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Of Mice & Men Talk New Album ‘Restoring Force,’ Touring + More

Of Mice and Men
Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire

Of Mice & Men have been enjoying success with their latest album, ‘Restoring Force,’ which features the current radio hit ‘Would You Still Be There.’ Loudwire had the chance to speak with Of Mice & Men drummer Valentino Arteaga and bassist-vocalist Aaron Pauley  about the album and much more.

Arteaga and Pauley addressed being on the road as well as some dream bands they would love to tour with. With ‘Restoring Force’ being Pauley’s first disc with the band, he also spoke about the process of recording, creating and working with his bandmates. Check out our interview with Of Mice & Men’s Aaron Pauley and Valentino Arteaga below:

What are some of the most enjoyable and most challenging parts about touring?

Aaron Pauley: The traveling — and that answers both the enjoyable side and the challenging side. We get to see and experience things that a lot of people won’t. We’re very blessed that we get to travel at the same time it becomes very cumbersome because you’ll look at your calendar and see all the places you’re going and it almost makes me weary.

Valentino Arteaga: Definitely, for sure. Something that we experienced on this tour was a ton of different climate changes and that threw us all out of whack because we haven’t been on tour in a while. We took a bunch of time off for the new album and then went to Australia with Bring Me the Horizon then came back and had more time off for the album. Jumping right into winter, that was summertime for us in California and going to Florida and then going into the freezing cold so our bodies just got rocked the first half of the tour.

What is one band you would love to tour with that you haven’t gotten the chance to tour with yet?

VA: Man, I’d love to tour with Avenged Sevenfold honestly. We’ve all been a fan of that band for a while and they’re also from California. I think that’d be a really cool tour. It’s kind of funny that we haven’t actually toured with them before but hopefully it’ll happen in due time.

AP: I’d say I’d really love to tour with Linkin Park or Tool or Slipknot, just because who wouldn’t? [Laughs]

VA: Honestly, it’s always a perk to get to tour with bands that you actually enjoy and listen to. That’s what [was] cool about [our recent tour.] We love Bring Me the Horizon and all of the other bands — Issues and Northlane are freaking awesome, too. It would just be a cool experience of touring with a band that’s huge on a much greater scale because we’d like to learn things from them.

AP: And it would be a new audience we’d get to play to.

The new album is called ‘Restoring Force’ — what does this title mean to both of you personally?

VA: The restoring force is the force that restores balance to a system of objects and that’s kind of like when things are out of swing or off balance. The restoring force is what brings it back to an equilibrium and to me this album, as a tangible piece is a restoring force for our band. It brought our band together to write music that we didn’t expect to come out with and challenge ourselves. We were feeling like we were hanging in this pendulum just swinging off balance, trying to find something we could latch onto for this next album.

We thought a lot about our fans and really that also helped us find our balance and helped us realize that it’s not just about us and the music. It’s also about our fans and some of the things that they want to be hearing and the messages that we want to be delivering to them. Overall to us, it’s just a reflection of balance. Everything’s been rocky and even with our previous album ‘The Flood’ that was a very tumultuous time for the band.

While all that was going on, everything was crazy, we re-issued the album with four members and we tried a darker, heavier sound for that. We really wanted to come back together and find a focal point and that’s how the album ended up for us. That’s why the name is so fitting. It actually was our return to balance.

AP: Ditto. [Laughs] He said it best.

VA: [Laughs] Yeah, we’ve had a lot of talks about it. It’s cool to be able to put out art that can come full circle like that and that can be about us and about our fans. It’s about the things that happen in our lives, our fans lives are part of our lives too. Being able to write music and put something out that we were able to take the time on and have that attention to detail.

Every little detail of the album has been thought out and planned and we were able to truly deliver something that we can fully feel proud of. Not that we haven’t felt proud of our previous releases but we just never had the opportunity or the time to be able to dedicate ourselves so much to it. We took time off from the road to do just that. Ultimately we feel like that’s helped us deliver a great record.

The response has seriously been unbelievable, we’re excited and we take it as we’re doing something right and we’re going to keep doing that. Our fans know that they can count on Of Mice & Men to release quality material and that we’re not going to be pigeonholed into one type of metalcore or people calling it nu-metal or whatever kind of genre stereotype. We’re a band that wants to transcend those kind of genres and have stuff that’s heavy and emotional and have that whole spectrum of music covered.

You talk about heavy and emotional. The melodies on the album, Aaron’s clean vocals really do offer a balance between the heavy vocals.

VA: [Aaron] was a star in the studio, seriously.

Aaron, this is your first disc with the band. How was recording for you and how did you feel going into this record?

AP: It was a trial by fire, to be honest, for all of us. For me in particular going in, I didn’t really know where and how I fit with all of it. Throughout the process, the band was very open to my ideas and I was very open to everybody else’s ideas. We really came together, especially for this record we weren’t really chasing a sound as much as we were trying to write the best songs we could. However they came out sounding, there’s a lot of diversity on the record and that was something that was really important.

A lot of times people go, “They changed their sound” but it’s really not that different but at the same time I don’t think there’s a definitive sound. We really just took the time to make each song the best we thought it could be. There’s a lot of different sounds within that record and it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for future records and for future songs.

When you first started singing these melodic choruses to the new songs live, when you hear those fans yelling the melodies back to you, how did you feel?

AP: It’s humbling. At the same time, I’m onstage and I’m having flashbacks of when we were writing. I can see the little dark room we were writing in. With ‘Would You Still Be There,’ it was a song that I had started the chorus on in my underwear on my couch. I think about it every night when these kids are singing it back, this is something that we all created. It’s sometimes hard to really, really, appreciate that. With the fans, with the new material, for all of us it’s a new level of appreciation because we know how much hard work went into this. Seeing how fans can connect with it is really meaningful.

What does the rest of 2014 hold in store for Of Mice & Men?

VA: Tours, music videos, interviews … more tours. We want to be able to deliver our album everywhere that we can. We’re excited to accept the challenges of wanting to do more touring and get into other countries that we haven’t been to before. We want to take it as far and to as many places as we can so tons of touring.

We’ve already begun writing material for the next album, it’s kind of like the ball is already in motion for a lot of things in the band so it’s just going to be continuing on that. We’ll be back in the U.S. at some point, definitely count on that, the UK and European tour’s selling out. We’re doing some festivals out in Europe for the first time. So lots of festivities for us, we’ll be playing with bands that we’ve been listening to since we started buying music. There’s nothing better than getting to see 10 of your favorite bands in the same day.

With all of this touring, what is one thing you must have on tour with you? No electronics.

VA: My drumsticks. I love tapping on stuff all the time, I’m always shaking my legs and tapping on my legs. Sometimes I just need my sticks to Zen me a little bit. Thankfully it’s something that I will always have with me. [Laughs]

PA: Mine would be my toiletry bag. Everything that you would need on a day to day basis is in there, shampoo, body wash, cologne, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste.

VA: It’s pretty much the “walk into anywhere and take a shower” bag.

PA: It’s the “You can drop me off anywhere and I’ll be okay” kit. Only for like a couple days though.

Our thanks to Of Mice & Men’s Aaron Pauley and Valentino Arteaga for the interview. You can pick up the band’s ‘Restoring Force’ album at iTunes and Amazon.

Watch Of Mice & Men’s Video for ‘Would You Still Be There’

See Photos of Of Mice & Men Performing in NYC

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