Of Mice & Men Interview

Of Mice & Men InterviewThere is one band that is currently taking over metalcore. You don’t have to look very far to find out who it is, flick through any magazines, browse on sites like Tumblr and they are everywhere. ‘They’ are Of Mice & Men. Not only are the band known for their punishingly heavy shows and bouncing riffs, Of Mice & Men have a reputation for being one of the most positive and enthusiastic bands in the scene at the moment.

Crossfire’s Emma Wallace caught up with vocalist Austin Carlile and drummer Val Arteaga ahead of their sold out London show as part of their Autumn/Winter UK & Europe tour. Here’s what went down…

You’ve been massively busy this year, but what’s been the highlight of your recent touring schedule?

Val: Everyday that we get to get on stage is a highlight. We spent the summer on Vans Warped Tour and every single date of that tour was insane. We’ve just finished an August Burns Red tour, and again every single date on that was amazing.

Austin: We’re here ready to start a sold out UK run, how awesome does that sound? That needs to be a highlight. We played New York last night, woke up, flew here, got here and have to play a show tonight. Its hectic but its awesome.

Sounds very intense, but like you say, awesome too. Do you suffer from jet-lag with all the traveling?

Austin: Oh boy yeah! But today I had an English Breakfast… man! £5 but it was massive. That helps sort the jet lag out.

Val: Oh man I’m so jealous. Can’t believe I missed out on that.

You’ve changed the set list around a bit recently, which songs get the pits started?

Austin: All of them! ‘The Depths’, ‘Ohioisonfire’… Oh and ‘The Flood’ is a banger. Anything heavy.

Well your new stuff is particularly heavy, is that the way your looking to go in the future?

Austin: I’d say it’s more like a step for us. We wanted these last tracks to come out as their own piece, we wanted to show our fans this is a direction we can go but not one we may stay with. For the longevity of the band, I think we’ll stay with the melodicore style, we’re a band that includes singing, and that will be something that won’t ever fully disappear.

Does that mean clean vocals will be coming back when you release new material?

Val: Yeah, for sure.

Austin: Yes. 100%.

When is the new album coming out? Everyone is excited for it!

Austin: 2013…!

Val: If the world doesn’t end.

Austin: What?! I don’t want the world to end. Why’s the world ending?

Val: I don’t know it’s just supposed to soon.

Austin: Oh man. Well I don’t care. As long as the world isn’t dead before our third album, it can explode the week after, but it’s something the world needs to hear!

Who do you think are the best acts around at the moment in your scene?

Austin: Our boys in Memphis May Fire who will tear apart the UK. And, well because of their front men, Linkin Park and Slipknot. Corey Taylor, man he’s just awesome, the best front man around.

He is awesome! Who do you think is the best front man of all time then?

Austin: Frank Sinatra! Haha hands down Frank! And I can answer for Val, he’ll say Michael Jackson.

Val: Hell yeah. Michael Jackson is the man!

Austin, so would you say Corey Taylor and Chester Bennington have inspired you?

Austin: Well obviously a bit. They are amazing. But when I started the band I never thought we’d get anywhere near their level, I’m pretty realistic. And still if someone said to me right now that I would be touring with Slipknot, I’d be like ‘Man… So sick!’.

Is your persona on stage different to who you really are?

Austin: For sure! For Val that’s ridiculous, of course he’s different! Emma you’ve seen him beat the shit out of a drum kit and look at him now, he’s like a like a puppy.

Val: True. I feel like our personas will always be a bit different on stage, but they aren’t massivelly different to what we are really like.

Austin: Hey, mine’s different!

Val: How so?

Austin: Well in real life do I walk around growling at people? No! I don’t spit at people in real life either.

Val: I guess not, but you’re pretty weird in real life and on stage!

Austin: It’s a bit like being in a theatre, you are different on stage, you play a character. I’m like Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde, a bit like the single Austin and the not single Austin… too completely different people!

Val: Aww…

Austin: Dude that wasn’t meant for an ‘Aww’, it was meant for an ‘Oh. Shit’. I’m dangerous. Actually I’m being stupid, I’m not at all. But single Austin is tastefully playful, like I am on stage.

Val: Dude no one cares…

Before you go on stage, how do you get ready?

Val: It’s a secret.

Austin: No, I’ll break it down for you. Phil and Tino set up and do all the gear and stuff and Alan and I stay on the bus and we get pumped to music, something heavy like Lamb Of God or Korn. We head bang together! Then the tour manager is like ‘Guys come on!’ And we meet up with other guys, have a little huddle, get more pumped. Alan yells at us. He’s a bit mental. And then we shout at each other, go more mental. Then we are ready. I love it.

