By Niki Gatewood(@The_NikiG)
Bolstered by confidence, ¡MAYDAY!’s opus, Believers, will solidify their quest towards longevity; with their sophomore release on, Tech N9ne’s, Strange Music imprint, ¡MAYDAY! has arrived!
TheSource.com: Our rites-of-passage are filled with both rights and wrongs. As an artist and as a man, what youthful habits or tendencies did you have to relinquish to grow into the person you are today?
Bernz: Well, that’s a stacked question.
TheSource.com: I try.
Bernz: I’d say having confidence in oneself. In order to succeed, you have to have confidence in the things that you’re doing. Any sort of way that you may falter, or doubt yourself, usually ends up magnifying itself. A natural progression in my rite-of-passage in becoming a man, and an artist, is that I had to start trusting myself. In this album that’s something that we definitely tried to achieve.
TheSource.com: ¡MAYDAY! has gone from being signed to SouthBeat Records to signing with Strange Music. Regarding the artistic and the financial perspective, in relation to your deal with Strange, about what are you the most apprehensive and the most confident?
Bernz: With Strange, the only apprehensions are the limitations due to its size. It’s an independent label. At the same time that’s part of the adventure. The positive thing about Strange is that they give us full creative control. Plus, they put us out here on the road in front of all these fans, you know. When it comes to being with this label, the pros will always outweigh the cons. Having been with other labels we’re really happy where we’re at.
TheSource.com: An album serves as a time-capsule of a group’s particular mindset. What do you hope Believers conveys to your supporters?
Bernz: It’s like a two-pronged [odyssey]. On the surface, if you listen to the main track, “Believers,” it is braggadocios. The thing about ¡MAYDAY! is that we’re very different. We cross and bend genres. So, it’s been difficult for us to be defined, especially by the media. Are we a Rock band? Are we a Rap band? To us, we don’t really go by genres; that’s why we feel as soon as you hear it, if you like good music, you like ¡MAYDAY!. So, we make people believers as soon as they hear it. That’s on one level.
On the next level, we feel like we are part of a group of people that have been lucky enough to receive the gifts from the universe that we ask of it. On a metaphorical level, the album is talking about how you have to able to ask for the things that you want. In order for the universe to work with you, you have to know what it is that you want. That’s what it is on a deeper level, you know.
TheSource.com: “Shortcuts And Dead Ends” is my favorite track.
Bernz: Thank you so much. That’s my favorite track on the album as well.
TheSource.com: I thoroughly respect the emphatic yet careful production complemented by the thorough lyricism. It feels and sounds unrestrained. How long did it take you to cultivate the unwavering confidence to not allow your regrets outshine your attempts?
Bernz: It took us up until now, you know. It’s taken us a few albums and it’s taken us a few years of getting battle scars. Now we feel like, that song is the culmination of, it’s time for ¡MAYDAY!, to go to another level. That song is putting the last nail in the coffin of the level that we were at. Up to that point, we wanted to explain where we had come from. Part of that confidence in everything is [believing] that it’s our time for ¡MAYDAY! to take our rightful spot in the music lexicon. This album is our most mature and smartest. It has the best things from Take Me To Your Leader and Thrift Store Halos, which are the two fan-favorites. It has the good fun parts from our first album and the introspective ones from our second. We’re really proud of it.
TheSource.com: “Believers” serves as the title-track and opening track; why?
Bernz: That song encompasses the sound of the album. The groove and the way it’s kinda stripped back—it’s just bass, guitar, and drums—and the way that me and Wrek are rhyming back and forth on it, it’s the perfect opening of the album.
TheSource.com: The visual is startling. What idea or feeling was Garcia trying to emote?
Bernz: We definitely helped a lot in the conception of it. Then he took it to his own direction. The thing is our friend, Daze, he hangs by his skin. He does that often; that whole process intrigues us, you know. In a sense it had to do with the album because he was doing something that people don’t think is possible. You have to have the utmost confidence, and belief in yourself in order to even achieve something like that. We really wanted to base the video around that. Sonically, it’s a dark song. We wanted the visual to match it as well.
TheSource.com: Let’s discuss the human condition; according to Bernz, are morals universal or relative to the beliefs, traditions, and practices of individuals or groups?
Bernz: Personally, I think morals are universal. I think morals are like a smile. A smile is universal; it doesn’t matter what language you speak. We can’t survive unless we survive together… Our only form of survival is from banding together. Part of these moral codes is genetically engineered to help us survive as a race.
TheSource.com: From a personal and a professional perspective how do you know if you’re living a full life?
Bernz: Wow, that’s a fu*king great question. I want to say that I’m out here living a full life, because I’m out here living my dreams every single day. There’s a lot of people who don’t have that kind of privilege. A lot of people wish they were in this position. There are so many things in my life that I’m only dreaming [about]—things that I’ve touched on and I want more. Living a full life, that’s an everyday struggle. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone; that’s the key to really living a full life.
TheSource.com: From “Unplugged” you say: “…When I get up in the morning I gotta see the Son…” Are you referring to the gaseous ball in the sky; or, the Son of God?
Bernz: Good question, I want to leave that open to interpretation. It’s better when people come to their own thoughts about it. They’re not necessarily separate from each other, you know.
TheSource.com: Until the next time, on behalf of ¡MAYDAY! what would you like to share?
Bernz: We’re going to be out performing for the next year. We’re going to be out. And as soon as I get home I’m going to start to work on a solo album. So, those are kinda the two things. ¡MAYDAY! is going strong; we’ve already started to plan our next album. Everything is just really great for us right now.
Make sure everyone checks out the song we did for Tech N9ne on his album Something Else. We produced it; we wrote a song for him called “Fragile.” It’s with him and Kendrick Lamar. It’s a really beautiful song. It’s kinda like “The Noose” part 2. It’s going back to that vibe. I’m just so proud to have Kendrick and Tech on a track. We didn’t just give them a normal track. We gave them something so different and hauntingly beautiful. I can’t wait for everybody to hear it.