Of Mice & Men singer says it’s ‘time to take the leap or shut up’ as the band prepare for album three.
It's been a long time coming, but Of Mice & Men are finally gearing up to release album three, and Austin Carlile invited Rock Sound into the studio for his first interview on the group's new material. Read an excerpt from the conversation below and be sure to pick up Rock Sound Issue 180 to get the full story on the band's struggles, ambition and brave new direction
How’ve you been approaching the songwriting this time around?
“We’re building every song around the vocals this time, they’re the priority. When you have the idea for a great chorus, the music itself becomes a secondary thing! I’m ecstatic about where the album’s going, how it’s sounding, and where we’re going with Of Mice And Men as a whole. To a certain extent we’re just doing what we do... there’s still the super fast and intense stuff in there, but the melodic aspect is so enhanced, and I think people are going to need to give it a few listens to really get it. It’s not like we went in wanting to make a fusion between Meshuggah and Nickelback, this is just Of Mice And Men, expanded. The focus is on good, quality songwriting, and that’s something that can appeal to anyone. We wrote about thirty songs for this record, there are completed songs that we’ve just discarded. We’re doing a few more than we need to, and seeing how it goes.”
What’s new on the vocal side?
“This album is so important to us, and so are the themes behind it. For me personally, it’s a whole new step in the evolution of my vocals. There’s a really cool contrast between my voice and Aaron’s [Pauley, bass/vocals] voice, and I think we’ve made great use of that.”
Where have you been taking things lyrically?
“I write every day, but this time I’ve been sitting down and writing a kind of thesis for every song: ‘okay, I need to talk about this this and this, and need to work on these things... etc.’ We’ll go on with each one and be like ‘this song is about this particular moment or thing,’ it’s very defined. Every song is either a personal story of mine, or a message that we want to give to our fans, and the rock world. We want to branch out, to bring in all these people who’ve never given us a chance before.”
Is bringing in a more diverse audience a priority for you?
“My iTunes runs from Wu Tang Clan to Death Cab For Cutie, you know, I love a bit of everything. That’s something I love about our music, we have so many different elements to our sound, and pull in so many different types of people. From the hardcore kids who come out and throw down to the older, real metal dudes and the really young kids, people see different things in our music, and we’re running with that.”
What are your hopes for this record?
“It’s our time to step out into the real world. I’d happily play the Electric Ballroom every day for the rest of my life, but at the same time I’m in this for the long haul, I want to progress. It’ll be three years since the last one by the time we put it out, so it’s time to take the leap or shut up. I don’t have all the answers and I’m still trying to find my way, you know? I know that I’m a good leader though, and that counts for something.”
WANT TO READ MORE? Subscribe to the physical magazine here (and get a free State Champs album!) | Subscribe digitally here for any iOS / Android mobile or tablet | Find your nearest stockist at this link | Buy the latest issue online