like everybody, joe zorzi loves a parade …especially when he gets on their tour bus …
Mayday Parade are back. Last month, they released their self-titled third full-length album, which debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard 200. I had the opportunity to talk to lead singer, Derek Sanders, in Asbury Park, N.J., prior to their show at famed club The Stone Pony earlier this month — touching on the band’s history and current endeavors.
Pop-Break: Dude, congrats on No. 12 on the Billboards!
Derek Sanders: Thank you, man!
PB: That must be wild.
DS: Yeah, that is wild. That’s crazy. That’s definitely kind of a dream come true. We didn’t know what to expect for first week numbers or whatever, but that’s great. It’s really awesome.
PB: Now, that’s the highest you guys have ever debuted?
DS: Yeah, that’s right.
PB: Oh, that’s awesome. So, we’ve got you guys, Jack’s Mannequin, and Blink-182 all in the Top 15. Alt-rock may be making a comeback.
DS: Yeah, which is pretty crazy to see.
PB: Your last full-length, Anywhere But Here, you guys did a lot of co-writes. I know you guys talked about how you didn’t really want to do that anymore. So you guys went back to doing it pretty much all on your own, right?
DS: That’s right. I think that’s the way that it needs to be. Especially for our band, I think it’s just kind of how it works for us, you know? And the bottom line is that we have to make music that we stand behind and music that we love and genuinely care about. And so that’s what we did, and that’s what works the best I think.
PB: And you guys had great songs on that album, but at the same time I know the fans were kind of harsh sometimes. Did that have a big impact on what you guys decided to do?
DS: Yeah, I think that was just kind of the icing on the cake, you know what I mean? The writing and recording process for Anywhere But Here was kind of just a struggle to get through the whole thing. We didn’t really enjoy it near as much as we had for A Lesson In Romantics.
PB: And that’s just when Jason Lancaster left, right?
DS: Yeah, yeah. So we already had our problems with how everything went. And then the CD didn’t do terrible, but the fact that, yeah, there were a lot of disappointed people and stuff … that, like I said, it’s just kind of the icing on the cake and we realized that there’s no way we should go back and do it that way again. For this one we just went in and wrote the album entirely ourselves and recorded it with Zack [Odom] and Ken [Mount] and it was great. It was a really, really fun, cool experience.
PB: Now, is that hard going from just being a band of friends and then all of the sudden other peoples’ opinions really take on their own life almost?
DS: Yeah, it’s the biggest thing that I kind of dislike about the music industry — is how much say someone else can have and what happens to a band, the creative side of the band. I feel like the band should be in charge of what they create. And that’s the reason why we started the band, that’s the way it’s always been. So, I don’t see any reason to change it. And for some people, that kind of system might work, like co-writing and stuff like that. Just not for this band.
PB: You guys have been on the Noise tour. How’s it been so far?
DS: It’s been awesome, it’s really been a lot of fun. All the bands on the tour are really great, most of them are bands that we’ve toured with before. So, we already have the relationships and we’re already good friends with these people. It’s awesome to be back on the road again, hanging out, playing shows, having fun.
PB: I’m sure it’s an extra boost with the Billboard ranking and everything. It’s gotta give you a little more pressure. Not in a bad way.
DS: No, for sure, it’s great. And we’re playing a lot of the new songs live on this tour now for the first time.
PB: How’s the reception been?
DS: It’s been really good. It’s been really good for the new stuff. So that’s killer right there. That’s awesome.
PB: And back to the writing real quick … how do you guys usually write? Is it more like one person has an idea to start, or do you guys write as a band?
DS: We get together and normally people bring in ideas and then we kind of take those ideas and finish them as a band. And the majority of it is myself and Jake [Bundrick] who bring the ideas. But everyone contributes. And then we just work them out as a song from there. And then, every song’s different. Some songs get pretty finished right away. Musically, lyrically, everything. And some songs take a little longer and a little more work and a lot of songs aren’t even finished whenever we go in to make the album. With Zack and Ken we do pre-production and stuff. So, a lot of the songs are kind of like working on finishing everything as you go, you know, recording the album and everything. But yeah, that’s pretty much it.
PB: When you guys are on the road and stuff, what do you listen to?
DS: Lately, I’ve been into the new Dangerous Summer CD — I think that’s incredible. The new Cab record is really cool, the new Blink-182 record is really cool. I haven’t listened to the new Jack’s Mannequin, but I want to. And the new New Found Glory, I haven’t listened to either of those but I need to. I want to get both those. There’s a band called Marianas Trench who we’ve been getting into lately. They’re really awesome. Foxy Shazam, that’s another one.
PB: What’s the craziest thing a fan’s done for you guys on tour… you can get as dirty or non-dirty as you’d like.
DS: [laughs] I don’t know honestly. It’s hard to pick the one that tops them all. People have done some really awesome stuff. People have made us really awesome things. One person sewed us this big blanket thing that’s hanging up now at our bass player’s house. Lots of the artwork people have made is hanging up at our bass player’s house in a room that we practice. People have made like cool scrapbooks and posters.
PB: That’s awesome. Have you seen people get tattoos and stuff? That’s gotta be a crazy thing to see.
DS: Lots of people with tattoos. Yeah, especially now more than ever I feel like I’m seeing a lot more people that have lyrics or whatever tattooed. And that’s insane to see. That’s really humbling.
PB: Yeah, something that you put out affects someone that much.
DS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s really, really cool to see that kind of stuff.
PB: What would you say is the best part about being on tour if you had to pick?
DS: Um … I mean, as broad as this is, I would say just being able to live this kind of lifestyle. Because it’s extremely different from being at home or doing anything else really that I can think of. ‘Cause you get to travel and see the world. You get to hang out and party with your friends and play music every night and just meet lots of people and have a good time. It’s really, it’s pretty insane. We’re very lucky to be able to do this.
PB: And do you have any words for any artists that are trying to get into the game these days?
DS: I would say the most important things are to work hard, believe in yourself, have a positive mental attitude. Just realize that if you really want something to happen you need to work yourself to make it happen, you know what I mean? And that success doesn’t normally find you, you have to go make it happen. And also, the people that you surround yourself with and the people that you play music and stuff. That’s very important, that’s very key. You know, to find the right people. Like, with us, I feel like we’re very lucky that the five of us are in this band. And I feel like things would be totally different if any of us weren’t in the band. ‘Cause it’s a dynamic between all the five of us that makes us who we are.
PB: I know you guys are crunched for time right now, so I have two more important questions real quick … Favorite hard alcohol?
DS: I’d say probably … we normally get Jim Beam. Or Jack. Jim or Jack.
PB: Jack and Coke or straight?
DS: Uh, whichever. Depends on how crazy you’re trying to get [laughs]
PB: And can I get a high five?
DS: Yeah, absolutely.
[epic hi-fives were exchanged]