Part 2 of an interview with Dave Elkins. Part one can be read here.
Have you considered a live CD/DVD type release? *Maybe film a couple shows or a show where you play an album in full and have another release?
Yeah, if we play your town and we don't play exactly what you want, we don't want you leaving feeling like we slighted you. So, it would be great if we could document a few of these shows and share them with people. Plus, after we do take a break, if someone didn't get a chance to get their full Mae fix, then they'll have the opportunity to see The Everglow from front to back in a live environment, or whatever it may be that we didn't play. In our hometown of Norfolk, Virginia, we've probably played at The Norva a dozen times at this point, and it would be great to film our last show and a few others like El Ray in Los Angeles or World live in Philadelphia. There're so many venues that are going to have great stages and sound systems, and we're going to have a blast in those places. I think we're also going to record audio from every show through the board, so we might be able to give away online some of our audio performances if there is interest in that.
How did you go about picking the openers? Did you pick or was there someone else behind that?
Yeah! It's actually been quite a process. In the past we picked bands because we had a friend in a band or we played shows together or we had been together on things like warped tour. But this time we just took a bunch of submissions and we listened to every single band that submitted. There were a lot of really cool bands musically that we wanted to pick, but you can't really put 7 bands on one bill. This is especially true if it's your farewell tour seeing how people are going to want to hear as many songs from you as possible. We picked Terrible Things because we were really good friends with Andy from Hot Rod Circuit. Actually we did a headlining tour with them, and The Snake The Cross The Crown opened up for us right when The Everglow came out. *I have been friends with Andy for a long time and when we saw that they submitted for our tour, we figured we would like to be out with some of our good friends. I mean we have known Fred since his old band...
Yeah! Yeah! When he was in Breaking Pangaea he was booked by our agent years and years ago, and we met Fred when his band played in Virginia. So we have known them for years and Josh from Coheed, it just kind of felt like we would be doing this farewell tour with a bunch of friends in bands that represented the time period that we were a part of musically. So Terrible Things kind of has a personal story attached to them individually as friends of ours and to take them out on one of their first tours just seemed right.
The band called Windsor Drive was a decision we made as a band. I heard one of their songs and it kind of reminded me of a new version of Copeland. I don't want to put them in a box or make people think that I think they sound like Copeland, but I heard sounds in their music that was reminiscent of Copeland. We had actually talked with Aaron a long time ago when Copeland was doing their farewell tour about us jumping on and doing a co-headline farewell tour. I think a lot of people associate Copeland with Mae and Mae with Copeland since we basically wrote the same way and played house shows together and warped tour together. We grew up as good friends rooting for each other and alongside each other. But, it wasn't convenient for us and it wasn't convenient for Copeland to do this Mae and Copeland thing. But I heard Windsor Drive and they reminded me of Copeland and we love Copeland and thought we could help this band out and get the word out about them.
For the final show we're using locals. We love having local bands on our shows because we get to hear new music. Even though we have been through quite an up and down, peaks and valleys road, we still love music very much. We love being inspired by music and we love hearing new music. So having a band that is important to each city that we play in is really cool. It will be fun to see 30 minutes of music from some currently unknown bands and hopefully find some cool friendships along the way. Also, if they're bands looking to record in the future I'll ask them, "Hey do you want to work together in the future on something?" So that's how we picked those bands.
I definitely hear the Copeland influence in Windsor Drive.
Yeah, for sure.
Do you have any plans for the EP's? Do you plan on releasing them together or do you plan on releasing them on vinyl? Or an even bigger question, do you plan on releasing The Everglow or Destination: Beautiful on vinyl?
