Interview by hstisgod
In a world of cookie-cutter Emo/Metal, consumers alike are in a gold rush looking for distinct standout artists. Search no further, as Metal label, Roadrunner Records has done all the digging for you. Readers and music consumers everywhere, Chicago, Illinois’ very own Madina Lake. The product of two former Chicagoan bands Blank Theory and Reformer, Madina Lake is anchored by a combination of twins Matthew and Nathan Leone, Dan Torelli (drums) and guitarist Mateo Camargo. In the midst of touring and promoting their March ’07 release, From Them, Through Us, To You, Camargo spoke with MusicEmissions recently before a show at The Door in Dallas, TX.
With two strong singles to their credit thus far, House Of Cards peaked as high as 38th on Modern Rock single charts in the U.S. Here I Stand, 2nd on U.K. charts Rock charts, Mateo seemed to be breathing modest. “You play songs that are on MTV and you plays songs that everybody knows. (But) then you play songs everybody gets really excited about, and you can feel them getting excited.”. As for their overseas success, Camargo had no particular rhyme or reason for that story. “I don’t know, it’s ridiculous, our album has been out four months, and in the U.K. a little longer and for some reason it just exploded with full force (in the U.K.). We just finished a headlining tour; it was all capacity, sold out venues. It’s ridiculous; it’s the same thing in Japan and apparently in Australia. In the US, it’s a totally different feel”. Camargo made it clear what gets the guys going before the show. “We’re big Muse fans. Also, Nine Inch Nails, Downward Spiral is the kind of album that everybody rocks out to get pumped up.” As for some other artists Camargo likes to mix it up. “I\'d say Paul Simon, Nine Inch Nails, Pantera, Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Joel”.
So I had to ask, what’s it like touring and recording with twin brothers? “I don’t really think there’s any down falls, not with these guys. The advantage is they\'re kind of on the same page a lot of the time, they\'re super driven.” I’ve interviewed a few band of brother combinations before, so I know better than the customary ‘things are great’ answer. I asked, are there any disadvantages? “They fight every now and then but it’s hilarious”. What about cohorts and fellow touring bands, has there been a relationship that really sticks out? “I\'d have to say Halifax
, for some reason, we became best friends. We just finished a U.K. Tour with them and it was the best time in our lives.” Mateo also seemed very happy with their label. “Overall the RR experience is un-believable, it’s a family, and it’s like a major label that operates indie. We’ve gotten awesome love from everybody there. They\'ve treated us like royalty”.
Other friends are destined to be made, as 2008 promises to be a year of major exposure for the quartet. Opening for names like Incubus, Social Distortion and Coheed and Cambria will surely bring new listeners from other fan bases, Mateo seemed calm and cool about these pending shows. “The Kerrang tour is going to be interesting, I haven’t actually paid attention to these bands at all, I try not to listen to, I don\'t know… our \'scene\'. I try to listen to a lot of electronica. I really don’t know what to expect, but I\'ve heard a lot of good things about Coheed.”
As for the existing fan base, Madina Lake has an unusual bond with them. “When we were making the album we pretty much wanted to make a story around it. The river people are a group of people that carry an important vision throughout the story. And that’s the name we gave... Ah, I don\'t like using the word \'fans\', but that’s our online community. She (Adalia) embodies the pop culture, and I don\'t know I don\'t want to give it away (laughs)”.
We also talked about Radiohead’s recent decision to let their fans name the price of their latest release In Rainbows. "I think it’s a great idea for a band whose already established like Radiohead, they already have a hardcore fan base. At this point they’re not going to make their money in record sales; they’ll make it in touring.” In the end, the morality of Madina Lake came to focus when I asked about listeners downloading their stuff. “It’s a tough thing, when we released our album we were number one all three downloading networks, like Limewire, Kazaa. Of course it pissed off Roadrunner. You\'re just like wow. I don\'t really care, as long I get to tour and write music, I don’t really give a fuck about record sales.”