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Mayday Parade: Help Is On Its Way

Mayday Parade frontman Derek Sanders has found that when the long, hard road to fame is paved with Tim Tams and koala plush toys, it can’t be all bad, right?

The Congregation of Atreyu

It was 3.30pm when team BLUNT arrived at The Hi-Fi in Sydney. Our plans to do an outdoor photo shoot with the Floridian pop-punk quintet Mayday
Parade were quickly thwarted when we realised we weren’t alone. Snaking from the entrance doors around the corner and towards the back of the venue was a line of bright-faced youngsters – who’d no doubt chucked a sickie – to queue up for the band’s sold out show that night. As a white van pulled up, the queue quickly swarmed it in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the five fellas inside and proceeded to shower them with gifts as they stepped out into the Sydney light. “I’ve been here since 10am,” one girl boasted, as others whipped out their phones for photos and thrust packets of Tim Tams and koala plush toys into the band’s hands. As we followed them inside, leaving their hordes of screaming fan girls (and boys) in our wake, we asked the first thing that popped into our heads: Is it like that everywhere you go?

Laughing, vocalist Derek Sanders replied, “It depends I guess, but a lot of the time, yes.” The frontman was in good spirits and given that three out of their four Australian shows sold out, he had every reason to be. It’s the tail end of a great year for Mayday Parade. Not only did they headline the Vans Warped Tour but they also toured South America for the first time, the UK with mates You Me At Six and the US with The Maine before wrapping up the year here in Oz. Given their global fanbase, how do the crowds tend to react?

“I’d say that the biggest thing, and it totally makes sense, is that whenever you go to a place where you’ve either never been before or you just don’t go very often, like for example this is only the third time in seven years that we’ve made it to Australia, I think there are some fans who are maybe a little more excited because, you know, in the US we tour two or three times a year and there’s people that get to see you every four or five months, and so whenever you go to a place for the first time, there’ll be kids who have maybe been waiting years to see you play and they’re super pumped.”

Though Sanders is positively stoked to be reaping the rewards of his hard work, made all the more sweet by reminiscing about the days of being thrilled to crack a thousand plays on MySpace, it hasn’t always been  smooth sailing. In 2009 the band completed the musical rite of passage of trying a major label – and they were less than impressed with the results.

“Of all the labels we’ve been on, any time we’re on an independent label, it’s usually a good relationship where we
have enough creative control that we’re  able to just kind of do what we want to do,” Sanders explains. “We did that one album with Atlantic, it was our second one Anywhere But Here, and that process was just really frustrating for all of us because it was our first time being on a major label and we didn’t really know what to expect. We didn’t want to rock the boat too much and we ended up having to jump through all these hoops and compromise things to give them what they wanted.

You’re making the album the label wants you to make and that should never be the case. We learned a lot from doing that record that way and now I don’t think we’ll ever do that again; we’ll always go in and make the music that we wanna make and not worry about whether the label says they’re not into it.” With that mantra in tow, it was a smooth transition into 2011’s aptly self-titled third album. Mayday Parade have hit their stride and they’re set for writing lockdown later this month so they can begin honing their latest ideas.

Let’s hope the band don’t keep their Tim Tam-totin’ fans waiting too long for their next visit.

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