Of Mice & Men are realeasing « Echo », their new album, today via Sharptone Records. Victor had the opportunity to ask a few question to Aaron Pauley about the album, and the last two years of the band.
Victor: Your previous album Earth & Sky was released in September 2019, what can you recall about those few months where you could defend it on tour? How did the fans receive this album?
Aaron: It was awesome! With Earthandsky, we’d sought out to make what we called a « festival record, » where in we really tried to encapsulate our live sound and energy. It translated super well.
Victor: How much COVID did impact your planned touring during 2020?
Aaron: All of it was cancelled or pushed back.
Victor: You’ve been working hard during 2020, how did both EPs “Bloom” and “Timeless” came about? And how hard was it to work on new songs with the band not being together?
Aaron: We are always working on new music. We were early adopters of Zoom for meetings, so we just worked on our writing and preproduction remotely.
Victor: You recorded via home studios and zoom, how was it to compose songs that way? How did it change the dynamic within the band?
Aaron: Funny enough, it didn’t really change the way we write or create with one another. We have a great creative chemistry, so all that changed was the medium.
Victor: You chose to show the progress of those new songs to the fans, what impact did the reactions of the fans had on the songs we can enjoy now, and how the relationship you have with your fanbase evolved with that new way of communicating?
Aaron: Creating a lot of these songs on Twitch was a great experience. It sort of shed some light into what can sometimes be a cave exploration of a process, haha.
Victor: “Fighting Gravity” has just been released and is already played a lot on some big radio stations. How do you feel about this new title, and what can you tell us on the meaning of this new song?
Aaron: Fighting Gravity is all about the relationship between the past and the present, and how we’re in so little control of a lot of what impacts our lives.
Victor: The next EP will be out at the same time as the album “Echo”,when did you choose to mix those EPs into an album, and why did you choose to give the fans those new songs little by little first?
Aaron: We wanted to release the new music episodically, with new songs coming every few weeks. We felt like this would create a more relevant exchange of ideas and experiences. Our fans could live through these moments around the same time we did, rather than 6 months or a year later.
Victor: What are the main themes running through this album ?
Aaron: I think the main theme is the idea of impermanence and how that creates not only a lot of beauty and value, but is also the cause of deep sadness and loss. The most beautiful and the most devastating aspects of the human experience are deeply intertwined.
Victor: You covered a Crosby Still & Nash song at the end of the album, why did you choose this band and this song? How was it to record a cover of this really iconic band?
Aaron: It was an important song in my life that sort of found it’s way back to me during the time period that I’d lost my mother-in-law. It felt good to honor it by covering it.
Victor: All Eps and the album have been designed by Derek Hess, how did your collaboration happen? What did you want the artworks to convey?
Aaron: Derek is amazing! We were fans of his art growing up, because he has such a unique gift for creating emotionally complimentary art to music, and he created a lot of album covers for records that were formative to us.
Victor: How hard is it to plan tours in this pandemic world, even more festival shows?
Aaron: Almost impossible, sadly.
Victor: One last word for your fans in France about Echo, and possibly shows?
Aaron: We miss you, and we’re always thinking of you. When you hear these songs, I hope more than anything that it comes across. We can’t wait to see you.
Thanks to Aaron for his answers and to Him Media for this opportunity.