There 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!
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!
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…!
Words: Emma Wallace
Portrait Photos: Tim Easton
Live Photos: Emma Wallace