Of Mice & Men have kept new music coming all throughout 2021 and now they've announced the Echo album alongside a music video for "Fighting Gravity," which finds the band opening up their sound to even more new areas. Vocalist and bassist Aaron Pauley also chatted with Loudwire about the new record and the moments that led up to it as new EPs trickled out over the year.

Echo will be, in some ways, familiar for fans as it encompasses the Timeless and Bloom EPs already released this year (three tracks apiece), as well another trio of original songs (the Ad Infinitum EP) in addition to a cover of Crosby, Stills and Nash's "Helplessly Hoping," which closes out the successor to 2019's Earthandsky.

With "Fighting Gravity," Of Mice & Men go heavy on the atmosphere with shimmering melodies and nervous tension that invokes a purgatorial state of being, drifting between the dark and the light overtones in search of an answer.

Pauley said of the song, "'Fighting Gravity' is about learning to let go, while also recognizing the impermanence and shortness of life. We think we're in control of so much, but we're really not, and that existential dilemma is at the foundation of the human condition."

"Echo is a snapshot of the last year-and-a-half of our lives. It covers loss and growth, life and impermanence, love, and the infinite — how the most wonderful and most tragic parts of the human experience are deeply intertwined," stated the band as a collective.

Watch the video for the new song below and view the Echo album art and track listing further down the page.

Speaking with Pauley over the phone, we dove into what made divvying up the record into separate EPs such an exciting way to roll out new music and why the format is such a versatile, yet underutilized tool for musicians. In addition to this, Of Mice & Men also officially launched a Twitch partnership to further interact with their fans, some of whom likely saw Echo material develop in real time.

Scroll down to read the full interview.

Echo drops on Dec. 3 through SharpTone records and while it's the seventh full length for Of Mice & Men, this is their first album with the label. Pre-order your copy here.

Of Mice & Men, "Fighting Gravity" Lyrics

I can feel the distance,
Between the here and now,
And the hereafter
Like life in an instant,
Legacies like grains of sand

In an infinite ocean,
Tossing and turning endlessly,
In perpetual motion,
Until it's our time to surface,
From underneath

Why am I always fighting gravity?

If everything is where it's supposed to be,
Then why does space just feel so incomplete?
If everything is made to fall into place,
Why am I always fighting gravity?

I can feel the balance,
Between then and now,
And what's to happen
Such a fragile system,
Like life in an instant

If everything is where it's supposed to be,
Then why does space just feel so incomplete?
If everything is made to fall into place,
Why am I always fighting gravity?

Of Mice & Men, "Fighting Gravity"

Of Mice & Men, Echo Album Art + Track Listing

SharpTone Records

01. "Timeless
02. "Obsolete
03. "Anchor
04. "Levee
05. "Bloom
06. "Pulling Teeth
07. "Mosaic
08. "Fighting Gravity
09. "Echo
10. "Helplessly Hoping

INTERVIEW WITH AARON PAULEY

Gina Wetzler, Redferns

What fresh release strategies caught your attention over the last few years?

One of the ones was Tool’s new record when they debuted the new logo. I like things that are multi-faceted. The visual art side of your record doesn’t need to only be promotional material. You can turn that into something that runs congruent to the music you’re creating. It’s more of a meal to chew on.

Why was now the right time to deliver this series of EPs from Of Mice & Men?

It was something we’ve been talking about since 2016, so two full length albums ago. You can get music out to the audience and it’s more relevant because you’re not waiting a full year and a half to create all this material and put it out. You can tell a story in chapters.

Part of us signing with SharpTone records was that we were talking with labels about what we wanted to do and they were excited about helping bring that creative vision to life. It’s not that we’re just dumping three songs as we write them — it’s more thought out and well-rounded.

SharpTone Records
SharpTone Records

How did the EPs benefit the band in regards to streaming numbers compared to a more traditional album release?

It’s hard to say. I sometimes poke my head in the analytics, but a lot of that doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. The label and management have been happy with it and so have us and our fans. If anything, it allows us to keep a consistent conversation. It’s a cliche, but music is a language — you use it to communicate ideas and connect with fans through personal experience and shared experiences.

It keeps that dialogue with your fanbase more consistent and episodic than an album every two years.

An EP can be an escape for a band where you’re afforded the ability to change your sound a bit without signaling you’ve gone in a new direction entirely. And will a positive reaction to something more experimental help inform the writing in the future?

Having the creative freedom to experiment is true in the context of how a fan will perceive the music but also how we perceive it. Part of your experience as a songwriter is getting feedback. That doesn’t necessarily inform the creative direction but it lets you know what people are finding appealing.

Ultimately, it’s up to us to decide what to do with that. Sometimes we’re still selfish and stubborn enough to know somebody likes something but still do what we want to do.

Back to streaming for a moment… with a full length album, the play counts tend to drop the deeper you get into an album, unless there’s a single later in the record. The EP is a way to keep songs at the top — a fan will get through three songs easily and there’s also replay value with that shorter offering. Is there a benefit for the rock and metal industry to shift toward this direction to play the streaming game?

Looking at it that way, the ‘streaming game’ is just giving your fans music, which they find value in. It not only helps your career in terms of analytics and plays, but plays are people finding enjoyment out of art in a time where it’s as important as it’s ever been.

Rock and metal as a whole can learn a lot from the pop community in how the pop community interacts with digital media. You can create a song, upload it that night and your fans can have it immediately.

We self-produced the EPs. You can make music in your bedroom like Billie Eilish. Music is only going to become more accessible. In the digital space, songs end up on certain playlists but you can rearrange your own playlists and put three of your favorite songs out of 10 from a new record, so we can just release three songs at a time.

Of Mice & Men also entered a new digital realm with a Twitch partnership. How have you seen this space become more viable for musicians and not just gamers, which it was more well-known for?

It allows some of your biggest fans to understand what goes on behind the creation of music. It’s cool to be able to connect with those people, especially in a time such as the pandemic where human communication has taken a toll.

When I was in high school we used to go downtown and talk about new records and now that happens with the community on Twitch. My favorite thing is seeing everyone engage with one another. That chat is a place to hang out — it’s not just us interacting with people.

Obsolete, with the exception of vocals, was done almost entirely on stream.

Thanks to Aaron Pauley for the interview. Follow Of Mice & Men of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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