Punk Goes Pop 5

Punk Goes Pop 5Various Artists
‘Punk Goes Pop Volume 5’

[Fearless Records]

Now in its 5th edition, through Fearless Records, our favourite bands that come in all different (melodic) shapes and (dynamic) sizes have again transformed cringe worthy songs into a gigantic hamster wheel of fun, all in the name of punk.

Forever The Sickest Kids didn’t have many lyrics to remember with ‘We Found Love’, but what they did do brilliantly was add their extremely contagious pop punk remedy. Almost unrecognisable is ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ re-worked by The Maine who undoubtedly do an excellent job, shaking the truly pop track into something so much more. From the intense intro straight through to Frontman John O’Callaghan’s bold vocals in the chorus that sees him showing off a melody nothing short of charismatic. Then there’s the guitar riff injected with astounding effects once found in much heavier music. The Maine’s rendition has an electrifying momentum, exactly that this track needed.

An unexpected yet very much impressive piece comes from Upon This Dawning who take on ‘Call Me Maybe’ and see it through with a storm of metalcore dual vocals including hugely destructive screams, as well as a drum beat that is very much alive. Who ever thought they’d find themselves fist punching the air and getting ready to start a circle pit to this song?

Attacking the boy band trend, We Came As Romans give The Wanted a run for their money as they cover ‘Glad You Came’. The group chants matched with Dave Stephens and Kyle Pavone vocals ablaze with a frankly radiant vibe, let’s hope they add this to their set list next time they’re in the UK.

Chiodos’ Craig Owen has carved a name for himself from day one and only he would ever dare to reinvent ‘Paradise’. Craig takes the number one hit like a bull by the horns, but unlike the rest of the compilation which never ceases to make chart toppers 1000x heavier, this one is head turning due to leaving affectionate leaving goose bumps over your skin. Anyone with their hearing still intact will appreciate this creation.

What do you get when you put together pop punk princes Mayday Parade, rising star Vic Fuentes from Pierce The Veil and a radio signature song in the form of ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’? …The biggest stand out track to ever feature on such compilation of course! It seems, not only are Mayday Parade great at their own songs but they can cover a critically acclaimed established song with ease.

Memphis May Fire set their goals high by choosing to reincarnate Bruno Mars’s ‘Grenade’ – previously nominated for Record of the Year at the Grammy’s. An unpredictable choice yet the band that blew us away last month with their support slot to Of Mice & Men, went away and tore apart this ballad; exchanging a soulful heartbreak/love song for a furiously brutal anthem laden with scorching power.

The final track deserves the status of being an absolute belter. ‘Ass Back Home’ is reconstructed by Secrets who should leave Gym Class Heroes sat on the edge of their seats. We’re definitely not favouring any genre but it’s a fact to say some of these original tracks needed a serious make over and they got just that.

Full track list:
1. Memphis May Fire “Grenade” (Bruno Mars)
2. Upon This Dawning “Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)
3. Mayday Parade ft Vic Fuentes “Somebody That I Used To Know” (Gotye)
4. We Came As Romans “Glad You Came” (The Wanted)
5. Like Moths To Flames “Some Nights” (fun)
6. Breathe Carolina “Billie Jean” (Michael Jackson)
7. Forever The Sickest Kids “We Found Love” (Rihanna)
8. Issues “Boyfriend” (Justin Bieber)
9. The Maine “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” (Cyndi Lauper)
10. Craig Owens “Paradise” (Coldplay)
11. Crown The Empire “Payphone” (Maroon 5)
12. The Word Alive “Mercy” (Kanye West)
13. Secrets “Ass Back Home” (Gym Class Heroes)

Words: Jenny Chu

Memphis May Fire Interview

Dallas band Memphis May Fire are rapidly emerging in the metalcore scene and blew away many fans and critics alike with latest release ‘Challenger’. This autumn the band headed over to our shores with Of Mice and Men for a fully sold out Rise Records tour. We sent Emma to catch up with singer Matty Mullins backstage at the London date. Although Matty has been reported as coming across with arrogant swagger on stage, the Memphis May Fire front man is actually impeccably polite and full of honest truths about the scene and his band. Here’s what he had to say…

Matty Mullins, Memphis May Fire

Your older brother is also a musician, do you think his example has influenced you?

