Author and Photographer: Jonathan Stark (Stark Raving Mad Photography)
When the Rockstar Energy Drink Disrupt Festival came through Colorado I had the chance to sit down with Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire. I’ve enjoyed Memphis May Fire for years and was honored to conduct a brief interview with Matty Mullins. This was my first interview in a sense and Matty was nothing but gracious and humble.
J: I’ve seen you guys play other shows and festivals in the past like Warped Tour. How does the Disrupt Tour compare with the Warped Tour? Is it the same format?
M: Not really. Warped Tour is it’s own breed; you know it’s its own thing and there will never be anything like it. So, this is completely different and it’s still awesome to have a summer tour to do in it’s place. You know, so less bands, less stages and the weather is still hot. But it's a great tour, man, and a really cool thing they are doing. I think it’s impossible to compare it to Warped Tour. It could never be the same; nothing will ever be Warped.
J: You guys are enjoying yourselves on the current tour?
M: Yeah, totally! Yeah, having a good time!
J: You’ve been doing this for a decade. In that time you have come together, staying together, making powerful albums, albums that speak to people. That gives you the longevity. In the decade plus that you’ve been doing this what are some of the most memorable moments you’ve had either on tour or just in the profession itself?
M: Man, I think that the things that really stand out the most... like just to be totally honest, shows can start to blend together. Like performing especially when it’s an amphitheater every day or a built stage every day, it can really start to feel like you are in like a day to day groove. The moments that stick out the most to us are when we get to interact with fans or just talk to people. When you're looking another human being in the eyes, another soul, and they tell you that your music had a profound impact on their life, there’s no better feeling, no greater honor. That’s why we do this. Those are the moments that really stick out to us the most. From American tours all the way to European tours where soldiers that are stationed there come out and talk about how we are getting them through what they are doing. Those are the greatest moments for us.
J: I thought that would be your response. I think your heart is for your fellow man.
M: It is, absolutely. The people, that’s who our songs are for. That’s what we tour for. So those are the moments that mean the most. I literally just came straight here from the merch booth where I was talking to people and hearing their stories. Those are the special moments for me.
J: So given those special moments, is there one of them you might share with me?
M: That’s tough man, that’s tough to narrow it down. There’s a dude in Detroit and his physical therapist had reached out to our management and given us his story and asked if he could meet us. We were like, "absolutely." We brought him backstage and everything. He was in a terrible accident a couple years ago and lost both of his legs. He had a completely normal life up until his mid-twenties and then got into an accident and lost both his legs and fell into a really bad depression, feeling like his life would never be the same again. Through listening to, I’m sure not only our band but some other inspirational bands in our genre, he found the strength to be like- I’m going to get back to not only who I was but better than who I was before. And he’s got these awesome electronic legs that he walks on now. He’s getting into drumming and like all this stuff and just has such a rad positive outlook on life. And so it’s been such a cool thing to be a part of a story like that. And there are so many of those and we get really lucky to be a part of that.
J: I’ve shot for Reach Records a few times, I know you did your recent song with Andy (Andy Mineo), how did that come about?
M: I’m just a huge fan of Andy’s music. When we had written that song (Heavy is the Weight) we had that little gap in the song that sounded perfect for a hip-hop artist to come in and do their thing. I naturally just wanted Andy on the song. He did not know who I was; we were not friends or anything like that. I was just a big fan of his lyrics, big fan of his music. So, we reached out and immediately got it sorted out and he was stoked to do it and everything. We let him write that verse and everything, and it turned out really cool. That song is on the radio now, dude. It’s like Octane is playing a song with a rap part from a Christian rapper. It’s just like sick to me, dude.
Andy Mineo performing on the Unashamed Forever Tour in Tampa, FL
J: I know that you’ve done cooperatives (features) with other artists like For Today. Do you like to get involved with projects with other artists?
M: Totally, yeah! I mean I’m kind of picky about what projects I feature on; just because I want to make sure it’s in line with my beliefs and my core values. But if there’s something that I’m really passionate about, I’m always down to do it. Especially if it helps out a younger band. I’ve done a couple of those recently that have been pretty cool. But yeah, man. I think features are awesome for us and for me doing it for other people and all that.
J: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, I know that you are busy and also need time to relax.
M: Yeah, man. Thank you.
Matty Mullins and I talked a little bit afterwards. He gave me a hug and I stepped off the tour bus. As I walked back to Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, I thought about what an interesting experience that was, about how badly I possibly screwed up, and about what an amiable guy Matty Mullins is. It was a good day.
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