Make Do and Mend Talk "Part & Parcel"
Tue, 17 Jan 2012 07:28:04
"We want to connect on a very basic level," says Make Do and Mend frontman James Carroll.
That's exactly what the group does on their latest EP, Part & Parcel. It's a stripped-down snapshot of the band's poignant punk-y songwriting carried by Carroll's evocative lyrics and potent delivery. The EP shows immense thematic evolution from 2010's End Measured Mile and serves as the perfect bridge to their next full-length offering. Tunes like "Ghostal" are elegantly haunting and darkly catchy, illuminating just how diverse Make Do and Mend is.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief and Dolor author Rick Florino, James Carroll of Make Do and Mend talks "Part & Parcel" and so much more…
What's your take on the Part & Parcel – EP as a whole?
We wanted to flex our muscles both in a songwriting and playing capacity as well as add a different dynamic to each song that I don't think existed before. That was something we strove to achieve. Hopefully, we pulled it off in one fashion or another. We basically wanted to provide and explore a rounder approach to the songs.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the music?
I've always found my connection to bands via a very personal approach, whether it be through the lyrics or the direct nature of the music itself. We've always aimed for that as musicians. We never want to write a completely self-indulgent song that's 18 minutes long with a fucking ten-minute jam [Laughs]. That's all well and good. Some bands do it well, but we wouldn't be conveying an honest and sincere message by doing that in my opinion. The whole thing is about trying to be as genuine and direct as humanly possible through the lyrics and the music.
What's the story behind "Transparent Seas"?
That song is a personal observation and understanding of faith. I was raised in a very religious household, not oppressively so. However, being from an Irish-Catholic family, it's there from the minute you're born. It's about coming to that understanding of what works or doesn't work in my life as an adult. All of us have to do that at one point or another no matter what religion you are. You have to trim the fat and figure out what works for you. "Transparent Seas" is me taking a look at that and deciding what I believe. There's a lot of safety in being a person of faith and feeling like you're being watched out for and looked after. That's a comfort you don't have if you don't feel that way. Not being a person of faith, it's a measure of a comfort and safety that I am not afforded. That's always been something which rattles me a bit. Not being like that means I don't get the feeling of security to a certain extent.
Where were you coming from on "Ghostal"?
That's about a member of my family who has struggled with substance addiction, really for their entire life. It's someone I care a great deal about but have watched struggle and fuck up in a lot of ways. After thinking about it for a long time, there's a helplessness that comes along with that. You're watching someone you love hurt themselves and other people who are close to them. On the one hand, you're like, "Fuck you". At the same time, you think, "You're my family and I love you". There has to be some middle ground there. That song is a bunch of things I wish I could say in person but can't really because it's not necessarily my place.
What are your influences outside of music?
That's a really good question. I will draw from everyday life, and I'm a big reader and movie fan, but I've never really drawn much influence from those things. I really enjoy incorporating different approaches to describing mundane life in the songs we write. I think that technique is something a lot of people are really able to identify with. When I'm reading books, I like when an author describes something typical in a different way. That's always something I've tried to do.
If you were to compare Part & Parcel to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
I've never thought of that before! That's tough [Laughs]. It'd definitely have to be a sad movie! I don't think I could come up with one.
What are some of your favorite movies?
I'm a huge Adam Sandler fan. Some of my favorites are The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy, and The Waterboy. I love those Adam Sandler classics! There's never a time I don't want to watch one of his movies. Put on Little Nicky any day of the week and I'll be glued to the couch.
Have you heard Make Do and Mend yet?