Last time I spoke to you guys, you felt something was lacking on tour, do you remember?!

Austin: No.. Oh wait. Yeah. A tour kitten. Yeah I caught up with Emma before a show and went on about cats. We wanted a tour kitten to come on the bus with us. A cute kitten to cuddle. Actually last time I spoke to you I was dressed up as a cat, and now I’m all over Tumblr like that, a bit embarrassing…

So my last question is do you have a tour kitten now?

Austin: No, unfortunately not. Although Alan does have a kitty back home, she’s real cute. I moved on from cats, I want a tour puppy now. Man I’m so metal…!

Austin Carlile, Of Mice & Men

Words: Emma Wallace
Portrait Photos: Tim Easton
Live Photos: Emma Wallace

Of Mice and Men Live at Electric Ballroom, Camden

OF MICE AND MEN
w/ Memphis May Fire, Secrets

Electric Ballroom, Camden
10th October 2012

After selling out way in advance and with a queue lapping the outside of Camden’s Electric Ballroom, you know for a fact tonight’s show is going to be crazy. From an all-American line-up, Secrets are first to take to the stage. They are the perfect warm up act for this sort of audience, plenty of sub-drops and head bangs get the party off to a fine start.

When Memphis May Fire roar into action its clear that many of the Of Mice & Men fans here tonight are also deeply entwined in a love affair with this band. A vast majority of the crowd go wild. Considering Memphis May Fire aren’t headlining the response they get is very impressive. The room jumps as one to the bouncing riffs, with ‘The Sinner’ uniting the band and crowd in a mass sing along.

Before the show, Matty Mulllins discussed with Crossfire what he feels makes a great frontman, and with this performance he definitely put into practice what he preached; lunging across the stage and fully engaging the audience like the pro he is.

Secrets were impressive, Memphis May Fire took that up a level, but Of Mice & Men are just in a league of their own. Valentino Arteaga is a machine behind the kit. Alan Ashby and Phil Manansala create dirty, dirty riffs which entice permanent pits. Aaron Pauley takes care of clean vocals and finds near vocal perfection whilst pulverising filthy baselines that penetrate ear drums in the most heavy of fashions.

Austin Carlile has the audience in the palm of his hand. There are few frontmen that can work a crowd to this level but it’s not just his showmanship that is impressive, his vocal ability is superb. Holding growls for as long as he can then charging around the stage is no easy task.

With ‘The Flood’ and ‘The Depths’ (bonus tracks taken from the recent reissue of their 2011 release) causing just as much carnage as old favourites its becoming ever more obvious that Of Mice & Men are a dominant force in modern metalcore. No longer will they be playing club shows, surely the next step will be Academy shows. If their success back in America is anything to go by, a UK arena tour in the future isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound. Tonight was hands down one of the best shows of the year.

Words & Photos: Emma Wallace

Of Mice and Men

OF MICE & MEN
The Flood (Deluxe 2 Disc Re-Issue)
(Rise Records)
http://www.facebook.com/ofmice

Southern California’s Of Mice & Men are constantly growing in popularity. The band -who are currently on the Vans Warped Tour- have quenched fans’ thirst for new material with a 2 disc deluxe re-issue of their critically acclaimed album ‘The Flood’ featuring 4 new tracks.

The bonus tracks start with a tantalizing instrumental piece ‘The Calm’. The reverberating clean guitars are a beautiful yet eerie experience to behold, clearly implying the saying ‘The calm before the storm’…

As ‘The Storm’ picks up tempo, Austin Carlile’s strained and emotional screams kick start a typical ballsy Of Mice & Men riff. On the original release of ‘The Flood’, ‘Ben Threw’ and ‘Ohioisonfire’ showed Of Mice & Men’s capability to produce intense riffs and rhythms whilst maintaining an underlying bounce, but they are nothing in comparison to the punishing assault of third bonus track, ‘The Flood’ and final new number, ‘The Depths’. It seems that after the departure of Shayley Bourget, clean vocals have been left to one side with the band focusing on a new level of heaviness.

Presented with flowing continuity, the bonus tracks are an impeccable addition to ‘The Flood’. The production of the tracks is highly commendable in its own right, the magnitude of the atmospherics are on the same level as Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep it a Secret’. With its new additions, the re-issue can be appreciated by fans from across the metal spectrum with influential elements of artists such as The Devil Wears Prada, We Came As Romans, Pierce The Veil & even Slipknot shining through.

If first time around, ‘The Flood’ begged to differ that metalcore was a dying art, the re-issue demolishes any ideas that the genre is dated and builds a platform from which Of Mice & Men can dominate the current scene. The flood is coming again.

Words: Emma Wallace