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Alex Garcia Mayday Parade - Interview
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Mayday Parade

American rockers Mayday Parade are no strangers to Australia having toured the country a few times now. Come October the band return for a headline run on the back of their latest album "Black Lines" which captures their rawer live sound on record so we had a chat to guitarist Alex Garcia on what we can expect on the tour and more.



Andrew: So how's things with the band at the moment? You guys on tour or doing any shows right now?

Alex: No actually right now we are taking some time off. We just finished a tour maybe 3 or so weeks ago so we just got some time off at home which is awesome I think everybody is pretty excited about that. We'll start to do shows again, we're doing Slam Dunk Festival in England in about 2 weeks from now.

Andrew: I think you guys are doing the Vans Warped tour in the U.S. as well?

Alex: Oh yeah after that of course we'll be doing all 2 months or 1 and a half months or whatever it is of Warped tour.

Andrew: OK very cool! So obviously in October you will be coming down for a headlining run in Australia, I think the fans are pretty excited about seeing you guys again.

Alex: Yeah I'm excited about coming back, I love Australia! That time of year it will be nice, it will be early spring right?

Andrew: Yeah just coming out of winter and kinda getting into summer so nice time of the year definitely.

Alex: Yeah 'cause last time we were there it was very cold, it was winter. I think a lot of us got sick.

Andrew: Oh right! Well the last tour that you did was quite successful for you guys with a number of sold out shows, I'm expecting the same kind of thing this time around as well.

Alex: Yeah I hope so! I think we're anticipating an awesome tour, everyone always enjoys touring in Australia.

Andrew: Yeah and this time you are coming around with Early November, have you guys done a tour with them before?

Alex: No I think the only time we've met them was in 2006 on the Warped tour briefly but I'm pretty sure I've seen them play before even Mayday Parade existed. So yeah this is going to be a cool experience being able to tour with them for sure.

Andrew: The setlists and all that kind of stuff, obviously with a few albums under your belt now, it's probably getting a little more harder these days to pick out a setlist for a tour.

Alex: Yeah it is. I think that there is certain staples that we have to play but yeah you're right, you nailed it. I think it gets harder and harder but we figure it out as best as we can.

Andrew: Are you the kind of band that likes to change the setlist a little bit here and there or do you keep to a certain type of thing?

Alex: We usually keep to a certain kind of thing, we try and stay pretty consistent. It makes it a little easier for everyone to do that, you work on a set and you come up with something and then you make little changes through out touring and then finally at the end of it you have a set that feels really good to play and seems to get a good response from people so it's hard to justify changing that up.

Andrew: What about the Australian tour? Your last album "Black Lines" came out last year so will we be expecting a lot of new stuff on the tour this time around?

Alex: I think there will be a fair amount of new stuff. We're pretty good about mixing it up and playing both new and old, we want to please everyone and obviously we want to push the new stuff but we know that people want to see certain songs played so we try to cater to that.

Andrew: Which songs do you think the fans respond to the most from your older material?

Alex: I think songs from "A Lesson In Romantics" and songs off our self titled generally are the popular ones and the ones that people seem to be the most familiar with. Every now and then we'll play a song off of "Anywhere But Here" which is cool and people respond to that and "Monsters In The Closet", I don't know. It doesn't feel like people respond to that as much as the self titled and before that but I could be wrong. Honestly I feel like I'm the worst in the band at judging that kind of stuff, I don't know. I usually keep my head down and focus on playing so I never know how people are reacting. Derek (Sanders, vocals) is the one that knows, he's always the one that comments on that kind of thing.

Andrew: Well how are the new songs going with the fans? Are they responding to that really well?

Alex: I think so to a certain degree and these songs are always tough because I think people have a little bit of time before they really get used to it. And I think especially with this album with these new songs that they are kind of a little different so I feel people are having to kind of let it sink in so it's really tough to say. I mean for every single album it has been like that, within a year or year and a half that's when you start seeing people really start reacting to the songs in a live setting. At least for Mayday Parade it's always been like that, I'm sure for other bands it's totally different but for us it's been like that.

Andrew: You mentioned that this album is a little bit different and you're right, I guess the album is a little bit more grittier than past albums. What were the reasons for making a change like that this time?

Alex: We didn't want to make the same record for the third time, I think that was really the big one. Other than that I think that the gritty rock aspect to it that you hear I think is how we kinda always saw ourselves and how we feel that we sound live. It's what we feel is the kind of image that we present in our live show and I think that's kind of been a big aspect of our band. Something that we've tried to capture and been striving for I guess, is recreate our live atmosphere because it feels that when we play live, we're more gritty. A little bit looser around the edges and we like that and a lot of the band are influenced by stuff like that so I think that's been a recurring goal for the band.

