Of Mice & Men recently wrapped a nationwide tour with Nothing More. During that time, the Rise Records group released a new single, “How To Survive,” along with its official video. That kind of work ethic is what fans have come to expect from the band, and the group has no signs of slowing down as 2019 carries on.
Recently, Substream had the opportunity to speak with Of Mice & Men drummer Valentino Arteaga and vocalist Aaron Pauley about their latest activity. You can read what they had to say below. If you’d like to listen to the conversation, you can do that as well on Soundcloud.
Substream: You just released the video for “How To Survive,” and the response has been really great. How are you feeling the reception to that single?
Valentino Arteaga: It has been really crazy, honestly. We have this global audience, so our release schedule is done on a worldwide basis. On the day we dropped the video, we also announced UK and Europe tour dates, US tour dates, VIP offers for all those dates, and a lot more. It is a lot, but it’s really awesome.
Zev Deans directed the clip. He’s not someone many in the alternative world would immediately recognize, so how did you settle on choosing him to helm the video?
Valentino: His name was put in a hat with a lot of other directors. With the new material we are creating right now, we want to take our visual aesthetic in another direction as well. By working with Zev, who hasn’t done a lot with a band like Of Mice & Men…we just really like the vibe in his videos. He knows how to make you feel uneasy, and with this new music, we’re pushing the boundaries of what excites us and what inspires us. We wanted the video to represent that because the video is an extension of the song, and the song is an extension of the new direction we are taking the band.
With that in mind, would you say the sound of “How To Survive” is indicative of what we will hear from the next album?
Aaron Pauley: Yeah! That song is definitely one of the more straightforward tracks. It’s a straightforward ass-kicker, and we like that. The rest of the album takes a few more adventurous turns, but this is one of the first songs we wrote in this process and we knew we wanted to share it.
It definitely feels like a song made for the live experience. It has that big, arena-ready sound.
Valentino: Of Mice & Men pride ourselves on being a live band. We’ve won awards for being a live band. We take it very seriously and want to make every show the best experience we can. So we were thinking about what would excite us to play live, and we thought to put out [“How To Survive”] because it’s an absolute thrasher. If we’re going on tour, and we’re going to be playing to metal crowds, having plenty of mosh pit ready songs never hurts. We’re going to play this thing every night, and we want to make sure the crowd is receptive.
You worked with the great Howard Benson on your last record, Defy. Josh Wilbur, who recently worked with Trivium and Lamb of God, is the producer for the new song and whatever follows. How did you come to work with him?
Pauley: A third of it was availability. Howard was working with Issues when we started getting back to the studio. The second part was the Josh was local, which is always nice. The third piece would be his discography. We dig what he does, and we wanted to see what he would bring to the mix.
And what did he bring?
Pauley: I think he brings a level of youthfulness to the process. Working with him there was a lot of giddy excitement around everything. He’s very much from our world, and that created a great atmosphere for us to create within.
Valentino: Absolutely. He’s also made a lot of killer metal records. With the new material we’ve been working on, we’ve wanted to dive headfirst into that world. Josh is a great gauge for how we’re doing on that front. We would play something for him, and he would leap out of his seat with excitement. He be like, “holy shit, that was so cool!” It was really refreshing to work with him, and that juiced us to make some really killer music.
Once your Nothing More tour wraps, you have a slew of tour dates with Beartooth and Hands Like Houses. After that, you have a few weeks off before you head to Europe, which will keep you busy until the Fall. When, in all of this, can we expect the new album?
Pauley: We haven’t decided.
Valentino: It’s done!
Pauley: We’re sitting on it.
Valentino: I feel like, we always have an album in the works. It’s either finished or it’s not. It’s very interesting to think this way, but we prefer to always have something on deck.
Pauley: Defy only came out a year ago. Our next album is finished. Right now, it’s just about when we feel like it’s time to pull the trigger on it.
Valentino: Or not!
Pauley: He’s right. It’s 2019, and [Of Mice & Men] could just release singles. We don’t know yet. Like ‘Tino said, we’ve always had something in the works. We started this new record six months after the last one. The music industry has changed, however, and now you don’t have to wait so long to share music with people. We could do a record, or maybe we will release songs and let people decide what they like and how often more material comes. Maybe the label will tell us something different. We really don’t know yet.
Valentino: And that’s really the discussion we are having now. We’re feeling it out, and we’re trying to figure out what is next. Our new music brings a lot of familiarity, but there are some new elements as well, and it’ll be interesting to see how people react. We’ve been here for ten years, and it’s exciting to be talking about a sixth record, but it’s also exciting to think outside the box. We overthink these things, but again, that’s our jobs.