Of Mice & Men Singer on Rock After Heart Surgery
Of Mice & Men’s album ‘The Flood’ recently debuted at number 28 on the Billboard Top 40, the highest debut for any album released on Portland indie label Rise Records. The album also marks the return of singer Austin Carlile, who left the band for nearly a year due to health-related issues.
‘The Flood’ showcases the band’s remarkable progression since forming in 2009 while still giving fans the brutal breakdowns and catchy choruses that made them key players in the metalcore scene. “The melodic side of our sound is what most excites me right now, and this record definitely explores that,” says Carlile. The Pensacola, Florida native recently spoke to Noisecreep about his return to the group, his surprisingly eclectic listening tastes, and the process behind recording ‘The Flood.’
“My favorite songs on ‘The Flood’ are the ones where Shayley [Bourget, bass and vocals] sings [laughs]. I always tell people that Of Mice & Men would be my favorite band in the world if it weren’t for me [laughs]. It’s one of those things where I can’t listen to one of our songs where I sing the entire thing alone and say, ‘Yeah, that’s awesome.’ I think that’s a little weird. But the songs with Shayley doing all of the clean singing are really great. I love his voice and he’s one of the most talented people I know.
“If I had it my way, Shayley would have sang half the songs on the album [laughs]. But I know if we would have done that, people would have been disappointed. Our fans also want the heavier, screaming type of vocals that I do. ‘The Flood’ definitely has all of that on it.”
Listen to ‘Ben Threw’ from ‘The Flood’
Apparently, Carlile’s listening habits are a bit more eclectic than some people might expect. “Don’t get me wrong, I love heavy music, but I also need a balance. I’ve been listening to a lot of Mumford & Sons and Imogen Heap this past year, and I think it’s cool that we brought a slower feel to some of the material on our new record. It’s not just about writing the most brutal breakdown for a circle pit. I want to show that we have depth in our songwriting.”
In early 2010, Carlile was forced to depart from Of Mice & Men due to heart-related problems. He eventually underwent heart surgery as well as a lengthy rehabilitation process. After daily medication, physical therapy and dietary changes, his health eventually improved and allowed him to return to the group. Noisecreep asked Carlile if he was worried about the demands of touring life being tough on his health.
“We’ve been on the road since February and I’ve felt great for the most [part],” he said. “I was sick on the first two weeks of our headlining tour, but since then, I’ve been doing OK. I used to play a 30-minute set and I wouldn’t be able to always do it. I would be out of breath all the time. Now we play a 60-minute plus set and I can go on and on. So yeah, I’m always careful about my health, but I think I’ll be fine.”