The Story Changes
Interview with Mark McMillon (Vocals, Guitars)
So, lets start this out right. Why should people listen to your band?
In the flashy, neon, splatter font, large bold printed highway that the scene today largely encompasses, we are that nice little state route that you can take for a breath of fresh air and get a little more of a scenic view. We're just trying to write honest rock songs that make us happy and that we would listen to. I love a lot of the current music coming out, but I think our music comes off a lot more connected with past loves like Hot Water Music, The Get Up Kids, and Quicksand than it does with the more current stuff coming out. I think that sets us apart because a lot of the bands I'm hearing these days all sound the same.
How lame is your band name?
Hmm, on a scale of one to awesome, maybe a 6?? I have no idea, haha. Is this being graded on a curve??
You guys are from Dayton, right? What kind of an experience was starting up a band there?
The Dayton scene has always had an enormous amount of talent with very few solid venue options to play at over the years. Some friends of ours(When Sparks Fly) would throw a lot of shows at a Knights of Columbus hall early on in the history of our band. That location and those shows served as a focal point in our scene for a while. A lot of good bands from the area came up in that scene, including Hawthorne Heights and Twelve Tribes.
What bands are you influenced by?
I would say the stuff that is most prevalent would be bands like the Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, Saves the Day, and music of that variety. We both listen to a little bit of everything. I think our tastes have worn off on each other a bit listening to music in the van on tour, but I tend to lean more towards the hooky guitar rock stuff and Poppy (Drummer) listens to a little more hardcore and metal than me. We meet in the middle when working on songs.
Favorite cities to come through on tour?
Three cities that come to mind right off the bat are Phoenix, AZ, Denver, CO, and Omaha, NE. We always look forward to hitting those areas and our friends make us feel right at home every time we're in town. We're both vegetarian and have certain areas that we love going to based on our favorite restaurants as well. The Triple Rock in Minneapolis is not only one of our favorite clubs to play, but their food is amazing.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would it be and why?
Led Zeppelin. ..because they're Led Zeppelin.
A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, or Return of the Jedi and why?
Jedi all the way. Ewoks equal epic win.
On your new release 'Analogies' a split record with Let Go, you worked with producer Jamie Woolford, who has worked with Punchline and the Gin Blossoms among others. Do you prefer doing a record with a producer, or would you rather take more time to really tweak the songs yourself?
I prefer working with a producer, but only after we've worked on the songs a good deal of time on our own and are ready to bring them into the studio. Working with a Producer is great if you have someone you click with and 100% trust. Having someone not in the band for an unbiased set of ears to listen to everything can be a valuable tool. We've worked with Jamie on two full length albums in addition to the split with Let Go. We've gotten very comfortable in the studio with him. He does a fantastic job and always has some great ideas to add to the songs.
How was the experience different doing a 'shared album' and working together with Let Go on the songs to the record?
It was great. We're super happy with how the entire project came together. Both bands recorded with Jamie at his studio and we had the entire thing mixed as one cohesive album. We flew out to Arizona earlier this year for a week and a half to knock out our four songs. We perform live as a two piece with loops and sequencing for the bass and keys, but for 'Analogies' we had Chris from Let Go play bass on the tracks and Jamie did some of the keys. It was a lot of fun having them involved and it added to the spirit of doing the split album.
So as just stated, you guys are a two-piece band now, how do you approach the songs in your live show?
We have entirely two much gear for two people! We get loud and we get down. The majority of the sound is coming from the two of us providing vocals, guitar, and drums, but we play live with loops, sequencing, and assorted wizardry to provide the bass, keys, and other instrumentation. It's been a lot of fun embracing the technology. The two of us have a great chemistry on stage together and have a lot of fun performing live. I think being a two-piece band keeps the focus on that.
Any plans for an 'Analogies' tour with Let Go in the future? Setting up both bands and playing the entire split back and forth, or how would you do it?
There are no plans for doing any touring together right now. Let Go is taking a break from the road. We played together a couple of months back while we were in Arizona on tour. We did an album release party in Tempe, AZ and it was probably the most fun show of the entire Summer tour. We didn't set up on opposite sides of the club and play the split back and forth across the room or anything like that, haha. That would be pretty cool though. Regardless, it was great hearing some of their new songs from the spit live. We've known those guys for a long time and have done a good deal of touring together. They're some of our favorite people that we've had the privilege of touring with.
If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Right now everything in the music industry is changing quite a bit on its own and I think that is exciting. Things keep evolving fairly quickly with the technology and everyone is throwing in their two cents on how things should be done. With digital files being so easily accessible for everyone now, downloading music "illegally" is never ever going to go away, but If I could change one thing, it would be to find a way for the artist to be compensated. It's a mixed bag because as a small artist, we want to reach as many people as we can, but having money for things like food is good too.:) We fully support anyone that wants our music and can find it to download it or get it from a friend. All we ask is that if you really like it, support the band and pick up the actual album and tell a friend about it. Analogies is on iTunes for less than eight dollars.
Looks like you're heading out on tour this October with I Was Totally Destroying, sounds intense, what should we all be prepared for?
Be prepared to smile uncontrollably! We're extremely excited about the upcoming run of dates with them. We've talked about doing a tour together for a while now and it finally came together schedule wise for everyone involved.
Any preshow rituals?
Our preshow routine usually involves a high five session with whomever is in the area at the time followed by a quick discussion on the setlist for the night. This usually leads to Poppy(drummer, other half of the band) warming up a bit on a practice pad while I sing random goofy songs out loud to try and make him laugh while warming up my voice.
So, everyone and their grandmother have been doing 'reunion' shows and tours recently. Do you feel this is all a money making scheme or there's just more of an appreciation for nostalgia these days? What are your favorite reunions so far?
Yea, it seems like there is a lot of reunion tours going on this year. It's hard to say across the board what the motives are, but I imagine it's a little bit of both the nostalgia factor and the money. My three favorite reunions that have happened recently are Sunny Day Real Estate, Faith No More, and the Get Up Kids. Now if we could just add Jawbreaker to that list!
What is something that most fans don't know about you?
I don't do well driving over large bridges or long tunnels in our van. It makes me light headed. Nice and easy flat roads for me please.
What is something that most fans shouldn't know about you?
What are your plans for the future? Full-length, EP, or world domination tour?
'Analogies' just came out, so we're not in a huge rush to get any new music out right away, but we've been writing quite a bit and are looking to have something new out early next year. As far as touring, we leave soon for an upcoming run of dates with I Was Totally Destroying It and we're just now getting plans together for early 2010. It's looking like we will be back out on the West Coast early in the new year doing a run of college shows. We just got home from six weeks of collective touring through U.S. over the summer and it was one of the best tours I've ever been on, so much fun.