Interview: Brook Betts of Mayday Parade

MAYDAY PARADE copy

13 years ago, a group of friends from Tallahassee, FL formed a band and travelled the U.S to sell their CD to anyone that would listen.  In their evolution from hard-working local band to global force, Mayday Parade have sold out tours the world over, garnered a lifelong massive dedicated fanbase, sold over 1.1 million albums, while their debut, 2007’s A Lesson in Romantics has earnt cult classic status.

 

Mayday Parade’s mission is to continue strengthening the connection between their uncompromising honesty and boundless emotion with each release. Sunnyland finds Mayday Parade both reflecting on the past and pushing toward the future. The result – an album built on impassioned vocals, sing-along choruses, and deeply heartfelt lyrics.

 

Sunnyland is a starkly realist look at love, life and loss, and, as the final strings ring out, we can’t help but wish it lasted for just a little bit longer.’ – The Music

 

Mayday Parade’s chemistry is now more potent than ever. With a stage presence that is so intensely full of life, the crowd has no choice but to feel it too as they scream along to their every word.

The band will be hitting our shores as part of the first Good Things Festival, and we got a chance to speak with guitarist Brooks Betts to talk all things Mayday Parade

H2Z: Hi Brooks, Thanks for your time today. You will be heading back to Australia as part of the Good Things festival, what are you looking forward to the most?
BB: One of the things that will be cool about coming back to Australia for a festival is we will have all these days off in between. I don’t really enjoy the flying, in between the cities as opposed to being on a bus back home or in the UK. But with the days off we will manage to get to see more of your beautiful country hopefully.

H2Z: Sunnyland has been out a few months now, how have you found the reaction to the album?
BB: So far so good, we are getting a really positive reaction with it. We are about a week into the Sunnyland tour and we are playing some of the new songs, and they are getting a great reaction, just as much as the older songs, and our older long-time fans, are telling us it’s the favourite record, which is very humbling for us.

H2Z: A lot of bands only play select songs on new records, will you guys look at playing the entire record over the course of the tour?
BB: No, we will wait and do something special like play the whole album.

H2Z: With playing festivals does that make the decisions on the set list much harder?
BB: It’s becoming very difficult as you have 6 records to choose from now, and everyone has a lot of favourite songs from each one. You have to play the ones you know people will really want to hear. We call them “Bangers”. You then have to try and squeeze in some of your new material and hope that people are into it. You have to try and find that balance, and we had to do that all summer on the Warped Tour. Thanks to that, I think we have a pretty good idea of what people want to hear.

H2Z: And I gather those decisions come down to a majority vote?
BB: Yeah, what we do is we get a set list together and then we tinker with it a lot (laughs), we find it a lot easier to get together and maybe bicker about it after one rehearsal than do it after a show on the road. We play through the more energetic ones from the Sunnyland record, we flip a lot around just to see what the vibe is like, so who knows how it will go once we get to Australia.

H2Z: Any bands on Good Things you just have to see?
BB: Definitely Offspring! I saw them first in 1999, and it’s so awesome that they are going to play smash in full. Of course, there are many bands we all want to see on there but that’s just the easy one to point out, as we are stoked to see them play

H2Z: So, I read that you had money saved to go to college, but you chose to use that money to press CDs. Are you glad you took that chance on yourself?
BB: Yeah for sure. It was nice to have it, it wasn’t a tonne of money, it was only $10,000. It was enough to do that, and it was the one place to invest that money where I could see anywhere close to that kind of return. You have to take chances in life if you are passionate about something

H2Z: How did your parents react?
BB: They were fine with it. They knew when I was probably in 10th grade that I wasn’t going to go to college, right off the bat. They knew that I wanted to try this out first, well we all did, as some of the guys all played in different bands together as far back as middle school, in various forms, and we were all serious about giving it a shot. We got a couple of years in and we were booking our own tours and we had a really good business model.

H2Z: If a band came up to you today and asked for one piece of advice what would it be?
BB: Well, they definitely should take chances if they believe it, but if you are too busy to give the band your full attention, and take advantage of every opportunity you are given, then maybe you shouldn’t worry about the band so much and go do something else, or just call it a hobby. But also, one thing not to do, is be an asshole, because I cannot tell you how many bands I have seen that are so far up their own ass, and it just limits you. You better hope you are damn good if you are an asshole, because that is the only way anybody is going to take your shit.

H2Z: If a fan could be a fly on the wall in your dressing room 5 minutes before show time, what would they see?
BB: 5 minutes before show time. Probably sipping on a bit of whisky and lots of yelling “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” for vocal warm ups, and that kind of thing. Lots of joking around, as everyone is in high spirits and looking forward to getting on stage. Throw our hands in a circle and say a few encouraging things then say “1,2,3 Bangerang”. That’s our thing before we hit the stage.

H2Z: Great Brook, thanks to much for your time, look forward to seeing you in December
BB: Thanks Man, see you then

Don’t forget to catch Mayday Parade on Good Things, this December.

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