MEB staffer Rebecca Kravetz recently caught up with vocalist Matty Mullins of metalcore band Memphis May Fire at Monster Energy’s Welcome to Rockville music festival. They discussed some of the personal struggles Matty hoped to express through the band’s new album Unconditional, future music videos and tours, and a new pop-influenced side project to be titled Matty Mullins.
Are you excited to be performing at Welcome to Rockville?
So excited. This is a fly date for us. We were just in L.A. for the [Revolver Magazine] Golden Gods, did coast to coast just to come out here to play this show and we’re going home tomorrow. We’re looking forward to just giving it the best we can.
How does it feel to be playing alongside all of the bands here after just coming from your UK tour?
It’s a huge honor to play with Avenged Sevenfold, we’re all big fans. And Alter Bridge, their singer is from my hometown Spokane, Washington. Mark Tremonti is in that band and everyone is a fan of him. It’s cool to be here. We feel like we’re on another level.
Your new album, Unconditional, was just released last month. How do you think it has been received?
From interactions I’ve had one on one with people and shows and stuff, it’s just been incredible. A lot of people seem to have found exactly what we wanted them to find in the record and it seems like it’s doing exactly what we wanted it to do. We’re just thankful.
Looking back, is there anything you would change?
Not at all.
Unconditional debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Billboard Alternative albums chart. How does it feel to be receiving such recognition?
We’ve always had a goal and we’ve always had dreams of being a top 10 billboard artist. We never ever thought that we would be a top 5. It’s a huge honor and a blessing. I don’t know what to say other than God is good to our band, and that’s it. I think I was in Arizona when I found out. The entire week I was on phone calls with the label, because I think you can get day-by-day updates of how many copies are being sold. We were getting closer and closer to top 5 and on the final day we were like, “I think we did it,” which is unreal.
What is the story behind Unconditional? Does it reflect any personal struggles?
Absolutely, the whole record is personal. It was really difficult trying to put everything into words in a way that I was willing to just be so vulnerable with the world and with everybody who was going to listen to it. The record is all about a struggle I had with anxiety and depression leading up to this record, which are things that I never thought at all would be introduced into my life. I have always been blessed, time and time again and I haven’t had a whole lot to worry about. I’ve achieved a lot that I’ve set out for. It all just kind of hit me at once and I didn’t know why, and that was the scariest part. Just going through the emotions of figuring out what that meant in my life and how to correct it, and just learning how to trust in God in a deeper way than I ever had before, was really what made this record come to life.
What was it like sharing that with the world?
Hard, but it’s been incredible since it [Unconditional] has come out, knowing how many people are struggling with the same things, things that I would have never known about. People are just so open to me now because they see that I’ve gone through a lot of the same things and they are willing to share with me. In turn, I am able to share with them and hopefully provide some help.
Has there been a specific instance where a fan has reached out to you, maybe shared a story with you, and you feel like you have made a difference in his or her life?
Every day. Any time that we do a signing or any time that we do a meet-and-greet, just even standing outside the bus and taking pictures with people. People constantly come up and tell me their testimony of how the record helped. The day that we played in Phoenix, I guess at the Mesa (Nile Theater), somebody had come up to me who had just only heard our song “No Ordinary Love”. A lot of people I think misconstrue what that song is really about. I wanted it to be like a modern day fashion of telling the story of the Prodigal Son. This guy came up to me and said, “Man, when I listened to this song for the first time, I felt like I could hear God telling me ‘I love you’ and ‘come back to me, I never left your side.’” It was incredible to me because that was exactly what I was feeling when I wrote the song.
You just released a music video for “No Ordinary Love”. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Yeah, we hired a videographer or video producer, I don’t know what you call them, and she was out of New York. She flew into California and we rented out this big farm that we shot the music video on. There was like hair and makeup and all this crazy stuff that we never really thought would happen in any of our videos. It was a really good experience and I think she did a really good job of portraying the storyline. We are excited to do, for the rest of the record, videos that are more intense, but for that song I think it was exactly what it needed to be. The next video we do will be for one of the singles. It’ll either be for “Beneath the Skin” or “Sleepless Nights”. Most likely “Beneath the Skin”, I think that song has gotten such a huge response. We’ll probably go for that next.
How was this past Record Store Day for you? Can you tell me a little about your special release of “The Hollow” on colored vinyl?
I think they sent out like 1400 copies. Every record store got like two copies each. We weren’t allowed to promote it because as soon as the record store runs out of those two, all these people are furious like, “I drove all the way out to this record store and they didn’t have it!” It’s a really special day for people who know about it and want to go out and find the record. I think they all sold out, it was incredible, like hotcakes. I was out on tour, but it was a cool experience to have a record that was a part of it.
What do you have planned next?
Well on the 4th we’re playing another festival, Carolina something or other, but then we are home for a little bit. We go back to the UK and do some festivals in Europe, like Download, and then we come back and we’re doing another tour in America in the fall that we haven’t announced yet, but we’re pretty excited about.
It must be nice to spend some time at home then.
Totally, it’s going to be awesome. My wife and I just bought a new house in Nashville and I’m really proud of it. I just love the vibe of the area where we live. I just built a new recording studio in my house so I’m going to be working on some solo stuff while I’m home and it’ll be fun.
Can you tell me about the solo project you will be working on?
It’s just called Matty Mullins. I’ve always wanted to do pop-influenced worship songs that are just really intimately about Jesus and my relationship with him. Songs that are about my life too but just something totally different from Memphis May Fire. I’m not abandoning the band or anything at all. I love the band. I’m just doing this as a side project and as another kind of outlet for my artistic ability.
Thank you for the Interview. Is there anything else you would like to add or say to the readers of Mind Equals Blown?
Thank you for reading. If you didn’t know our band before, I’m glad that you read this. And if you don’t have Unconditional, go pick it up. It’s in stores, online, everywhere.