Madina Lake

By Andy
Madina Lake hit the UK shores again this month for their Arlene Ball tour. We caught up with drummer Dan Torelli ahead of their arrival:

Where in the world are you Dan and what’s on the cards today?

We are in our home town of Chicago, and being the week before we leave for the Arlene Tour, we will be in our rehearsal studio creating our set list and getting the show in order!

How is the mood generally in the Madina Lake camp at the moment?

Anxious would be the best way to describe it… We haven’t been on the road since the week before Christmas and we thrive on playing live. We’ve been looking forward to this tour since its inception last year.

You’ve got a new EP coming out soon – ‘The Dresden Codex’. Where does this fit into the Madina Lake back story and mythology? Is it a separate entity to the three-album concept that you’ve talked about before?

It is an EP and not our third record, yet the theme will still follow the Madina Lake mentality. It’s still a couple months from being finished… ideas are still being formulated, but this EP will be a kind of bridge between our second and third record.

What is ‘The Dresden Codex’?

It refers to ancient Mayan texts, some of the earliest writings ever found in the Western Hemisphere. There are some prophecies that are closely tied to the Madina Lake story from that period.

We understand you headed down to record it in Florida in January this year. We imagine it’s pretty hard to record an EP with all the sun, sea and sand distracting you. How much of it was spent recording and how much were you just having a bit of a cheeky holiday?

To be honest we did more work down there then we’ve ever down in such a short amount of time. We’ve been known to get retarded no doubt, but it had been well over a year since we’ve written any new material so we were pretty disciplined. The change of scenery was definitely good for us.

Before you went in to record the new EP, Nathan said on his blog you were looking to give it a ‘raw, nipple twisting rock sound’. What the hell does that mean, and did you succeed in doing that?

Haha, we always seem to be referencing tits in some way or another. It means that we are getting tired of that over produced and scrutinized sound. These songs came together very quickly and I think we succeeded in capturing that energy on the recordings.

Do you have a release date for ‘The Dresden Codex’ yet?

It could come out as early as May… Most songs are finished; when we return from the Arlene tour we’ll knock the rest out!

Now you’ve recently been involved with various charities – playing benefits for Darfur and raising awareness for breast cancer. Do you feel responsible as a band that’s recognised worldwide to use your fame to encourage others to do the same? Is that ‘part of the job’ for you?

We don’t consider what we do a job, we feel very lucky to be able to do this. We constantly feel like we need to give back to the people who support Madina Lake so I think doing things like that feel natural for us. It’s never been about the money for us, and yeah, we hope that mentality will be contagious.

How did you get involved with those two particular causes? Are they ones particularly close to your hearts?

We’ve been close to keep a breast for a long time, they have been involved in so many cool events music related that we were totally into doing something with them for a while now. The Darfur thing was also very cool, it was held at a club called the Metro here in Chicago which we spend a lot of time at so we wanted to get involved as soon as we were aware of it. It was about raising money to build schools for refugees – a privilege to be a part of.

You’re back in the UK in April headlining what you’ve dubbed ‘The Arlene Ball’. Is the name another reference to the Adalia story?

Yes. It was a significant event in the story during the first record involving Adalia’s disappearance.

You’ve run a competition for bands to win supports slots on the tour. What has the response/quality of entries been like? Any ones you’ve particularly picked up on?

Yeah we thought that would be a cool way to get different bands on the show and keep the tour fresh every night! There were a bunch of amazing bands in for it and with the help of Atticus we were able narrow it down…

Now after this run you’re back for Sonisphere in August but what else is happening with Madina Lake in 2010? Can we expect to see the next full-length before the year is out?

We are so excited for Sonisphere, you have no idea. We’ve been really lucky with amazing festivals over there every year! We are also hoping to get into the studio this summer to track our third record!

Right, we’ll see down the front next month. Anything you’d like to add?

It’s been almost a whole year since we’ve been over there to headline so get ready to party, the Arlene Ball has been a long time in the making!

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]