Musicscan: What are you guys doing right at the moment, and what has happened since you played your European tour some weeks ago? What has the feedback been like from your point of view, and how do you remember this tour?
Of Mice & Men: Right now we’re home in sunny southern California just finishing up preparations for the holidays! We had tons of fun on The Hunting Party Tour with Linkin Park. It was undoubtably one of the most amazing tours we’ve ever had the privilege of being a part of. The feedback was great, the fans were so accepting & exciting, seriously some of the best shows we’ve ever played were on that tour!
Musicscan: Can you perhaps tell us something about the intention and the spirit of Of Mice & Men when the band came to be. Has the intention / the spirit changed in any way until today? What kind of philosophy is the basis for what you are doing?
Of Mice & Men: It’s interesting you ask that because as the saying goes “the best laid plans of mice & men often go awry” we’ve definitely embodied that saying from day 1 when we chose the band name. No matter what adversities may be thrown your way, you can’t be steered off course by them. We’re constantly facing new challenges as our band continues to grow & we feel like we’ve really grown into our name over the years by being passionate about music & really taking to heart all we have in front of us.
Musicscan: And what moments in the bands history for you sum up the whole experience so far, and what have been the highlights in 2014?
Of Mice & Men: We love making albums, we kinda call them chapters in our book. They are the best representations of us at those given times & I think whenever we go in to make a new album, we really think about how we can better ourselves or challenge ourselves from the last record to leave an impact on ourselves & our fans. Releasing Restoring Force was definitely the biggest highlight for our band in 2015 & then recording more music for the reissue of the album which is due out next year!
Musicscan: Being around as a band with an own identity and vision, does it bother you when you see or meet kids who ignore you or have a different understanding of what your music and your style means to you?
Of Mice & Men: Not at all. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, especially anything they feel opinionated about! HAHA! We never really worry about people who don’t share our same vision or understandings. We make music because we love & enjoy it & we strive to make music with substance so somebody else can connect with it as much as we do.
Musicscan: What is it for you guys to be called a metalcore band all the time - is it somehow annoying or fine with you? A lot of bands try to avoid to be called metalcore…
Of Mice & Men: With music, everybody is so quick to try to label music & throw it into a category that they think it falls under. We stopped worrying about what type of music people thought we might be & focused on writing good songs & creating music that allows us to express ourselves as musicians.
Musicscan: How do you feel about your place within the metal-hardcore scene as well as in between tradition and gaining new ground to bring forth what the metal and hardcore heroes you grew up with did before Of Mice & Men were around?
Of Mice & Men: We feel pretty good about it. We’re a passionate collective of musicians who have made it a point to listen to their fans & write music that speaks to both them & us. Many of our favorite bands careers are solely built on those ideals alone, so we feel like we aren’t really breaking any new ground in that sense, we’re just keepin it real!
Musicscan: Speaking about the feeling of community: Do you feel that the sense of unity in hardcore/punk/metalcore is still as strong as it was –let’s say– a decade ago? A lot of bands claim to not be interested in the scene as such anymore. Do you still stick to that or any scene?
Of Mice & Men: I think the unity is definitely there…somewhere. But like I said earlier when people get so bent outta shape about labeling a type of music or fitting into a certain genre, they forget about the most important part of being a musician which is MAKING MUSIC. The scene, the labels…none of that really matters, & I think the unity comes when people realize that & bring it all back to the basics & start appreciating the music.
Musicscan: Hardcore/punk/metalcore are often told to be somehow youth orientated. Would you agree to this, and how do you make sure to stay young with what you are doing?
Of Mice & Men: To me, music has no age limits. Ive met 50+ year old punkers and metal dudes, it’s all about how the music affects you as an individual. Youth is in your spirit as a person, as long as you never let that die, you’ll always be young.
Musicscan: The style Of Mice & Men is playing finds separation through passion and honesty, something you are not hearing too often these days. It's well balanced, brutal and having a good dramaturgy to keep things interesting. How do you go about your songwriting?
Of Mice & Men: Thank you! We keep it close to our hearts. We write about the things that we go through or have gone through. We play with sounds & find riffs & melodies that make us feel a certain way. We all come to the table with ideas for our music & work on them together to develop them into something that sonically moves us.
Musicscan: Do you think it is necessary to create a certain distance between you and the music in order to get a better understanding of its inherent quality – how do you handle such questions?
Of Mice & Men: I think if an artist distances themselves from the music it becomes disconnected. Sometimes we will come back to an idea that we were stuck on earlier in a session but ultimately the artist & the music really have to work together or else it will sound forced.
Musicscan: With the crossover style that you guys have, does it give you more freedom when you're going to record new material to go in a different direction? How do you guys make sure to develop as musicians and songwriters? Is there something you do on a constant base besides going to the rehearsal room, practicing at home, and playing shows?
Of Mice & Men: We definitely tried some new things on Restoring Force & I think what we found was that we love having a more dynamic sound…we’re painting with more colors on our palette. Our producer David Bendeth really brought that out of us on this album & it’s something that we had only barely explored in past albums. Trying new things & writing music outside of our comfort zone is a challenge & it’s something that really has allowed us to branch out as musicians & formulate newer & better ideas.
Musicscan: A more general one: Do you think there are still genuinely new sounds to be discovered or can modern music basically be said to be a recombination of already existing forms and elements?
Of Mice & Men: I think music is always evolving & that’s the beauty of it. It keeps on taking new forms from what it was 10-20-30 years ago but that still hasn’t stopped people from making it. I believe the connection isn’t in the notes, but in the interpretation of the listener. As long as people are listening, there will always be “new” music.
Musicscan: Are there any principles you would never give up to with the band? What kind of? What can be said about your attitude towards being a touring band, and what fuels your anger and gives you the energy to continue?
Of Mice & Men: Our fans keep us going. We don’t tour or make music for money, we barely make a living as it is! What gives us the energy to continue is seeing our audience connect with our music & give our music meaning in their lives. It’s an indescribable feeling knowing that someone else can be moved by something you created & we feel strongly enough about our music & our passion that we want to share that with anyone who will listen.
Musicscan: Can you briefly tell us about your plans for 2015, please.
Of Mice & Men: First we bring The Hunting Party Tour with Linkin Park to America, then we will be re-issuing our album Restoring Force with some new ideas we’ve been working on to bring the album full circle & then coming back to Europe on our own headlining tour in March! We’ve got some UK dates on there as well, then off to Australia to play Soundwave Festival & then a bunch of stuff I can’t even discuss yet!
Musicscan: Last one: you have become pretty big and well-known within a short period of time. Does this fast development frighten you in a way? Bands keep coming and going, that's just the way things are. Is this something you are thinking about in silent moments? Where in the process are you guys: what’s been already done, what’s left to be done for Of Mice & Men?
Of Mice & Men: We still have SO much music to write! We feel like we have finally solidified ourselves as a band & now it’s time to show the world what we can really do. This "fast development" doesn’t frighten us in the least because we love what we do & we’ve been doing it for a lot longer than this band has been around. We feel very fortunate to have amassed a fan base like ours, but feel like our fans connect with us on a much higher level & we will continue to write music for them for the rest of our careers.