While on the Gimme Summer Your Love tour, Derek Sanders from Mayday Parade took the time with us to discuss what to expect from the upcoming self-titled release, touring with All Time Low, the mixed reactions to Anywhere But Here, and what lies ahead for the band.
Dan @RRR: Thank you for taking time out to speak with us today. Could you please introduce yourself and give your role in Mayday Parade.
Derek: I’m Derek, and I sing.
Dan@RRR: You’re currently on the road alongside All Time Low, The Cab, and We Are The In Crowd. How has the tour been so far?
Derek: The shows have been great, it’s been great touring with All Time Low again. We toured with them - it’s been a year now - on the Manwhores and Open Sores Tour and the Sellout Tour. So, they’re good friends and it’s good to be back on the road with them again. Same goes for all of the bands – The Cab, We Are the in Crowd. Brighter – we just met those guys in Canada and they were really awesome. The Starting Line was on some of it, which for all of us, was really really awesome. We love that band.
Dan@RRR: All Time Low are certainly known for their “tour antics,” as demonstrated in Straight To DVD. Have the boys been behaving themselves on this tour?
Derek: It’s always fun to watch them play live, the way they banter back and on forth on stage is pretty interesting. They’ve been pretty cool, nothing too crazy has happened. We somehow managed, in Vancouver, from outside of the bus, to pull Alex (Gaskarth) into the bus, upside down, feet first through the window, onto the bus, which isn’t really crazy but it was funny at the time. We even lifted some random person on the bus, we were chanting “Guy we don’t know!” It was a fun night.
Dan@RRR: Later this year (October 4th specifically) the band will release their 3rd full-length effort which is self-titled. What are your thoughts and emotions leading up the release?
Derek: It’s really special. This CD means a lot to all of us. We all love it a lot, we’re really excited about it and we can’t wait to put it out. For us, it’s a lot more meaningful. It’s a CD we care about more because when we did Anywhere But Here we just signed to Atlantic Records and they kind of had a lot more influence on that album. We ended up writing 30 or 40 songs (for Anywhere But Here), and the ones that we actually liked the most, Atlantic dropped and made us choose other songs that we didn’t like as much, and we did some co-writing. The whole process was different for us. I think we figured that that’s a way we don’t like to do it. For this CD, we just went back to the way it was before. We write the songs ourselves, we just get together, we get together at a beach house, this January in Florida and we just spent the whole month there and wrote the whole album. And then went in February and March and recorded it with Zack and Ken. It was great. It was nice doing a CD that you’re really stoked about, songs that you love, that’s the way we have to do it.
Dan@RRR: Recently, you released a song from the album titled “Oh Well, Oh Well.” Tell us a little bit about the song.
Derek: It’s a song that I’ve been excited about for a really long time. I remember on Warped Tour last summer (2010), was like, whenever we really writing most of that song. I was really excited about that song, I knew back then I wanted it to be the first song on the album. We’ve been playing it for the first time on this tour and it’s awesome, it’s so much fun to play live. I just think it’s a good way to start the CD. I think it captures a lot of aspects about Mayday Parade because it has that slow, soft beginning but then kicks in fast and hard and it’s got just a lot of feeling and emotion that we’ve tried to do in all of our songs.
Dan@RRR: How do you feel the song compares to the rest of the album?
Derek: I think it’s a really good representation. We tried to do some things that were different, have a different vibe, but for the most part it’s just the same kind of stuff. It’s Mayday Parade. It’s poppy, it’s rock. It’s definitely all songs that we believe in, care about and love.
Dan@RRR: Both Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount, who handled production duties for your hit 2007 release A Lesson In Romantics, were brought on to produce the new album. What were some of the determining factors in bringing them back?
Derek: Honestly we decided pretty early on that that was the right move for us because we knew what to expect with them. We knew exactly what it was gonna be like, whereas you’re going into a situation with a producer that you don’t know, you’re not sure how it’s gonna go. Not that we have a whole lot of experience with it because we’ve worked with Kenneth and Zack and then David Bendeth, but we kind of like just didn’t want to jump into another situation where we didn’t know where it was gonna be like, whereas with Kenneth and Zack it was just such a wonderful thing. We got along really well with those guys. They’re super nice. They’re really funny, they’re really creative and it’s just a good environment and it works really well so we figured let’s go back to that, you know what I mean?
