Last year I reviewed Memphis May Fire‘s CD This Light I Hold, and it affected me deeply. New to their music, I was overwhelmed by their lyrics, especially those dealing with chronic sadness. MMF expresses an acceptance of those emotions as part of life, and in their acceptance, there is solace. Since discovering for myself this seasoned band, I’ve returned to their music over and again, sometimes for a swift kick in the emotional butt, but mostly because their words match my outlook on life and their melodies make my heart sing. So of course when given the chance to chat with lead singer Matty Mullins, I eagerly engaged. Pull up a chair and feast your eyes as Matty and I discuss their upcoming performances as part of Vans Warped Tour (where he invites readers to tweet out their ideas for the set list), how to stay sane on the road (it involves food), and what pics are on his phone this very minute.
Shockwave Magazine: I’d like to start out with Vans Warped Tour! This is your fourth time as a part of the bill. What is it about Vans that keeps calling you back?
Matty Mullins: It’s such an honor to be back on Warped Tour for the fourth time. We believe it’s the best festival tour there is! Such an awesome opportunity to play for a diverse crowd & see all of our friends bands on a daily basis. Oh & the catering RULES! 🙂
You mentioned that set times for Vans are shorter this year, and you’ve asked fans for input as you start to plan your set list. Are there any songs fans are overwhelmingly requesting? Are there any songs in particular that stand out to you as obvious choices for a short live set?
What makes it so hard is that we get different song requests from everyone, but it’s flattering. I LOVE short sets in the summer heat but it’s just tough to pick songs when we’ve put out 5 albums. It’s even hard to choose a set list when we play hour-long sets! We haven’t decided what we’re going to play yet so if you read this & wanna tweet some ideas our way please do!
I imagine being on the road a lot, your suitcases are never unpacked. If yours are like mine, there are some items that never leave it, because you never leave home without them. What’s one item you take on tour that you would be lost without, be it lucky charm or creature comfort?
I have a lot of friends from Texas, and there’s a big ol’ Texas Pride theme running through them all. Name one thing that really is bigger in Texas.
FOOD PORTIONS! Goodness gracious. You could feed a family with one meal!
I’m a fan of Rise Records’ entire roster. I don’t think there is a single “Rise Core” band I don’t love. Any favorite label mates you’d like to introduce your fans to?
In that vein, we all derive inspiration from the things around us, and are influenced by them as well. What are the top played CDs on your iPad/phone? Is there a particular MMF song that we might tune into and hear the influences from your personal playlist?
I love pop music. Most people can tell when they hear our choruses. Right now I think the most played song in my iTunes is “Warrior” by Steve James (feat. LIGHTS). What a banger!
What’s the first and last photos on your phone? Please feel free to share them.
I have wayyy too many photos on my phone (13,346 to be exact). The first photo on phone is from a mag cover photo-shoot we did in 2012. The last photo is a pic of my nephew Israel lookin’ crazy lol.
Your Meet and Greets are legendary for being the most fan-friendly. I get the sense this is more than MMF giving back to their fans, but that you get as much out of the interaction as they do. Is this like having family on the road everywhere you go?
You’re right, we LOVE our M&G’s, and it’s actually my favorite part of the day. We genuinely consider our fans to be friends, so when we hang with them we want it to be legit!
MMF fans know this, but newer fans may not be aware that you were selected as the new lead singer via a YouTube search. As Anthony has just left the band, would you consider another YouTube search for his replacement?
Actually it was a MYSPACE search lol. We aren’t doing auditions of any sort but if we did I’m sure YouTube is the way to go these days.
Do you ever go down the YouTube rabbit hole of MMF cover videos? I sort of just did, so I’m hoping I’m not alone.
Of course! We love to see people re-creating our music in their own way. It’s awesome to see all of the talent out there.
Clearly you’re all creative souls, and music is a great outlet for your creativity. What do you do, outside of music, that feeds you? Is there another hobby or outlet for self-expression when you’re not making music?
Totally! A little over a year ago I started a hair product company called On Point Pomade. I’ve always been passionate about grooming products & I really wanted to create something that was specific to me. I’m excited about how it turned out and you can check it out at onpointpomade.com
I recently read an article about the weight touring takes on artists’ mental health. How do you overcome the planes, trains, and automobiles lifestyle and stay positive and healthy?
It’s so true. If you’re not careful, touring can really teach you how you treat your body like garbage. We spent years living on gas station food & energy drinks. These days we are very careful about what we eat & how much sleep we get. It’s possible to be healthy on the road, mentally & physically, but everyone has to be on the same team.
On a personal note, “That’s just life” has been a mantra of mine since This Light I Hold came out last year. How does it feel to know your personal philosophies have the ability to positively affect lives?
Writing music is such a gift. I’m so thankful that our music can influence people. What a blessing to get to be a part of someone else’s story!
You can check out Memphis May Fire this summer touring as part of the amazing Vans Warped Tour lineup. I’ve linked this baby up tight if you wanna get some Tees and hit the crowd with your hair on point, literally! Thanks for the music and the light, Matty.