Recently, I had the opportunity to meet up with the Orange County based band Mainstream Scare at their show in Santa Ana, California. The drive there took about 45 minutes, but they were well worth both the show and this interview. I had tons of fun interviewing this band, we talked about everything from their musical influences, their upcoming plans, and the inspiration behind their current album For The Record.
Check out what the band had to say here.
What bands have you influenced your music style?
It’s a big mix of things, As I Lay Dying influenced all of us a little bit, The Devil Wears Prada, it’s more of the scene that actually molded us like Stick To Your Guns, we all grew up with that scene, so we were all trying to chase that dream, so they influenced us a lot, we don’t sound anything like them at all, but we know it’s influenced the vocals for James. Anything, even, if it’s not hardcore, as long as it’s heavy hitting, heavy hitting music, things that hit right, bands like Underoath, Thrice, and even some pop punk. It’s not really a certain band, or even the genres, it’s just heavy hitting music.
If you could compare yourself to one band who would it be and why?
I hate to say this, I really do, but The Devil Wears Prada, with their fast hitting stuff, and their stage performances being all crazy, and their lyrics and vocals/screaming are very dark, I hate to say it, but everyone we’ve talked to who is a fan, has said that they’re huge fans of TDWP and that that is why they like us too.
As far as local bands you guys seem to be headlining a lot of shows and gaining a big following in the community how does that feel?
That is the best feeling ever, it’s hard though, because it’s “believability”, how do you believe in one band over another? Like “Well this is the band that is idolized, like they may be the next thing” , and it’s the coolest thing to think that we’ve all been doing this since we were 15 years old because now somehow, our music is being liked, and it is the greatest feeling possibly ever. And also computing from people looking at our Facebook and thinking “Oh well they’re something big,” then seeing us and them having that feeling still is awesome, they don’t know we’re all bums (all start laughing), they don’t know that, but it makes us feel good, definitely kids are into our music and lyrics, it’s the best feeling in the world and even if we were to stay a local band, we would dig it.
How’s the new album “For The Record” doing?
It’s getting a good response, kids are picking up on it, we were surprised by the iTunes sales, people don’t buy shit, and they don’t—we were shocked, a lot of kids are knowing the lyrics when we’re playing shows throughout California, it didn’t really hit us until we started going out of Orange County, like the first week on iTunes it hit number 82 on the metal charts, which for a local band is insane, it was up there for like a good 15 minutes, but HEY WE SHOWED UP THERE, definitely going out of Orange County, it was the first time going out of our city, we went to Fresno and Lancaster, and there were kids who knew the lyrics better than we did, that’s when it finally set in, we were like “Holy Crap, we put something out there that the kids are liking.”
What was the inspiration behind this record?
Something heavier, something darker, making a point really. Our first album, we jumped in , we were pretty much strangers and wrote it. But with For The Record, we just wanted to really say what we REALLY wanted to say with our lyrics and be the music that we wanted to be. All these bands are doing the techno thing, we throw that in there, but we’re making fun of it in a way, throwing it in there but making it dark and scary with certain lyrics.
The inspiration really came when one of our members had their brother pass away, that’s when we starting writing really hard and heavy, we didn’t write it as far as the order on the cd goes, we pieced it all together, we wrote “I Wish” – which is one of the songs a lot of the kids who come to shows know the lyrics the best to, but when we wrote that song, we wanted it to be real about things like drugs, and we’re not like that, we don’t do drugs, there’s a lot of that in this scene, we wanted to say with the entire record, “Fuck You” to those things—and to the people who are doing those things to try to be a part of this “Scene” and are trying to really, live out some type of fantasy of what this “scene” really is, we want people to be a part of the music, don’t be into this fantasy lifestyle.
You know, some of the people in our band are “Prep Boys” but we love playing hardcore and throwing down, some of us don’t even listen to hardcore anymore, we just love playing it, the inspiration behind this album was to say “Fuck You” to anyone who ever said we weren’t “heavy enough” or to people who said that we’re “not that good.”
How has the road been?
It hasn’t been an official tour, it’s more like we travel out on the weekends, then we come back home. But it’s been going great, we love it. People in different cities know our stuff, and it’s nice to hang out with different people from different cities, out here we know all these kids, they come to our shows every weekend, but out there the kids who come out appreciate us more because we aren’t always out there and it’s nice to go out of our city. We can’t wait to do it every day, the weekends aren’t enough for us.
Favorite song to play live and why?
“I Wish” – most definitely. “I Wish” is our most powerful song, the inspiration behind it was great, plus it’s bouncy and heavy, it was the actual song that we all took a long time to write and all really got into, and put a lot of effort into, we can usually bust out lyrics for a song in a night, but this song took us two months to write. We got the lyrics down and put a lot of backtracking on it , and made it what we actually wanted it to be, that’s our favorite song.
Most memorable on stage moment?
When Kenny busted his head open! He started bleeding all over the stage, first of all it was our first time in L.A. , we’re at the Viper Room, playing to a bunch of freaking vampires, and of course our manager at the time was like “Oh man, Los Angeles, they’ll eat you alive, you gotta be on your game tonight” so already we’re like “why are we doing this then?” — So Kenny threw down extra hard, and we get there and we play it, there was a good amount of people there, but L.A. crowds, they’re just there to watch, they’re not there to participate in your set, they’re not going to cheer for you during the song, but they’ll cheer afterwards, I don’t know what Kenny was thinking but—
We were playing an old single that we released titled “Here Forever” and it was our last song that night and we were going into it, and Kenny smashed his head onto one of the hanging speakers, and then looks back at me, and the look in his eyes, you could just tell that he was not there anymore, he was losing it, and still he turns around and head bangs, spraying blood everywhere and we’re tight on this stage, puts down his guitar and then runs off the stage and we’re like “OHHH!”
