Alec Evans chatted to bassist/vocalist Aaron Pauley from Californian metallers Of Mice & Men, ahead of their sold out GB Live show at Cardiff’s Great Hall.
You are currently touring the USA with the UK’s Bring Me the Horizon. Are they a good band to have as touring partners?
Aaron Pauley (Bass, clean vocals): Oh, absolutely! It’s funny too, because we’re from California so our humour is very similar but also very different to them. They’re from Sheffield, we always rag on each other and joke and stuff and they always just take the piss out of each other, it’s really been funny, ‘cause I think it’s been something that has definitely crossed into both bands, we’re now on tour, we’re always just messing with each other.
Bring Me The Horizon’s latest album Sempiternal made a big impact when it was released last year in the UK (#3 in album chart). Did the positive reaction to that album make you expect a similar level of success with your new album?
AP: It’s been crazy, the overall reception of the record, we took a bit of a leap of faith into doing something that’s a bit different and unexpected, but so far the reception’s just been great.
New album ‘Restoring Force’ was released in January. You’ve worked with producer David Bendeth, who was responsible for albums such as Paramore’s breakthrough album Riot (2007). How much of an influence was he towards some of the more mainstream rock choruses on the album?
AP: That’s something that we wanted and he helped us facilitate that by teaching us what it means to actually write a chorus and have a hook that actually hooks people vs just singing parts. There’s not a lot of times where bands like us get to work with someone like him. We want to have giant choruses and we want to have songs that build and we want to have quality song-writing that we grew to love for listening to a lot of the bands that he’s worked with [Bring Me The Horizon, A Day To Remember, Kaiser Chiefs, Papa Roach] or just bands in general, so a huge opportunity. I wouldn’t say that he influenced necessarily that sound, because that was just something that we wanted going in, but he definitely helped us facilitate he was definitely a great teacher and a great coach in getting the best out of us.
What track on the new album do you think best sums up Of Mice & Men as a band in 2014?
AP: That’s really hard, when we wrote the album, we didn’t really go in thinking we wanted the album to sound like this, we went in and kinda just wrote songs. That’s really, really hard to say, but right now ‘Would You Still Be There’, it’s been on radio and it’s been getting a lot of airplay and it’s been doing a lot of big things for our band so maybe I’ll say that one.
There are pretty noticeable influences from the nu metal sounds of Linkin Park, Deftones, etc. on the new album. Do you think there’s less of a negative attitude to nu-metal in 2014 than there was several years ago?
AP: I don’t know, I wouldn’t say that we’re very much a nu-metal band, there are definitely nuances, but we’re very much more just a hard rock band. I know some bands nowadays that get a little bit more into the nu-metal realm with some backlash, but we’ve teetered on to the sounds our fans grew to love from us, there’s just hints of it here and there. So far, there’s not really been any negative backlash associated with it, I know it becomes ‘taboo’ to say something’s nu-metal. We wanted to stay Of Mice & Men but write a hard rock album instead of a metalcore album.
You’re playing a sold-out show at Cardiff Student Union’s Great Hall on 23rd April 2014. What are your hopes for your first show in Wales?
AP: That’ll be a good one! Hopes for the show, I mean we love touring in the UK and we’ve got a brand new record, it’s going to be our first UK headlining run since having the record out, so we’re going to be great having songs that we’ve never played before in the States or anywhere else. It’ll be good to reconnect with our fans out there.
Was the low ticket price (£12 face value) a reaction to high cost of tickets for some bands?
AP: No, we don’t really handle that, as far as pricing goes, but some shows are insanely expensive and something our band has always done is kept it affordable, ‘cause we have a lot of kids as fans.
You’re doing your first major UK festival headlining the lock-up stage at Reading & Leeds this year. How are you expecting it to differ to Slam Dunk and Hit the Deck Festival that you’ve done here in the past?
AP: That’s gonna be insane! You know, for all of us, being onstage with the five of us and when we’re all together, it really all kinda feels the same, it doesn’t feel that different going from small clubs to giant festivals. I mean the UK’s always shown us love, and festivals there, you know, go off, so it’ll be awesome. I’m hoping so, and if not, then whatever, we’ll just rock it the same way we rock it.
Why should Quench readers unfamiliar with your band’s music be paying attention to Of Mice & Men in 2014?
AP: Honestly, it’s really up to them, but ‘Restoring Force’ is a very honest, very non-contrived rock album, and so if they’re into rock music, anything from the late-90’s on, there’s something they can find, to come back to what I said, when we wrote this album, we didn’t set out to say ‘we need an album that sounds like this’, instead we said ‘we want an album full of great songs that we want to write’, each individual song sounds a little bit different, so honestly, there’s something in it for everybody. We’ve got a lot of big plans coming up, a lot of big plans for 2015 too, so if you’re into rock music, you gotta come check us out!
Is there anything else you’d like to say to Quench readers?
AP: Just that we’re super excited to come back, we’ve always had a great time. Music is still very much alive and well out in the UK, and rock music’s making a comeback in the US, but it never really went away over there.