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"Back at It Again": Mayday Parade on Going from Derailed Plans to A Nearly Sold out Tour

Though these last few years might not have gone as planned, pop-punk veterans Mayday Parade are putting the past behind them as they gear up for their Australian tour.

The past few years have affected just about every band in the music scene, and Florida pop-punk outfit Mayday Parade are no different.

From releasing a handful of singles (like their fittingly cathartic “It Is What It Is” dropping only a week before major restrictions halted the entire world to a standstill), an EP titled Out of Here, drummer Jake Bundrick branching out with his project Via Fiori, and eventually their seventh studio album, What It Means to Fall Apart, the veteran group managed to keep busy, while still keeping fans entertained.

But, while stagnation in their daily life inspired new tunes, and a few virtual shows brought small breaks in the mundanity of each day, the pandemic derailed Mayday Parade’s plans to bring forth a new tour in support of What It Means to Fall Apart, and also saw then 10-year anniversary tour of their self-titled album delayed.

However, as pandemic restrictions continue to cease across the world, the music scene is coming alive again, which has seen Mayday Parade able to resume their previous plans as they head towards where they wanted to be – namely with their US album tour in support of their classic self-titled album wrapping up just a few short days before they head to Australia for another tour that is almost completely sold out.

With Mayday Parade kicking off their nation-wide Australian tour in mere weeks, we sat down with frontman Derek Sanders to chat about the anniversary of the self-titled album, how the pandemic changed their plans, and their newest album, What It Means to Fall Apart.

With the pandemic being what it is, how have the last few years looked for Mayday Parade? Have you been managing to stay safe with everything going on in the world?

Derek Sanders: It’s kind of crazy. We had no idea early on in 2020 that the pandemic was going to completely derail any plans we had. And, we had a lot of plans for touring the new album. It was a crazy period and it just kind of went from, “Okay, we’re going to have to postpone a few things”, to “Everything should be fine in a few months”, and then eventually cancelling things and realising that we weren’t going to be able to play live music any time soon.

Obviously, we tried to do everything that we could to make the most of the pandemic. Part of that was just writing a bunch of music and going in and recording What It Means to Fall Apart, which was a really cool experience. We did a couple of virtual shows, which was neat and it was something, but of course, nothing’s really going to kind of take the place of the real thing and actual live show.

Then as of the end of last year, we did our first tour – Back at It Again – which was amazing, and now we’re on the road. Hopefully, we’re going to be able to continue and that we’re past the worst of this – fingers crossed. It’s super exciting to be back at it again. I feel like nothing really shows you how much you miss this and how much you need this like having to step away for almost two years between playing shows.

It felt very fitting to release the single “It Is What It Is” just days before the world shut down with the global pandemic. At the time, what had the band been thinking? And, how did the Out of Here EP form? Did the EP sort of arrive in the wake of COVID changing your plans?

Derek Sanders: So, it’s kind of interesting the way the timing of all that worked out. We ended up going into the studio – I guess this would have been March of 2020 – and we didn’t really have much of a plan, necessarily. We had a handful of songs written that we were excited about and wanted to go in and record them. Then, that was with the possibility of, “Maybe one day this gets released as a part of an album’ or ‘Maybe these are just some singles” – we didn’t really know.

It was actually pretty soon within the first week of us getting to the studio that COVID really just kind of broke open, and everyone realised that this is a this is a very real thing that’s happening. From that point on, we kind of kept kicking the can down the road with any touring plans. We thought, “Well, okay, we’re super limited and what we’re able to do right now, but we do have these three songs recorded that we feel really strong about and we can release them just on their own as a three songs EP kind of deal”.

I think it is kind of wild that we had a song like “It Is What It Is” written pre-pandemic, but timing wise it just kind of all fell into place pretty nicely. Obviously, it’s tough to kind of battle with – does it make sense to put out music that you can’t go and tour on and play live and promote? But again, ultimately, we decided that that was the best move to at least give something. Not to sound too narcissistic, or whatever, but for a lot of people, I feel like they tell us that we help them with with things in their lives by touring and putting out music, so it kind of felt nice to be able to to give something, you know?

What were the last few years supposed to look like for Mayday Parade? Was it basically supposed to be what it is now, just a little bit earlier?

