After a tremendous start with their well-received self-titled EP, Memphis May Fire’s vocalist left the band, causing a temporary setback. But you can’t keep the flames of creativity down for long – after extensive auditioning, a new front man was secured and their brand new CD Sleepwalking finally saw the light of day. We recently caught up with their new singer Matt Mullins prior to a show at the Cobalt Cafe in Canoga Park…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Memphis May Fire – and what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your IPOD?
I’m Matt from Memphis May Fire. I sing. And the most embarrassing song on my IPOD would probably have to be every Taylor Swift song that I have on my IPOD. It’s kind of like a guilty pleasure for everyone in the band. We love Taylor Swift.
What did you think about the Kanye West incident with Taylor Swift at the VMA’s?
You know, it sucks because I really like Kayne. And when we saw that, it just kind of made you think he was a douche bag. It bummed all of us out. It’s kind of hard to listen to his music anymore. But it is what it is.
So where is Memphis May Fire from and what is your local music scene like there?
We’re from Dallas, Texas. Our local music scene is by far the most supportive local music scene I’ve ever seen for any band. I’ve done a lot of touring and seen a lot of cities. I’m originally from Spokane, Washington and I moved to Dallas to join the band. So being from another music scene and going into this band, I noticed immediate differences in the support that kids will give you. And no matter what you do with your music style or live show – they are always going to be there to support you, because you are from there and they love that. By far, Texas in general is the most supportive music scene in the United States right now – I can say that hands down – they’re great!
How has this tour been going so far, and what have been some of the highlights for you?
I’ve done three US tours so far with this band and I can say all of them have been fantastic. But this tour in general has been probably my favorite. Turnouts have been great. The fans that have come out have been awesome! But above all else, when you spend 30-40 days in a row with three bands, you want it to be bands that you enjoy watching – and you want the dudes in the bands to be cool and to be fun to hang out with – with good personalities. And I can definitely say that we really mesh with all of the bands on this tour. I’ve known Chris from Agraceful for a while, so it was cool to get to tour with him. And all the dudes from Confide I didn’t know, but just a few days on the tour, we were all best friends. We definitely feel blessed to be out with these guys – they are all such cool dudes.
Is there any story or concept behind the Sleepwalking title?
Yeah! The thing is, the album captures so many different aspects lyrically. We wanted to not just narrow the album down to one meaning – but to talk about a bunch of things like our past experiences. Also things that we felt like needed to be said – songs that offer hope, which is really cool. Sleepwalking – that song is about people in general – musicians too, who are kind of handed opportunities without having to work for them. Everything is done for them, whether it be like not having to work hard on the road or not having be able to sing right because Auto Tune will take care of it. It’s like a big part of the music industry right now. They’re kind of like, if you will, Sleepwalking through their life – not only just musicians but people in general who don’t really have a purpose who aren’t pushing for something and trying to make a difference. People are Sleepwalkers.
Why are we lucky not to be living in 1692? What happened that year – the Salem Witch Trials?
Yeah, absolutely. That song is about an ex-girlfriend past relationship. Basically the song not only captures a relationship that went wrong, but also this girl in general should have been punished for her actions. She’s lucky she didn’t live in 1692 – in a way it’s saying she’s a witch – and she’s lucky she didn’t live in 1692, because she would have been burned alive basically. We kind of go through that in the song.
Has this girl heard that song yet?
You know, I’m not sure. I hope so, but I’m definitely not going to find out.
Where did you get the ideas for some of the other lyrics?
The lyrics on the album capture a wide variety of things. We wanted to write songs that offer hope and offer change, because we see a lot of artists that are so negative and a music industry that is so negative. Not only that, a music scene of kids that are hurting and need hope and change – but people just want to be so negative. We really want to put out a positive vibe to our music. I come from a Christian background – I’m definitely a believer in Christ myself – so you’ll hear a very spiritual undertone in my lyrics. There’s a song called Destiny For The Willing and that song is about knowing what you’re created to do, and at no cost stopping from doing what you’re suppose to do – and really fulfilling your life’s purpose. I have so much to say that I feel that we definitely didn’t have a problem finding stuff to write about.
How did you become involved with Memphis May Fire, and were you with any other bands prior to this?