We do. When the band started we got this really cool situation with Tooth and Nail where we signed this licensing deal with them. Basically we get to own the rights to the records but they were still willing to put the records in stores for us. That was a 5 year deal, so back in 2008 we got to own Destination: Beautiful outright all over again. So we think we'd like to put Destination: Beautiful on a limited edition vinyl, maybe like a marble or something like that. We're definitely going to do that. We have also talked about doing a vinyl version of (M)orning, (A)fternoon and (E)vening on one album. When I write songs I always try to put them in context of one album and so it was kind of nice to put out many albums. These are EP's but they still have close to 40 minutes of music on each one and usually about 8 tracks per release. It might be nice to take the most powerful moments on each record and do away with some of the segues and instrumental pieces or re-approach them in the studio a little bit. I doubt that we will see this come out on this tour; it will probably be like an online only release or something we do closer to the holidays. *Anything is possible, but I think between rehearsing and the work we have to do on (E)vening, it may not be that this will be in time for the first show. It's possible, but we'll have to see.
How would you describe the entire experience of the (M)orning EP and getting the families house built and raising $50,000 dollars for such a good cause?
Man, it was incredible. We went through the heartbreak that we went through during the Singularity era, we lost Rob and Mark, we parted ways with our management, we asked Capitol to drop us from our contract, and we ended at square one. So we needed a reason to keep going beyond just the fact that we liked music and we liked to write music. We needed something bigger than that. We were never a radio band like some of the bands that grew up around us. Dashboard (Confessional) or All American Rejects are meant to be on the radio. We may have written some songs that sounded like they were meant to be on the radio, but that's not what has ever defined our band. We decided we were going to put out our own record on our own label. This meant that we weren't going to be able to sell a million records because we weren't going to be able to make a million records. So we didn't have the typical formulas for success that a lot of bands go through. We didn’t need to get this on the radio or get this to go gold. Instead, we decided that we wanted to affect people positively with our music. People say that all the time and we said it way before we even did anything like this. But we really thought success for us would be measured by how we could literally affect people with our music. You know, we were inspired by many different models like the Radiohead model (name your own price). However, we couldn't just give the music away because we didn't have a cult following or a history like Radiohead. But we knew that we had a solid fan base that could be a part of what we wanted to accomplish. So we decided that people could buy the songs for a buck or more and we'd give the money away, plus we'd do something that you believe in, that we believe in, and we'd do it until it got done.
So with the (M)orning EP, building this home, we went to the site a few times and hammered in the nails and picked up the plywood. We got to meet Rhonda Foyd and her family and got to know them and know that we were making a difference for her and her kids. We’ve partnered up with charities and played charity sponsor shows many times. They are meaningful experiences but you realize that you're just there to be a part of something that is going to go on whether you're there or not. However, we wanted to do something more specific. Our fans helped us to be able to do things like build a house for someone in need who couldn't afford it on their own, put supplies into classrooms for kids in schools that are in school systems that are failing and the government funding is failing so their needs aren't being met, and feeding homeless people in Orlando. To receive letters from first graders thanking us for putting colored pencils and paper in their hands so they can be imaginative and creative feels better than it would have to drive in the middle of the Midwest and hear a Mae song on the radio every other hour*or to have our manager call us and say we sold 500,000 records that day.
I guess in a perfect world for a band both of those things could happen. But I think we had to choose and we decided to make a difference and literally connect with our fan base and say "Hey what do you think we should do for your community? Let’s do it together." It's something that really needs to be done. Look at the state of our country, look at the economy and look at how things are really difficult and desperate these days. People look to music for an escape, so I'm definitely proud that we got to be a part of something that provides an escape, but also provides an answer.
I ran across Windsor Drive back in February, and within five seconds of "Fall" had to do a double-take. Dude's voice sounded so much like Aaron Marsh. They're a little more adult-alternative at the moment than Copeland was, I think. But they've got a ton of potential. Can't wait to see them at the El Rey show. Speaking of which, YES DAVE, PLEASE RECORD THE EL REY SHOW. Crowdsource DVD funding. Or let me blow all my excess student loan money on helping you finance it. Please make this happen.
And your back catalog on vinyl.
And... um... more albums after (e)vening.
Okay, last one's a stretch. But everything else was in all seriousness.
Love you guys.
[And if you play all of The Everglow + Awakening at the El Rey show, I will be able to die a happy man.]