Derek Sanders: In a lot of ways, it was kind of just pushing things back and that’s part of why from the beginning of the year up until August really has been and will be just pretty much go, go, go from one to tour, then two weeks off, and then straight into the next tour– just kind of back and forth like that. That’s hitting the road a little bit harder than we typically would, and I think a lot of that idea is to make up for lost time.

We also kind of find ourselves in this weird position right now where, originally, the plan would have been to do all of this self-titled 10 year anniversary tour last year. But of course, that wasn’t able to happen, so we pushed it to now. Then we also just put out an album a few months ago, so you kind of feel like you have both of these things going on that are important and you want to celebrate and promote, but it doesn’t really give us a great opportunity to fully focus on the new album and do a tour revolving around that.

I feel like everything sort of got pushed and stacked, and now we’re just kind of trying to make the most of it. Then, I feel like at the end of August, once we’ve kind of wrapped up this year’s touring, hopefully we’ll feel somewhat caught back up and able to move forward from there without this sense of urgency that we’ve had and things can feel a little normal again.

The new album, What It Means to Fall Apart, feels very in line with ‘classic’ Mayday Parade in that it’s very much an evolution of everything you’ve done, but it sees you guys sort of looking back to your roots a little bit. Was that a conscious decision? Or was it more just a happy accident?

Derek Sanders: It’s kind of hard to say how much of it is due to the pandemic and the two years of quarantine and how much of it is also natural. As we’ve been a band longer and we’ve gotten older, I think it’s become more and more important to me. For example, when whatever the next album is that we make, I feel like it’s it’s my goal to do exactly what you said. It’s sort of an evolution of, or it’s sort of like building upon what we’ve created – going back from the very beginning up until now.

I think it’s important to have those songs that just feel like classic Mayday Parade songs; songs that would have fit in on A Lesson in Romantics or self-titled, or some of the older albums but, at the same time, not to get too caught up into that and also to have an evolution of the sound and to push into some new territories and push our boundaries and go outside of our comfort zone a little bit – just balance the two of those things.

I think especially Black Lines was kind of the biggest departure for us musically, and then with Sunnyland, I feel like that was the effort was like, “Okay, how can we kind of do both? How can we make these songs that that do kind of push us a little bit and get us outside of our box, but also not be too alienating?” That was the focus for Sunnyland and What It Means to Fall Apart, and what I imagine – at least for the time being – will be the focus moving forward.

What was the production of the record like? Did you guys start to do the whole ‘working remotely’ thing, or are you more of a band that needs that in-person experience to write and record effectively?

Derek Sanders: For most of the writing, it was remote. Everybody in the band writes and contributes, and basically with all that time off, we were just writing as much as possible. We have the ability now to make pretty decent sounding demos – much more than we were able to 10 or 15 years ago – so everyone’s just kind of recording snippets of songs and sending these demos to each other and in some cases, working on them together a little bit.

In the past we would try to actually get together at some point and have at least one sort of session of us just getting in a room, playing these songs, working things out for this album, but we didn’t do that until we were all together for pre-production. It was broken up a little bit throughout the pandemic. There were a couple different sessions that we’d go in and just record maybe three or four songs, and then at the end, we went in and did eight songs at once.

It was great to feel somewhat more normal during the pandemic and feel like it was something that was exciting to do every day and felt like you’re being productive and accomplishing something which with so much of the at home time during the pandemic, you didn’t necessarily feel that way. So, yeah, it was great to be back at it.

Last year saw you guys announce a few milestones – a long-awaited repressing of the self-titled album, and then you also announced you were giving it the anniversary tour treatment. How has it felt to look back on what is such a powerful record for you all?

Derek Sanders: Well, first of all, I think the self-titled is my my favourite album that we’ve done. I feel like those those first couple of years of the band we kind of went through a lot, and didn’t really have a great idea of of our direction moving forward with what we wanted to do and what we wanted out of this. I think that for this album, it was kind of that, and that’s why we made it a self-titled album because we felt like we were, for the first time, all on the same page with how we wanted to approach making music.

It was sort of risky – it felt like we diverged a lot from what we had done for Anywhere But Here, being on a major label and sort of trying to make them happy and write ‘radio singles’ and sort of abandoning that idea and just going back to writing songs that we love and make music that we want to make. But, I feel like it has been a great album for us. It’s done so much for us and to be able to play all these songs – some which we’ve never played live ever and then some of which we haven’t played live in seven or eight years – and it’s been amazing to have all that come back and to see the response.

