The pop-punk stalwarts give fans a taste of their range and energy at the When We Were Young Festival.
Five-piece pop-punk outfit Magnolia Park— the members of the band consist of vocalist Joshua Roberts, guitarist Tristan Torres, guitarist Freddie Criales, keyboardist Vincent Ernst, and drummer Joe Horsham— want to usher in a new generation of pop-punk where inclusivity and acceptance of diversity are present. The group has made waves with their music, from political bangers such as “Life In The USA” featuring artist TX2 to the spooky “Haunted House”, giving fans a taste of their range. Releasing their mixtape Halloween Mixtape II via Epitaph Records on October 27th, the band dives into a concept record built around a holiday that brings people together: Halloween. Putting on an energetic performance at the festival to supplement their music, the group has earned their spot in the pop-punk world.
Hailing from Orlando, Florida, and formed in late 2018, the group started when Torres and Cirales got together in the parking lot of a Staples store at which Roberts used to work. Now, the band has their music produced by legendary alternative rock/pop punk producer Andrew Wade of The Audio Compound, who has worked with bands like A Day To Remember, Neck Deep, Wage War, Real Friends, and more. Additionally, they have trekked across North America on tour this past spring before heading off to Australia later this month, are performing at the When We Were Young Festival as one of the newer bands on the lineup, and are gearing up to release a new record.
The group sat down to chat with Substream about their upcoming mixtape Halloween Mixtape II, dealing with racism in the scene, and performing at the festival after their performance at the When We Were Young Festival in Las Vegas.
I love the mixtape’s opening track “Emo Nite Rhapsody” and how it starts slow before it builds up. What inspired that track?
Joshua: What inspired our track “Emo nite Rhapsody” was actually Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The flair, the build-up, the crescendos of that track really inspired us to create something like that in our era. We also were inspired heavily by our older sound and songs so we wanted to have a nod to the old times while bringing in the new.
This album seems to give fans a taste of Magnolia Park’s full range. What made you want to include so many different sounds on this album and center it around Halloween?
Joshua: We all love Halloween and the essence of what it really means. The nostalgia of being young again and the feeling of having friends around you and not feeling so alone with what the world has to offer us. We wanted to make sure this wasn’t a one-size-fits-all album but we wanted to create something that’s for everyone but certain songs that really touch those who need it in moments.
Vincent: I’m super excited [about it] because the Halloween mixtape is in a collage format where we’re allowed to express as many genres as we please. It gives us room to do whatever we want. Tristian conceptualized this idea a couple of years ago with the first one. We thought it would make so much sense to do a follow-up and then another follow-up. The fans loved the first one. We’re super excited to see what people think of the album and all of the songs that haven’t come out yet. It’s a much bigger album. It’s not just 11 or 12 tracks, it’s 17 tracks. The intended format for the first mixtape was a playlist that you put on at the end of the world with your friends in a car. If you look at our CDs or some of our album art, designed by Jess, that was the art that we were striving for. This one follows in similar footsteps. We weave in and out of genres and moods. There’s some darker pop, Halloween elements in there, and some classic pop-punk that the album starts with right away, and these darker, nu-metal tones with ‘Do or Die’ and ‘Animal’ that are going to be on the album. There are a lot of interesting tones that Magnolia Park owns and does really well.
In terms of nu-metal, what bands inspired the group and this album?
Vincent: First off, I think it’s cool that the genre is making such a big comeback, particularly that sound. I can speak for all of us when I say Linkin Park and Bring Me The Horizon are primary influences. We’re heavily inspired by and big fans of their sound and their energy. That’s what we’re striving for as a band.
Magnolia Park is a band that breaks the barriers of a very white genre. How do you deal with the backlash that comes your way?
Joshua: In 2023 we are still dealing with racial debates and whether or not a race is wanted in certain genres and that’s nuts and not okay. We work hard just like everyone else and some may even say we work harder just because of the fact that we’re multicultural people. When people make these remarks about our race it does leave a bad taste in our mouths, what are we doing in this scene if we can’t even be welcomed? But then we realize that so many other people like us, look up to us in certain ways because we’ve made a difference that a lot of other bands can’t say. So we take it on the chin. Expose those who are ill-willed towards our races and make quality music.
Vincent: I think Magnolia Park stands for a lot of modern and progressive ideas that I think are really important to represent. We stand with Black Lives Matter, we stand with the LGBTQIA+ community, we stand with trans rights, and people that really need a voice. Fans come up to us [at] every single show and tell us about how the music has helped them and it’s always super touching. I think that we have a positive message and something that gives a voice to people who feel like they have none.