In the last year-and-a-half Dallas’ Memphis May Fire have been busy. They played two summer-long Warped Tours, released their most popular album yet [which debuted at #16 on the Billboard 200], and have toured extensively­–and it would appear they don't plan on slowing down any time soon. Immediately after their appearance on the main stage at the Van’s Warped Tour this past summer, they headed to Arizona and hit the studio to record their fourth album.

The highly anticipated follow up to 2012’s Challenger is nearly completed and anticipated for release in February or March next year. Frontman, Matty Mullins, and guitarist, Kellen McGregor, recently spoke with AP about the upcoming album.

Interview: Nick Major

You guys are currently in Arizona, recording your latest album at Chango Studios, and it sounds like you’re getting pretty close to wrapping it up. How much is left?
Instrumentally, everything is pretty much done. I’m about halfway done with the record, vocally. We’ve only got a few more days here, and we’re going to go back to Dallas to start a tour with Sleeping With Sirens. Then right after that we go to Europe for U.K. Warped. We’re also doing a run with Parkway Drive, and then right when we get home from Europe I’m going to come right back to the studio and finish up the record.

How long have you guys been in the studio as of now?
We’ve been here for almost three weeks.
MULLINS: Kellen did a good amount of tracking at home before we came down here, and the vocal portion has been about three weeks so far.

The new album has more of a theatrical feel, as well as an orchestral presence. What inspired or motivated this new direction in music for you guys?
I wouldn’t say it’s a new direction. Our music over the last few records has definitely been including a lot more string elements, different background aspects and stuff like that. Over the last two or three years, each record has just kind of progressed to the next version of our sound.

Did anything inspire or influence that, or is this just something you have been bringing more into your music?
It’s just what felt right when I was writing it.
MULLINS: Kellen is a movie enthusiast. He really enjoys all the new movies and stuff and is a huge Transformers fan and stuff like that. I think the record kind of has a soundtrack feel; it’s really epic.
McGREGOR: Like an action movie.
MULLINS: Yeah, it’s almost like an action movie, and I think that comes from his love for the theater.

Kellen, any good movies you’ve seen lately or anything you’re excited for?
I can’t really think of anything that’s jumping out that’s coming up, but this summer had a lot of awesome movies. I was stoked on Man Of Steel and Pacific Rim and all that. I love any big blockbuster movie, no matter how cheesy it is.

What inspired the lyrics on the upcoming album?
So far it has just been a combination of two things. One, some of the things I’ve been going through the past couple of years, since we released Challenger. On top of that, there are some things I want to bring to the table that I feel not a lot of bands in our genre are talking about. I’m writing songs everywhere from, things like anxiety and depression and how they can affect your life and just ultimately how there is an answer, there is an outcome, that there are multiple people who are dealing with those things, and just for people who are experiencing things like that to know they’re not going through it alone. I think it’s a big deal, and that’s one thing I wanted to capture. But also, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I’m writing a song about the needs of third-world countries: children that have no choice but to be trafficked as sex slaves or to starve to death, mothers who don’t know what to do with their children and are throwing their babies in dumpsters. My sister is working with the Hands And Feet organization in Haiti right now with a bunch of kids over there. It just really inspired me, so I’m writing about that, as well. It’s going to touch on a wide variety of things but not a single concept will be something that’s not completely from the heart and something I feel really needs to be talked about. >>>