Memphis May Fire has spent the entire summer if 2012 on the Vans Warped Tour, traveling across the country spreading the word about their brand new Rise Records release. Entitled Challenger, this is their third magnum opus and it’s definitely a triumph in both integrity and artistry.
We had the chance to sit down and interview vocalist Matty Mullins at the Vans Warped Tour in Chula Vista to discuss the new album, their impressions of Warped, his thoughts on being considered as a Christian band, and many other topics of interest. Read on…
How has the Warped Tour been going and what have been some of the highlights?
It’s been amazing! It’s definitely exceeded my expectations. My first Warped Tour experience was my first day of Warped Tour, because I never got to go when I was younger, so I didn’t really know what to expect. It’s kind of overwhelming at first, but I’m getting the hang of it and getting into the groove. My favorite part has just been being able to meet so many of my fans everyday – and just being able to hang out with them has been amazing.
How has does Warped compare to any other tour you’ve ever done?
We did the All Stars Tour last year, which was also like a summer festival style tour. Because that was a festival, that would kind of compare. We also did the Rock Yourself To Sleep Tour, which was more bands that usual. But there really is nothing like Warped Tour – I don’t think there is anything that could actually compare to the size and amazing-ness of what Warped Tour is.
I’d like to talk about Challenger. First of all, is there any story behind the title?
The record is about us – it’s about the members of this band and what it’s like to be us and who we are as people – the trials and tribulations we’ve been through and the things we’ve had to overcome. Just through being challenged, we must overcome – and we have overcome and we continue to overcome – so that’s why the album is called Challenger.
Select two songs from Challenger and what inspired the lyrics.
I guess I’ll do the two singles. The first single we released was called Prove Me Right. That song is about the music industry and what it does to me. And just kind of realizing that the 15 year old me that just wanted a record deal and thought that people in the music industry were just there to help support you and your dream when the reality of it is that it’s the complete opposite. It’s a bunch of money hungry suits that really don’t care – and I’m not saying that this is everybody – but some of the people that we worked with – people who don’t really care about the music or the art at all. All they see is dollar signs. So that song is about everyone who ever kicked me when I was down – tried to make me feel like I couldn’t accomplish what I have today. It’s kind of a middle finger to everybody who ever said I couldn’t do it – because I’m here doing it right now.
And then the other single we released is called Vices. It’s about substance abuse. It’s not about any of us in the band thankfully. I feel like a lot of musicians I’ve toured with and that we know closely have struggled with substance abuse and alcohol abuse to try and cope with the daily life of being on tour – and it’s not easy. I just wanted to write a song as an anthem just for people to get their problems out in the open and to be able to admit it, because I don’t think anybody could ever really be cured of an issue like that until they are willing to admit it. So I just wanted that song to be like an emotional release for friends and family of mine that struggle with things like that.
What was it like working with Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria on the song Losing Sight?
We toured with Asking Alexandria before they were like giant, and Danny became a really good friend of mine. So me and Danny have been very close friends for about three years now. Working with Danny is just like me working with my brother – he’s just a friend. And as much as I’ve tried, I can’t see him as the rock star that he is. He’s just a guy to me. He’s very down to earth. He’s very kind-hearted. Contrary to popular belief, he’s a very solid dude – a very stand up guy. I’ve got a lot of respect for him, so yeah, it was cool working with him.
How did Anthony Sepe become involved with Memphis May Fire, and does he still keep in touch with any of the Decoder guys?
Yeah, absolutely. When we got Anthony, Decoder was already going through a transitional period – and they’re not even Decoder anymore – they started a new band. Basically on one of our headliners here in the United States called the Rise Records Tour – and we had some other Rise Records bands on it – and Decoder was one of them. Just being on the tour with them everyday, we got to know Anthony – and he’s a phenomenal guitar player – really great dude. Chill – easy to be on tour with – good personality – definitely a perfect fit for us! When we were going through our separation with Ryan (Bentley), we knew that Anthony was our guy. We never for a second even considered somebody else. Anthony was our choice from the get go, and it works perfectly! We love having him here.
One of the most constant search engine requests we receive on our site is if Memphis May Fire is a Christian band or not. Could you comment on that?
Okay. The band has never and will never label ourselves as a Christian band. I don’t want to pigeon hole us into anything that’s going to shun anyone away before they even get a chance to listen to us or before we get a chance to meet them. I am a firm believer in Christ – absolutely – and so if anybody wants to talk to me about my faith in person, I’m more than happy too – and I would love to share my stories and they could tell me about theirs. Just being able to share my testimony and everything is amazing, but – I don’t believe in shoving anything down anybody’s throat or preaching at anybody before you have the chance to get inside their lives and understand them and who they really are and what they’ve been through as a friend. I think Jesus would have never shoved anything down anybody’s throat. I think Jesus always befriended the tax collectors – the people that no one else is friends with – and that’s how I think it should be. I want to meet my fans and invest time in their lives and who they are before I tell them about the way I live my life. And if it’s the way they chose to live theirs – then awesome – praise God! But otherwise, that’s not what the band is for. But you’ll definitely hear it in my lyrics, because that’s who I am.
What’s up next for you guys after Warped Tour?
I can tell us this. We’re going to Europe with Of Mice And Men – we’re direct support to them over there in October. And then I can’t tell you what’s happening after that, but it’s awesome! We have US tour plans that are going to surprise a lot of people.
Do you have any messages for Memphis May Fire fans out here in the Southern California area?
We love you so much! We’ve always felt so much love from Southern California, even when the band was just starting off. So thank you for the support. Go pick up Challenger – it’s in stores now and online. And we hope to see you guys sometime this summer or in the fall.
(Interview and Warped Tour Photos by Kenneth Morton)
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