Narrow visits with Mayday Parade
By Meghan Gallagher
As Van’s Warped Tour wraps up, to many people’s dismay, Mayday Parade gifts us with a new album and tour to kick it off, packing all the same sentiment, but with some new flair to get excited about. I was able to catch bassist Brooks Betts while en route to their show in Birmingham, Alabama, their second show of their 39-city tour, Sunnyland.
Carrying the same name as the tour, their album “Sunnyland” has strong feelings of nostalgia. It was named for an abandoned mental hospital they explored as teenagers in their hometown of Tallahassee, where many of the band mates still reside. Now the band itself is a teenager; they put out their debut EP, “Tales Told by Dead Friends,” in 2006. The amount of years they’ve stuck together without any apparent drama is almost as impressive as their extensive discography.
Even after touring in the biggest, best cities in America, Betts’ favorites including New Orleans, Nashville and San Francisco, he still has a love affair with the place that raised him and doesn’t foresee leaving Florida anytime soon. You would think a man who has been touring almost non-stop and continually producing music that has been a metaphoric shoulder to cry on for so many people would have a completely music-centric life, but Betts says he takes the time to immerse himself in all that beautiful nature our state has to offer. If any band is green-tailing right now, it’s probably them. “I love Florida, especially North Florida; it’s a beautiful place. I enjoy the environment we live in. I’m really into ecology and applying sustainable practices. We love our beaches, especially Florida’s Forgotten Coast.”
Betts is also thankful for the great punk scene their town had growing up, saying kids in their genre may face a harder time getting their foot in their door as the scene shifts. “We had a great pop punk scene, which isn’t as popular as it was, it’s a lot of EDM right now. Growing up there, there were a lot of great older bands in the scene, especially in the hardcore scene in high school that we could look up to. Tallahassee has been known to put out a lot of great music.” He associates most of their success to just treating it like a job off the bat and booking their own shows. “You really have to tour to get out there.”
The new album gives their original fan base their same niche sound but has something to offer for the new shifting indie scene. “I think we surprised ourselves a little bit with this album. It’s still definitely us, we’ve stayed true to ourselves, but we experimented a little as well.” As far as influences? “I listened to so much Coldplay during the making of this album. And a lot of 90s.”
They still provide an intense fury in a lot of songs on the album, mostly ignited by relationships and some social issues. As Betts says, “There’s nothing wrong with being an influencer, but it is mostly about girls.” Which is the more fun stuff to sing along to anyways. There are also a couple mellow sounding acoustics on the album keeping it balanced. “It’s all about connecting with the fans and being personal.”
Get ready to see them make a lot of noise and jump around with an envious amount of energy on Nov. 20 at Mavericks at the Landing in Jacksonville.