In early March, Memphis May Fire performed at The Rave on their headlining March of Madness Tour. The show featured sets from Blessthefall, The Color Morale, Sylar, and Bad Seed Rising.
I had the opportunity to sit down with vocalist Matty Mullins and guitarist Kellen McGregor and ask them about touring and their new album.
Seeing as how you’ve toured in Milwaukee both on Warped Tour and at The Rave, do you have any memories or stories while you’ve played here?
Matty Mullins: Warped Tour is a blur, there is so many shows and they’re all outside. So it’s not like you get architecture that is really memorable. It is always mad hot and the days are long.
Kellen McGregor: It’s like, “Oh a field! Oh, blacktop!”
Mullins: By the end of the tour, you’re just like those shows were sick. But the last time we were hear was with Killswitch [Engage] and I mean that was one of the favorite tours that our band has ever done. We loved being out with them.
What’s your favorite part of touring?
McGregor: Just meeting people and just playing the show. I think if you we enjoy both of those, we couldn’t do it.
Mullins: It’s really easy to take a lot of things on tour for granted. Day one of the tour you’re on Cloud 9 because it’s been a while since you played a show, and you’re so grateful. And then, if you don’t remind yourself to be grateful daily, it’s really easy to take it all for granted. I mean, I’ve set foot in more countries and cities than my grandparents, and their grandparents and their grandparents would ever have dreamed of. That kind of thing is incredible, seeing the world and meeting people. I know we’re just one band in the midst of a million bands, but when we’re in Japan and you see a sea of kids singing along to your lyrics… it’s nuts. So yeah, what Kellen said – getting to meet people, and getting to thank the people that support our music is amazing.
What are your top 3 tracks to perform live?
McGregor: “No Ordinary Love” is a good one.
Mullins: Yeah that’s a good one. On this tour we just started playing “That’s Just Life.” That’s one of my favorites too, it’s got such a great vibe to it. It’s not that we actually love playing “The Sinner,” but the crowd loves it. It’s cool because that’s a great moment in the night when everyone wilds out. That’s definitely one of our biggest songs that we’ve ever written as a band because it was back when we were fresh and we dropped it. We have a lot of songs that we like to play but those three are pretty sweet.
What risks did you take in writing This Light I Hold?
McGregor: Well most of the songs we were definitely more deliberate about, kinda like the direction the song or a certain stylistic choice. If it was going to be a song with a lot of singing, we tried to make sure it it allocated to that. Or if we were going for a certain sound, we tried to make sure we really went into that direction. I think we are also pretty intentional with trying to make songs stand out from the next song.
Mullins: Yeah totally. Lyrically there’s obviously some tracks in there where I make it clear that I’m not going to let someone tell me what I can or can’t write about. But there’s also songs that are clearly relatable on every level. When I sit down to write, whatever I’m feeling passionate about, that’s what I’m going to write. But risk wise, I think that writing songs that are going to piss people off, but it’s something you want to say. That’s why “Carry On” and “This Light I Hold” are important to me because they’re honest. I think honest art is good art, whether it makes someone mad or not.
Are there any music videos in the works?
Mullins: Totally. So our manager and our videographer had this idea. We were like, “Tour update videos are getting 12, 15 thousand plays. It’s cool and people like it, but it’s not nearly as impactful as a music video. So instead of bringing out a video guy to do tour update videos, why don’t we bring out him out to do music videos with us on the road? So we’re shooting three videos while we’re out here. We’re shooting music videos for “That’s Just Life,” “Sever the Ties,” and “Wanting More.” We live in different areas and when we normally do videos, we fly to LA. So it’s so sweet to have someone out because we’re all on the road together, and we can all collaborate and just get the job done.
If you had to describe your stage presence in one word, what would it be?
Mullins: Serious. I’ll says stupid stuff in between songs, but we’re a very serious band. We don’t take our job as a joke, and we don’t take it lightly. I actually end up stressing out more than I do having fun because I want it to be as perfect as it can be.
McGregor: We take it pretty seriously because we genuinely want people to have the best experience that they can. But at the same time, we’ve got stuff like… in our in ears we have farts and funny stuff that the crowd has no idea about.
Mullins: Yeah. We have so many humorous and fun aspects about our band. When it comes to our live show and what you see, I’ve gone to shows where people have just been buttholes and I question why I bought a ticket to the show. You’re obviously drunk or high, you don’t care, you’re not even trying, or you were out late last night and you wrecked your voice. We’re not going to do that to our fans. When we get up there, we’re going to give them every penny’s worth of the ticket they bought. We take this seriously and we respect our fans.
If you were to create music for any other genre, what would that be?
Mullins: I do. I write music for Christian radio and I have a project with it.
McGregor: I really like writing dark, moody, electronic pop. It’s a lot of fun to do something different.
Mullins: There’s so much cool stuff in that world right now. I think pop music is better than it’s ever been right now.
If you were to shuffle your music, what is the most surprising artist that you listen to?
Mullins: We’re not ashamed of anything. So it’s not like we have any guilty pleasures. I’m sure most people don’t think the music I listen to is cool. I guess if someone didn’t know me and all they did was see me on stage screaming, if they’d shuffle my iPod I think they’d actually be surprised by most of what I listen to.
McGregor: A couple years ago if you would have shuffled it, it would have been all Colbie Caillat.
You’ve been working with the LTD Foundation on this tour, how has that been?
McGregor: It’s awesome.
Mullins: It’s so cool. What Living the Dream does is they take people with terminal illnesses and they allow them to meet their favorite bands. You would think it just really blessed that kid, but it really blesses us. Their stories are so inspiring that it’s a two way street. It’s amazing how fulfilling it is and we love working with them. This is like the hundredth time we’ve done something with them and we’re going to keep doing it. You’ll see us with them on Warped Tour too, I’m sure.
Sam has been practicing with you guys and filling in for Anthony’s parts thus far, do you have any leads for permanent members?
Mullins: No. We’re just not in a hurry. It’s like Sam’s doing an amazing job.
McGregor: It’s something we’re probably going to take a long time with.
Mullins: I mean, if we do that. The way that we have it right now is working so well that I don’t know why we would change it.
Any closing words for the fans?
Mullins: Thank you! If you haven’t heard our new record, it’s called “This Light I Hold.” It’s our fifth full length album, but it’s our best full length album. Come see us on our upcoming tours, and stay tuned.