Sunnyland is the new album from Mayday Parade, released worldwide today via Rise Records. The five-piece, originally from Tallahassee has a long history in the industry, 13 years to be exact. In the last 13 years they’ve proved their worth and are heavyweights in the pop punk world. Ahead of the album release, and the upcoming Warped Tour I chatted with frontman Derek Sanders about all things music, Warped and touring.
The last album that the band released was ‘Black Lines’ back in 2015, and I asked Derek how excited he was to be putting out ‘Sunnyland’. “So so excited, it’s been a long time coming. It’s always so crazy how long it takes from the time we write the songs, then record them, and put them out. It’s an exciting time.”I then asked Derek if he had a favourite unreleased ‘Sunnyland’ track. “You know I have to say so many of them But we haven’t released any of the ballads yet. I think in particular Where You Are is one of my favourites and means a lot to me.” Like a true artist who doesn’t like to pick favourites, Derek went on to say “there’s so many and I’m just very proud of this album in general and how diverse it is.”
I then asked Derek if there was a particular reason why Where You Are stood out from him as a favourite. “Well, I don’t know, I’ve always um, been kind of a sucker for the ballads, and they’re the most emotional songs a lot of times.” He also went on to say “When I think of that one in particular it’s just very emotional, and very personal and about being on the road and missing my daughter.”
There are a lot of stories floating around on the internet about what the title track Sunnyland is about and I asked Derek if he could shed some light on the origins of the song, and the real story behind it. “That ones kinda just about, like looking back on my life really, and growing up. In particular Sunnyland was an old abandoned hospital that we used to go to. It was one of my favourite things about Tallahassee.” He elaborated further “They tore it down about ten years or so ago, and there are a lot of things in that song are about looking back of things in my life that are important.” Finally, he said this. “There’s a line in the song I left something important back in Sunnyland and it’s something I’ll never find. We felt like it was a pretty powerful idea just overall and that’s why we decided to name the album Sunnyland.”
Although it has been three years since Mayday Parade released an album, it’s not as if the boys have been lazy. Last year they celebrated the 10 year Anniversary of their album ‘A Lesson In Romantics’ and toured for it, I asked Derek about the tour. “There were a handful of songs, Take This To Heart is one and it’s been seven or eight years since we played that one and Champagne For Celebrating a couple of those elater tracks on the album we hadn’t played in song long.” He also went on to say “The whole album has so much energy and is so much fun to play from start to finish.”
I asked Derek next if now that they have relearned all the songs from ‘A Lesson In Romantics’ and played them again, if any would work their way back into the set. “Well, yeah certainly at some point. I imagine for the immediate touring coming up we’ll probably play a little bit less because we just focused on it so heavily. We’re never gonna play a show where we don’t play a song off ‘A Lesson In Romantics’. We like making our sets unpredictable” So keep your eyes out for those songs in the upcoming tour set everybody!
We then turned the conversation to the ending of Warped Tour, and Derek’s emotions to that announcement. “Every time we’ve played Warped Tour I’ve been worried that it’s going to be the last one.” He went on to nostalgically say “It’s such a bittersweet thing, we all went to it as kids and for me, it was incredibly inspiring to go.” Next, I asked Derek if he had a favourite memory or story from Warped Tour. “You know, it’s pretty tough to pick one, I can certainly remember playing the main stage for the first time in Maryland. It was such a big deal. It was the dream from the beginning to be a main stage band.” Derek continued on to say this about Warped. “Looking back at my 15 year old self watching New Found Glory and The Used and Thursday.” You can hear the emotion and memories in Derek’s voice when he also said “There’s nothing like Warped Tour and the community of it. You make so many friends and there’s always something to do. It never stops all summer long.”
I asked Derek if he had a band he was most looking forward to seeing at Warped Tour as a fan. “Well, let’s see, it’s kinda tough to say. I’m always stoked to see New Found Glory, they’re such an incredible band, I love The Maine. Their live show just has such an incredible energy.” Talking more about touring I asked what was the hardest thing about being away. “It’s so difficult leaving for months at a time and leaving them (his daughter and son). It’s really the only negative thing is being away from them.” He went on to say “There’s nothing like hearing people singing along. It’s been 13 years and I don’t think any of us expected it to go on for this long.”
Derek left us with this “It means the world that we can do this and appreciate all the support and look forward to seeing everyone out on the road!”
You can get your copy of ‘Sunnyland’, out today from Rise Records today HERE!