Mayday Parade have staked their claim as one of the heavyweights in modern pop punk. Having released their fourth full-length, ‘Monsters In The Closet’ in 2013, the band is headed back to Australia this February/March for Soundwave. Lead singer Derek Sanders took some time out to chat to us ahead of the visit.
Hey Derek. How are you doing this morning?
I’m doing well, thank you.
As an easy introduction, what’s up in the Mayday Parade world at the moment?
Well, we finished the Glamour Kills tour about two weeks ago, so we’ve just had some time off. It was an incredible tour, one of the most fun [tours[ we’ve ever done actually. We have the rest of the year off, and next year we start again. We’re heading over to the UK, and we’re going to do mainland Europe, and then we’re heading over to do Soundwave in Australia, which we’re all super excited about.
Lots of big things are happening next year, so we’re just having a good time, and enjoying being able to keep things going as a band.
You guys have recently released your latest album, ‘Monsters In The Closet.’ Two months after the release, how are you guys finding the reception?
It’s been incredible. It’s wild. It’s crazy to me that we have four albums out now, it seems like a lot. Each one has continued to grow, you know, we had our biggest first week sales with this record, and it’s selling really well, feedback’s been great, new songs are going down well live, and we’re really happy that we get to keep going with it.
Are there any particular songs that you’ve noticed to be really popular among the fan base?
I think ‘Hold Onto Me,’ which is a ballad towards the end, it’s a bit more folky sounding. That one’s been one of the real popular ones, which is cool, because that one’s a bit ‘out of the box’ for us, so we’re stoked that people have reacted well to it. ‘Ghosts,’ which was the first single has been doing really well [too]. I don’t know, hopefully as time passes, we’ll get to play a few more songs off it and see how they go down live.
What makes this release stand out among your other albums?
For me, I feel like it’s the first album that we’ve been completely comfortable and stress free in the studio making the album. With our first album, we were such a young band, and it was our first time doing an album, and it was crazy.
The second album, was just a really different experience with all the co-writing, and honestly, we were making the album that Atlantic Records wanted to make, not the album that we wanted to make.
Our third album, we felt like we had to prove ourselves again, after having had such a bad experience with the second album, so after doing the third album and everything fell into place for that one, I think we hit the point where we were able to think ‘all right, we can just go into the studio and make the album that we want tomake’. So we went in with that attitude, and it kind of shows. We’ve just sort of figured out what we want and what we don’t want for this one.
You guys worked with Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount co-producing the record, and you have a history of working with the two of them on your albums. Why the continual choice to keep working with them?
They’re just too much fun to work with. Out of all the times we’ve worked with different producers at different studios, we never have as much fun as we do working with Zack and Ken. They just make the whole experience that much better, and they’re super talented. They push us in all the right ways, and it just worked out very well. It’s been an incredible relationship.
What is it that those two bring to the process that isn’t there without them?
Well, certainly a lot of ideas with songs. And again, it’s almost like an atmosphere, where we get to wake up each day and be excited about recording, rather than it being work or a job or something. They’re funny, they’re joking around all the time, but not too much, and it’s just a lot of fun.
This time last year, you guys had just wrapped up your first headline tour of Australia. Do you want share some of your favourite experiences from the tour?
To begin with, it was with awesome bands. We played with We Are The In Crowd, and Heroes For Hire, who we’ve toured with before. It always helps, when you’re doing international stuff so far from home to be with people that you know.
It was really crazy though. The first time we came to Australia we were supporting Paramore, and the second time was with Soundwave, but this was our first headliner, so we were a little nervous about having all of that on our shoulders. The shows were incredible though, and the energy was insane, and I’m super excited that we’ve managed to build relationships there and we get to keep going back. Some of these places that we’ve toured, we’ve had to wonder if we’d ever be able to do it again, but it’s great that we get to be back down there time and time again.
As you mentioned, supporting you on the tour was We Are The In Crowd and Aussie locals Heroes For Hire. How did those relationships form?
We Are The In Crowd we met a handful of times, like on Warped Tour. They also recorded with Kenneth and Zack, so we had that connection, and we’d done a handful of tours with them before.
Heroes For Hire, we did a tour in Japan, called the Beyond The Blue tour, and they were actually on that, and they were some pretty wild dudes, and a lot of fun to hang out with. It was cool to hang with them again.
How are you feeling about returning for Soundwave in February?
I could not be more excited about it. Soundwave is one of my favourite tours that we’ve ever done, and to make it happen again is going to be awesome.
You’re with so many people that either you’re really good friends with, or you’re bound to become really good friends with. It’s an easy tour, you’re taken care of really well, so for us, it’s almost like a vacation where we play some really huge shows with some really huge bands. It’s incredible.
You guys have played the festival before in 2011. Can you share some of your best experiences from that?
There was some pretty wild partying with all of the bands, but in terms of shows, the Melbourne show, which I think was either second or third, the crowd was enormous, and brought so much energy. I remember being on stage and thinking “oh my gosh, this is incredible!” because we had such a huge crowd, and it was only our second time there. Meeting a lot of the bands, especially Slash was insane. There were so many crazy things.
Having played all around the world, how would you say Soundwave stands amongst the worldwide festival scene?
It’s tough to say. It’s the biggest festival we’ve done. We’ve never done something of that magnitude where you have those enormous headliners. Like, this year we have Green Day, there was Metallica a year or two back, and for us it was Iron Maiden. Not even just the size of the bands, but the amount of bands. There’s just so many.
It’s a massive festival, and it’s pretty relaxed. Warped Tour is like, show after show after show, and you might have 13 shows without a day off, and the schedule for Soundwave is much more relaxing. There’s a lot of time to kind of get used to where you are.
Are there any bands you’re particularly excited to play the festival with this time around?
Super stoked about Jimmy Eat World. Biffy Clyro too. Green Day obviously. There’s so many incredible bands playing.
With four full length albums behind you, how do you go about selecting a setlist, particularly for a shorter set at a festival?
This will be the first time with the new album that we’ve had to do a shorter set, but I think we’re just going to try and play the songs people want to hear. We don’t want to end up just doing the same songs off each album every tour, so we’re going to mix it up a little bit, but we’ll obviously play the hits and all of that.
Any plans to play sideshows while you’re down for Soundwave this time around?
Yeah, I think so. I don’t know for sure what the status is, but I know we’ll do at least a couple. I’d love to play with Jimmy Eat World.
I might just give you a few quick ones to finish up. What’s been your favourite release of 2013?
I’m terrible with keeping up with new stuff that’s come out. I love The Dangerous Summer’s new album, ‘Golden Record.’ Also the new Balance & Composure record, ‘The Things We Think We’re Missing.’ Those two definitely stand out.
What’s been your favourite place to tour this year?
I don’t know, hey?! My favourite tour was definitely the Glamour Kills, since everything was kind of perfectly set up for that. The bands were so much fun to play with, and they were all such incredible dudes, so that was definitely my favourite tour.
If you could have a conversation with yourself eight years ago, just before you started Mayday Parade, what advice would you give to yourself?
Mainly, I would say, stay true to your idea of things. Keep the band how you want it to be, not how someone else tells you it should be. Stay true to what you want to do.
What’s the craziest thing to happen to you on tour?
That’s tough to say. It’s not that crazy, but one time we got stuck in an elevator at Mexico City, and got stuck in there for about half an hour. There’s been lots of crazy partying as well.
Any final words?
Thank you for the support. We couldn’t be happier to be coming down and playing shows for you again. Thanks for the opportunity, we’re very lucky dudes.
‘Monsters In the Closet’ is out now via Fearless Records / Shock.