Whether you’re a post-hardcore teen, a metalcore fanatic or maybe even a pop-punk kid, Of Mice & Men are a band you’ve no doubt heard a fair share about. They have become a household name in contemporary post-hardcore/metalcore circles. Having toured the world over, the group gears up to release their most insane and heavy record yet, ‘Restoring Force’. Killyourstereo.com spoke with drummer Tino about the upcoming album and plans for 2014.
How were your holidays, Tino?
Holidays were great, had my family come to my place at Huntington Beach, it was just nice to be home. We had an extended time at the end if year off so it was nice to spend time with friends and family. And get some rehearsals underway.
Good to hear. Now I have to ask this question because it’s possibly the best lineup ever conceived, but how are you feeling about Self Help Fest with Bring Me the Horizon, A Day to Remember and others?
(Laughs) Oh, it is amazing. We did a tour with Bring Me the Horizon right after we did the American tour with A Day to Remember so to be one of the headliners with them and helping put together a Self Help Fest here in the states is really great. We love all the things that ADTR do for their fans and were on board with that and we can’t wait to play some kick ass rock ‘n’ roll! And have fun with our friends and spread a positive message.
It will be something nearly half of Australia wishes was over here I’m sure. But you also have some other exciting dates planned like your UK/Europe tour in April, of which is selling out. How’s it feel to be selling out these shows on the other side of the world?
It couldn’t feel better, it’s amazing to think our music could travel that far and be in that high demand. And to know our fans really support us and that they sold out these shows before it was even 2014, it’s pretty crazy. We can’t wait to get out there and perform our new record and we’ve taken some time, it’ll be our first headliner out there in over a year, we just can’t wait to get back in all their faces. Then we have a tonne of dates on festivals in Europe, it’s crazy! We’re looking forward to taking this record to places around the world that we haven’t before but we also have to hit up the territories that have been supporting us for so long. So big things to come.
On that note of touring the world, when are you coming coming to Australia next if you know?
Not yet. But we do hound our booking agent once or twice a week like, "When’s Australia?! When’s Australia?!" So we can definitely say we’ll be out there soon.
Good to hear, I’ve missed you guys every time you’ve been here so I’m very keen to catch it live!
Oh man! Rest assure we’ll be back with this record and better than ever!
I’m already excited! We’ll talk about the new album, Restoring Force, for a bit. So I got an advanced copy and I have to say, I love it. I really enjoy the heavier, angrier time going on so tell me, what was the inspiration to do that?
We’ve always been a pretty heavy band. When we re-issued ‘The Flood’, we tried to capture what we felt was missing there in terms of the heavier sound. It was very rushed and last minute so it was a tough time to put together an album. So coming into ‘Restoring Force’ we wanted it to continue without the heaviness. We also wanted a balance and so we had other tracks that kind of made those heavy ones stand out more. And that’s kind of how we wanted the record to really be. You haven’t seen our band live and I mean we always try and capture that heaviness more live and engage the audience too. We wanted to capture that on the album. And it stems from the way we recorded the album in a raw sense.
I have heard that there is a different atmosphere to your live show than that of records, which only makes me more jealous and upset but also makes me very keen.
(laughs) That’s something we really wanted in this band from the start. That’s why here, we decided to step away and use a new producer, Dave Bendeth, but we wanted to find a producer that captures that live sound that hasn’t been captured before. So on this one, there is definitely a bit more aggression and heaviness than previously done.
Whilst you mention Dave Bendeth, tell me a bit more about what it was like to work with such a huge name in the industry?
It was amazing. We didn’t know what to expect as we’ve only worked with a handful of producers and so we never really worked with someone with that experience. Just having him there to help us and help us learn things about us as musicians and people. It was almost boot camp! But he came in and said ‘Hey guys, I’ve listened to your stuff before and seen you guys live and I’m here to help you make the best record you can get’. It pretty much came down to us breaking down the material we had. He was like ‘What are you trying to say with this, what do these lyrics mean, Tino, what are you trying to say with your drums, why are you doing this, have you tried this?’ And he kind of helped us question everything we were doing, and helped us find the focus to the album. He really helped us hone in on a solid sound for the record.
You seem really happy with him so would you like to work with him later?
There’s no reason to not, we learnt a tonne but we actually haven’t thought that far ahead. It turned into a great working friendship which we weren’t really expecting to happen.
Did you guys get to record it out at the famous House of Loud?
It’s like a studio facility with like six different studios and two large live rooms. We pretty much just lived there on the floor till we got an apartment. We were just writing, and rehashing and we had pretty much re-written the entire album before we’d even recorded one note. We just revised and we were really perfectionist and the attention to detail was incredible. If something wasn’t right you would just have to keep doing it till it was right there was no help with computers or anything. It was going to be a very natural and raw sounding record.
That’s really good to hear considering most bands nowadays spend half the studio time at the computer programming drums.
Yeah that’s another thing. In the writing process we write some of the stuff like that. Of course I love writing the parts on the kit as it gives a more natural sound but that’s something Bendeth wanted to get away from. He told us that music wasn’t on a grid it’s not maths, some of the best songs make you feel something. It’s the way that things are always coming together that give songs that appeal. He called it The Grid and he wanted us to stay away from it. Any listener is going to feel it if you’ve put you’re heart into it and not just done it all like maths. He really made us think about music in a different way.
While we’re chatting about drumming, I’d like to know a bit about the things on your kit, like heads, skins, cymbals.
I use Evans drumheads, clear EV2’s on my rack toms and my floor toms. I’ve got the Truth Custom drums kit and I love it. I love the sound as it’s super huge, they’re like battle drums. They’re a fun and bouncy kit to play and I have a Belgrass snare on Truth Custom drums. My cymbal commonly is TRX Cymbals and I use all those brands on the album. So everything you hear is Truth Custom drums and TRX cymbals plus me hammering away!
Now this question is a very broad and open question and I’d like you to be as honest as you want to on this one. Anyway, I went and saw a band called The Color Morale last night and their lead singer Garret was saying on stage how no member in the band has saved anyone’s life and that it was all us who do that kind of thing. And that really got me thinking seeing as I was interviewing you today how Of Mice & Men are a band that get that credit a lot. So I wanted to get your opinion on that topic. Do you think a band can save someone’s life?
I think people say it without truly understanding what they’re saying. By no means do we think the things we sing about are incredibly inspirational or anything like that but we realise people listen and hear things like that. We are music lovers for all our lives and have found that connection in music in our own favourite bands. There are songs that have reached out to us in many different ways and have guided us in a different direction that we might have gone. I think that’s what they mean by ‘saving’ because really they’re the ones who are not cutting or doing this drastic things they talk about. It’s your self empowerment.
I mean, I love The Color Morale guys and Garret is a close friend of mine so I know that’s he’s very honest and that’s what I love about him. I know a lot of people take what he says in a wrong way or in a negative way but I don’t think he’s calling people out or anything.
Thanks for that, really in-depth answer on a touchy subject. Any last message to the fans or readers?
Restoring Force is out soon, go out and grab it please and support your California boys. We’re trying to work with our agent when we can come out to Australia soon!
Restoring Force is out January 24th and you can read our review here.