Andrew: Has that been difficult to capture that live sound that you've been trying to go for?

Alex: A little bit. I say all that but when you get in the studio, it's tough because at the beginning of the recording at the onset of it, we have that in our mind. That kind of mantra of 'Let's make it raw and keep it' but in the process of recording, I feel like it's very easy to get caught up and you start wanting to add things and start changing things. I think also the producers have a distinct way of recording it and a distinct sound which is really cool but that was something that we wanted to try something a little different, change things up a little bit, experiment with the new kind of sound and producer. I think that's a big aspect of it as well.

Andrew: You guys have been pretty consistent with putting out material, about every 2 years. I know it's a bit early to say now but next year I guess you'll be thinking of making another album?

Alex: We've talked about it a little bit but there's nothing set in stone, we're still kind of making plans for the rest of the year.

Andrew: OK cool! Well just going into your history a little bit, how did you get into music in the first place? What made you decide to pick up a guitar and start playing?

Alex: Honestly when I was 13 I just thought it was a cool thing to do and I was never particularly musically gifted or anything like that, I don't come from a musically talented family. My parents liked music but neither of them played an instrument or anything like that, I didn't grow up with an instrument really. I just thought guitar was really cool and at that age at 11,12, 13 you start really getting into bands and music and kind of forming your identity around the music that you listen to and that's what happened to me. I really started to get into music and just listening to music and then I kinda combined those 2 things, playing it and listening to it and I just stuck with it. Honestly I feel like all it really was is that I stuck with it and then I took it to a relative seriousness and then I got very lucky and afforded really good opportunity of being in this band. And I made the sacrifices, I was willing to sacrifice my college education and all my personal relationships and go out on tour.

Andrew: Who are some of your biggest influences then? Some of the guitar players out there that maybe shaped the way you play the guitar and your sound?

Alex: Well I think early on it was Oasis, Noel Gallagher from Oasis and then Jimmy Page are the 2 big ones. I think Eric Clapton...I could go on, there's so many and I continually get influenced by guitar players. I go in phases where I'm really into 1 guy and then I'll try somebody else and I get really into him and their playing. I think it's really important to stay fascinated with it.

Andrew: Yeah absolutely and a bit of variety I think is important to keep your sound fresh I suppose.

Alex: Oh yeah for sure.

Andrew: Has there been any moments in your career where you have gotten to perform with one of your heroes at all?

Alex: Yeah I think the clearest one that I would say immediately that I can think of is, we toured with the band The Color Fred which had the main guy as Fred Mascherino. He played in Taking Back Sunday, he was the second singer and guitarist for their second and third albums and growing up, I'm a huge Taking Back Sunday fan and he himself is a great song writer, great singer but he's also a phenomenal guitar player so touring with him was cool. Then we did Warped tour and he was on it as well and something had happened with his guitar player so he had other guys fill in on guitar with him and he asked me to do it and so I filled in and finished out maybe 2 or so weeks on Warped tour playing guitar for him on a song and that was a huge honour. I was terrified and I don't think I was very good but it was really cool and a big honour and something that I'll always be proud of.

Andrew: Yeah absolutely. I guess that's one of the perks of being in a band and going on tour is that you get to have those kind of little moments.

Alex: That never happened before or after, at least not that I can easily remember but that's something that I was realy excited about and it was a cool experience for sure.

Andrew: Yeah definitely! Do you have any last words for the Aussie fans before you come over in October?

Alex: We really appreciate our fans support, we're very excited to see them and to play again in Australia is always a good time. I love Australia as a country so it will be a lot of fun and I'm really looking forward to it!

Andrew: Yeah should be a great tour! And you have a number of dates here so will you be having any time to do a bit of sightseeing or have you done all that already before?

Alex: I hope I have a little bit of time. I can't remember how many times I've been to Australia but nowadays I try and be a little bit more selective with what I do. I try and always do things, I always try and venture out and see cool things but I don't know, I'll look into it and see. When I'm in town I try and go to museums and stuff like that so hopefully I'll find something to do for sure.

Andrew: OK cool! Well as I said it's fantastic to see you coming back to Australia and I know the fans definitely appreciate it. So thanks for your time today, it's really appreciated and we will see you in October.

Alex: Great! See you then, thank you!

w/ The Early November

Thu Oct 6 - Eaton's Hill Hotel, Brisbane
Fri Oct 7 - Metro Theatre, Sydney
Sat Oct 8 - Arrown on Swanston, Melbourne
Sun Oct 9 - 170 Russell, Melbourne
Wed Oct 12 - The Gov, Adelaide
Thu Oct 13 - The Astor, Perth

Tickets and tour details can be found at Select Touring.

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on May 13th 2016