By paul

Paul: Hey man, how’s it going? What are you guys up to? Must be about time for the Warped Tour?
Yuri: Yeah man, we’re getting ready for it. We have been flying in and out doing one-offs and doing odd things before we go. We have done it enough times to know what to expect what will happen. It’s an awesome tour and we have a great time. It’s great to go out and see people that you may not have seen in a while and play with them every day.

Paul: So the new album is out now, which you’re obviously using Warped to promote. Are you happy with the finished product?
Yuri: Yeah, it came out yesterday. We went to Seattle to play a record release show and 300 people turned up to this small record store. We played six songs and stayed signing autographs for hours. I love this record. The radio is playing it too and there’s a real buzz about it. I’m kinda shocked.

Paul: Do you get the same buzz that you did when you first started out? I eman it’s been a long time now and the last couple of albums maybe haven’t been as well received…
Yuri: This time it has definitely been better than the last couple of times. We are on a new label that is enthusiastic about our band and the record. That gets us excited and when we have a radio station excited too it’s cool. We have been around a long time but the buzz is still there.

Paul: Does it not frustrate you that Good Charlotte, who used to open for you guys, have become megastars while you’ve never managed to share that success?
Yuri: It just happens, there’s nothing you can do about it. For us, bands we consider to be amazing, like The Descendents, had some minor success but not what they deserved. I think it’s the same with us.

Paul: So how did the deal with Side One Dummy come about?
Yuri: We were pretty unhappy with Interscope and we wanted to get off but legally there was all this mumbo jumbo and eventually they just said yeah. One of the guys at Side One… has been a friend of ours for a long time. We weren’t sure about whether we would go to another major or to an indie so we said that if we decided to go back to an indie then we’d go to Side One. It didn’t take us long to be honest to make that choice.

Paul: Did you have the choice of signing with another major then?
Yuri: Yeah, we had talks with a couple. We had been on Interscope for seven years and I think we were sick of the label thing. We didn’t sell millions of records for them and they didn’t really care for what we did. You couldn’t buy enthusiasm from anyone. We have Side One Dummy now and they’re so enthusiastic it makes it all totally worth it.

Paul: You’ve had some pretty bad luck with labels haven’t you?!
Yuri: Tooth and Nail were bad news. When we first signed to A&M it was a good thing but all of the managers and the staff that were there when we signed got lost in the mix. New people came along and they hadn’t signed us and we went unnoticed. It got so bad that we nearly split up.
Paul: Really, that bad?
Yuri: It was bad enough to have the talk about it, but I don’t think we were ever totally serious about it. The label just wasn’t interested enough in us and it became hard work just to deal with them.

Paul: Are the new songs a reflection of your mood at this point? The general theme of the album seems a lot darker…
Yuri: This time around, yeah. I never want to say that anyting specifically directed us, but this time we were in a similar situation to where we were back at the time of Slowly Going The Way… A lot of the songs were written while we were in the midt of a lot of stuff. We wanted to find ourselves as a band. We wanted to make something that people wanted to listen to. We wanted to work hard to make an impression. We went away to demo songs and we got feedback on them. Finally, after a year of demos we recorded the album in about three weeks. We pounded it out. It was awesome. I had so much fun recording this album. Everyone enjoyed the experience in their own way. The drum tracks were recorded in 3 and a half days. It was relaxed.

Paul: I interviewed Mike around the time of Before, Everything and After and he said at the time he thought it was your best album. Is that something you’d agree with 12 months down the line?
Yuri: At the time, when we finished that record it was kind of like an ordeal getting that record done with mixes and re-mastering. That was record label interference. They weren’t happy with the mixes. They wanted the two most expensive mixers in the world to do it and they did their thing and it sounds great. I think our fans thought it was a bit light – they would go to our shows and see us kick ass and on that record there’s not as much energy. I think on the new record we have gone back to that. We are a lot more happy, the label is happy and the radio is happy too.

Paul: Was a lot of that album written with the radio in mind?
Yuri: It wasn’t going to be as poppy as it turned out, but then it got remixed. It just happens the way it happens. The producer got a bit and the label wanted it to be more poppy. Some people love that record. I do like it but I think this new one is more diverse. There are a lot of different songs on there. There are some really aggressive ones. In the studio, Mike was dashing into walls, that’s what the last record was missing.

Paul: One thing I wanted to ask, while I remember, was about the acoustic disc and how that came about.
Yuri: It was always something we had dabbled with in the past for radio shows and things like that. We would do radio appearances and play a few songs acoustic. Fans would come up to us and say ‘you guys should do some songs acoustic’ and this was even before Dashboard Confessional came along! It was novel. When Dashboard came out we thought ‘ok, let’s all do it’ and we thought it would be different. The DVD was just an added bonus really.
Paul: You must have sat for hours putting that together…
Yuri: We didn’t do most of the editing, but yeah, there’s a lot of footage. When I first saw it I thought, wow, that’s too honest. It’s a good way of showing people what it’s like to be with us. There are times when I’m drunk on there and I don’t drink often. It’s funny because the only bad feedback we got from the whole thing was the bit where you see me smoking a pipe. It was some dad. I mean I don’t smoke, I just happened to be drunk and I picked it up and they filmed me.

Paul: Do you get many complaints? I mean there must have been a few when you quit Tooth and Nail and then there’s those who don’t like your religious beliefs…
Yuri: About the time we left Tooth and Nail we had a few. Many people were mad at us. That’s pretty much the only time. They thought that because we weren’t on a Christian label then we couldn’t be Christian’s anymore. After a while people got over it. It’s often the parents actually. On the DVD there’s a bit where a mom was saying we were corrupting her daughter. There are some weird people out there…
Paul: Have you ever been confronted?
Yuri: Definitely. There was a woman in Florida and she came up to me and grabbed me. She was like holding on to me. She was saying ‘I know you can feel the annointed coming through me’. We were all like, ‘ok…’ We get people asking us to go to church with them or rituals where they speak in tongues. So yeah, we’ve been confronted.

Paul: The last time you came over was for Deconstruction. What memories do you have of that tour?
Yuri: That was great! The Europe situation has been kinda sketchy as we have never been consistently. We were unsure about the response we would get on that tour but we were pleasantly surprised by the fact we had a lot of fans come out to the shows. We need to come back soon. I think from now on we’ll be back a bit more often.
Paul: So there are plans to come this year?
Yuri: Well we have Warped all summer but then a couple of dates in the UK…I think there are 11 dates in Europe in August including some festivals.
Paul: Do you remember much about the other tour you did in 2000?
Yuri: We had 20 shows in 21 days and everyone go sick. We had shows in the US which we cancelled because Mike was so sick. The shows were fun although it was cold and wet.

Paul: What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
Yuri: We are busy! We have Warped Tour then Europe and then Japan and Australia. Then we have some time off and a US tour and then we have to go back to South America.

Paul: It’s been what, 13 years now, how much longer does MxPx have in the tank?
Yuri: It’s crazy. We couldn’t have imagined doing it this was when we started out. I think we are going to do it as long s people want to hear us. We are happy doing it. I am happy playing for people and I can’t imagine doing anything else. We have got a lot more in us.

Paul: Final question, if you could only keep one song from the MxPx back catalogue, what would it be and why?
Yuri: Wow, that’s a tough question. ‘Tomorrow’s Another Day’, for me that’s the song. That captures how we feel lyrically. Life keeps going. You make a mistake and you get up and you keep going.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]