Interview: Mayday Parade [February 2014]

By Tom Connick

On their first UK tour in two years, Tom Connick spoke to Derek Sanders – frontman of pop-punkers Mayday Parade – about touring life and keeping it focused on the fans.

Welcome back to the UK! How’s the tour been so far?

It’s been incredible; it’s been amazing. Awesome shows every night – I was a little sick when we first got here, but I’m getting over that so it’s cool, and we’re with awesome people in the other bands, so no complaints!

It’s quite a diverse line-up on this tour [Mayday Parade, Man Overboard, Decade and Divided by Friday] – was that a deliberate decision?

Yeah, I think so! It’s great, it’s mostly people that we’ve toured with previously – Decade’s the only band we haven’t toured with before but those guys are great; they’re an awesome band and they’re a lot of fun to watch live, so it’s been good times.

It’s been two years since you last came over now, and last time you did both a headline tour and a tour in support of You Me At Six – is there a big difference between your own shows and a support billing?

Well, I guess so, but one of the things that’s kinda cool that I’ve noticed over here is that – for example, supporting You Me At Six – you’re playing for a crowd where not as many people know who you are as with a headline thing, obviously, but they still have a good time and get into it. More so than a crowd in the States, where, for the most part, if you’re playing in front of a crowd who don’t know who you are, most of them are just gonna stand there and watch. Which is fine! But I feel over here people are still gonna jump around and have a good time even if they don’t know the band yet.

A lot of the shows are sold out on this tour: how does it feel to come so far from home and still elicit such a great reaction?

Yeah, you can’t beat it. It’s amazing. Almost all of them have been – or are real close – and yeah, it’s amazing. This is our eighth time coming over here, so it’s crazy to see it grow. From the first tour we did, where it was fifty to one hundred kids a night. It’s awesome to come back each time and watch it build.

We talked about touring with You Me At Six, and you mentioned that a lot of the bands here you’ve toured with before – is that important to you, to keep it close-knit each time?

Yeah, exactly. I feel like all the bands we’ve toured with, we’ve been able to become friends with, and that makes the whole experience so much better. We’re sharing a bus with Man Overboard and that’s awesome, ’cause they’re the coolest dudes and we’ve become good friends with them. It helps a lot, especially being away from home – being surrounded by your friends and good people, and you’re all doing it together. And going to different places all around the world; touring with bands in the States, and then the UK, or Japan, or South America, it’s a crazy experience but it’s cool to share it.

‘Monsters In The Closet’ debuted at number 10 in the Billboard 200 – that must have been a great feeling?

Absolutely – it’s the highest that we’ve reached for a first week. It’s amazing; we’re all super happy, proud of it, and really stoked!

Must be great to get such fan support as you’re entering the long haul as a band?

It’s crazy – it’s our fourth album and things are still moving – we’re very happy to keep it going!

Fan interaction seems to be quite an important thing for Mayday – you keep all your fan-given bracelets up your arm and so on. Is that an important part of the band? Why do you think music fans especially seem to be so dedicated?

I would hope it is the music – I guess a lot of our sadder songs in particular, people can relate to. But also, we’ve made it our goal – almost every single show we’ve played, we go out afterwards and talk to people, and just interact, and I feel like that’s really important as well. You get to really know your fanbase – there’s people that you recognise that you’ve seen at all these shows! I think that’s definitely important, and it really helps.

A couple of years back you released [debut album] ‘A Lesson in Romantics’ on vinyl – was that another part of making things special for the fans? Are any of you avid vinyl collectors yourselves?

Yeah! I have about thirty or forty records. Our merch guy is really, really into it, and it was him who really wanted us to print all of our albums on vinyl, so we went along with it. It’s been really cool to do them like that, and a lot of people have them, it’s cool to sign them and everything – I’m into it for sure.

You’ve been quite prolific up ‘til now – you’ve always had quite a constant flow of new releases, so what’s next?

Well we’re in this album cycle right now, and I imagine most of 2014 is going to be pretty busy on the road. We have the rest of this tour, then we go to Australia for Soundwave, then South-East Asia, then home for a little bit – we have a couple of weeks of touring that we’re gonna do in the States before Warped Tour, then we’re gonna be on Warped Tour this summer. Then in the Fall, I’m not really sure what we’re doing yet. That’ll probably round off this touring cycle, then early 2015 we’ll start working on the next album! Keep on truckin’!


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]