Mayday Parade’s 2007 debut full-length A Lesson In Romantics is the textbook definition of “fan favorite.” When the Tallahassee, Florida, pop princes signed to Fearless Records, nobody knew what to expect. Especially the band. At the time, they had a bunch of new songs they thought they were going to record. But there were some older songs that the label wanted on there. They tell you all about it in this APTV oral history of Mayday Parade video.
“We had never made a full-length before,” recalls Mayday Parade frontman Derek Sanders. “So it was a very daunting task. Not that long after we had finished recording ‘Three Cheers For Five Years,’ and the first EP and put that out. There already were a handful of songs. We would practice five days a week. Pretty much every day we’d go out to Cabbage’s [aka bassist Jeremy Lenzo] parents’ house every weekday. That was always like anytime I wasn’t getting ready for a tour. That was just like our schedule always. We had a handful of songs already written before we’d even been signed to Fearless, but we just stuck with that.
“Once we signed and we knew that we were gonna be going in to record our first full-length, we just continued to push hard. Go out there every day and just work. We’d play these songs over and over again and change things and try new things. Certainly, I don’t think any of us had any idea that [album] would become what it has become and that it would be as important as it is to us and to so many people.
“As far as the songs, there were several that were obvious,” Sanders continues. “I don’t know how many. But out of 12, there were probably seven or eight that were the standouts that we all agreed on. Kenneth Mount and Zach Odom were the producers for that album, and they were a big part of that decision, as well. Whenever we went in for pre-pro at this point, we still had all 18 songs or whatever on the table. We played through I think most of them and spent a lot of time with them, whittling things down and maybe eliminating certain songs.”
“The band had their favorites, the producers had their favorites,” Lenzo remembers. “And the label had their favorites.”
“For example, rerecording ‘When I Get Home, You’re So Dead,’” Sanders recalls. “I don’t think that was something that we would have done. But Fearless really wanted us to do that. And I think, without that input, we probably would have just done 12 new songs. ‘Jamie All Over’ was an old [pre-Mayday Parade band] Kid Named Chicago song. There were a couple of those older songs from previous bands [we were in] that we listened to. Obviously, ‘Jamie All Over’ was a good choice. You had the sophomore attempt that’s a massive undertaking. And it’s hard, especially with a first album that’s pretty successful right off the bat. We were upstreamed to Atlantic Records. So now we were on a bigger label with many, many times, the budget.”
Lenzo chimes in. “And, of course, a lot more hands in your creativity, telling you what to do and how it should sound and a lot more people involved.”
In other moments of the video, the members of Mayday Parade discuss their formation and the shared vision they had. They also recall their major-label experience as a declarative moment about their autonomy and their music. And they reveal how the darker Black Lines LP influenced their new Sunnyland release. Mayday Parade might not sound like a raucous punk band or bloviate as opinionated elitists. But they’re living in the real world. You’d be surprised how many of your favorite bands aren’t…