12 months on from their highly celebrated album After The Party and amidst their long-awaited UK tour, we had a chat with The Menzingers' Tom May to talk about the album, the importance of performing live and where they're going to go next.
It’s been a year since After The Party was released and you’re just rounding up your UK tour now, does it feel like that chapter is coming to a close?
"Nope not at all! It feels more like blinking or maybe a quick breath. We're still riding that wave until the next. We've got a whole new year of touring and surprises ahead."
Have you witnessed any particular reactions to the newer songs when played live? Do you feel some tracks have deeper connections with your fans over others?
"Whenever we play the title track I have flashbacks to the filming of the video which took place all over Philadelphia. The house party scene in particular was just friends and fans piling all over each other. I think people see that and really just go for it. No matter which city or country we're in, people seem to kick off at the same points."
Much of the record sings of saying goodbye to your twenties and encourages the listener to delve into the memories of their youth – was this something that you particularly wanted to approach when writing the record?
"We spent so much time living the life that we hardly took a moment to process and unpack everything that was happening. That’s part of the beauty of experiencing such chaos. It's lived and not contrived. In feeling and examining such powerful times we are able to get our footing and choose who we want to be. It feels good to move from explosive uncertainty to a little less volatile base of wisdom. I believe that a conscious understanding can truly allow you to become a better version of yourself. In that process we can even help those around us. It feels real. That's why people listen to music. There’s so much tangible emotion, it’s a sure thing in a confused and unsure world."
Did you find yourselves reliving moments you had forgotten or sharing stories with each other, which then became the basis of some of the songs?
"I don't have any specific stories for you, but we most certainly love a good throwback story and of course the fish gets a couple of inches longer every telling."
Was the writing and recording process quite natural with this album? Or did you go into it wanting to do things differently than before?
"Every time we go in and write a record we experiment and push ourselves with new approaches. The longer we're around and the more people we hang out with, the more we learn."
Do you ever think about the live aspect when writing your songs? A lot of the tracks on After The Party are huge festival anthems, where you can just imagine crowds cheering along with a drink in their hand. Is that something you take into consideration, or do you find the songs just take on a life of their own?
"Absolutely. Our music is meant to be played live. That’s how we write it and how we play it. That’s our ticket to all these new places and faces."
With After The Party being so well received, do you feel extra pressure now to better it with your next album? Have you started writing or coming up with ideas for what’s next?
"If anything it'll be easier now that we're in a position to take all the time in the world. We've started writing but the water’s not fully flowing just yet. Usually when we really tap in it all starts to go in directions all on its own."
You’re coming back to the UK again in August, but other than that, what does the rest of 2018 hold for The Menzingers?
"We've got a tour with Frank Turner and Lucero in the States, we've got a bunch of festivals, we've got writing, and we've got the spring and summer creeping right up. Good times are to be had."
Finally then, where exactly are you going to go now that you’re twenties are over?
"Put me on that damn rocket and send me to mars with the space ghosts and the water bears. I'll take a telescope and watch the earth turn blue."
If you're gagging to see The Menzingers again after their recent visit, you're in luck! They return for a special one-off date with Lagwagon at O2 Forum Kentish Town in August, get your tickets below:
O2 Forum Kentish Town: Friday 3 August - Buy Tickets
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