“Never give up!” They’re words of encouragement. Words that usually come from someone who has succeeded and they’re aimed at someone who’s had a fall or is trying to succeed. They’re easy to dismiss, hell, at times they’re down right discouraging. ‘If only it were as simple as they think’ a common thought when you’re running on a wheel and what you desire is right before your eyes. Paradoxically, trying not to go give up can be harder than trying. And yet, when the words come from one half of Me In A Million’s guitar duo, Daniel Weiland, they’re not the condescending cliche they have become to some, they’re believable and affecting.
The reason: Me In A Million have written a story worth believing in.
They’re a new band – formed in January 2013 – and since then, they’ve crossed the pond from Germany to the Florida-based Chango studios to work with Cameron Mizell (For All Those Sleeping, Memphis May Fire, I See Stars). All off the back of their own hard work and enthusiasm.
Speaking of, Still In The Balance, the band’s debut album, was written and recorded before they’d begun the search for a record label and before they’d played a single live show.
The idea was to show the label, which ever one it would be, that they’re “professional, show that [we’re] not amateurs but real musicians, willing to go the extra mile that’s necessary to get a label’s attention.”
As with all good stories, there are the ups and downs and once the album was finished and the band returned to Germany, it fell flat on its face.
“At first, not much came out of it,” Weiland is reflecting on the time they spent putting together press kits and reaching out to labels, “then we decided to release a second video [this time for] ‘PaniK’.”
The music video was where it began to waterfall. They soon met with Alex Schröder of Redfield Records and, as Weiland says “boom! Record deal.”
As well as it’s turned out for Me In A Million, Weiland is consciously aware that it could have all been for nothing. That they pulled it off makes the success that much sweeter. But, and there’s always a but, they were coming out of the German metalcore scene where no one in the band was a big name with connections and so they had nothing to lose.
Knowing that they hatched a plan, a simple one with big ambition.
“We wanted to show the world that we’re here,” says Weiland, “and we’re here to shake things up.”
It isn’t only their approach that they focused on. Right from the start, Me In A Million had their eyes set on becoming a big name. They knew they’d to need impress a label, they knew they’d need to make the trip to America (and hopefully many more) but they also knew they had to stand out in a genre flooded with similar acts.
“What we try to achieve is that every single song is instantly recognizable.” Weiland says talking about their committed approach to different song structures and feelings. “If you don’t have to think about which of our songs is playing, we succeeded!”
Coming from nothing and recording without a label, has given the band an opportunity to put out only what they’re happy with, when they’re happy with it. The result, as intended (and that’s what you learn with Me In A Million, everything is intentional), is an offering that shows a band that’s fully formed not one searching for direction. Before their trip to Chango Studios, they trashed an album worth of material, simply because “we thought we could do better” says Weiland.
For a band like Me In A Million the words “never stop at good enough” should ring as true as the ones “never give up”. If they’d stopped at good enough, with that first album of material, who knows where they’d have ended up (probably not all the way in a magazine based in Ohio). If one statement is a testament to how far they’ve come it’s the one that starts this interview and the one we could all learn from. Never give up.
It would have been easy to dismiss Still In The Balance. Metalcore – as you lose your teenage angst – becomes generic screams with manufactured breakdowns. A touch of Of Mice & Men, a handful of Memphis May Fire, a pinch of A Day To Remember and you have the makings of a record that will bring a teenager to their knees with relatable “life’s so hard I hate my parents” angst. Me In Million felt like they were heading that way. There were the breakdowns, exactly where they should be, and touches of electronics to freshen it up. Not that electronics are all that fresh.
They’re a genre band and that’s exactly what they set out to be. Which means you can’t escape the trades of the genre, the key elements that makes it metalcore, and the touches of now generic-but-becoming-cliche song writing.
The difference is that Still In The Balance is a debut album and it walks alongside the giants of the metalcore genre. Produced by Cameron Mizell (who’s produced for every notable metalcore band) it packs a helluva punch and caused more than one recoil in surprise. “The Life of Others” and “PaniK” are two tracks responsible for that surprise. One melodic, original, more heavy-rock meets industrial, the other a through and through metalcore track aimed directly at your face.
What Me In A Million have done is take metalcore and mould it to fit themselves (“Disappear” feels like a new album altogether and is a synth-heavy electronic track that mellows the album right out) and the result is something that clears a space in genre parameters. They’ve set out to create metalcore and they have but unlike other bands they’ve given themselves room to breathe.
By Sebastian Mackay