In June of this year, post-hardcore band Make Do And Mend released ‘Everything You Ever Loved’, their second studio album and follow-up to 2010’s End Measured Mile, to critical acclaim. Kill Your Stereo caught up with drummer Matt Carroll prior to the band’s national Australian tour with Touche Amore, which kicked off recently, to discuss their latest record, along with his hatred for Nickelback, and his thoughts on people saying Make Do And Mend have ‘sold out’.
Everything You Ever Loved is Make Do And Mend’s debut on Rise Records. How and why did that partnership come about?
It came about because after we released our End Measured Mile record and did a bunch of touring on that, it was time to write and release a new record, and at that point we had been touring a lot, and it became a bit more of a full time venture for us. So we wanted to find a label that was a little bit more full time and could offer the same amount of time that we put into the band.
Are there any differences that make Rise a better fit for you guys, or is it just that they’re more full time?
I don’t think it’s a matter of a better fit, I mean, I thought Paper Plastick was a great fit for us. We got to release an incredible record, and made some really incredible friends at that label. I just think that Rise is a label that we can call at any time during the day and they’re working and they’re doing their thing. And I think in that sense, it just kind of made more sense for where we’re at as a band.
Everything You Ever Loved is a bit different from your previous releases. Did you have any idea of how you wanted it to sound when you started writing it?
It still gets me when people say it’s completely different from the old material, because I really don’t think it is, but that’s neither here nor there. We’re just four guys who write music, and we write the music that we love, and whatever comes out, comes out, and any difference between this record and the last record wasn’t a conscious decision. We wrote eleven songs and we wrote a record, and that’s about it. You know, we weren’t trying to do any certain thing, we weren’t trying to change our style in the least, it was just what came naturally to us. So that’s how we wrote it then and how it always will be.
How did you feel when the record was about to come out? Do you still get nervous?
Totally. There’s always a sense of nerves that comes along with something you created with someone. I think in any walk of life, if you come up with an idea, you create something, you can tell yourself that it’s good, and then when you’re ready to show it to someone, you’re like, "Fuck, it sucks! It was never good!", and there’s that sense of freak out. So it’s definitely a very nerve-wracking, but at the same time very exciting thing, releasing records. And I guess the same feelings existed when we put out this one for sure.
In the past, James has been responsible for the lyrics on Make Do And Mend records. Was that the same on this one?
Yeah, totally. He is the lyric writer for sure.
Would you like to have a hand in the lyrics in future, or are you happy with the process?
I really am happy with the process. I think James is an incredible writer and I love his words, so I’m completely happy with it. I don’t think that anyone else in the band is eager to get involved with the lyric writing, so we’re going to let him do his thing.
I’ve read some articles and stuff claiming you guys have ‘sold out’. How do you feel about people saying that sort of thing?
It’s just crazy talk. I really don’t know how to handle it. I wish I could personally talk to everyone who says something like that, because it’s completely off base and completely crazy. I don’t even know what that word means, and I think people are saying it because we have some slower songs on our record or something like that, but nothing has changed in our band. We’re still the same people, doing the band for the same exact reason as we were with every other record that we’ve released. I don’t know, it definitely bums me out when I read that stuff, because it’s so off base. And as I said before, I wish I could personally speak with everyone who thinks that and just show them that it’s not the case, and that we still have the same intentions, and that we’re still the same punk rock band that we were, you know, six months ago, six years ago.
I’m pretty sure this was on the internet so I don’t think it counts, but I’ve also read some stuff comparing Make Do And Mend to Nickelback…?
Oh god (laughs). Fuck. That’s just depressing. I don’t know what to say. Someone saying to me that my band is anything like Nickelback is like slapping me in the face. Nickelback is a pile of bullshit, a completely gimmick-based band, and we’re so far from that. So, so far from that. And it really bums me out when people say things like that. And they’re just completely off base. There’s not really much else that I can say besides that, and I think people that say that need a reality check, and… I don’t know what they need… I think they need some mental health tips.
Yeah, I don’t get that comparison at all, but it’s the internet I guess.
You know, we are completely everything opposite of the band Nickelback. And I hope that everyone can understand that.
Well, I guess when people compare a band to Nickelback, there are automatically negative connotations attached to that, but they’re somehow a really successful band. Do you guys aspire to that type of success?
Not in the way that Nickelback goes about it, just because they’re fake. They’re a fake band. I don’t know them as people obviously, so I can’t comment on how they are as people, but they are a gimmick, and it’s a strange thing. We want to be successful in what we do, but we would never go about it in the way that a band like Nickelback does. That’s not us, we’re not those types of people.
I heard you guys were balancing day jobs with the band up until last year. Did the band become a full time thing just due to a hectic touring schedule, or was it more of a permanent commitment to exclusively playing music?
We were doing tours here and there, and then we would all come back and work jobs, and the touring schedule kind of just became a bit too busy, and it was kind of driving me crazy. We would tour and we would come home for about two or three weeks, and I would have to go find a job, and then quit that job within three weeks, which was crazy. It came to a point where I was like, "Fuck, if I want to do this, I really just need to jump all the way in," and there was just a point where we talked about it and all agreed that this is what we want to do, and we wanted to try and do it full time and put our full heart and souls into it. And we did, and I couldn’t be happier with the decision that I made.
What kind of jobs were you doing, just out of interest?
Oh god, I’ve had so many weird jobs. I walked dogs, which you might think would be a cool job, but it was actually the worst job I’ve ever had, because I wasn’t walking like two dogs, I was walking like ten dogs. And it was terrible. I love dogs, so I was like, "Oh fuck yeah, I’ll walk dogs, it’ll be great," but put ten dogs together and a hot car and they’re just losing their minds.
Is that even fun for the dogs?
No! Luckily I would bring them to parks and they would get to run around, but dogs will always find the muddiest puddle to go jump into. So all these dogs would go find a muddy puddle and I would have to get them all when they’re all super soaking wet and muddy and… it was interesting to say the least. I also delivered laundry to hotels. That was… weird. And yeah, those are the last two jobs that I had.
You guys seem to tour a lot with bands that you’re friends with. Are there any bands you haven’t toured with yet – friends or otherwise – that you’d like to?
We’re touring with Seahaven and Young Statues in Canada. We’re bringing those guys out, and I’m really excited about that tour. I like both of those bands a lot. As far as friends go, definitely that’s going to be fun. I really want to tour with Pianos Become the Teeth. As far as non friends’ bands go, I want to tour with Jimmy Eat World, because they’re my favourite band of all time. That would be super cool.
You’ll be back in Australia with Touche Amore in November. How are you feeling about that tour?
I’m feeling very excited and anxious about it. This will be our first tour ever with Touche Amore, which is insane because we’ve been friends for years. So that alone is super super exciting. And also to be able to come back to Australia is just insane. We’re playing very intimate shows, whereas the last time we were playing Soundwave, which was fun in its own right, but we’re all about being with the kids at the shows and hanging out and being a part of it, and in that respect I think this tour is going to be so much more fun for everyone.
Will you get any down time while you’re here?
I’m not sure yet, I hope, because while Soundwave was cool, we flew to every show, and we didn’t really have a chance to see much. So I’m hoping that on this tour we get to do some exploring, because I’ve heard that Australia is an incredible place, and I kind of want to see the more ‘nature’ side of Australia.
You’re basically on tour for the rest of the year. What are your plans after that?
We don’t have any yet. I think we’re definitely going to be touring more, maybe recording some new music. Not a new record, but we’d like to record some new stuff and put it out. I dunno, just touring more and more.