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Madina Lake

We have a chat with the 'Lake, on tour in Norwich

Posted 31st March 2010 in Interviews, Madina Lake | By Michael Snowden
Madina Lake

Rocklouder scribe Michael Snowden caught up with Madina Lake guitarist Mateo Camargo during their most recent UK tour. They had a natter about the proposed EP 'The Dresden Codex', how they rate their UK fans and how they fare meeting their own idols (hint: not very well).

First off, how has the tour been so far?

It's been amazing. Especially Nottingham [Rock City] for some reason. After a few shows you get to a point which we call cruising altitude, which is where the band are running on all engines and I think we did that yesterday. So that has been the highlight so far. The other shows have been fantastic too. As always, the kids have been amazing.

Several of the shows have been sold out- how does it feel to sell out shows away from the States?
It feels amazing. It’s an honour. We can’t believe that people like our band enough to - first of all buy the CD - then second to come to the shows. It’s a total privilege and a honour especially with a crowd as cool as the UK crowd, which is my favourite crowd.

How do your UK fans compare with those around the world?
[The UK crowds] are a lot rowdier. Sometimes I look out at the mosh pit and I think “Oh my God, people are dying out there”. They’re really rowdy. It seems like a lot more people connect with the deeper tracks on the album here in the UK. They still know songs which aren’t necessarily singles. It seems we have a deeper connection here in the UK.

You guys are currently working on a new EP, 'The Dresden Codex'. What can you tell us about it?
We're in the process of writing and demoing the songs and doing the pre-production on it. Every record we make we try to make it sound different [to the one prior]. Our first record (2006’s 'From Them, Through Us, To You') had a punk and pop influence on it whereas our second record ('Attics to Eden', released last year) was completely devoid of that and was more of a rock ‘n’ roll and electronica record. I think the sound of this EP is darker and groovy. That’s how it sounds to me so far. A lot of the sounds are have a dancey but dark style. I don’t know what the final result will be but that’s is how it is sounding right now.

Why release an EP now?

It just felt like it was the right time as we had a lot of songs which we wanted to put out. We were burnt out on the road and we made the decision that we wanted to stop for a little bit and write. We had a lot of ideas just flowing and whenever you get those moments you can’t really let it stop. So it felt like the right time to take a couple of months off touring and really focus on getting as much material as we can out of our brains and onto the computer. I don’t think there is [a release date] yet. I think it’s fairly up in the air at the moment.

Will any of the new songs make it onto the setlists for this tour?
No, not yet. When we write it’s usually spur of the moment; I’ll write a riff, Dan [Torelli] will play a drum beat, Matthew will put the bass line and Nathan sing it but we will barely know how to play it. After you go through the songwriting process you’ve got to go back and re-learn the songs because you go through so many. So we are absolutely not ready to perform these songs just yet.

Have you ever forgotten how to play a certain song or part of a song before a gig or tour?
Nathan Leone: I had to Google lyrics for three of the songs for this tour.

Do you mind me asking what songs they were?

Nathan Leone: Statistics, Escape From Here and one other that we started playing on this tour. I think it was Stars.
Mateo: ...and we have a whopping two albums out!

Whilst on tour do you get to visit the paces you are in and meet the fans?
Unfortunately you just tend to pass by as you have a lot of stuff to do. The first days you’re still a bit jetlagged so you find yourself waking up at weird times of the day. Some days you can go exploring a little. In Yeovil I went with a couple of guys to explore the town. But usually we don’t get to see a lot of the town. We usually just see the dressing room and the stage and that’s about it.

We usually try to meet the fans after the shows and we try to talk to as many of them as possible. Also if they are hanging out between sound checks and we see them from the bus we try to say hi as if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here.

I’d imagine some fans get overwhelmed when they meet you; have you ever been star-struck meeting one of your idols?
Yes. We did a festival called Soundwave and the headliners were Nine Inch Nails. I was sitting on a chair and [Trent Reznor] passed me so I just ran up to him and I was pretty much short of crying. I said something to the effect of “everything I do, I do it for you” or something like that.

How very Bryan Adams of you.
It was the best moment of my life and I fumbled it like an idiot. But he was amazing and he laughed and we took a picture. I was definitely star-struck. I had a speech prepared which was a lot more interesting than “everything I do, I do it for you” but that’s what came out. But I got to meet him and that’s all that matters.

Have you had any bad experiences?
Not really. Everyone that I’ve met has been really cool. You got to understand that people have good days and bad days. We went and saw Stone Temple Pilots once and they’re one of my favourite bands but they were totally bad live. Someone then told me that [frontman Scott Weiland] just got out of rehab and so that’s probably why he sucked on that night.

Do you ever feel a responsibility to be a role model to your fans and does it ever feel like a burden?
No I don’t think I’m a role model at all. I think Nathan is more suited to that role as he is the one who can best verbally communicate with them on stage and lyrically. I think what he has to say is a lot more important than the rest of us because he has that connection. I don’t feel like kids would know who I am enough to be able to influence them in a good way or a bad way. I think it would be a lot easier for fans to identify with Nathan because of his lyrical content.

You guys have a good reputation amongst fans; do you ever feel pressure to maintain that? Do you feel you have to be on your best behaviour around your fans?
I don’t really care about reputations. I just care about respect. These are people who are paying top dollar to see your show and if they get a chance to meet you before or after the show you had better behave or you’re an asshole. It doesn’t matter if you are hungover or if you are having a bad day, these are people who think that your art is worthy of going to see live and that to me is the most beautiful thing in the world. It’s always important to me, not in terms of reputation but in terms of respect.

Your fans seem to have a strong bond with you and your music; do you get a lot of messages from fans saying that your music has given them inspiration?
Yeah we got a lot of kids that say that our music has helped them through rough times and that listening to the songs or reading the lyrics has helped them cross paths. It’s pretty moving that the art that you are making can influence somebody’s life and we get a lot of thank you comments for that. It’s quite an honour.

Does that create pressure to continue to make music which has that strong connection?

I mainly concentrate on making amazing music that I like. The reason I make music is not necessarily to please anybody and when I write songs with these guys it because they just come out of me. That’s what I like to concentrate on so I don’t really feel the pressure. I’m sure Nathan does what he sings can be interpreted a thousand different ways. If that were the case we would have made the same record over and over but our favourite bands always tried to reinvent themselves.