One of rap music's rising stars, Machine Gun Kelly has accumulated a lot of success -- and FAST. In the last 6 months he's supported Tech N9ne on an extensive U.S. tour, performed in front of thousands at Wrestlemania XXVIII, and just completed a large majority of this summer's Vans Warped Tour. Upon first meeting Kells in Seattle, I immediately noticed his easy going and relaxed attitude, which was infectious to everyone nearby. I sat down with him to discuss his experience on this year's Vans Warped Tour, as well as his debut album, Lace Up, which is also guaranteed to be shouted at a performance. Be careful on not putting him into a box -- he's far more Rock n' Roll as people may not realize.
First off, congrats on finishing your first Warped Tour. What are your thoughts on being on this year's tour?
It was the baddest tour -- and by baddest, I mean most awesome. I actually did Warped last year, but it was the Ernie Ball Stage and we were only doing a couple dates, kind of "striving to make it" band type of thing, you know how it is. We definitely earn our stripes every year we come to Warped, so maybe next year we'll be on the Kia stages, the big stages. I think I didn't soak it in enough because it's already over, so I'm already super bummed. We've made a bunch of friends out here, it's like you become a family then you have to say goodbye to everyone, it sucks.
Other than playing a few dates last year, have you been to Warped Tour as a fan before?
Yeah, for sure. And I would say that I'm here as a fan this year too, because I'm at all the stages watching all my favorite bands too.
There's a lot of Rock bands here on the tour. What band did your first stagedive happen at?
As a fan or an artist?
As a fan.
I haven't stagedove as a fan, I've only stagedove as an artist!
Really?You've got to fix that!
Yeah, but you gotta think about it man, when I went to my first Warped Tour, I was like 11 or 12.
Who'd you see on that year?
All the classics man -- The Casualties, Anti-Flag, Rise Against, I think Blink might've played that year. I ain't gonna lie man, I only made it through 2 or 3 of the performances, because they were fucking ridiculous, because I was 11 or 12. We all hid underneath one of the stages on one of them, because the mosh pit got out of control.
You've been hanging out with MOD SUN and T.Mills on this tour, who else have you been hanging out with on this tour?
Shit man...Miss May I, Pierce The Veil, I got wasted with Travis from We The Kings...just annihilated dude. I went to Warped Tour prom and made an ass of myself...[points to Bethany Watson, head of Warped Publicity -- "were you there? is that why you're laughing? I was drunk wasn't I...man that's embarrassing"]. So yeah, I got drunk with head of Publicity at Warped Tour. Breathe Carolina are real cool with us, All Time Low, all the guys on the Kia Stages -- they're all fans of mine, which is cool, so they come to our stage and watch our shit, and we do the same.
The last 12 months have been really great for you -- meeting Diddy at SXSW, signing to Bad Boy/Interscope, Wild Boy coming out as a single, etc. What are your thoughts on the last year and how quickly it's gone by, alongside the accomplishments you've had?
I'd definitely say the proudest accomplishment was the MTVu Breaking Woodie award, just because it was all up to the fans. We don't really focus on the accomplishments, because we really haven't had that breakout moment yet, it's not like the world knows who Machine Gun Kelly is yet. Like I said, we're on the second biggest stage here, not THE biggest stage, so I think we're constantly working at that. But you know, I got a single with Young Jeezy that's coming out tomorrow or Monday; I mean, I've gotten to work with all my favorite artists, except for like Eminem -- DMX, Young Jeezy, Bun B. I got a couple of surprises in the Metal world on my album, so that's kinda sick.
Speaking of working with well known artists, you've worked with XV recently...
That was awhile ago...
The Layover (Mike Posner) was recent though, that was cool.
Yeah, me and Posner are good friends, we're both mid-west boys...
Yeah, he's been killing it lately, especially on the production side. Can we expect you guys to work together again soon?
I'm sure man. Me, Posner, and Travis from We The Kings are talking about doing some writing together. Obviously that's not for my project, but it'll be sick.
What's something about your music that people generally don't know?
I think everyone knows that's it's all true. I'd say the one thing about my music that people don't know is that it's all done for what we want to hear, not what corporate wants to hear. I think that's a big deal, because it might be like "Oh, why'd you make that one song? Oh, so we can get a hit", but yet we don't make the hits, we just try and make songs that we want to hear at the time; like that song me and Jeezy worked on, we just wanted a song that was in your face, but was rugged at the same, we wanted to get a classic Jeezy feeder. We always do what we want to hear on our headphones.
Half Naked & Almost Famous sold really well, pushed over 25,000 units to date. Is that EP a taste of what's to come on your full length, Lace Up?
Definitely, but I think the full length is so different, because we've saved those songs on the full length for years -- one year, two years, we have some songs on the full length really capture that real Machine Gun Kelly feel. So I think it's a little bit more downtrodden...and when I say downtrodden, I mean more emotional and personal -- which I think Half Naked, we only did that with "See My Tears".
Is there one song off the album that you just can't wait for people to hear?
The intro to me is sick, just because intros are a dying thing, and we did a really good job with it.
Anything else you can tell us about the full-length?
It's the greatest album of the decade.
You played Wrestlemania not too long ago! Something to the amount of 85,000 or so people were in attendance, a huge amount of people. What were your thoughts walking out and doing that performance?
Don't fuck this up. Oh, and hopefully the sound works, because it wasn't working during soundcheck, and our mic's weren't working like 5 seconds before we were about to go on. So yeah, don't fuck up.
Who did you root for in that main event?
What is your touring plans after Warped Tour?
We have a couple spot dates, then a European tour, then a headlining tour in the U.S. for the album.
What is one artist you'd recommend to your fans to check out? Someone that's made a significant impact on you.
Stone Sour, I'd suggest the song "Bother". If I had to suggest another Stone Sour song, it'd be "Through Glass".
First time I've ever seen anyone express a positive opinion of Mike Posner.
Im a huge fan of his work, but you have a strong point -- he does have some people that REALLY don't like him. I remember interviewing Yelawolf during Warped 11', and him getting steamed that I mentioned him.
I'll be speaking with Mac Miller in 3 weeks or so, can't wait for the comments on THAT interview