It’s that time of year again, with the collective anticipation and excitement surrounding Krank’d Up Fest building its way to a fever pitch.
In preparation for this monumental event, Sammy SF of The Metalist za chatted to Matty Mullins from one of the biggest names in the metalcore scene, and this year's headliners, MEMPHIS MAY FIRE.
Firstly, I just have to say what an absolute honour it is to have this opportunity. I remember watching your YouTube interviews when I was in high school and dreaming that one day I would interview (easily my favourite band of all time) the mighty Memphis May Fire.
Wow thanks for the kind words! The pleasure is all ours
So finally, after five albums and countless tours, Memphis May Fire will be heading to our tiny tip of Africa!
Has South Africa ever been on the cards before?
Were you aware you had such a huge following on this side of the world?
We've always wanted to play in South Africa but this has been the first opportunity we've had in the 10 years that we've been a band! We never know what our following is like in a foreign territory until we visit, so we are ecstatic to get there!
What have you heard about South Africa, do you have any preconceptions?
We've heard amazing things about South Africa from friends that have visited. We can't wait to see it all for ourselves!
So obviously majority of South African fans have never seen a MMF live show, clearly you guys won’t be able to play five albums worth of music (even though we wish you could) so what can we expect from your set list?
We're going to play a mix of everything, old and new. We'll do our best to make sure everyone leaves happy!
Let’s talk about the latest album, ‘This Light I Hold’, It appears to have a new level of musical maturity, was there a change in the writing process compared to previous albums?
The biggest difference was that we took a lot more time writing this one.
We wanted to put out the best MMF record yet so we knew we had to take some time off the road and get seriously dedicated to the writing process.
You just recently released a music video for 'Virus', tell us a bit about the inspiration behind that?
The music video concept was a very literal take on the name of the song and it made for a very cinematic video. The actual concept of the song is about taking a stand against whatever it is that's poisonous in your life and defeating it.
Some keyboard warriors have coined the new 'Virus’ sound as 'Papa Memphis' (comparing you to Papa Roach), how does that make you feel?
If we write new music that sounds like old MMF, people complain. If we write new music with a new sound, people complain.
We don't write music for complainers; we write music that WE are proud of and give it to those who support us.
How would you say your musical direction has changed or developed with each album?
We are always evolving as people and as artists. Our change in sound over the years is a direct representation of our growth.
If we ever stop progressing, it will be time to throw in the towel.
Are there any older songs you hate playing live?
We don't hate playing anything, but some songs get less exciting to play over time. That doesn't matter though, we are there for the crowd!
Your lyrics don’t shy away from exposing the struggles of the industry and fame. Songs like 'Alive in the lights' and ‘The Rose' indicate that you guys had some problems getting people to believe in you. Lots of our local bands are facing the same issues.
What struggles did you face starting out in the industry and how did you overcome them?
Getting started as a new band is the hardest part, because there are so many other bands trying to do the same thing.
You have to work harder, write more, and tour more than everyone else to get ahead.
When you feel like giving up, work even harder.
Do you ever feel that your messages are lost or not taken seriously enough because of the genre of music you play?
I think every lyricist wishes their messages were heard and understood by more.
But at the end of the day, I'm just thankful for those who do pay attention and do get something out of it.
I know I am going to ugly cry in if you guys play ‘That's Just Life', the message in that song is more important now than ever before. The struggles of depression have been evident in your lyrics across most of your albums, but you always leave your listeners with a sense of hope.
What advice would you give to those struggling with depression or self-doubt in the times that they feel hopeless?
I'm living proof that depression and anxiety don't have to rule over you forever.
Talk to your friends and family, be honest about it. Go to therapy and work out the deeply-rooted issues.
Do whatever it takes, just don't hide it, because life can and will get better.
On a lighter note, if your band could be featured in any cartoon, what cartoon would it be?
I would love to see all of us as characters on The Simpsons!
If you could feature with any pop artist, who would it be and why?
Currently, Jon Bellion. Dude is a brilliant song writer and producer.
Lastly, for those people who people who will be attending Krank’d Up music festival here in South Africa, who don’t know who you guys are, what songs would you recommend they listen to in order to get a feel for your music?
Check out a couple from each album!
Thank you once again for taking the time to answer my questions, I for one, cannot wait to see you guys throw down on the live stage, and wish you all the best!
Thanks! Looking forward to it!!
YOU CAN CATCH MEMPHIS MAY FIRE AT KRANK'D UP, 30 SEPTEMBER 2017
Taking place on Saturday, 30th September 2017 at Sundowners, Alberton and featuring 2 highly acclaimed international acts along with 19 of SA's best alternative acts across two stages, Krank'd Up 2017 should not be missed.
KRANK'D UP LINEUP:
Memphis May Fire
Held On Till May
You, Me and the Harmony
De Wallen ( Band )