Dan@RRR: 2009 saw the release of your sophomore full-length, Anywhere But Here. While the release was a commercial success in certain aspects, it was met with mixed reactions from fans and critics alike. What do you attest this to?
Derek: I love a lot of songs on that album, but overall I feel like we could have, if we had done it the way we did before, and we had done it with the way that works best for us, made the CD that we wanted to make, then we would have come out with a better product. It would have been a CD we cared about more. It took us doing an album that way to learn what we wanted and what we didn’t want. It was a big learning process, and in the end we came out better cause of it.
Dan@RRR: It was rumored that the album was originally 16-17 tracks, though only 12 made the final cut. Will the remaining tracks or any b-sides from the recording session ever see the light of day?
Derek: We wrote like 16 songs going into it. But we always knew it was gonna be like 12 or 13. But we like to write a few extras. Those other songs, maybe one or two of them will come out, maybe not. It’s hard to say right now.
Dan@RRR: Looking back to the recording and release of Anywhere But Here. Do you have any regrets?
Derek: It’s hard to say, like I said, we have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, maybe you could say I wish we had not done the co writing and not have the label have so much to do with it. But like I said, we learned a lot from it and maybe we’re better because of it now, so I don’t know if I would change it.
Dan@RRR: How do you feel the self-titled album compares to anything the band has done previously from a lyrical standpoint?
Derek: I think it, in general, what we’ve showed so far, is kind of a mix all the old stuff, but more than anything, it’s just “the next thing”. All the lyrics that I wrote were mostly just about the last few years of my life. Different situations with relationships or people, growing up. It’s kind of what it’s always been about. Personal feelings, stories, whatever.
Dan@RRR: From where did you draw your inspiration for the lyrics this time around?
Derek: I kind of just sit and think about some of the songs, run through them in my head, just try and write, whatever I’m thinking or feeling about at the time.
Dan@RRR: Which songs from the new album are most personal to you and why?
Derek: “Oh well” is one of them. It’s just been such a long time, over a year that I’ve wanted to people to hear that song, you know what I mean? And there’s a track that’s called “When you see my friends” one of all of our favorites. That’s hopefully the next one we’re gonna release some time before the album to come out. There’s a lot that are really meaningful, but those are two.
Dan@RRR: With the tour with All Time Low wrapping up shortly, what are the band’s plans leading up to the release of the new album?
Derek: We’ve done a lot of video content on this tour, tour blogs and stuff. We’ve also put some other videos of us writing and recording the album. We’re hopefully gonna release a music video for “Oh well, oh well” as soon as possible. And then, put up another new song, and we’re doing the Fall tour, The Noise Tour. It’s with We Are the In Crowd and There For Tomorrow, and You Me At Six.
Dan@RRR: Ultimately, what do you want people to take away from listening to the self-titled album, or anything from Mayday Parade for that matter?
Derek: I just want people to listen to it with an open mind. Like, not compare it to old stuff. Hopefully it means something to you.
Dan@RRR: While record sales and fan reaction are important, how do you gauge the success of Mayday Parade?
Derek: I think we’re very lucky to be as successful as we have been, and to be able to tour comfortably in a bus and to go all around the world and play for lots of people. If we can continue to do that, that’s incredible.
Dan@RRR: Has there ever been a moment in your career as a musician where you’ve had to take a step back and take everything in?
Derek: There’s been tons of moments. It happens all the time. Especially lately as we’ve done a lot of international touring lately. We played in Manila, Philippines. It was this big theater room, that had seats all the way up. Towards the end of our set we had everyone take out their cellphones and it was just like crazy, to see so many people. It was our first time there and it was just awesome to be in Manila and have that many people singing along and going crazy, so that kind of stuff happens to me all the time. It’s definitely a dream come true.
Dan@RRR: That’s all the questions I have. Do you have anything to add?
Derek: Thank you, thanks for the interview. Thanks to everyone who’s ever supported the band or listened to the band. It means a lot, we’re glad to be where we are.
Mayday Parade's self-titled album is set to be released on October 4th.