So many of these shows have have sold out, and I think most of the shows in Australia are sold out, and the response has just been great. To have all these people here singing these songs with us – it’s been one of my favourite tours we’ve ever done, and it’s incredibly rewarding.

It’s only a few weeks before you all hit Australian shores. How are you feeling about that?

Derek Sanders: We’re so excited about it. I mean, Australia has always been great to us and we’ve always enjoyed going over there. It’s been a while – it must’ve have been 2018 at Good Things. It just feels like it’s been so long. So, yeah, we’re excited to get back. It’s not a super long tour, so it’ll be just kind of nice and easy and fun. Obviously the flight over there is going to be a little rough, but it’s truly going to be a great time.

Then we’re doing the UK and mainland Europe not too long after that. It’s cool to have somewhat of a world tour, especially having Real Friends on all of it, and to have something that feels like it’s themed. It’s going to be amazing. I’m really excited about it.

There’s also been a handful of shows seeing you guys play through the entire A Lesson in Romantics album as well. How has that felt? Is there a distinct feeling from the audience between that and the self-titled album?

Derek Sanders: So, we’ve done a few of the A Lesson in Romantics shows on this tour and we have two more coming up, and then the ones in Australia. For the most part, they’re pretty full-on. They’re both an incredible time and the energy and the vibe is just amazing. What I’ve really noticed during these two albums back to back is that A Lesson in Romantics is really a high-energy album – I would think more so than any of our other albums – and that’s pretty apparent. Playing those songs right out of the gate and up until “Miserable at Best” is pretty fast paced, high energy.

That reaction in the crowd is is is apparent. Like, their energy kind of meets that. It’s so much fun, but also a little bit exhausting. I wasn’t sure at first how I felt about it because it felt like the focus of all of this is self-titled, and it almost felt a little strange to throw in these other A Lesson in Romantics shows, but just simply for the fact that they are so much fun, it’s kind of hard to deny that and say that it doesn’t make sense of it, it’s not worth it.

It also happens to be the 15 year anniversary of A Lesson in Romantics. We hadn’t planned on necessarily celebrating that or doing anything for that and then probably won’t do another tour of that album until the 20 year, but it just it feels great, and I am excited.

There’s also more anniversaries coming, and some that have been missed here in Australia. Are there plans to give Anywhere But Here the full live treatment, or will Monsters in The Closet be getting the same focus?

Derek Sanders: I don’t know – It’s one of those things that we are still sort of figuring out, and it’s hard to know what makes the most sense, I guess. A Lesson in Romantics is our most popular album, and then I would think followed by self-titled, so for both of those I feel like it makes a lot of sense to do the full tour. Then it gets a little tricky to say with some of the other ones whether we’ll give it the same treatment of a full nationwide tour and overseas and everything, or whether we’ll just kind of break it up into a couple of shows here and there. We have to kind of talk about it and figure it out.

But in general, I really do like just doing themed shows or tours in general, because after 16 years of being in this band, I feel like at a certain point it’s just the next tour and there’s nothing necessarily that special or different about it. It is really nice to do these things that are themed to a certain degree and feel like it’s not just a different collection of songs and the same old thing that we always do.

So, I would like to do more of that stuff just in general. It doesn’t always have to line up or correlate with an anniversary – it might be cool to just randomly while we’re in Australia, think that we’re going to do an Anywhere But Here show, or whatever. I think in general, I’m more open to that idea. Moving forward, I hope that we continue to try and find ways to make the shows just a little bit more interesting.

Mayday Parade – Self-Titled Album Tour 2022

Wednesday, April 20th (Sold Out)
Metropolis Fremantle, Perth, WA

Friday, April 22nd (Sold Out)
The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD

Saturday, April 23rd (Sold Out)
The Roundhouse, Sydney, NSW

Sunday, April 24th
The Roundhouse, Sydney, NSW
Tickets: Moshtix

Monday, April 25th (Sold Out)
The Gov, Adelaide, SA

Thursday, April 28th (Sold Out)
Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne, VIC

Friday, April 29th (Sold Out)
Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne, VIC

Friday, April 30th
Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne, VIC
Tickets: OzTix

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