Having just come off the stage from that day’s set at Warped Tour, Of Mice & Men vocalist Austin Carlile sounded chill and relaxed, with this excitement that must have still been lingering from that of what he brought to stage. He was en route to the press area commenting, “I joined a rock and roll band so I could do whatever and now I’m working nine to five. But I love it though.” It was this love that must have been what got Carlile and fellow bandmates through all the changes that they faced over the band’s short history.
Before announcing his return as Of Mice & Men’s vocalist early last year, Carlile had been out of the band for several months, preparing to start a new project. Their sophomore release The Flood led to extensive touring and just before entering the studio back in March of this year, one more change would happen. Bassist and clean vocalist Shayley Bourget made his departure, leaving Carlile handling both vocal duties.
Carlile, drummer Valentino Arteaga and guitarists Phil Manansala and Alan Ashby will see that new material recorded a few months back included on the reissue of The Flood later this month. I recently chatted with Carlile about the Warped Tour, The Flood, and the possibility of bringing in another vocalist. The transcription is below.
How are you feeling, Austin?
Good! Out in San Diego, California, and it can’t be more beautiful.
You guys have been playing the main stage this year at Warped Tour.
Yes. We’re actually the youngest band on main stage, so it’s pretty cool.
I caught your set at last year’s New Jersey Warped Tour date and the crowd was insane. Is that still holding true?
The crowd this year compared to the last, it’s just—I don’t know even how to describe it. It’s so amazing and it’s so cool to see the drastic change in one year’s time how much growth the band has actually had.
Who would be that one band on Warped Tour this year you could watch every day and do you have a favorite song of theirs?
Oh man, um… Born Of Osiris, actually. I don’t have a favorite song. Actually, I don’t even know any of their song names, but I know all the songs and all the riffs. They’re just a great band, talented guys, and I enjoy watching their set.
You just had a couple days off. What were you all up to?
We all did different things. Some people went to their girlfriends, some people went with their families, some people went to the beach, and whenever we have days off we take it as an opportunity to relax. It’s always kind of hectic, so whenever we get a break or a second to step away, it’s nice. But then after one day we get tired of it and we want to play a show.
Have you been playing new songs on Warped?
We have. We’ve been doing the new single called “The Depths,” which is doing really well online and the crowd’s reception has been really good as well.
Is it just that song or any others?
That’s the only new song we’re playing. But you’re going to be hearing some new ones shortly. I can’t really say yet, but I’m really excited for everyone to hear the new stuff that’s been recorded and be able to hear it.
You guys were in the studio earlier this year. Were you recording any new material in addition to those for the reissue of The Flood?
We were in the studio only to just record for the re-release. We have four new songs that we recorded that will be on the re-release. We wanted to do a re-release instead of a whole full-length album because we wanted to kind of venture off a little bit with our sound and with what Of Mice & Men really were. Then when the third album comes around, bring it back and encompass everything that we’ve made over the two year career all into that one album.
The four new songs on the re-issue have distinct titles. Is there a storyline going on?
We named the songs according to how they sound. And actually, someone the other day came to me at a signing and said in kind of a negative way like, “Why don’t you sound the same on ‘The Depths’ like in the old stuff? I like the old stuff better.” It’s progression and I tried to tell him that it’s a small concept we have that encompasses “The Calm,” “The Storm,” “The Flood,” “The Depths,” and “The Depths” is kind of the craziest. The wave of the sound as it tries to progress, you can definitely hear it and you can feel how it changes along with the song titles. It’s something that I’m kind of really proud of and we didn’t intend for it to be like that when we first started, but then when we got it rolling, we just went with it. It’s a short theme and it’s to the point and it has a lot of meaning in a short amount of time.
Is this why you chose “The Depths” as the single to release and is it a possible prelude to a new direction in your music?
We’re going to go in a different direction. We put “The Depths” out first because it’s kind of the furthest away from anything else we’ve recorded and furthest away from anything that’s on the re-release. We kind of want to shock people; kind of want to hit them with something that they’ve might not have expected or might not have known that we were even going to do. And people have accepted it, which is awesome! But if you don’t get it, you don’t, but when you hear the rest of the songs, you’ll be like, “Oh, I get it now” (laughs).
In recent interviews, the term nü-metal sneaks in to describe future music by you guys. Is that still a plan?
To be honest with you, we don’t try to put to anything on our music. We just wrote what we wanted to hear. We wrote what’s enjoyable to play and what we’re genuinely excited about and then people called our music different things. In my world, I’ve labeled things in the past and kind of regret it now because in my world, it’s just ‘music.’ I think that genre or sub-genre and all these different things on how to label music and classify is—I don’t know. To me, music is emotion and if when you’re listening to it and it doesn’t make you feel that, then it’s not music.
How have you been doing with taking over both vocal duties this year at shows?
I actually was doing that. I did that in Europe, which went over great. I surprised myself and the guys were really proud of me. But we decided for Warped Tour, we wanted to give fans the full experience. A good friend of mine, Aaron Pauley, is playing bass and singing. He has a spectacular voice and is a great guy. So we get to bring that in and I get a little break and get to do just my part.
Do you think you would want to bring in another singer in for future releases or will you do all the vocals?
We can in the future. I think clean vocals are really important. There’s something about the connection of a clean voice that speaks to me and I think is really important. It’s something that we shied from just because we were angry. (Laughs) We didn’t want to do it, but I stepped into it a little bit and for the third album, we are definitely going to step back in that direction because that’s where our hearts are.
Of Mice & Men will play at PNC Bank Arts Center on July 13, the Susquehanna Bank Center on July 20, and Nassau Coliseum on July 21. For more information, go to vanswarpedtour.com.