Mayday Parade are one of those bands that feel like they’ve always been here. The last decade has seen them building upwards from a debut that struck at the right place at the right time. Now, having spent the best part of 2017 celebrating the tenth anniversary of ‘A Lesson In Romantics’, the time has come to move on.
The fact that their debut is cemented in time and synonymous with a period that many cherish has not only given them an anchor, but spurred them on in refusing to let that be all that keeps them afloat.
“I’ve always expected as we get older with this, people aren’t going to be as into it anymore, or some of the older fans will be less interested,” frontman Derek Sanders earnestly muses over the phone.
It’s a fair point given the short shelf life of many bands. So assumedly, Mayday Parade feel quite lucky to be where they are then?
“We definitely feel that especially more and more as we keep going,” he offers. “So many of the bands that were our peers when we first started aren’t around anymore, so it means a lot to have lasted through all that.”
“It’s pretty insane, it really is,” Derek marvels, reflecting on the band’s lasting ability. “I of course never thought at the beginning that we’d make it this far, but we have no plans to stop any time soon, so we’re just happy to be here and keep on truckin’!”
Enter, new album ‘Sunnyland’. Finding Mayday Parade at a point where things have inevitably grown up, they’ve gone from singing about dreaming of Las Vegas to opening their arms to grander ideas. Of course not forgetting those emo-tinged beginnings, their sixth outing feels like their most complete work to date.
It even includes the self-confessed angriest song Mayday Parade have ever laid down, ‘It’s Hard To Be Religious’, with lyrics such as “everyone knows what a selfish prick you are”, and bile that’s both surprising and refreshing from a band whose ballads having become their focal point.
“The most personal lyrics are the ones that seem to come across the best, and people can attach to it. It’s almost therapeutic for me,” he begins. “I’m a pretty happy person in general, and I have a great life, [but] there’s a lot of sadness in these songs. This is my way of relief, of getting this stuff out there, and it helps me clarify my thoughts.”
Over the years, as the stages have gotten bigger, with new fans jumping on board, and many tours that have traversed the globe, Derek’s outlet may be his music, but it’s also instigated other concerns.
“There’s almost this mini-depression that happens in that transition period in the days where you have to adjust and are like, ‘What do I do?'” he says regarding post-tour life. “It’s a weird thing, but ultimately, any of the negative stuff that comes with doing what we do is pretty far outweighed by the positives of it and how much fun we have.
“We realise how lucky we are to have this occupation, and almost anything else we could be doing with our lives wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying. We want to be able to keep on doing it for as long as we can, while we’re young-ish,” he says, laughing.
“We’ve been in this band for almost thirteen years now, we’ve changed so much. I was nineteen when this first started, and I’m thirty-one now, so we’ve grown up a lot. With each album, we try and open it up to more things, and new ideas, and we want to keep up with that and never want it to get stale.”
Fortunately, at least for Derek, there hasn’t been any uncertainty about the future of the group.
“There’s never been even a moment where I’ve felt like it’s getting close to the time to stop doing it,” he says. “It’s always been fun. It has become more like a job than it was at the beginning simply because that’s the reality of it over time, that it’s our job and our source of income and everything, but we realise how lucky we are.”
When it comes to looking back at everything they’ve been through, it all boils down to the beginning for him.
“A lot of the fondest memories are way back in the early days of the band, and some of the first tours we did,” he considers.
“It’s very much a learning period of how to do this; there’s a lot of things you look back on and cringe – like, ‘Oh my god I can’t believe I did that’, but we were figuring it all out.
“When we were in a van, touring, just the five of us with no crew or anything, there was something about the sense of seeing all these places for the first time, and this excitement of we’ve been dreaming of doing this for so long. Driving city to city, sleeping in the van, playing shows, and starting to see some momentum build – to see more and more people coming to the shows and singing along… those were magical times.”
The halcyon days are far from gone for Mayday Parade; ‘Sunnyland’ could even be the instigator of a new realm of possibility. Given they’ve spent the last year celebrating their beginnings, it suffices to say Mayday Parade have always been on the right track; sticking to their guns and working hard, and there’s no denying it’s paid off.
“We just put out the first single, ‘Piece Of Your Heart’, and it seemed to get a really good reception. Seeing it as our top song on Apple Music and iTunes was really exciting. It’s been a while since we put out a new song that makes it up there to our number one, that people are listening to more than ‘Miserable At Best’, or ‘Jamie All Over’ and ‘Terrible Things’ – all these older songs that are hits.”
While the fans keep the fire lit beneath them, it’s the core of Mayday Parade wherein the real magic lies. Derek’s ending summarisation of where it all began feels befitting of the rest of their tale.
“We all played in bands growing up, and we were all looking for the right people to start a band with, and when we started Mayday Parade, from the very first practice we ever had, it was just like – this is finally what we’ve all been looking for.”