Proving to be one of the hardest working outfits in music, ¡MAYDAY! prepares to release their brand new Thrift Store Halos EP mere months after the release of their full-length album, Take Me To Your Leader.
The impressive streak ¡MAYDAY! has had in 2012 is enough to catch the attention and admiration of listeners outside the Strange Music community. ¡MAYDAY!’s own Wrekonize dropped in on the Strange Music Podcast recently for an exclusive interview regarding the process behind Thrift Store Halos,what it was like molding the EP in the wake of Take Me To Your Leader, and the difficulty of picking out tracks for a new release.
In case you didn’t tune in, here’s what you missed!
How many songs are on this EP?
It’s seven tracks.
Seven tracks..dope man, so we got half an albums worth here. From what I understand these are songs that were created during the making of Take Me To Your Leader. Why didn’t these songs make the first album?
We did so many for that, cause we had – we were so ahead of schedule for when we turned in our first batch that we basically had enough time to create a second batch. So, by the time that we were done we had like 40, I’m gonna say like forty five cuts…some shit like that, to the point where when Tech heard the batches he hit us up to be like “Yo, there’s two albums here, like what the fuck’s going on?” We were just like “Yo, we had time, we just knocked out as many as we could.” So, we had a bunch. It was good because we had a shitload of material, but it was bad because when we came down to sacrificing and widdling out one album out of all those tracks, everybody had different votes. So, everybody had lost a couple battles, won a couple battles, and so the remainder of those tracks we had, I wanna say we might’ve had like ten or eleven left in total, but the remainder of those tracks that we felt strongly about, we wanted to craft into a new piece.
Then two of them have already been a soft release. The Del track which is “The Ride”, that one we had released already, but it’s been re-mixed, so Ben from Chapman jumped on that one and knocked that out.Then the other one was “Strange March”, and that was originally a “Death March” remix, that was just gonna be for promo for the album, but it turned into such a different kind of track when we got CES Cru on it, we got Brotha Lynch Hung on it, and it just kind of took a life of its own to the point where we were just like, “Dude we don’t just want it to be a promo track”, so we wanted to include that in the project, as well. So, those are the only two that people might have heard before, that have been release, and the other five are unreleased completely.
I could imagine that, you know, picking songs for the album in that scenario must’ve been very tough. I mean, songs are like your babies, and then you have a life boat that can only fit fifteen people on it, but you gotta leave some loved ones left behind. I mean, did it ever feel like that?
Oh no, for sure. We literally have said those exact words of “Oh, it’s time to sacrifice some babies” because everybody’s got their favorite – everybody’s got their joint, and every time we come down to that album cut process, it’s always about that, “Here we go, I’m gonna sacrifice some babies.” Like there’s one track on the EP in particular that I was fighting for, and I lost – I lost out on that vote. It’s very democratic when it comes to the voting process, but I didn’t have the backing and I had to kind of make a sacrifice on one of those joints, so that’s why I’m definitely – theres a track in particular on this EP that is uh – is personal to me, that I really enjoy.
What’s the name of that track?
It’s called “Letter To The Lost”. So, I was hopin’ it was gonna make the album, and then yeah, I got outvoted. Then when it came down to the final track listing negotiations, I wasn’t -I didn’t have firepower to compete with the other arguments, so it’s cool, but it made this project, and it fits really good into this batch of songs. That’s why I don’t – I try not to stress with track listing stuff too much because I’m one of those “it always happens for a reason” kind of people with those things. I’m like yeah, that song didn’t make the album, but when I hear it amongst the EP now, it feels like it was meant for this project as opposed to the album.
When you pick songs for your major release, what are some things that you need to take into consideration?
Well, yeah, there’s just the – the variety of the album, the way the album’s gonna ride, sometimes the features that we already have in place on some of these joints, and then like, I broke down – we got scientific for Take Me To Your Leader – I broke down all the tempos, all the key signatures of each song structure. You can get real scientific with it if you go down to the details, so there’s a multitude of things on each song that would either rule it out or make it a check mark in the columns, so those are some of the things I would say right off the top of my head.
Lookin’ back on the album, cause it’s been out for maybe four or five months, how do you feel about it? Does it still stand up to you?
