Spacer Image
Mayday Parade takes their music seriously. In 2010, Songkick, the web’s live music bible, recognized them as the hardest working band of 2010, with 194 bookings and 74,000 miles on the road. “We’ve always toured as much as we can,” says Derek Sanders, Mayday’s singer and piano player. “I didn’t realize how many miles we logged, so it was nice to be acknowledged.”

The band hails from Tallahassee, Florida and includes vocalist/pianist Derek Sanders, bassist Jeremy Lenzo, lead guitarist Alex Garcia, Brooks Betts on rhythm guitar and drummer Jake Bundrick. Since getting together in 2005, the boys have been inseparable, playing as hard as they work, forging strong bonds of friendship as they travel the world, delivering a high octane stage show driven by their strong songwriting and charismatic stage presence.

It was this spirit of camaraderie that brought them to a beach house in Panacea, Florida, to write the songs for Mayday Parade. “Alligator Point is an hour away from where we live,” Sanders explained. “We decided the best way to write an album was to get away from everything and jam. There were no distractions, just the five of us and the ocean, although I don’t think we went swimming more than a couple of times. We set up the equipment in the living room and played when we wanted to. We structured the songs together to come up with the best possible result. We all contributed lyrics, lead lines, bass parts, bits of melody and ideas for arrangements. We didn’t bring in any outsiders to do co–writing, like we did on Anywhere But Here. Every song was a full collaboration. We decided to call it Mayday Parade, because, as much of a cliché as it is, we feel like a new band after all the stuff we’ve been through in the last six years.”

After a month of intense composing, the band chose 12 of the best songs and went into the studio with Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount, the duo that helmed their first album, A Lesson In Romantics. “Ken and Zack are funny, talented and easy to work with,” Sanders says. “They have a lot of passion and make the studio a fun environment. We met them for two weeks of pre–production, getting the songs into shape and talked about adding strings, trumpet and other things to the sound. We had complete artistic control, which was cool.”

With the exceptions of Mount’s trumpet, Odom’s cello and a small choir and string section, the band played every note on the album in real time. They recorded group vocals by gathering around a single mike. The songs on Mayday Parade include rousing anthems, solid mid–temp rockers and a handful of heartfelt ballads, all in keeping with their desire for musical diversity.

The set opens with “Oh Well, Oh Well,” which will be the first single and the first video from the record. Acoustic piano, subtle cello and Sanders’ wrenching vocal lead into the band’s blistering sonic attack. “We all love this song,” Sanders says. “It starts slow, kicks in fast and energetic, and keeps building. We put a lot of feeling and emotion into it.” Mayday has been working out the arrangement for “When You See My Friends” at sound checks for the last year. It’s a fatalistic mid–tempo rocker about a nasty break up marked by fervent group vocals, solid rhythm work by Betts and Garcia’s wailing lead guitar.

Other choice cuts include “Priceless,” a rocker with a driving rhythm, strong harmony vocals from the band, soaring guitars and unexpected changes in tempo; “Stay,” a mid tempo heartbreaker that features a small string section and builds to an aching, emotional climax and the power ballad “Without The Bitter The Sweet Isn't As Sweet.” Garcia’s quiet acoustic guitar introduces the tune to set up one of Sanders’ most emotive vocals. He also plays a subtle counter melody on grand piano. When the band kicks in, they knock the tune out of the park.

The men of Mayday Parade got together in the winter of 2005, part of the natural evolution of the thriving Tallahassee scene. “All the bands in town supported each other,” Sanders recalls. “We met at a warehouse a lot of bands used for rehearsing and hanging out. There was a community of musicians and local clubs that supported original music. I was in a band called Defining Moment with Brooks (Betts, rhythm guitar) and Jeremy (Lenzo, bass). Alex (Garcia, lead guitar) and Jake (Bundrick, drums) were in Kid Named Chicago with Jason Lancaster (the band’s former vocalist and guitarist). We started hanging out and realized we took the music more seriously than the other guys in our bands. Some of them were married and had kids; they didn’t want to tour. The six of us started jamming and writing songs and it felt great. We quit our old bands and started Mayday, although we didn’t have a band name at first.”

The unnamed band went into the studio to record Tales Told by Dead Friends, a six song EP produced by Lee Dyess. “We played our first show and decided on a band name while we were making the EP. We put up a few songs on MySpace, then hit the road with Van’s Warped Tour.” The band didn’t have a slot on the tour, but they sold their CD to people hanging out in the parking lots and standing on line to get into the venue. They moved more than 10,000 copies in a few months. “We had CD players and headphones and CDs in our backpacks. It was good training for promoting the band.”

Mayday Parade’s MySpace page got thousands of hits as the EP built up an underground buzz. Labels started to take notice. “We were only a band for seven or eight months and hadn’t gone on tour yet, when we were contacted by Fearless Records,” Sanders says. “They called our manager, we met them in a studio for an audition and got signed.”

In 2006, Mayday Parade toured with Wheatus, Brandston and Melee, then went on the road with Plain White T’s. Between dates they cut their debut, A Lesson In Romantics. MTV’s GirlsGonePunk called it “the best album to come out this year. ” The video for “When I Get Home, You're So Dead” got over 75,000 hits in two days when it premiered on the front page of MySpace Music. It went on to sell more than 170,000 copies and reached the Top Ten on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Jason Lancaster left the band before A Lesson In Romantics was released.

The band made Anywhere But Here, their second album, with the help of producer David Bendeth (Paramore, Underoath). The band distilled the essence of the 50 songs they’d written on the road into another powerful statement. Mayday Parade followed it up by headlining the Ernie Ball Stage on the Van’s Warped Tour in 2010, as well as touring the UK with The Maine. In February of 2010, they released Valdosta, a six song, mostly acoustic, EP. “We had a couple of new songs we wanted people to hear and decided to revisit a few older songs with acoustic instruments,” Sanders says.

While they’re waiting for their new self–titled album to hit the streets in October, Mayday will stay on the road doing what they do best – wowing their fans with their heartfelt songs and energetic performances. “We’re very excited about this album,” Sanders concludes. “We want to thank everyone who believes in this band. It’s amazing that we’ve been able to make a living playing music. Our goal is to continue touring, nationally and internationally, and put on the best shows we can.”