Getting ready to go on the Vans Warp tour for its final run and release their latest album Sunnyland, Mayday Parade is gearing up for a long and exciting year. We recently had a chance to catch up with bassist Jeremy Lenzo, who opened up about the upcoming album, their songs, and what went into choosing the right songs to share with their fans.
Rita Bakelaar: Having released 5 previous albums, what was the band’s approach to Sunnyland?
Jeremy Lenzo: As with any approach we just wanted to make a record with the best songs we could write. We don’t really go into themes or concepts, we just want to have the best songs.
RB: With over 80 songs to choose from, how did you all as band narrow it down to just 13 tracks?
JL: That took a long time. We all have different taste and style, so trying to find songs that majority agrees had potential enough worth recording was a long process. It took a few months. I think we are all happy with what ended up making the record though.
RB: The songs range from heavy punk anthems to sweet melodic acoustic ballads – How do you all decide what the balance will be for an album?
JL: We try and keep everything down the middle. A few fast a few mid and a few slow. Always at least one ballad. We feel that it gives the most flow to a record and gives something to every listener to gravitate too.
RB: What was the deciding factor in releasing “Piece of Your Heart” as the first single off Sunnyland?
JL: That was one of the last songs we decided to record, and it was written right before we went into the studio. We all felt like it had a strong chorus and a good message. Normally we tease a new record with a faster jam, but we wanted to switch it up a little this time.
RB: The video for “Piece of Your Heart” is very sweet and sentimental. Could you talk a little about how the story idea came about?
JL: The video producer had the idea to do a cult video, and we thought that could be cool. We suggested adding in the umbrella man who has become a staple of our band, and instead of having it follow a boy and girl, to instead follow two girls who can’t be who they really want to be in their community (the cult). The idea was they escape to do all the things they dreamed of but then come back to set everyone else free as well.
RB: Your song “Always Leaving” really seems to speak to the hectic schedule Mayday Parade keeps and looking back at the band’s history, you all have stayed busy, even being recognized as one of the hardest working bands in 2010 by Songkick with 194 bookings and 72,000 miles travelled – with albums almost every two years since and more tours. How do you all keep up with it all?
JL: Luckily this is a thing we all love doing, so even as stressful as it gets, it’s very rewarding at the same time. A key part to being on the road so often is to make sure you take time for yourself. We have learned over the years how to not get burned out being gone for a long time, and how to give other people space when you can tell they are in a mood.
RB: Naming the album after an abandoned hospital where you all used to sneak in and explore in Florida, feels very reminiscent of childhood innocence. How do past memories and changing times shape you all as a band now, 13 years later?
JL: We all liked the title Sunnyland for the album exactly because of the youthful memories associated with it among the band. People use the saying time flies, and it’s even truer being in a band. You do a lot of the same things every day for months, and when you come home you see things that have changed and it makes you realize how fleeting everything is, and to appreciate it while it’s there in front of you.
RB: Working with new producers – John Feldmann (Blink -182, Panic! At the Disco and Howard Benson (Of Mice &Men, My Chemical Romance), How did it shape the album compared to albums you all have released previously?
JL: We learned a lot from those producers and used a couple of the songs we did with them, but most of the record was recorded by our long-time producers Zack and Ken. As much as we loved the experience of working with the big time producers, there is just something nice about going back to what you know and working with people you trust.
RB: Going from selling CD’s in the parking lot of Vans Warped Tour to eventually headlining it 5 times, how does it feel with this being the final Warped Tour?
JL: It’s a bittersweet deal. Warped tour has shaped our career in many ways, and we probably wouldn’t be as a successful as we are now without being a part of it over the years. We are happy they asked us to do the last one but sad to know it will be over.
RB: With Sunnyland being a highly anticipated follow up to your 2015 Black Lines, what do you hope fans will take away after listening to the new album?
JL: I hope they take away that we love what we do, and try and write from the heart on things that mean something to us, and hope they can find it relatable in their own lives. I also just want to take a second to say thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years, because they make the whole thing worth it.
Mayday Parade’s latest album Sunnyland releases June 15th. Be sure to take a listen when it does. To pre-order the new album, click here!