Make Do and Mend are quickly climbing to the top of the hill in the punk scene right now. The band's intense live shows and even more intense album, last year's End Measured Mile, are testaments to their growing fan base. I took vocalist/guitarist James Carroll aside at the Atticuss/No Sleep Records showcase this year to talk a little bit about the band's success. As we're walking outside the venue, we begin talking about checking out Black Veils Bride, and so began our conversation...
Okay, so no better time to start this than now. What is it that attracts kids to that?
I think there's always a certain element of, what do you call it, susceptibility to kids in popular music whether it's Britney Spears or Backstreet Boys. Young kids and kids who for better or for worse want music and want something that they think is new and cool and want fresh and has substance to it. There are people pushing bands like Black Veils Bride onto kids and kids aren't able to filter through it. If you're a kid in high school and don't have many friends and get picked on...I'm sure you're a lot like I was in high school, you see people walking around in drag, it's like, "Okay, I get it." It's just not for me.
Well, on the positive side of things, what do you think about what's happening now. The line-up that we're seeing today, and at some of the shows this week?
I'm on the other side of the coin in that way. I'm happy to be a part of this really positive swell of music with a lot of substance, which is amazing. I think we are at the healthiest point of punk or modern hardcore or post-hardcore that we've had in a long time since I've been going to shows or being in a band.
Someone said the other day that they felt the scene has been more of a community now than ever. For you growing up, what are the differences that you see now even though this kind of music as always existed?
When I was growing up, just a fan of music, when I was listening to old punk and hardcore really early, all those Revelation bands, I saw that community in what I was listening to. Like-minded bands. Like-minded people. A scene, a vibe, a fellowship there. When we started touring, we felt it coming around again. This is how it was. We have the privilege to be a part of this community, just like the bands back then. Hot Water Music used to tour with Sick of It All and AFI. It was just this weird mash-up of like-minded bands.
You think that now it's needed more than ever?
Absolutely. I think it's crucial. There's ebbs and flows. This will last as long as it can, and then I'm sure they'll be another dip. It was bad there for a while, but now I think we're in another healthy period. I'll be interested in where it goes.
Now End Measured Mile is taking off and is sitting high on a lot of people's playlists, but along with the vibe of the album, and even its cover, what message were you trying to get across with it? It seemed like it was very much about community as a whole.
It's just like the way we always wanted to operate as a band. We just want to operate as genuine and as honest fashion as we can. The reason we've always wanted to play in a band is because it's what we know how to do well. It feels right to play aggressive music and to write honest songs. Also, coming from a scene of honest bands plays in a lot. We didn't grow up in a scene where bands wore make-up and put shit in their hair. We grew up listening to bands that wanted to make a difference and wanted to tour and play music. I think that seeps into the music. It seeps into the subject matter a lot.
Even the subject matter seems a lot more like a rallying cry for what's happening now - more so than any other record I've heard at the moment. Was that what you were going for thematically?
Not so much in a direct manner that it sort of sounds. Definitely, I agree with that. I think with anything good, whether it's a friendship or a relationship or anything, everyone needs to keep their heads on straight and work towards a common goal. You mention Defeater and Touche Amore. La Dispute has a new record coming out. Balance and Composure has a new record coming out. Former Thieves new record, I've heard amazing things. 2011 is going to be an insane year for music. We have all these bands, and we just named like six or seven bands that are made up of some of my best friends in the entire world. We all get to play music together. That's ridiculous. The fact that we're able to this is amazing.
What do you think about that in just a year house shows growing out into the club scene?
I think it's awesome, you know? It's cool to see people catching on to something I feel is genuinely good and healthy. There's a line around the corner for Black Veil Brides down the street. There's an advisory. There's no shortage of people who want to support that. Having numbers is quite a good thing. There's certainly a lot of kids beginning to discover this alternative to that.
How do you push that forward?
I don't have any interest with pushing anything on anyone, because I don't want things pushed on me. The right people will always find the right things.
Do you feel bad for the people that miss out?
They're doing their thing. I'm sure they're having fun. We're having fun. People who come out to the shows are having fun. You and I and the kids who come out together to these shows and form a community will look back ten years from now and say we saw Touche Amore in a basement and Jeremy fell and cut his head on a cymbal and was bleeding all over the place. It was the sickest thing ever. How many people are going to say, "We saw Black Veil Brides down the street, and their make-up was so sick."
He is such a cool dude. I've seen Make Do and Mend 3 times, and I've talked to him at each show, and he actually recognized me. He's such a cool, down-to-earth guy. Excited to see what these guys have in store for us.
haha funny he mentions Ebb and Flow. That interview was spot-on though with how I feel about the punk scene. I've tried arguing logically in attempts to turn people away from the insincere, fashion-before-passion "music" but it's pointless. I think he says it best when he said the right people will find the right things.
On a side note, I'm pissed at myself for not seeing this band tonight since I had to work.