Jordan: Congratulations on how Wake’s coming together, from what I’ve heard of it it’s a really fantastic album!
J: I felt a lot of power and energy coming from the new album, Wake, what’s involved in the writing process lyrically and musically?
M: Well, I remember taking speech writing and reading classes in school, and they’d tell you to write about what you know about. So I guess that’s where I went on this album, I wrote from some pretty vulnerable and dark places, abandonment, addiction, loss, and what I was writing was more emotionally charged than it would’ve otherwise been.
J: According to my research, you guys payed Australia a visit last year, did you enjoy it here and is there any chance of you guys coming back soon?
M: Oh yeah man! We’ve come here a couple of times, and everyone we met was really cool. We don’t have anything confirmed just yet, but we’d like to as soon as we possibly can.
J: For a lot of people, you’ve been a big inspiration, who have been some of your inspirations, both in general and musically?
M: The one sort of hero I had, and he’s a bit left field, but Bob Marley, who obviously isn’t involved in anything like our music. But he was conscious of the power of music, which is lacking in a lot of musicians today somewhat. He recognised that with this power came a responsibility to those he affected, and he used that power to impact positively on a group of people who needed it, and he had an amazing impact musically and in a cultural sense.
J: On the topic of left-field music paths, I noticed Wake is a bit more musically diverse than past works, would you consider pushing the musical boundaries even further in the future?
M: Maybe! We made a conscious decision this time around not to write what people would expect to hear from us, and to play what we wanted to play, which I think there’s something respectable about. There were some exciting and cool things that came out of it, and we are really excited for people to hear it!
J: When I’ve shown people in my family the music I play and listen to, they often have the “devil’s music” stereotype, have you had experiences of people around you misunderstanding metal or holding prejudice against you for being a metal singer?
M: Uh, yeah, definitely. My mum actually disowned me when she found out I was in a metal band, we didn’t talk for a whole year because of it. But now she’s one of our biggest fans, she wears our shirts, she listens to our music and comes to our shows, and she understands it’s an opportunity for us to make a positive change for people.
J: Are there any shows you’ve played throughout your career that are particularly memorable for any reason? Either for good or bad reasons
M: For me, the most memorable show was a show in Houston, where the night before we’d played another city, and when we woke up, all our gear was stolen, all our mics and rigs, our guitars and amps, and we were left wondering what we should do. We decided we had to push on and play the show we’d had planned that night, so we drove over, and had to ask other bands to borrow everything, but we played for 1,200 kids who totally lost their minds. It helped me realise that playing music was more than the lights and backdrops, and even though all we had was the music inside us, that was enough.
J: When did you know you wanted to be a metal singer? Was it an “ah!” moment or a slow realisation?
M: For me, it was more of a slow process. Back when I was fourteen, I started as a drummer in a punk band, and we decided to add screaming, which wasn’t the best but we thought it sounded cool. I took on more of the vocals, until it was mostly screaming, but I left to do the college thing. I joined a death core band in college who’d kicked out a member who’d been abusing cocaine, and I took on the bass duties, but eventually I ended up back on vocals, and I remembered how much I loved it. From there, the rest is history, so it wasn’t really a straight path but I do love where I am today.
J: Have you always been a showman and confident in front of a crowd? When did you learn you were?
M: I’ve always loved to put on a show! I failed every speech class I took, I struggled at verbally communicating, but I worked hard at it and improved. We were the kind of band to throw around drum stands and stuff, and put on a show, I do think the value of putting on a performance is underrated and I’ve always tried to work on that. You’ve seen the iconic picture of Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock? No-one remembers his amp settings or the sound quality, not many remember the sound but what people do remember is the sight of him burning his guitar. My philosophy has always been that people come to see you perform, if they wanted to hear your music in perfect quality they’d put on the cd. What we try and do is put on an intense, enjoyable show.
J: One last question, and it’s a bit of a tough one, how do you measure the success of For Today?
M: I measure us by our ability to stay true to ourselves. We live in a culture that thrives on the whoring out of our beliefs and worldviews, and we see people self-destructing all the time in order to stay relevant and in the centre of attention. When we do something, we always want to be true to ourselves, and we think there’s something honourable and respectable for it. At the end of the day, we will have had our time in the spotlight, and I want to have no regrets about faking it to cling to our fifteen minutes of fame. We need to retain our integrity so we can hold our heads high when our time is up.
J: Thankyou for your time today, and all the best for the upcoming release of Wake!