Please give your name and duties in the band.
My Name is Matty, & I sing for Memphis May Fire.
MMF has been around since 2006. Can you give us a quick history lesson on Memphis May Fire?
It’s actually 2007. In 2006, the original lineup was a band called O Captain, My Captain. It was really short lived. Someone else had the name, so they needed to change name when they signed. When the band started, they had a different lineup. They had a different singer, who within a year had a kid & needed to bail. So, they did auditions (like over 180 auditions), & found me through some friends. I did the audition & we clicked immediately, so I packed up from Washington & moved to Texas with my wife. The rest is history.
What is the meaning (if any) behind the name “MMF”?
No real meaning. When the band was really stressed to get a new name (due to label signing), everyone came together & brainstormed names. Memphis May Fire is what came out of it.
What is the number one priority/purpose of the band?
Honestly, we are a different breed of band. We don’t party a lot, we definitely aren’t in it for the girls, sex, drugs, etc. We truly want to offer being a positive role model, & changing/inspiring lives for the better with our music. Even though we have some songs with negative content, we want that to be an emotional release for kids so that they don’t go out & do something stupid. We have a lot of kids come up to us & say that we helped saved their life. It’s a feeling I can’t describe, but it’s certainly why we are here.
You’ve recently released “Challenger”. What kind of feedback have you received from you fans & your peers?
It’s been really insane! We had so much growth during The Hollow, that we didn’t really know what to expect. The Hollow was definetly our growth cycle. So when we put the record out, we were like “Here it is…”, this is our record & it’s about our lives. You get an insight on how it is to be us on a day to day basis. The things we deal with & the things we struggle with. I just really wanted to write a transparent record. We really didn’t know what going to be. It has been phenomenal, our greatest release yet by far!
What sort of things will you be doing different on this new album as opposed to your previous albums?
The last record (The Hollow) wasn’t really me or anyone else in the band. Most of the album was about people I knew, either friends or family who went through things that I didn’t go through, but things I felt that needed to be put into musical content. Just because I didn’t go through something, doesn’t mean our fans didn’t experience those things & need an emotional outlet for those things. I really studied things people went through & the struggles. I tried to portray that from their point of view. So basically the album was about other people. And like i said, Challenger is about us.
Where did the inspiration come from for “Challenger”? What is the idea behind the album artwork?
We worked with this guy named Elton Fernandez. He’s from Brazil & an incredible artist. We really wanted something that portrayed challenge, didn’t need to be angry or anything like that. We wanted someone who was being challenged or was challenging. We thought that face was so perfect. It went through a few different stages, but that’s how it came out. We think it’s perfect.
What is the personal meaning behind the track “Vices”, “Prove Me Right” & “Miles Away”?
Vices is about substance abuse. Even though that song isn’t directly about us as a band, it’s about all the people we tour with. It almost feels like were are in the midst of it all the time. Luckily, none of us really struggle with alcohol or substance abuse, but 90% of the bands we tour with do struggle. They try to use it to cope with this lifestyle, being away from family & friends. So I wrote a song about substance abuse from the point of view of people I think who struggle with it from touring.
Prove Me Right is about the music industry in general. It’s a disgusting place, dude. When I was a kid, I always thought the industry would be people in suits that loved arts & supported it, who had money to invest towards it & really wanted to see art come to life. But it’s not, it’s all about money. Nobody cares about the art. There are a few who care, there is a dude or two at our label that are amazing & our manager is really cool. But the music industry as a whole is very money hungry. It’s just so wrong & they’re taking an art & ruining it. So, I wanted to be honest about it & not be fake. I’m not saying that being a musician is always awesome & everyone on your team is always there. So I just wanted others to know.
Miles Away is the closest song that hits home to me. It’s about my wife & how it is to be away from her on a daily basis doing what I feel I was called to do, touring in the music business.
What is your favorite album of the year so far?
Of 2012? Gosh, dude! There has been so many good albums. I really the new The Used album. It’s really good!
As a lyricist, do you believe in a blatant (straightforward) or eloquent (metaphorical) approach?
When I joined the band, I had two weeks to write & record all my vocals for Sleepwalking, because the album was already completed instrumentally, tracked & ready. The label had been waiting for so long, doing that singer search. When they found me, they said “GO!”. So, I studied a lot of poetry & stepped out of my realm. For that album, I did mostly metaphorical writing.
On the past two records, I’ve wanted to be more straightforward. I don’t want to ever write anything that confuses our fans or make them try to read into it. I really want to write more straightforward lyrics, being completely transparent.
Who are some of your favourite artists to tour with? Any crazy tour stories you’d like to share?
Haha! Every story on tour is a crazy story. We really love touring with Sleeping With Sirens, Kellin Quinn is my best friend in the whole world, I’ll love him until the day I die. Kellin & I are both in very similar situations, both in relationships & he’s got a baby girl at home now. We can relate on so many levels that a lot of band dudes can’t. We spend a lot of time together on tour.
But yeah, there is so many bands we love touring with! I don’t want to name a chunk of them & miss some important ones, so for now I’ll just say SWS.
Who are 3 active current bands/artists you’d like to tour with?
That’s a tough question, with all the politics to go with it. Personally, I’d love to tour with Blindside. I’d also love to tour with Acceptance, even though they aren’t a band anymore. That would be so amazing! And I guess I’d say Every Time I Die, there are my all-time favorite band.
What do you guys do to continuously push yourselves from letting mediocrity set in?
We are just us, no gimmicks. None of do anything to stand out. We just write music that we love, & if it works it works. And it has worked. That’s it. We are just us, & if that become mediocre one day, then so be it!
What is one major positive and one major negative aspect about the current state of the music industry?
I think I already explained this earlier. Positive, I don’t know why, but over the last 6 months I feel there has been a boost in album sales for tons of bands. Which I think is cool. I don’t know if certain torrent sites are being shut down, but that certainly cool & positive.
Negative, there is a lot like I previously said. There is not a whole lot of people who actually care about the art anymore, and the only reason why I am really doing this is because I love the art.
Thanks for taking the time to stay in touch with your fans at Indie Vision Music. Is there anything else you’d like to add to this interview?
I love you guys. My fans are the most incredible people in the world. I’m so thankful for them, there are the only reason why I am still here. I love you. If you haven’t picked up Challenger yet, please do. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it.