inclusion of every band member in the songwriting, rather than centring all of the responsibility around a sole member of the group. “Usually, it’s myself and Jake [Bundrick, drummer/vocalist] that will come up with the ideas or the starting points to the songs; and then we’d finish it all together as a band,” says Derek. “The biggest difference about making this album, though, was that there were a couple that Cabbage [aka Jeremy Lenzo, bass] had the idea for; and one that our guitarist, Brooks [Betts], came up with. Everyone was much more involved for the writing this time around, which is really cool – it made the record mean a lot more to everyone.”
Interestingly, for songs that were essentially born while writing on the road, none of the songs that are featured on Monsters in the Closet were road-tested before making their way onto the album in question. As Sanders justifies, however, it was a matter of not presenting rough drafts that could end in a shambles; and being confident and certain of new material. “We actually haven’t played any of the new songs live yet,” he confesses. “At the time of our last tour, we hadn’t even finished recording the album. We’d given thought to it, but it just seemed to early to play them. We wanted to get them worked out and rehearsed before we tried them out live. The tour we’re about to head out on will be the first time we ever play them, and I can’t wait. It’s always a lot of fun to play stuff for the first time and get a reaction to it. It really keeps things fresh.”
As well as the new album, Mayday also have a very unique project in the works in the form of a photo book, documenting their eight years together as a band; with the finishing touches being added as we speak. “I think the first test copy will be with us really soon, and I’m really excited about it,” says Sanders with a notable tone of enthusiasm. “Tom Falcone is our photographer and videographer. He and our merch guy worked really hard on this book, putting together everything. There are photos from years back when we first started the band up until now; and a lot of fan-submitted stuff, major tours, recording each album and international stuff. I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time, and I’m really glad that it’s finally working out.”
Talk eventually turns to Mayday Parade’s relationship with Australia, which they have visited three times and attracted bigger and bigger crowds with each return. While many bands will generically talk of how much they love [insert country here], Sanders gives an elated description of his experience with Australian audiences.
“The last tour we did with We Are the In Crowd and Heroes for Hire was so much fun,” he says, speaking of their sold-out run of headlining dates in December of 2012. “We always love it over in Australia. The first time we went was with Paramore and Hot Rod Circuit back in 2007, and that was such an incredible experience for us. We came back with Soundwave in 2011, and to this day I count that in our top three things we’ve ever done as a band.”
Although he is not at liberty to say exactly when the band will be returning, he hints that it will be sooner than we think. “Australia has been amazing to us – it’s one of the places internationally that we’ve seen the most growth,” he says. “In-between doing the Paramore tour and doing Soundwave, there was this dramatic difference. There were so many people that came out that second time around. It’s really built up faster in Australia than any other place we’ve ever been. We definitely want to keep coming back.”