I had done quite a few things. I’m originally from Spokane, WA. I had just started a band previous to me joining this band, and we were just kind of picking up and starting to make tour plans. But then, right as that band was starting to pick up, I heard of this band who was looking for a vocalist. I heard about it, and I thought, “Oh, that’s cool. I hope they find a good singer. That’s a great band.’ I heard through a friend who was going to audition. They already had just under 100 vocal auditions sent in to them from kids all over the country. But I had my thing going, and it never even crossed my mind that I’d be doing this. They had emailed me – somehow they had heard of me. I still don’t know who they heard from about me or how they did – but they shot me an email and they said, “We heard that you’re what we’re looking for. We want you to write and record vocals to a song that’s off our new record. If you want to do that, we’d definitely consider having you as our new front man.” I was honored for a band at this point to ask me to do that, because I was definitely at a different level – like a lower level if you will. I had considered not doing it, because I already had my thing going – but then I got the track and was like, “Wow! This is music I’ve always wanted to do. It’s got a great rock and roll vibe.” So I went into the studio with a good buddy of mine from Washington named Joel Virella and started writing lyrics and melodies to the song. Right off the bat, I thought this was something that was definitely meant to be. That actually inspired the song Destiny For The Willing, which is the song I auditioned for. Originally the working title was called Decade – it was a song they had on their Myspace for anybody to try out to. But considering the fact that right then I realized that this was what I was supposed to do with my life – that I was going to give it my all.
What was the name of the band you were in?
It was called Nights In Fire. We had just started up – we wrote a full length and recorded it – talked to couple of different smaller labels about maybe redoing the record and re-releasing it. We were starting to tour, but there was like a few setbacks with that. So definitely when this band approached me, it was perfect timing. That band hadn’t done much at all – it was a fairly new project that I had just started.
Do you guys still keep in touch with the old vocalist Chase Ryan?
Not so much. The only time I’ve ever met Chase – he came to one show and he wasn’t even there to see the show – he just kind of stopped by to say hi. But I think with where the band was at with the recording process – I think the point in time that he had left – even though I totally respect his decision because he had a baby. At the same time, it was really bad timing for the band – it really put a damper on what the band was trying to do at the time. And I think that still kind of created hard feelings between the members and him. I don’t think they communicate hardly at all anymore.
So do you guys have girlfriends or wives who wish you were home more often?
Yeah! We do tour a lot. I’m the only one in the band who’s married. I’ve been married for three years. I got married right when I turned 18. My wife definitely misses me, and I miss her a lot. The thing is, my wife and I dated all the way through high school – we were high school sweethearts ever since freshman year. When we were dating, we always knew this was how it was going to be, just because I’ve always been so passionate about music. I’ve never had any questions or doubts about what I was going to do with my life. No matter what band I was in, I was always going to be touring. I was going to be doing music, because I feel like this is what I was put on the planet to do. And I definitely feel like I was put on this planet as well to be a great husband to her – and we have a long time for me to pursue that and to get better at that. Music is what we’re doing right now – and I feel like our relationship – if anybody’s – can handle it. Because we knew that was how it was going to be – and on top of that, my wife is like the coolest girl in the world. Everybody in the band I think is in relationships, besides Corey I believe. You just kind of learn how to deal with that on the road – just like any long distance relationship.
What’s up next for Memphis May Fire after this tour?
We’re home for almost two months – and then the day after Thanksgiving we leave with From First To Last and Alesana. It’s going to be all South and West Coast dates. I’m from the West Coast, so I’m so excited to be up and down the West Coast. It’s going to be fantastic! Fear Before and Asking Alexandria are also on the tour and we’re really excited about that. It’s going to be a big tour!
Do you have any messages for people reading this who might want to check your band out?
If you want to check us out – myspace.com/memphismayfire – we have a Myspace, a Facebook, and a Twitter. Hit us up on all those – we’ll always reply. We love our fans – we love to talk to ’em. And like I said, the Alesana tour is coming up. Track 4 of our record Ghost In The Mirror is going to be on the soundtrack for Saw 6. We’ve always wanted to be on a soundtrack for a motion picture, so we’re really excited about that. Sleepwalking, our new record, hit the stores July 21st. If you don’t have it yet – pick it up. You’re gonna love it! It’s got something for everybody…
(Interview and Photo by Kenneth Morton)