Of course, 100%. When I was growing up, his band was doing really well in the Christian scene, and they were touring in a bus just a few months into their career, so seeing that was like ‘Wow’. I also found his live show really inspirational, it wasn’t just his success that motivated me.

My sister dated a lot of musicians, so I got to meet lots of interesting people through her. My whole family has influenced me really, my mum took me to contemporary Christian concerts! I went to DC Talk as one of my first shows, my mum used to take me to Creation Fest, so musically I think I had a privileged upbringing.

My brother was living it and my mum and sister also got me involved, so I guess I was involved musically from a very young age. I’ve always known how the game works, I thank my family for that.

Which songs are you most proud of lyrically?

Jeez… I know it’s not really a proper answer, but I guess all of them. I can’t say a specific song as the albums are all different from each other.

If you listen to all our albums back to back you can see that my lyrical style changes. ‘Sleepwalking’ was more poetry and philosophically influenced, ‘Between The Lies’ was more me writing politically and morally. From then on we went to ‘The Hollow’ and that was a significant change, it was written about people that I know and experiences that people go through. Not necessarily things I have personally experienced but events people close to me have. Death, divorce and other issues are mentioned there. I think it gives our fans an outlet to relate to. ‘Challenger’ is different again. It’s about us as a band and who we are as people, and it reveals some things we struggle with.

As every album is different, my lyrics don’t stand alone. It’s more like a journey. I love that some people are touched by my lyrics, but I’m not hugely proud of them currently. I don’t think I have peaked. There is still a long way to go and I perceive myself to write much better lyrics in the future.

Do you think your personality comes across differently in the media and on stage to what is actually is like?

Yes. For sure. Our music is somewhat heavy and wild. This isn’t my personality. I’m not a manly man. I don’t drink massive amounts or like tough sports. I don’t live a ‘heavy’ lifestyle. A little bit of my personality comes out through my music, but the bold image I display on stage is quite different to who I really am. I’m quite quiet and through our music I can release emotions that I can’t release day to day. I feel I can articulate myself and get my point across in a louder fashion through music than I can through any other means.

Memphis May Fire, Electric Ballroom 10.10.12

Who would you consider to be the best front man in history?

Oh my gosh! That is a difficult question. I’m going to have to really think about this one. I reckon some people might hate me for my answers, as my musical upbringing was very different from many others. I reckon everyone would be like ‘Iggy Pop’ or ‘Mick Jagger’, but for me, it’d be Toby Mac from DC Talk. Despite being in his late 40s he still goes wild on stage and he does a hip-hop project on the side that’s really cool. There are some great front men in the heavier world currently. Jake from August Burns Red is amazing. In our genre, he’s hands down the best. I also want to mention Anthony Green, he’s amazing too.

If we are talking about stage presence, I think Christian from Blindside is so different, but in a good way. His moves are like no other. He doesn’t do metal stomps or hardcore hand movements. He just does flowing dance moves, it’s like he really connects with the music.

You’re on tour with Of Mice & Men at the moment, Austin Carlile is another much loved front man, what do you think it is that makes him so popular?

I think it’s because he’s developed so much over the past few years that he’s been touring. I saw videos from the Attack Attack! days and he’s made massive steps since then. And what’s more, it’s really inspiring that he’s doing this, and so well, with such a serious heart condition.

He has to be careful on tour because of his condition, but it doesn’t stop him being awesome on stage. He’s a real passionate dude as well, he loves his fans and he always tries to give the best performance he can which is really important when you are fronting a band.

What qualities make up a good front man?

