A little while back, Islander's Mikey Carvajal was the only remaining member of his band.
Fast forward this week, and his band just released new album 'Power Under Control' with new members, including former Avenged Sevenfold drummer Arin Ilejay.
We caught up with Mikey and Arin to find out just HOW they and their bandmates managed to save Islander.
MIKEY, HOW DID YOU END UP ASSEMBLING A BRAND NEW LINE-UP A YEAR AND A HALF AGO?
Mikey Carvajal [vocals]: "It all just kind of happened! We’d met on tour touring in different bands, there were some changes made in the band, we ended up playing together. We got along and we wrote a killer album! It’s the strongest we’v ever felt onstage and offstage."
ARIN, HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE BAND? IT WAS AFTER YOU LEFT AVENGED SEVENFOLD, RIGHT?
Arin Ilejay [drums]: "I got to meet Mikey on Mayhem Festival. I got to watch his band and Fieldy from Korn introduced me to him and I just instantly fell in l love with the band.
"We became friends, and as soon as the word got out that me and Avenged had parted ways, Mikey called me within like 30 minutes like, ‘Dude! I wonder if you’d consider playing for Islander’. Now here we are."
WITH SO MANY NEW MEMBERS, WERE YOU WORRIED THAT THIS ALBUM WOULD SOUND TOO DIFFERENT TO ANYTHING ELSE YOU'VE RECORDED?
Mike: "There are new influences there, but I think the reason the heart of Islander is still there is because that’s the kind of music people found themselves wanting to create and musically what we’re passionate about. We went into it not knowing exactly what it was going to be, though. We knew we weren’t a pop-punk band, we knew we weren’t this or that kind of band…"
IT MUST BE NICE TO HAVE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE THERE, AND FOR THOSE PEOPLE TO HAVE INPUT INTO THE MUSIC...
Mikey: "It’s so fun. On and offstage we like hanging out, eating food, playing video games, talking about Star Wars… it’s just easy."
Arin: "Once everything came together and we’d all settled into our positions it was almost supernatural, the way that we meshed together and blended together. Especially in regard to the next album and how we got there. The focus was there, but there was just enough chaos and confliction."
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE ALBUM?
Mikey: "It’s about the idea that we’re born wild, and yielding those things over to love and to God. It’s a bit like a horse. They’re super wild and everything, but if you put a saddle on it you can teach it how to turn left and right and pause. It’s kind of that idea that power is still there, but now it’s directed."
"That’s where the character is at on the album – they like the idea of doing things their own way and they’re not directed by any type of master or anything. Then by the end of the album you can see where they’ve come from and that the gentleness of true power is in yielding."
WITH ALL OF THESE NEW MEMBERS, DOES IT FEEL LIKE YOU’RE HAVING TO START OVER?
Mikey: "To me, when this album is out... we’re starting over."
Arin: "I think we have a really great foundation that we’re standing on. What’s already been built we’re super greatful for and it’s definitely set us up for what I truly believe will be success.
"We have so many fans supporting us and it’s just a matter of building that up again. We’ve been off the grid for a little while, but once we get started I have no doubt that this is gonna take off."
'Power Under Control' is out now via Victory Records. You can hear the album in full below.