We remember not hearing his guitar anymore, so we look back, and we just see a white guitar covered in blood, the whole stage was covered in blood, the vampires chased after him:
Vampire voice: “We didn’t like him, EAT HIM!”
That was such a gnarly moment.
What is the craziest thing you’ve seen on the road so far?
Fresno! We’re all stoked, we’re driving there, first time being out of the city, not even five minutes of being there this crazy old man is pulling a needle out of his arm, and we’re like “What the hell this dude was just slamming back Heroin!” – and all of us in the car were like, “Umm should we even be doing this right now?” It was eye opening, he proved to be one of many though. Once the lights went off, it was like a crazy movie, have you guys seen the Silent Hill movies? It was EXACTLY like that! We felt like the town was just going to go all crazy.
And there was even a group of guys who told us we shouldn’t be there, scary looking fucking guys, these dudes were, they were like coming up to us saying “Hey you guys shouldn’t be here, what are you doing here? You’re in the wrong part of town” –coming from scary ass motherfuckers, we were like “ Yeah,We’re in the wrong part of town right now” – We’re all from freaking Orange County, and they’re coming up to us telling us we’re in the wrong part of town, they looked scared too, that was the most memorable day of tour for sure.
What are you guys working on now?
We’re working on a cover, and a single, we can’t say what they are actually, we don’t know actually (says jokingly), we’re going to release more music soon, it’s a pattern really, we release a record, two singles, so we’re really working on that, we want to work on some Anthem songs so that we can keep giving our fans stuff, and we want to release another full length record, I think we’re talking about another tour right now with Asleep In Reality, we’re going to be touring, like a full month tour to Chicago, that’s not even booked yet, but yeah…those are the plans. Shows and writing more music basically.
You guys have been playing main stages at events such as All Stars Tour—how does it feel to be opening for such big bands?
That was unbelievable, it was just a sea of people, it’s the dream, that’s exactly what we want to do, it’s where we want to be. I think our first big stage was with A Parkway Drive, and it was like two bands, then us, then a Parkway Drive, that’s the biggest show we’ve ever played.
(James) I was definitely scared at that show, I always get stage fright, but I was so afraid, and that’s when Collin shoved a pizza in my mouth and was like “You’re going to be okay man.” (end)
it’s cool too, we just played All Stars Tour and it was to a sea of people and it’s crazy, I could’ve been carried across for a mile, James, is so powerful as a vocalist, and it’s so nice to be listened to and in control of a crowd, and have them do whatever we want them to do *GET NAKED* (in deep voice) it’s so cool to hear James cut out lyrics and hear fans screaming our lyrics, it’s the most insane thing to me ever, I always wished that people knew our lyrics, that’s all we’ve ever talked about as a band, is to have people feel our lyrics the way we feel our lyrics.
(James) And you know for me it’s funny, because I’m up there on stage, trying to be all bad ass vocalist guy, but as soon as kid starts singing my lyrics I turn into the most emotional person ever, I start wanting to hug people , I get all smiley and giggly. That’s the best feeling ever.
If you got to pick a few bands, big or small that you got to go on your dream tour with who would it be?
It’s the direction we want to go, we want to have that bouncy metal heavy bounce, but we want to be a mix of that hardcore shit, but like Korn almost, we would love to tour with them and Slipknot.
And as far as the small bands go, Asleep in Reality and A Shattered Hope, they’re all really good friends, that would be a great friends, they’ve been our best friends lately, that’d be a really great tour. CHECK THOSE TWO BANDS OUT! Yes, we’re name dropping.
Two years from now where do you hope to see yourselves as a band?
On the road. Forever. On the road and writing music really.
No shitting in the bus.
Oh come one, no shitting on the bus?
In two years we better be able to shit in our own bus!
In two years we want to be able to poop in our own van.
No, really, it is our dream to get out on the road, we’d never done it before, we’d literally stay between 30/40 mile radius, and going out, made us really realize that we never want to come home. And that is our dream now, so two years from now, I really hope to be on tour after tour and in different places and different countries, exploring different stuff and shit, AND SHIT.
What is the most unexpected thing on your iPod?
That is terrible! Like a song we love that we don’t want anyone to ever know about?!
Some of us get shit for soft stuff on our ipods, some of us have soft sides!
Kenny gets shit for Death Cab For Cutie, definitely has a soft side.
James: I have like Slipknot and then it’ll go into Coldplay.
You know we’ll be driving somewhere with our friends and *sings* “Your body is a wonderland” will come on and everyone will be like “What the fuck!? What the hell is this!?”
We have Cartel, John Mayer, Josh Grogan.
I think Blair is the only member of the band who only listens to hardcore stuff and some pop punk stuff from 2005, but other than that, only hardcore.
It was refreshing to speak to a band who seems so hungry to succeed, so passionate about their music, and ready to endure whatever challenges come their way in order to reach their dreams.