In speaking with lead singer Maika Maile of Florida rock band There For Tomorrow, it’s clear in his voice that he has that effortlessly laid back, cool rock star quality when talking about the band’s passion for music. Last year they released their second full-length album, A Little Faster, which clearly defines how their sound has evolved since coming together seven years ago when they were also just starting high school.
It was somewhat a surprise when Maile confessed that he, guitarist Christian Climer, bassist Jay Enriquez and drummer Christopher Kamrada, have only just regrouped in their hometown to start practicing for the Take Action Tour, which would begin in a week’s time.
While TFT have hit the road already with a few other bands on this tour, there’s much more than camaraderie to be seen. This year’s Take Action Tour has Driving For Donors along to encourage people to register for the National Marrow Registry. This organization was created by 14-year old Patrick Pedraja, who had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia a few years back, and has saved many lives with the addition of thousands of donors to the registry.
What have you been doing to occupy your time before hitting the road? Have you been practicing?
Actually no, not at all. I really can’t not do anything, so I’m always doing something everyday. I have a project studio in my garage and I’m always in there messing around with things. I produce rap and hip-hop stuff and I do a kind of club music from the UK called dubstep. I’m just trying to write while I’m at home because there is just not enough time to write out on the road.
So do you have any side projects or have you worked with other artists and produced for them?
I have worked with other artists, but I’m not an artist yet so, I got to work my way up to being able to work with other people. I just put something up on YouTube, a little dubstep interlude kind of thing. We’re actually doing it on the Take Action Tour.
Speaking of the Take Action Tour, you guys have toured with a few of the bands on the bill.
We’ve toured with We The Kings and Mayday Parade and then we did a chunk of Warped Tour with Rocket To The Moon.
Is it going to be like one big frat party?
[laughs] I don’t know. I guess it’s more like a circus freak show than frat party. We get in to some things that are trouble and some things that aren’t that much trouble. But we’ll see what we get in to this time around. We’re just glad to be a part of this because it’s a great cause and Hopeless is running it, which is our record label, so it’s a big family thing.
Are you nervous about this tour with all these bands having a huge younger girl following—what’s it about you Florida bands, because isn’t We The Kings from there? What makes you so irresistible?
[laughs] I don’t know. I have no idea. If we were to ever to try to be cute and try to be this boy band gimmicky thing, please shoot me. Because we’re just young guys who are passionate about our music and I think some people are starting to see that. The younger girls and all that they just scream because they’re excited to be at a concert. I go to regular shows and I get that same kind of thing.
Do you think it’s a great way how groups like the Take Action Tour are able to get a younger audience involved with charitable organizations?
Yea, I hope everybody sees what the real, deeper meaning of this tour is and end up bringing in press and pushing what Driving For Donors has done. I hope really to just even put a little fraction that he’s put into it and give back. It’s real nice and I think people, whether they like it or not, they’re charitable to some degree, so everybody there will be aware of the cause and the bands, we’re going to be pushing that and it’ll be good times.
Are all of the bands going to sign up for the donor registry?
Yea, I’m definitely down. We haven’t gotten any specifics on where or how to do it, but I think we’re all definitely down to give back.
Everyone comments on how young you did come together to form the band and you released an album a year after. When did you guys have that thought that this was your job, something more than a kid’s dream of being a rock star?
We weren’t just having any high hopes or all these crazy things, I just wanted to make music. There was a team in town, my cousin is on this record label called WP Records, and it was all family run. I was brought up very family orientated, my brother used to manage us. My parents would definitely help us out. It’s kind of funny to look back and listen to my pre-pubescent voice. I’m glad we put that out because then people do know that there’s a history behind us and we’re not just coming out of nowhere. We were never spoon fed anything— we always fought for what we’ve gotten.
Was it nice having that family environment to build up your career?
Yea, it was nice. Back then it wasn’t even a career. It was a fix for life. I think the most important education was after school at band practice everyday. Family, honestly, we really owe them all we have.
What are you writing about in your lyrics?
Each song has their own topic that’s relevant to my own life. It’s all based on personal experiences. I’ve been through a lot as a child even though I’ve been blessed at the same time. I lost my sister in a car accident and then two years later my dad committed suicide. A couple tracks I dedicated to that very somber situation I got put into at a young age. Other times it’s just about what I feel on the world, any kind of little faults I can pick at on myself, what I see going on around us and it just revolves in my own little world lyrically.
Do you like how lyrics are understood by listeners, but yet they can also apply them to different moments in their lives?
People are very forgetting nowadays, because all they’re trying to do is create number one hits. But it has this power to transcend, there’s a feeling, there’s a vibe, there’s a personal emotional connection that you can have with each song. So that’s what I’m trying to take advantage of because the art of music is almost being lost.
Do you have any predictions of where your sound will go for future projects?
I can’t even say because there’s just so much and we’re just very on top of music coming out. We all have so many influences, people that we don’t feel ashamed for listening to like Taylor Swift and respecting it. There are different respects you can find in every genre. Closed-mindedness is definitely 2009 and now it’s 2010.
Are there any bands that have helped you grow through your years of touring?
We haven’t been touring for seven years, we’ve only been touring for two-and-a-half. I say the best tour we’ve done is probably the Anberlin tour, even tough it was a really weird line-up and a really weird, sketchy time. We have a lot of respect for those guys [Anberlin] and they’re great friends and they’re great dudes.
Have their ever been awkward times where you’re on tour, most bands touring now at your age have only been together for two or so years, with your seven years head start on them?
I mean everybody has their own presumptions, but we let them have those. It’s just to go out there and do our thing and then respect everybody’s game. But we’re quick to speak out on stuff that’s not cool, like on Warped Tour there’s a lot of non-coolness. But everybody we’ve been on tour with, we’ve gotten along with just fine. We love meeting all these people and make tons and tons of friends.
Are any of the younger bands seeking out your mentorship?
I mean, people have asked us for advice, but all we can tell them is what we do, which won’t get them anywhere except that they just got to do their own thing. We used to sit there and inquisition people like, ‘What do we do?’ and try to mirror and follow that step-by-step. But you know what, until you just stick your neck out there and fall down and get back up, you’re just not going to have that experience. We’re finding that it all comes with time and we’re just dedicated to it. So, we’ll see where time takes us.
Catch There For Tomorrow at the Highline Ballroom in NYC on Feb. 8. myspace.com/therefortomorrow.