Metal Wani‘s Jake Patton recently conducted an interview with OF MICE & MEN frontman Aaron Pauley. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band’s forthcoming new album, “Defy”:
Aaron: “I’m so excited. I’ve been saying it for the last couple of weeks that part of me just wants to leak it. [Laughs] Just because it’s, yeah, I don’t know, I feel like every time we create music, there’s always this period where you have to sit on your hands a little bit and just kind of keep mum about the music and whatnot, when in reality, music is how we speak to the world, so I’m very excited to keep that conversation going.”
On the type of reception he’s expecting for “Defy”:
Aaron: “I don’t know. For me, I never really try to concern myself too much with the reception. I think, I’ve always been into the age-old quote or cliché of ‘Music is the universal language.’ I think the language that we speak is very unique to us and we consider it our own dialect. In a way, we kind of just throw out our language in the form of music and then the people that speak it, will end up finding it and coming to us and then we can have that connection. Absolutely, I hope the response is positive, of course, because I think dealing with an overabundance of negativity would suck. But at the same time, like I said, I’m just excited to have the dialog going again and be able to have people listen to the album and get a sense of where we’re at now as a band and where we’re at now as people.”
On whether it was important for OF MICE & MEN to maintain their core sound:
Aaron: “You know, I don’t think it was. I’ve been in the band now five-and-a-half years and since I’ve been in the band, the way we’ve made music has never changed. Even if the way the sounds of the album did, the way we approached it never changed. For us, I think having come off the road so invigorated because that whole touring season was very validating for us as a band, not only to get love from the fans as this incarnation, but also for the new songs to get the amount of love that they did. For us, I think that energy, just the energy of festival crowds, I think that really bled into the album. I think previous albums, it’s always been about that. Bands have always made records where you can go out and tour and play those songs. Having been so fresh in that regard, I think that’s probably where a lot of the throwback vibes come from. It’s just that very aggressive, energetic, live-oriented sound.”
On taking over OF MICE & MEN‘s vocal spot from Austin Carlile, who left the band in 2016:
Aaron: “Live and on record, I’ve been doing about fifty percent of the vocals. Most, if not all of the singing stuff, then backup screams. For us, when he told us he was leaving the band, we knew almost immediately, he’s irreplaceable as a frontman, as a screamer, as a vocalist, as a singer. He’s irreplaceable. We didn’t want to replace him because our band has always been a family. Its not really something you do with family. Tackling this record, lyrically and vocally, it was still very much the same way we’ve done things in the past. Everything that MICE has done has always been very collaborative in every aspect. Tino [David Valentino Arteaga, drums] has written lyrics in the past, Alan [Ashby, guitar] has written lyrics in the past and I’ve written lyrics in the past. The only thing that changed was that Austin wasn’t there to write with me and to do things like that, but I had my other dudes and everybody stepped up to ensure that while we do honor the legacy of the past of the band, that we can usher in a new chapter that does justice to everything that we’ve done. For the live show, it was funny, the first live show we played was in Vegas at the Las Rageous festival. We had an hour-long set, like a 60-minute set. I remember thinking about at a minute fifty-five, ‘We’re here. We’re doing this now.’ It was basically at that moment, basically we were almost finished with the set, we had one song left. I don’t really think of it too much like a promotion or anything in that regard. It’s a question being asked to me a lot: ‘What’s it like being the frontman now?’ I don’t really see myself as a frontman, even when I used to front my old band. For me, vocals are just another part of the song. So, it might as well be another instrument. Because everything is so collaborative with our band, everything is an important quarter of the unit. For me, I think the biggest difference I’ve seen or felt in my role as doing lead vocals, is I stand in a different part of the stage now. Instead of being stage-right center, I’m just center. [Laughs] But everything else and the feelings that come along with it, it doesn’t really so much to me feel like a promotion. If anything, it feels like I’m settling in deeper to what I was doing before, which I think is important. I think it’s really easy and it could be very commonly perceived that something like that is a promotion and that comes with a whole ego boost and things like that. I think everything we do as a band is we always take the perspective of humility with all that. Even if I was lead vocals, I could go up there with my bass. And if I don’t have my drummer behind me, it’s not really going to matter for the show. [Laughs] Yeah, it doesn’t feel too different. If anything, it feels like we’re settling more into what we’ve been doing the past five years.”
“Defy” is due January 19, 2018 via Rise Records. Earlier this year, OF MICE & MEN teased the forthcoming album with the one-two punch of the singles “Unbreakable” and “Back To Me”. Those songs have clocked over seven million Spotify streams and five million YouTube/VEVO views in six months.