Hell yeah. There’s still cuts that I have, that I love to hear, and then because we were on the road and we weren’t listening to the album as much, and then we were doing each specific song, there’s other songs that have become a little foreign to me, so when I got back I ran the album a couple of times to just get re-familiar with it. And, I feel like overall, I’m still real proud of it, of the project, and then more than anything the people that still hit us up on Twitter, on Facebook, or wherever that are tellin’ us about the album or just discovering it, it helps me feel confident and like, “Oh yeah, the project is good and it still stands”, because there’s still people discovering it, we still have a lot more people to spread to, and then on top of that, the feedback is still coming in positive, so that also helps to – to reassure us that ‘Alright, yeah, we put out a good album.”
Yeah, because, you know, sometimes things, they change over time, and you can’t really explain it. You feel like this one is still solid and fresh and all of that.
“Devil On My Mind” is another track that I – that in the voting process I wasn’t really fully behind. Something about it, I wasn’t really pulling for that one, and I was up against – Gianni was really goin’ hard for that, Plex was goin’ for it, NonMS was also goin’ really hard for it. So that’s a song that whenever I hear the album now, I listen back to it to be like, “Oh, well”, you know, obviously people have already hit us up tellin’ us they love it, so I’m like “Oh yeah, I kinda lost that battle”, you know? And once I heard it mixed, that helped me a lot, too. The rough mix of it, I wasn’t – something about it was stickin’ out to me, and then when Ben got his hands on it, and it came back mixed and mastered, it – I definitely felt like I appreciated it more. So, now when I hear the album, that’s one of the tracks that I always go to to be like “Yeah, alright, cool.” Like, I lost that battle and I’m happy that I did because I like the track. So, there was definitely ones that I’ll listen out for when I’m re-going through the album that I gotta just, you know, reassure myself of.
What are some of the things we can expect to hear on this EP that we weren’t able to get on the album. Are there any motifs or styles or anything like that that you’re able to have a little more liberty with on this EP?
Yeah, we, well this one, I wanna say it’s overall it’s a little more chill. I know a lot of people say already our shit’s – we have a lot of chill shit on our album, but I wanna say overall, like, people say – the term I always love is the smoke out music. I always fuck with that, I always love that, cause that just means it’s something that you can coast with and – and chill, put on, and burn one through and whatever. It’s just like, a certain grade of music that I highly appreciate, so it means that this is like a really good album in terms of it’s very even keel. It’s a really good smoke out album, I don’t know, that’s the best way to describe it. So, we were able to slow it down a little bit, and – and it gets a little vibier because its so short – you know, it’s so much shorter. Whereas, we do have a couple of up-tempo tracks, but the majority of it is definitely way more chill and introspective, and I like the way it came out.
Are there any personal highlights on the EP? I know you were talking about ‘Letter to the Lost’. Any other highlights, personally, on the EP, those moments that you’re just like, “ah, that’s my shit”?
Yeah, “Strange March” really kills me just because of the features that are on there. CES Cru are incredible, they killed their verses. They go back and forth, they do, I wanna say they do eight bars and eight bars twice, and they killed it. Then Lynch came through and killed it, as well, and I just like the – the whole different direction that that song took, you know. It was supposed to be just a remix and it ended up growing into such a track. So, that’s definitely one of my favorites. ‘Letter To The Lost’ is a personal favorite of mine, and there’s another track on there called “Amnesia” that at the moment is one of my favorites. But I switch because there’s only seven, so when I play it I’m still kind of – and now that we just got the master back literally today, I’m still, like, teetering on what my favorites are, but as you’re talking to me right now, right this second, then “Amnesia” is probably another highlight for me.
That’s cool. But, it could change any day, depending on what mood you’re in, I’m sure.
Yeah, it sounds like it’s raining outside in Miami, it’s like, overcast as all hell, and it’s tore up. So, maybe that just has something to do with my mood. Tomorrow it’ll be like, sunny as hell, and then I’ll be like, “‘Hold up, I like this other song better.” You never know.
-Interview conducted by Jeff Nelson, Senior Blog Editor Strange Music Inc.