"This album deals with change..." - Of Mice & Men talk new album Defy and making a new start
It's all change for metalcore titans Of Mice & Men as they return with new album Defy.
The Orange County metallers have enjoyed a turbulent couple of years. Their touring in support of 2016’s Cold World was stalled by frontman Austin Carlile’s battle with Marfan's Syndrome, a condition that eventually forced him to depart the band to focus on his health.
After Carlile’s departure, the band kept going with bassist Aaron Pauley taking over duties as lead vocalist. Now a foursome, they’ve cemented their new line-up with new LP Defy, an album recorded with My Chemical Romance/Papa Roach producer Howard Benson.
We spoke to Pauley about carrying on without Carlile and making new album Defy...
When did you start putting together the songs for Defy?
"We started writing in mid-December and finished writing while in the studio. We wrote a lot on the road, as well as in the studio."
How did you find working without Austin? Did it take a while to get used to?
"A lot of the process was the same, the main difference being in the lyrics writing. While I used to work on lyrics with him, during this album, I would bounce lyrics off my band mates after working on the songs."
Did anything about the way you recorded change working as a foursome?
"Not so much in the music department, but definitely in the vocal department. Doing both clean singing and screaming made my time recording vocals take a little longer than previous records."
You did the album with Howard Benson, why did you choose him and what did he bring to the process?
"We ended up working with Howard after our label and his team brought us together. He definitely brought a fresh perspective and a top-down way of working on the record that gave us a lot of freedom."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Do you think there’s a theme running through it?
"This album deals with change and the many complex emotions that often go along with major life changes."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right? And which came together most quickly?
"'If We Were Ghosts' took the longest to get right, musically, but was one of the easiest to write, lyrically. Conversely, 'Defy' was one of the easiest to write musically, but lyrically was more difficult."
When did you settle on Defy for the title? Were any other titles in contention?
"None that were concrete. We settled on Defy after the album was completed."
How’s your live set coming together? You’ve got five records to choose from now...
"It's been interesting getting it all together, to say the least! With over 50 original songs, it gets hard to put setlists together. You'll have to come to a show to find out what we play!"