Interview With Of Mice And Men - 3rd May 2011

Photo Of Mice And MenJames caught up with Of Mice And Men back stage in Birmingham to talk about their forthcoming album, the Warped Tour and much more.

Can you give us a brief history of the band such as how you came together and came up with the name Of Mice and Men?
Austin: The stars we’re aligned. We got picked by the hand of Zeus, Nah I’m kidding.

Valentino: The band started about 2 years ago we all came from different groups to form our band and create music, this is the second tour this line up has done. The name came from the book called “Of Mice and Men”.

Austin: The idea of the book.

Valentino: Yeah, the idea of creating and moving your dreams and focusing on achieving those dreams which is what we do every day.

Since you formed back in 2009 you have gone through a number of line-up changes, how are you feeling about the current band line-up and can you see this being a permanent fixture for Mice and Men?
Valentino: Given the different line-ups of the band, I think the people who have been in the band longest feel that this is a very solid line up. It’s something we can all enjoy and have fun; not to say we didn’t enjoy the other ones it’s just this one works the best for us as far as personality, musicianship and overall excitement goes.

You are currently working on your second studio album ‘The Flood’, how have you found the whole writing and recording process this time away?
Valentino: The albums done and is slated for an early summer release; and the writing process Shay if you want to take that one.

Shayley: Well I just sat down and wrote music ha ha. No we all collaborated, Alan had ideas on his own, we had ideas of our own and we tried to mash them together and tried to develop more of a party metal and rock sound.

Valentino: Yeah we all got to work as a group and really sit and work on things in the studio. We produced a sound that is Of Mice & Men’s first album, we just did it better. We’ve been using the word mature a lot but that what it is, we’re not the same musicians we were 2 years ago and it really shows in the music for the new album.

What has influenced you this time around?
Valentino: Everything.

Alan: Nu-Metal ha ha.

Austin: Everything that’s been happening in the past couple years of our lives has really influenced us to write about it and to bring out on the table because we just wanted to be real with it. Most people make up a whole bunch of bullcrap because its sounds cool; we just wanted to write about stuff that’s actually real, thought through and that means something to us.

How would you say ‘The Flood’ is going to compare to your debut self titled album?
Austin: I think it’s a lot better. I was listening to it this morning before anyone else was awake.

Valentino: I definitely woke up while you were listening to it.

Everyone: Ha ha!

Austin: You what?

Valentino: It was so loud in your headphones.

Austin: Ha ha! Exactly but I enjoy listening to it, Shayley sings a lot more on it and I think he sounds great; so I enjoy his parts and the guitar parts. There are a lot more light parts, there are a lot more heavy parts, there are a lot more vocal parts and I think it’s much more structured than our last album which I think is really good.

What themes and stories feature on ‘The Flood’?
Austin: Sex, Drugs, Hobo’s, Friends, Love, Loss.

Valentino: Pain, Pleasure.

Alan: Being a ginger.

Valentino: Everything that we as people deal with. A lot of the topics on the album a relatable to anybody; one of these songs could be for someone if their pissed off or really happy or a hard time in the listeners life.

Austin: People can think “They get exactly what we’re going through” we really want people to relate to it.

Valentino: And we’ve experienced a lot individually and as a band, there are parts musically that you hear and you think “Man they were pissed” or like “Yeah” when there’s a really triumphant part. There’s a lot of dimension to the music that is relatable.

You have been signed to Rise Records pretty much since the start, how did this come about and how are they to work with?
Austin: We recorded a demo for the “Seven thousand miles for what?” song, we put it up on MySpace and that night Craig contacted me and said “So you’re going to sign to Rise Records right?” and I was like “No” but after a few days he talked me into it. It was literally 2 days after we made the MySpace we hadn’t even played a show yet.

Valentino: You also had your affiliation.

Austin: Yeah my past band was on Rise also but he was the person to contact me because he knew how to get a hold of me and he wanted the new project to be a part of Rise Records.

Valentino: We definitely don’t regret that decision at all. Craig’s a great dude.

Everyone: Yeah Craig’s Awesome.

Valentino: We love everybody that works there; they’re really helpful to us in guiding this band through everything, putting our records out and getting us working with the producer we want to work with and making things available for us on this journey.

