According to Austin Carlile, Of Mice & Men derived its name from the classic novel by John Steinbeck, and the moniker was an appropriate one, as he had experienced his best-laid plans going awry. Unfortunately, it seems that Of Mice & Men lived up to its name, as internal strife threatened to sink the band after a promising self-titled debut released in March 2010.
Thankfully, Of Mice & Men seemed to take to heart the message extolled in the self-titled album’s lead track, “YDG”: “Run from your problems, but you cannot run from yourself.” As a result, the members in Of Mice & Men overcame their differences and reformed in time to set the stage for an epic 2011, which kicks off with the recording of the follow-up to Of Mice & Men and continues with a busy touring schedule, including a run on Vans Warped Tour 2011.
Bloginity caught up with vocalist Austin Carlile and guitarist Shayley Bourget for this exclusive interview.
Brian: This year looks to be a big one for the band. What kind of sound can fans expect on the new album?
Austin: Something bigger, faster, louder, heavier, smarter, more mature. That’s pretty much the best way we could explain it. From the multiple ideas and demos Alan and myself have written to the ideas Shayley and I have been brainstorming even on the drive to the studio, I have a lot of confidence in this record, and where our sound is headed.
Brian: How many songs have been written for the new album at this point?
Austin: We have about 6 or 7 full songs, and many ideas. We want to have over 17 or 18 by the time we walk out, have the best 12 or 13 make the album.
Brian: How do the songs usually come together in Of Mice & Men? Are there more individual ideas or is it more collaborative and jam-based?
Austin: Haha the band has been touring the whole past year. Shay, Phil and Tino came up with a couple ideas, and could only “jam” so much. But Alan and myself have been jamming, writing, recording, demoing, for the past 3 or 4 months. We are brining all of our brainstorming together with that of the other members. But here in the studio we will all be playing together for a couple weeks and seeing what we come up with.
Brian: You were recently added to the Warped Tour for 2011, how did you like the tour last year?
Shayley: It was a blast, we made a lot of friends, and were stoked to have lots of bands come out and want to tour with more outside of Warped. We are really excited to play this next year, especially with the line up now. Think fans will really enjoy it a lot more, and we will too.
Brian: How difficult is it to survive in the industry with the apparent explosion of post-hardcore acts and the prevalence of music pirating?
Austin: You have to keep up, or you have to set the pace. Music is always changing, but that doesnt mean you need to change with it to “make it.” I feel we have a different sound than many “post hardcore” acts, due to mine and Shayleys voices. And as far as pirating goes, as long as they hear the music we are making, come out to shows, and support the merchandise or band, then pirate on. There is no stopping it, and as time goes on, I feel a “compact disc” will be a thing of the past.
Brian: What artists has your band been listening to as of late?
Austin: Imogen Heap to Slipknot. Linkin Park to Drake. A Perfect Circle to Keith Urban. I think every member of the band listens to more music than one could possibly list. Between all five of our iPods Im sure we have an entire library of the world’s music haha.
Brian: What do you think sets Of Mice & Men apart from other bands in the genre?
Shayley: My voice, and Austin’s screams honestly. Theres not much else out there that sounds like us. We have distinctive sounds that people can listen to and say “Hey that’s so and so” Not saying they are great or better than anyone (laughs) just…. distinctive!
Brian: Does anyone in the band have any interesting New Years resolutions to share?
Shayley: For me, I just promised to surround myself with positive energy and people all year round.
Brian: What do you think the worst trend in music is right now?
Austin: Worst trend in music? People that don’t write their own, and people that don’t love it. If you’re doing this for any other reason other than simply being passionate about it then you need to find a new “job.” Save it for the people who’s hearts and souls are into it more than anything else in their lives.
Brian: If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
Austin: Deftones, Incubus, and Slipknot. Hands down.
Brian: What are your goals for 2011 as a band?
Austin and Shayley: Write this record that we as a band will love, and hope all of our friends and fans love it as much as we do. Have a blast on all the tours ahead, we’ll be on the road pretty much the whole year, and gain new and amazing followers who may have never been into this type of music before. We want to branch out and have people that listen to the kinds of music we do, like what we do as a band too.