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Leeds Festival 2019: Mayday Parade Talk Sad Summers And Nostalgic Pop Punk Love

Photo: Ellen Offredy

12 years ago Mayday Parade paved the way for late 2000’s Emo with their 'A Lesson In Romantics' album that scorched through the Alternative charts and found its ways to every misunderstood teens MySpace page. Over the years the band have grown from their grass root Emo genre and experimented between the lines of Pop-Punk, Emo, Folk and heavier stylings. All the while they’ve maintained their heartfelt lyricisms beloved by fans and become a staple in what shaped the early 2000’s brief Emo years.

Now, with their latest Sunnyland album in the bag for success they begin their journey into the next era of Mayday Parade that’s mapped out touring, creating their own kind of warped tour, redefining their old songs whilst continuing to do what they love.

We sat down with Derrick Sanders and Brooks Betts at Leeds Festival to chat about what’s next.

So you’ve just come from the ultimate Pop-Punk tour, The Sad Summer Tour, with the titans that are State Champs, The Maine and yourself. What’s the summer been like for you?

Dereck Sanders (vocals/acoustic guitar): “Yeah it was incredible! It’s interesting because we didn’t know what to expect going into it, we kinda put the tour together with The Maine and State Champs so it was difficult to know what it was going to be like. It was a very cool experience, kinda like a mini Warped Tour.”

Brooks Betts (guitars): “We could definitely do more cities, perfect it and build it over the years.”

Dereck: “That’s the goal really, get it going next year and keep it going!”

Warped Tour is a great jumping off point because I find events like those are more than their music. They bring a sense of community and unity, what’s it been like playing to your community and your people?

Dereck: “That’s part of what’s so cool about it, obviously not to keep comparing it to Warped Tour but that’s what the idea of it was. Since Warped Tour went away people needed something like this, a place to come together and have that community.

Brooks: “And we need something to do too! When Warped Tour goes away what are we gonna do on our summers? It used to be you could switch it off every other year, right? But then we’d be in the studio on the off year and now we had to figure out something.”

I think the community aspect of it represents that music is becoming more personal. As a band who’s been writing personal songs for such a long time do you ever feel that pressure to live up to your own hype or write songs that actually have meanings to people?

Dereck: “Well yeah, for sure. We learned pretty early on that our lyrics are what people attach to our music. It’s always been something we’ve thought about.”

Brooks: “It can be difficult sometimes. We’ve gotten older and listening to records has changed. It’s hard to stick to one style, one feeling or write one song over and over again.”

Whilst you’re here at Leeds I feel it’s only appropriate to ask, being such a unique festival with its varied line up, if Mayday Parade could collaborate with a non-Emo/Pop-Punk artist who would that be?

Brooks: “Halsey would be a great one I think, I’m a big fan of her.”

Dereck: “Yeah sure I’ll back that.”

I want to take it back for a second because you recently released your ‘Take This To Heart’ acoustic rendition from your 2007 'A Lesson In Romantics'. What’s it been like going back creatively and revisiting the emotions and memories from that time?

Dereck: “It’s definitely different but very cool to revisit all that. We still play stuff from the very beginning and all the way through, it’s important to play the old stuff. I feel like we’re at a point in the band where we’ve been together for such a long time that you do look back on everything you’ve done. That was the idea with 'Sunnyland' is looking back and that kind of nostalgia feeling.”

Do you plan to do anymore renditions of old songs?

Dereck: “We have no plans of slowing down anytime soon. It’s something we’ve always done.”

Speaking of throwbacks, 'Tales Told By Dead Friends' EP was your first EP and as mentioned it’s only 2 years away from 15. Since you made that the climate for music has changed drastically, especially for Pop Punk/Emo bands. How have you seen the climate of music change and where do you see it going?

Brooks: “It’s definitely become a lot more polished overall. When we started out and coming into our own we were listening to a lot of Emo music with recordings were a lot rougher.

I think also the music style of Emo has evolved into a more ‘poppier’ style of vibes, so we’re kind in the middle because I feel like we were in the tail end of a wave of big Emo stuff as it was coming up. As it was transitioned into the Pop side we’ve been going through it all but our style wasn’t super poppy from the starts so it’s been hard to navigate through and find ways to stay relevant.”

There seems to be a lot of pressure on genres, like “this is an Emo band, this is a Hardcore band” do you ever feel pressure to fit into the genre people enjoy from you?

Dereck: “That’s always a consideration but I also feel like we don’t let that hold us back too much. We usually just write what we write and it usually just fits well within that. But we’re also okay with trying things that branch out and doing songs that are folky or almost Country and songs that are heavier.”

If 'Sunnyland' is the nostalgic homage to the old days, what’s next?

Dereck: “We’ve always had the next 6 months to a year always planned out, and that’s where we’re at. We’re gonna keep on touring, we’ve got some stuff to announce soon for the fall. We’re going back in the studio soon to work on some music.”

Interview - Yasmine Summan

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