“The tour is twelve shows in a row, no days off” An Interview with Derek Sanders from Mayday Parade (12/10/12)

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I caught up with Mayday Parade’s frontman Derek Sanders before their show at The Old Firestation in Bournemouth. The pop punk five piece from Tallahassee, Florida are touring veterans, they’ve been to the UK supporting the likes of You Me At Six in the past and now on their own nearly sold out headline tour. We talk about their formation, touring and recording.

How has the tour been so far?

The tour’s been great! It’s close to over now, it’s just today and tomorrow then we’re done. The tour is twelve shows in a row, no days off and it’s flown. It’s been great! All the shows have been really fun, the other bands are great to hang out with and almost every show has sold out so it’s just been all good vibes. 

How do UK fans and crowds compare to the US?

I’d say they’re pretty similar, we’ve noticed mainly on support tours over here that if you’re doing a support tour where a lot of people might not know who you are they will still get into it and seem to enjoy themselves and have a good time. Whereas in the states when you’re playing for people who don’t know who you are they’ll just stand there and just watch and not really engage as much. But I dunno, it’s kind of hard to say but that’s the one thing I’ve noticed. 

Can you briefly describe for the readers how you formed as a band?

Yeah, well it was in November 2005 we were two bands from Tallahassee: Defining Moment and Kid Named Chicago. We were friends and we played shows together and we all, just for a bunch of different reasons, quit our other bands and formed this one. That’s the short of it I guess. 

If you weren’t doing the music, did you ever have a plan b? Was university on the cards?

It probably depends on who you ask but whenever we started this band it was for sure that this was gonna be the main focus. Alex was at university when we started the band, he only did one year and that was a big part of why we started this band, we were people who were dedicated enough to tour and focus all of our time and energy on the band and not people who couldn’t tour because we had jobs or school or whatever.

How do you choose a set list for tour because you’ve so many songs now, do you have any ones that will definitely go in? How does that process work?

Er, it kind of depends on the tour. We’ve been talking a lot about our set list for our up and coming fall tour, co-headliner with The Maine. We’re figuring out that set. I guess there are the hits, or whatever, the songs that we always play from each album. We’ve got three full length albums and two EPs now so it’s tough to pick the songs we just try and do what we think people will like the most from each album and just switch it up from tour to tour and you know different transitions and make it interesting and not play the same songs on every tour. So If there are people coming to several different tours they’re not hearing the same songs. 

So tonight in particular will you be playing some of the older tracks, like ‘Jamie All Over’ and ‘Miserable at Best’?

We certainly are!

That’s more of a personal question for me. [all laugh] Who are the best band you toured with? I haven’t seen you guys before but I’ve seen you’ve been on bills with so many massive bands, who’s been the coolest to tour with?

I don’t know, that’s really tough to say. There isn’t like THE ONE band that we’ve had the best connection with. We love most of the bands we’ve toured with. I’d say Rocket to the Moon would be one of them that we all just love, any chance we get to tour with them is great. The Maine, Pierce the Veil, You Me At Six, We The Kings, All Time Low. You know we’ve toured with all those bands a good amount of times so we’ve built pretty close relationships. 

Do you have a favourite track to play live?

I dunno, it’ll probably change from tour to tour, the more energetic songs like maybe ‘Black Cat’ or ‘Oh Well, Oh Well’ are two of my favourites on this tour.

Can you briefly describe the song writing process and how that works in the band?

It kind of depends and varies from song to song and album to album, but for the most part somebody will have an idea that might be very basic, could start from hardly anything or could be close to a finished song, or anywhere in between that. They will bring to the band and then we all show these ideas that we have. Basically you know whenever we spend months on the road touring on an album cycle we all have acoustic guitars and we’ll come up with these songs and these ideas and once we get together at the end  of the touring cycle we bring all these ideas together and work them into songs and some of them we have pretty finished and well done up until the point we go to record them and some of them arent even finished so we got to the studio and sit down with the producers and finish some songs in preproduction. But it’s kind of different from song to song but that’s the basic idea of it.

Where do you guys find your inspiration? Your songs are all pretty hard hitting in terms of lyrics, do you have a specific thing you find inspiring? 

I dunno, for me I just write about whatever I want to write about, whatever I’m thinking about or feeling and it’s fun and I like to just sit and listen to the songs. A lot of it is life experience, different relationships with people, things like that.

How do you feel the writing process has changed since a Lesson in Romantics? Or has it always been the same?

We’ve kind of tried some different things. Like with the second album we did co-writing and it was an interesting experience but I think we all decided that wasn’t the way we operate best and we have gone back to the way we write the songs that we want to write. That’s why we started this in the first place. If anything it’s changed over time and now it’s gone back to the original way it was back in the beginning. 

Who are your main inspirations and influences?

I don’t know, there are a couple that are for the whole band, a big reason why we play this kind of music. Taking Back Sunday, Jimmy Eat World you know The Starting Line, Brand New, New Found Glory and bands like that.

Finally, what are your plans for the future? Do you have a fourth studio album ready? 

We’re almost done with the touring for this album cycle, you know we’re gonna finish up the rest of this year, December and January we’ll get together and start writing and bring our ideas together and write the next album, then maybe February/March, that depends, try and go in a record the next one. We’ll see what happens from there.

Check out the video for their single ‘Stay’ below.

 

 

 

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I’m Megan Downing, an English Literature graduate from University of Southampton. I am the Music, Arts and Culture Editor for The National Student. I am the Membership and Communications Officer for the Student Publication Association, I write about music for 7BitArcade, and contribute regularly to The Culture Trip. I have a passion for live music and this is where I began in student journalism. Reviewing a gig or festival is still where my heart lies four years on. I will be starting at MTV as a News Intern in June 2015. One thing you should know about me is that I have an unhealthy obsession with Kevin Spacey.

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