"I almost feel like I couldn't write about anything else, I wanted to express my devotion to God" – hmv.com talks to Memphis May Fire
Texan metalcore types Memphis May Fire released their fourth album Unconditional on Monday (24th March) and, to get the inside track on the record, we talked to singer Matty Mullins about the album's dark lyrical roots and why his new devotion to Christianity shaped the record.
How long have you been waiting to put the album out? Have you been sat on it for a while?
"We finished tracking about three months ago, so it hasn't been that long. By the time we finished it the label actually had to rush things to get it out when we waited it to."
How long did you spend on the album?
"It was the longest time we've spent in the studio, mainly because I spent so much time on my vocals, I did a month just on vocals. I really want to be by myself, to focus on them and to make sure I was represented properly."
You worked with Cameron Mizell, who also produced your previous record Challenger, is he the guy who knows how to get the best out of you?
"He really is. I'm so comfortable with him, I know he'll get the best out of me and let me artistic side shine, he encourages me and really makes me work hard. I'll always work with him."
How does this record move on from Challenger? You've said it's a more mature record…
"Definitely. For me, this record is so blatantly about my relationship with Jesus. I've gone through a really dark time. It's about how I relate to my fanbase in a whole new way, I've grown as a writer, the music is really soundtrack esque, so epic, everyone in this band has had to step up their game."
Were some of the subjects you were writing about difficult to approach?
"Absolutely. Depression has played a role in my life for the past year, normally I wouldn't want to talk about it, but I felt it was so important to show people that they're not alone and that you have to get through these periods. I needed to use this platform to share a message of hope with people who are desperate for it."
Do you feel it's a hopeful record ultimately?
"100%. It's not about the rules and regulations of the Bible, it's about believing in Jesus and God and their gospels, I truly understand the work of my creator now, I feel it so profoundly now."
Is it hard to find a way to write those subjects? The words in the bible have been covered in 100s of different ways over the years…
"No, before I didn't feel that much connection to the words in the Bible and didn't really feel like I had to reach out to God, now I feel like I need to express this. I almost feel like I couldn't write about anything else, I wanted to express my devotion to God."
Is that where the titles comes from?
"100%. Unconditional, in my love of God and Christianity."
These songs clearly hark back to some dark times, is it difficult to sing about them again onstage every night? Do you find it therapeutic?
"It is sometimes. There's lots of emotion in there that I never want to feel again, but I get to look out at a few thousand eyeballs and to tell them, some of who might be going through the same thing. It hurts to imagine anyone going through the same thing and I hope it provides some comfort."
Was it difficult sharing these words with the rest of the band?
"Not really. My band members are four of the most supportive dudes in the world, whether they can relate or not, they can feel the power of the message and they're proud to stand by me."
Finally, what's the plan for the rest of 2014?
"Touring. We've got a headliner with the UK soon, then some European stuff in the summer and then a giant tour back in the US in the fall."
Memphis May Fire's new album Unconditional is out now. You can preview it by clicking on the icon on the right-hand side of the page.