Of Mice & Men’s Austin Carlile Talks ‘Restoring Force,’ Health Status + Linkin Park Trek
Of Mice & Men have enjoyed a transformative year, with 'Restoring Force' arriving on the scene giving listeners a taste of the band's new two vocalist attack. Longtime frontman Austin Carlile spoke with 'Loudwire Nights' host Full Metal Jackie about the addition of Aaron Pauley to the group, how the band's style has evolved with 'Restoring Force' and what their goals are going forward. Carlile also offered a health update after having to miss some recent tour dates and he spoke about the band's upcoming shows with Linkin Park. Check out the chat below.
Austin, having two capable vocalist is a huge asset for a band. What has the contrast between Aaron's voice and yours, given you the ability to do as a vocalist?
A lot. Having Aaron join the band and having his voice there for us to use, [laughs] however we would need to, it gives me a lot of confidence. It's cool for us with the writing process because I'll write parts for him and he'll write parts for me. I'll write singing parts for him and he'll write singy parts for me. I'll write screaming parts for him and back and forth. It gives us a chance to work off of each other's traits and strong points. If there's something he can't do, I probably can do it and visa versa. It's great to have that in our arsenal and to be able to have just a contrast of our voices in general. Sometimes we're both singing together and most people don't even notice. It can blend well.
Last month the band canceled some European tour dates, the reason being health issues. First of all, are you OK?
[laughs] I'm ok. I'm alive.
Most musicians hate to cancel shows regardless of the reasons so when it comes to the health of someone in the band, what is the tipping point when you finally give in and cancel?
First of all, anything that has to do with family, any kind of family emergency, anything like that. Family comes first before music, our career, before money, before any of that. When it comes to health stuff, we're all five pretty resilient guys. We've all played sick, Aaron has played sick, I've played sick. If you literally can't be there to perform, or you can't do it, than that's the only excuse. I know Tino busted his entire shin open and played the entire set just blood and the whole thing. It's something we get to do that brings us more join than that pain we're feeling. So, unless the pain is too bad and we really can't do it, then that's the only time we'd cancel a show.
I had actually hurt my neck and because I went a while without getting it taken care of -- it was pushing up against the back of my heart and because I have heart issues, they thought it was this whole big deal. So I spent a good three days in the hospital, two nights in the ICU. It wasn't very fun but I'm OK now with physical therapy and all that good stuff. I'll be back, I'll be good to go. Just like always.
There's been so much analysis of 'Restoring Force' by critics who reviewed it. Some calling it "a departure," categorizing it as a new start for Of Mice And Men. What makes the album quintessential Of Mice And Men and what aspects of it are intentionally meant to pave the way for what the band does next?
I love that question. We went into the studio and pre-production with the idea, that we just wanted to write music that we wanted to play. We wanted to write music that we would would want to listen to, that we enjoy. That took us back to, "OK, do we want to write music in the vein of how the bands that started us wanting to be in a band? Or do we want to write music like the bands that started us liking music?" So, we did throw back with some of the stuff we do, some of the sounds you hear are some of the same stuff we grew up listening to from A Perfect Circle, to Korn to Linkin Park, whatever it may be. Staind, Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin. We really wanted to put a record out there that was Of Mice And Men because it was Aaron, Austin, Alan, Phil and Tino. Just have good songs that we knew we'd really enjoy playing.
The record turned out to be this whole other entity and this whole thing in itself. We're really grateful we got the chance to do it and we're already working on new music to further that step into the world of, OK, we understand there's EDM and we understand there's radio rock and there's indie rock. KROQ has become a place where they play DJ stuff and whatever it is. The "rock world" is a lot smaller than it used to be. It's doing a lot less things than it used to be. From Woodstock back in the day and Rage Against the Machine, no one sells millions of records anymore. Linkin Park has sold over 50 million records and Korn has sold millions of records. That just doesn't happen with this kind of music.
But what we wanted to show was the songwriting in all of that, as well as the bands that are coming up and doing this. We wanted to take a step away from that. We wanted to take a step away from what everybody else was doing. We wanted to do what Of Mice And Men was doing and what we wanted to do. That came out to be 'Restoring Force' and it just gave us that door to open up and play in front of new people and to tour with new bands that we've always wanted to tour with. We're going to continue doing that in our future. Our fans love it, we love it and people are liking it so far so they can expect more.
You'll support Linkin Park in Europe in a few months. From a perspective from a musician with his ear to the ground, when they're on stage, what will you be listening to and watching for in terms of inspiring your own creativity?
Linkin Park has been a band for such a long time, for me, in my eyes. I was 16-years-old when I first heard them. I heard 'Hybrid Theory,' and I was floored at what I was listening to. It was angry yet melodic, it had hip-hop and it had -- it was just different, good. Good songwriting. I'd take anything from Linkin Park, from their production to how they play their guitars, how their guitar techs work. I've seen them live before and have gotten to see how things work. It's a well oiled machine and it's really cool for a band like ours to be able to tour with a band like theirs and to learn from them.
We're doing the same things we are, yeah, we're a few steps behind but those are the kind of footsteps we want to follow in. That's why we want to surround ourselves with these bands that are doing this because they've done something right and they make good music. At the end of the day, that's what we want to do. We just want to be able to play music and support our families. I want to be as old as Mike Shinoda -- I hope he hears this -- and have an awesome life and family and support yourself because of music. That's me, that's a dream come true already on top of what I'm doing.
Obviously the band's name is a reference to the John Steinbeck novel. What about that book affected you enough to name your band after it?
One of the main quotes in the book was, "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry." It's actually from an old, I guess it's called a soliloquy I believe Robert Frost in an old Victorian poem about an actual mouse. This guy lives in a house, he's very poor and he's telling the mouse, guess what? My plans have gone shot too, yours have gone shot and he uses that quote and Steinbeck actually used that quote from that poet to base off the book. He did that a lot, he did it with 'Grapes of Wrath' and he did it with a few other books. But, that's kind of where I get it from.
I've had so many plans in my life and so many things have gone so many ways. At the end of the day not everything is in your control and that's what happened with me and my life and everything I am as a person just got flipped upside down. That quote means a lot to me. The book is from that, and also it's required reading for most high school students in America. So I was like, when they google the spark notes or see what the book was about, they may not have read it and they'll see that there's a band called that too.
Thanks to Of Mice & Men's Austin Carlile for the interview. 'Restoring Force' is currently available at both iTunes and Amazon. See their upcoming tour dates here. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie and Tony LaBrie’ Monday through Friday 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.