You are currently in the UK touring with Asking Alexandria, how did the tour come about and how have you found the shows so far?
Austin: The shows have been great! I think they’ve all been sold out. It’s been really cool being in like Belgium or Paris and having people know the words and sing along. Just being a part of that being this far away from home and people still excited to know who we are. While She Sleeps and Asking Alexandria are great guys and we’ve got 3 days left then we go back to the states.

Have you had any time to check out any of the towns and cities you have been playing on the tour?
Valentino: This is our 3rd day in Birmingham today. We did some shopping yesterday, walked around and ate some food from restaurants people have been raving about either that we know or online. It’s cool this time around we get to do more exploring, the first time we were here it was pretty hectic we had a lot of problems with our van and stuff. We had a day off in Paris too; being dudes from America we don’t have shit like the Eifel tower and stuff so to see that stuff from touring is good fun.

I understand that you have been confirmed for the Van Warped Tour this year, what does it mean to you to be playing such a well loved long running tour?
Valentino: We’re all super excited

Phil: We did it last year too so we know what to do this now this next year and really enjoy it. I enjoyed it last time but this time it’s going to be like summer camp back to back, best summer camp ever.

Are you looking forward to checking out any of the bands on the tour?
Austin: Paramore just got confirmed and Simple plan.

Valentino: We came as Romans, The Word Alive, Winds of Plague, Asking Alexandria, A Day to Remember.

Alan: Look at that, Tino knows the whole list!

Austin: Do you work for them or something?

Valentino: I may as well dude. Nah we’re definitely thankful and exited to play the tour and meet the fans.

What do Of Mice And Men have planned for the rest of the year apart from the obvious Warped Tour?
Austin: After warped tour we get 3 weeks off, then we’re going on another tour to last the rest of the year; can’t say with who yet but we’re going be on the road supporting the new album, after warped it’ll still be quite fresh so we want to get it out there and play it for a bunch of different people.

What’s your take on the digital revelation killing off the music business?
Shayley: It sucks dick.

Everyone: Ha ha!

Valentino: I think 10-15 years ago people actually sold records. Now with the digital age and everyone downloading and iTunes, bands aren’t necessarily seeing as much money as they would back in the day. This way the fan base gets to be more of a grassroots movement, like underground for like our band because you wouldn’t necessarily hear us on the radio or see us on MTV playing our video after Lady Gaga or Neyo like big pop artists. It’s kind of cool that more people get to hear of us on the internet with social networking. It makes things more accessible, it’d be better if people bought albums which we encourage as it’s our art.

Austin: Dude what? Ha ha.

Valentino: I’m going to have to knee you in the face. Sorry my answers are too thorough I’ll make them shorter “YES, DIGITAL”.

Alan: It’s the cranium man.

Austin: He is the backbone and the brain of this band.

Where do you hope to see Of Mice And Men in a year’s time?
Austin: Being alive still.

Valentino: We want to be able to continue doing just this being on tour, hopefully in new countries because it’s new experiences out of our usual US touring.

One last random question that we ask every band, if you could be an animal out of a zebra or Giraffe which one would you be and why?
Valentino: Definitely Giraffe because their fucking badass because they use their heads and necks and have straight up battles, I think that’s pretty sick.

Austin: I’d be a zebra so I can run around fast.

Phil: I’m down with the zebra thing for the stripes.

Shayley: I’d be a giraffe just to chill and eat the trees.

Alan: I’d be a gingeraffe ha ha!

Everyone: Ha ha!

Thanks for your time is there a message for your fans reading this?
Everyone: Thank you!

Austin: It’s been amazing to be here we’re really grateful for your support and people giving a crap about us its really cool thank you! Go pre-order our album June 14th!

Valentino: Like us on Facebook and Tweet us on twitter. Thanks!

Interview By James Webb
 Band Members

Valentino Arteaga
Alan Ashby
Shayley Bourget
Austin Carlile
Phil Manansala
 Latest Releases
Of Mice and Men - Of Mice and Men
Release Date - 9th March 2011

1. YDG
2. They Don't Call It The South For Nothing
3. Second & Sebring
4. Westbound & Down
5. John Deux Trois
6. Those In Glass Houses
7. Farewell To Shady Glade
8. The Ballad Of Tommy Clayton & The
9. Rawdawg Millionaire
10. Seven Thousand Miles For What
11. This One's For You
 Band Related Links
Of Mice And Men Myspace