"Every time we would dip our toes back into MadinaLand, everything felt right and natural" - Nathan Leone
Back in 2013, Madina Lake called it a day without much fanfare after three albums and one world domination.
They would then return for a string of shows in 2017 to celebrate ten years of their debut record 'From Them, Through Us, To You'. Now in 2020, the band have released their first new music in nine years in the form of the irresistible 'Playing With Fire'.
Though it appears that's not the only surprise we will be getting from them this year. We jumped on the phone with vocalist Nathan Leone for a little catch up and to find out what the band have planned for the future...
How did you set about launching this new era of Madina Lake?
Says Nathan Leone: “It’s weird because we’ve all been in different places in the world over the last few years, but when we get back together, in real life or virtually, we would write songs for fun. For a while we were just writing for movie trailers and other pop artists, but as time goes by we had a little bit of a collection of songs going of our own.
“Every time we would dip our toes back into MadinaLand, everything felt right and natural. Obviously everyone is pursuing their own endeavours and we live in such a fast age, but the opportunity to step back in and slow everything down [by writing for the band] was always welcome.”
Where does actually playing shows fit into that frame of thinking?
"For some reason we still have a booking agent, and he’s always sending us these tour offers and we’re always like ‘we’re not sure if we can do that at the moment’. But every now and then the right festival will come up, or the right show like the one we recently did in Chicago. Though with us being so far apart, it’s so much more special when we’re together playing."
What was it about right now that felt like the perfect time to release a brand new song though?
“Matthew [Leone, bassist] and I were Face Timing with Mateo [Camargo, guiarist] and appreciating the career that we had with the band and the gratitude that we had for it. We just came to a conclusion that we had these songs that we could work on together as the band we are now.
“Before you would have to write 40 songs, then narrow them down to 11, then get some time in the studio. You don’t have to do that now. I can record vocals on GarageBand on my phone and Mateo can mix them in to his guitar stuff over in Columbia. So these songs were just laying around and we had been consistently working on them, but then we were approached by The Orchard, an independent media distribution company. They asked if we had any interest in releasing any of our music. That motivated us to start getting this batch of songs going.”
So that’s where ‘Playing With Fire’ comes from?
"Yeah, we just posted it on SoundCloud to test the waters and see if it got a reaction or saw that people were enjoying having another song in their lives. So far it has been really incredible."
So how about the rest of those tracks you have been sitting on?
"I think we have four songs done and another two I’m going to be finishing up soon. Then we’re going to package them all up together and release them as an EP that we are calling ‘The Beginning Of New Endings’. When Madina Lake called it a day and we did our farewells and everything, it was relatively abrupt. This is just our way of keeping the door open and giving us the ability to release new music whenever we can, whether it’s a full time thing or not. Creating art with each other is still very important to us.”
When you hung your boots up before, the musical landscape was so different and Madina Lake are a band related to a very different period of time. It’s a pretty amazing thing when you have people reacting with that same excitement to your music as they would have a decade ago.
“Absolutely. It blows our minds. We’ve always been extremely grateful for the support that we have had over the years. Music has splintered into so many different directions now, but there was something really special about that time. The genre felt like this incredible extended family that stretched around the world and nobody from that family has actually gone anywhere. It wasn’t just a flash in the pan thing for a lot of bands and fans. I think that says a lot about this community and we’re very lucky to be a part of it.”
So it must feel like there’s no limit on what the future looks like?
“It’s difficult to explain but with the way that the idea of an album has changed and with the ability to stay as connected as we can now, it’s given everybody the ability to pop in and out as they see fit. Creatively, especially for us, it’s not something that you can just switch on and off. We would never release music that we weren’t incredibly proud of or feel good about."
“Our perfect vision for the future is to be able to put out five songs a year and play some festivals or some short tours intermittently. If we’re at a point where we can do that, that’s about as fulfilling as anything we could ask for. As long as the support is out there and people are interested in the thing that we do, then we will be lucky to be able to do it.”