Madina Lake interview


The meteoric rise of Chicago rockers Madina Lake in the UK has been nothing if not spectacular.

Since their debut tour in support of fellow upstarts Paramore at the end of last year, the band has since gained so much ground that they now find themselves not only headlining the same venues that they were previously opening, but selling them out.

In some cases the quartet are even being forced to upgrade to larger capacity premises, such is the overwhelming demand from fans.

Drummer Dan Torelli talks to Ryan Bird about their fairytale start to life on this side of the pond.

How are you doing?

Fantastic! We got in this past Sunday morning, got ourselves to the hotel and settled in for a little bit, and ever since then it’s been crazy doing press stuff.

What’s it like being in Madina Lake right now?

It’s awesome – it’s so, so exciting. It’s like nothing that any of us could ever have been prepared for. Some of us were just talking earlier about how strange it is. We’re doing the same things now that we’ve always done as far as travelling around different places and playing our songs go, but everything around us is changing and really kicking into motion. It’s pretty weird watching the shows grow and the press activity getting more and more intense, but it’s really amazing. We’re having so much fun right now.

Are you looking forward to playing the [Camden] Barfly tonight?

We’re really excited to be doing that. Last time we were over in the UK was about two months ago for Give It A Name, which were huge. They were such big shows, but we love doing smaller shows like tonight. We’ve been waiting to come back to the UK and do something like this ever since.

What made you want to do a free show?

I think the idea originally started between Kerrang! and a couple of the guys from our label. I think it was something they’d been toying with for a little while, and we’d done a really small show for radio in the UK a few months back.

We had such a blast doing it that when the idea came up we were just like ‘absolutely!’ The really cool thing about it is that everyone there is going to be either friends of the band or real hardcore fans. It should be a really cool and intimate time.

It seems like the UK has really embraced you guys…

Absolutely! We came here for the very first time last October supporting Paramore when we were virtually unheard of over here. We hadn’t done much press, we hadn’t released anything, and we really had nothing to our name, so we just came here and gave it all we had. We were really surprised with the response. Right from the very first show we felt like we were really being embraced and that just encouraged us to give even more for every show. It’s just been fantastic.

Why do you think it’s going so well for you over here?

Honestly, I’m not really sure. We do what we do every single night, and that never changes whether we’re here or over in the States. I don’t know if people in the UK are just more receptive to an attitude like that or whether they just really dig the type of music that we make. Either way we greatly appreciate it and we’re always super excited to come back.

Your debut headline tour in September is almost sold out, and most of the venues that aren’t have needed to be upgraded. Is that difficult for you to believe?

I cannot believe that! When we were here with Paramore and then again a month or two later supporting Gym Class Heroes, some of the venues those bands were playing are ones that we’ve had to upgrade from. We were supporting other bands at these venues and now we’re not only headlining them but having to skip some of them out as well. At the time we’d always sit there and talk about how awesome it’d be to be able to come back and headline those types of clubs ourselves, so it’s really blowing our minds right now.

How are things back home in the US?

It’s going really well right now. The US always takes so much longer to break through in because it’s just so big. We can do a 2-week tour in the UK and hit more or less all of the key cities and towns, but in the States you have to get out for 2-months to cover the same type of territories. It’s growing really steadily at the moment and everything is beginning to start rolling for us.

You’re touring on Projekt Revolution this summer. How are you looking forward to that?

It’s going to be tremendous. I can’t even begin to imagine how awesome that tour should be. There’s so many other festivals and tours going on in the States right now, but we feel like this is just the perfect one for us to be on. We always wanted to do Warped Tour but at shows like that there’s like five or six stages that are always overlapping, so sometimes kids are faced with three of four different bands that they wanna see that are all playing at the same time. Projekt Revolution is only two stages and about ten or eleven bands, so fans won’t be faced with too many dilemmas.

It’s a very varied bill, with Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, HIM, Placebo and a few others all being so different. How do you fit in?

I would say that we’re just a rock band. If you listen to our record there are parts that are kind of heavy, there are parts that are a bit more poppy and high-energy, and there’s also a lot of darker elements to it as well. We don’t really want to get bogged down by being branded pop-rock, pop-punk, emo or any of those categories. One of the great things about this tour is that it’s not catering to a specific scene. It’s a great tour full of rock bands.

Are you looking forward to seeing and playing with any bands in particular?

I can’t wait to see Placebo every single night. I like pretty much all of the bands from the tour but Placebo is a band that I’ve been aware of and listened to for a while. I’ve never actually seen them live, so now I get to see them live every day for about six weeks. Like I said though it’s a really great tour and I think all of the bands involved are super talented at what they do. It should be a fantastic summer for everyone.

So what does the next chapter hold for Madina Lake?

Well, after we do our headline tour in the UK in September we’re heading over to Europe for the very first time, which is really exciting. I’m not sure that it’s all fully confirmed yet but I think the rough outline for it is to do a few shows in Germany, France and Holland. Then of course we get to go over to Japan for a couple of days to do the Supersonic Festival. We’re pretty much going to be seeing the rest of the year out in the States after that I think, but we still have so much word to do in 2008. We still want to hit places like Australia and obviously we look forward to coming back to the UK again as soon as possible. It’s going to be an interesting time for us. I can’t wait.

Madina Lake’s debut album ‘From Them, Through Us, To You‘ is out now on Roadrunner.