To be original anymore is impossible. Everything has been done. So taking something that’s not original and putting your own twist on it is really important. Showing individuality is the key I suppose.

So Memphis May Fire are on the latest Punk Goes Pop album, how did you get involved and why did you chose ‘Grenade’?

Well, we were approached, there was a huge list of songs, and ‘Grenade’ looked like it suited us best.

You see, we’ve never been a funny band. We don’t try and be popular by acting stupid, so we wanted to pick something that still reflected our style. Lyrically, I think it transcends the sort of thing we write rather than being a more stupid style of pop song. On ‘The Hollow’ there are a lot of songs about heartache and ‘Grenade’ is sort of similar. It was fun to sing it. I’m not the biggest Bruno Mars fan but I think his voice is really cool, I respect him. Although I’m pleased with the song, and I think the whole album is great, its not something we are looking to perform live. We don’t want to be a band that rides off someone else success.

What are you planning for the rest of 2012 and 2013?

Literally two days after we get off this tour we will be heading out with Asking Alexandria, As I Lay Dying and Suicide Silence in America. That’s going to be massive- maybe the biggest tour we’ve done as a band. I’m so stoked to be going out with As I Lay Dying, they are iconic. Then after that tour we are off to Soundwave Festival in Australia, then there are two more US tours that haven’t been announced yet.

It sounds very full on! Will you be back over in the UK at all?

Yes. That I can confirm. The details are still a secret at the moment, but it’s going to be awesome!

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

Memphis May Fire, Electric Ballroom 10.10.12

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

Must See Shows: October 2012

AUGUST BURNS RED
w/Devil Wears Prada
18 – NOTTINGHAM Rock City, 19 – GLASGOW Garage, 20 – WOLVERHAMPTON Wulfrun Hall, 21 – MANCHESTER Ritz, 22 – BRISTOL Academy, 23 – LONDON Electric Ballroom

For metalcore fans, this is quite clearly a phenomenal tour, not just for October, but for the whole year. Expect plenty of breakdowns, brutal mosh pits and many a sub-drop. Listen to ‘Meddler’ by August Burns Red and you’ll know exactly what we mean.

EVERY TIME I DIE
w/Stray From The Path, Last Witness
24 – SOUTHAMPTON Brook, 25 – BRISTOL Fleece, 26 – PLYMOUTH White Rabbit, 27 – BRIGHTON Haunt, 28 – CARDIFF Solus, 29 – LONDON Electric Ballroom, 30 – WOLVERHAMPTON Slade Rooms, 31 – MANCHESTER Academy II

Band after band said that Every Time I Die nailed it nightly on the US Warped Tour, and now over on our shores we are expecting exactly the same amount of carnage. With ETID being joined by Stray From The Path (who you might have caught with Architects earlier this year) and homegrown talent Last Witness this is a very healthy looking line up.

GALLOWS
w/Feed The Rhino
03 – BRIGHTON Haunt, 04 – EXETER Cavern, 05 – BRISTOL The Fleece, 06 – MANCHESTER Club Academy, 08 – NEWCASTLE Academy 2, 09 – GLASGOW King Tut’s, 11 – NOTTINGHAM – Rock City Basement, 12 – SHEFFIELD Corporation, 13 – STOKE Sugarmill, 14 – WREXHAM Central Station, 15 – LEEDS Cockpit, 16 – PETERBOROUGH Club Revolution, 17 – BIRMINGHAM Academy 2, 19 – LONDON Underworld

Their latest release received critical acclaim across the board, and now with intense front man Wade Macneil at the helm and Feed The Rhino as support, this isn’t just a must see show but a ‘you’d-be-really-fucking-stupid-not-to-go’ kind of show.

HILDAMAY
w/Landscapes
17 – DERBY Victoria Inn, 18 – GLASGOW Ivory Blacks, 19 – MANCHESTER Star & Garter, 20 – LIVERPOOL Format, 22 – LONDON Upstairs at the Garage, 23 – SOUTHAMPTON Cellar,24 – PLYMOUTH White Rabbit, 26 – PETERBOROUGH Met Lounge

We’ve noted Hildamay as ones to watch for some time now, and with a full UK tour to support their forthcoming album, hopefully this will be their time to shine. With Landscapes also on the bill this will be an awesome showcasing event for British talent as hardcore doesn’t get much more emotional and bleak than the way Landscapes go about it.

NEVER SAY DIE 2012 TOUR!
w/ We Came As Romans, BlessTheFall, Stick To Your Guns, For The Fallen Dreams, Obey The Brave, At The Skylines, The Browning, At Dawn We Rage
15 – UK Birmingham, O2 Academy 2, 17 – UK Manchester, Club Academy, 18 – UK London, The Electric Ballroom

Never Say Die Tours are always great but this year it features two of our favorite artists, Stick To Your Guns and Obey The Brave. Stick To Your Guns put on a hard hitting yet optimistic live show and Obey The Brave are sure to slay with their brutally heavy riffs.

PROXIES
11 – BUCKS Uni SU

If you are a regular reader of Crossfire you’ll know that we rate Proxies very highly indeed. Catch them at their live show to find out what all the fuss is about.

OF MICE & MEN
w/ Memphis May Fire, Secrets
08 – NORWICH Waterfront, 10 – LONDON Electric Ballroom, 11 – GLASGOW Garage, 12 – MANCHESTER Moho Live, 13 – BIRMINGHAM Asylum, 14 – LEEDS Cockpit

Of Mice & Men are the buzz band of metalcore right now. Not only due to their ridiculously strong re-release of ‘The Flood’ which featured 4 astounding bonus tracks, but due to the fact that Austin Carlile and his band mates seem to fully engage with their fans.

STRAIGHT LINES
01 – BIRMINGHAM Rainbow, 02 – NORWICH Waterfront, 04 – KINGSTON New Slang, 05 – BRIGHTON Hydrant, 06 – SOUTHAMPTON Joiners, 07 – EXETER Cavern, 10 – BRISTOL Thekla, 11 – OXFORD Jericho, 12 – MILTON KEYNES Craufurd Arms, 13 – READING Face Bar, 15 – LONDON Barfly, 16 – CARDIFF CF10

After releasing their second (and awesome) album, ‘Freaks Like Us’ earlier this year, check out Straight Lines as they embark on an expansive UK tour.

THE DANGEROUS SUMMER
01 – EXETER Pheonix, 02 – SOUTHAMPTON Mo’Club, 03 – BRISTOL Trinity, 04 – NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms, 05 – GLASGOW Garage, 07 – MANCHESTER Club Academy, 08 – NORWICH Arts Centre, 09 – BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy 2, 10 – LEEDS Cockpit, 11 – LONDON Electric Ballroom, 12 – KINGSTON Fighting Cocks

After releasing one of the albums of 2011 in ‘War Paint’, The Dangerous Summer have become firm favorites at Crossfire HQ. This October they are hitting the road with another of our loves, Don Broco.

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
15 – LONDON O2 Brixton Academy, 17 – LONDON O2 Brixton Academy, 18 – MANCHESTER O2 Apollo, 19 – GLASGOW O2 Academy, 20 – BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy

It appears everyone has a place for The Gaslight Anthem in their hearts, and rightly so. After a releasing another timeless album ‘Handwritten’ and performing a euphoric set at Reading & Leeds, The Gaslight Anthem are ready to take full control of the UK.

TRIVIUM
w/ As I Lay Dying
15 – MANCHESTER Ritz, 16 – GLASGOW O2 ABC, 17 – BIRMINGHAM HMV Institute, 19 – BRISTOL O2 Academy, 20 – NORWICH UEA, 21 – LONDON Shepherds Bush Empire

A titan of modern metal, Trivium, joined by one of the godfathers of metalcore, As I Lay Dying, in arguably intimately sized venues… this is going to be amazing.