Hanging Out w/ OM&M's Austin Carlile
Reigning from Ohio, Austin Carlile decided to take a journey and form a band which morphed into a sensation. Austin, Shayley, Phil, Alan, and Valentino make up the band, Of Mice & Men. Touring all over the world, they are headliners on the Outbreak Tour 2011 and Austin tells me that they continue to tour again soon after. I had the opportunity to chat with Austin for the second time this year. He was very open with S.L.A.M.! Magazine about some obstacles he had gone through in his life. He was also a jokester with us in some of the questions he was asked; it felt more like old friends having a conversation.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: You just came off of the I’m Alive Tour with Miss May I, can you tell us about that?
Austin: It was a good tour. Miss May I, We Came As Romans, Close To Home, and Texas In July; they are all very good friends of ours and it was a lot of fun.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: For the fans who don’t know, how did the band form?
Austin: I started it with a friend of mine in Ohio and I was working with a band, kind of helping them and promoting on MySpace and I was like, “Hey guys I have a song idea. Would you like to record it with me?” So we recorded the song and put it on the internet; got signed that night. I then called Phil who was then in A Static Lullaby out in California and asked if he wanted to join a band. So I drove all the way to California and here I am and here we are.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: Wow, signed that night! You must have been stoked! How did you guys decide to stick with the name Of Mice & Men?
Austin: I like it (laughs) because it’s a book title obviously. The book talks about the American dream and working towards your goals and not giving up until you reach those goals. It just worked out in the end. It’s also a reading that high schools have to read and it’s kind of cool. You know, they go to SparkNotes to read about the book and it pulls up and there’s a band as well. So it’s kind of clever.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: Very clever!
Austin: Plus I needed a band name. I didn’t want to name it, you know, concrete or something (laughs). Or the Sky Came Falling Once Again and the Summer Was Dangerous, you know.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: Your most recent album, The Flood, can you tell us what inspired most of the songs on the album?
Austin: Life. Shayley and I wrote all the lyrics and Alan, too, wrote a whole song. We wrote the whole entire thing about what happened to us this past year. From cheating exes to addiction to family and friends to losing people we care about and to starting new relationships and new friendships. We kind of just touched on everything that had been affecting our lives the entire time.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: What would you say your favorite songs are off the album and what are the songs about?
Austin: Either “Still Ya Diggin’” or “My Understandings”. “Still Ya Diggin’” is about a cheating ex. Kind of like whatever happens. The things they bring to the table and remembering where your head is and where your feet are; not letting them kind of control your life and control who you are just because of what they’ve done to you. The song is basically about separating yourself and becoming your own person rather than a lie in something else to keep yourself happy. You shouldn’t rely on someone else for your own happiness. Before being happy with someone else, you need to be happy with yourself first so the song is kind of about that. And the other song “My Understandings” is kind of like a love song. It’s like a love ballad. It’s pretty cool. Shayley did an amazing job on it.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: Speaking about favorite songs off the album, what is your favorite song to perform onstage?
Austin: All of them. I like all of them. I couldn’t pick just one. I have fun from the minute I walk on to the minute I walk off. The rest of my day usually sucks (laughs) but that hour and five minutes is like the best part of my day.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: When you guys have free time, what do you do?
Austin: Well we’re always on tour. We did have a five day break between the I’m Alive Tour and the current tour. We had two days off and three days of rehearsals. We rehearse for about nine hours a day. The rest of the days, we didn’t do much but I visited friends and hung out, went to the beach. This band consumes our lives. This is our lives. Tour is our life.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: Are you working on your next album? Writing new material?
Austin: Oh yeah we are! I’m so stoked (laughs). Shayley and Alan will just kind of lay back and start laying down things and say, “Look what I just wrote!’” and then we brainstorm ideas. The other night myself, Shayley, and everyone were hanging out and he opened up his computer and said, “I have something to show you guys.” It was this song he wrote, a power ballad and I looked at him, “you just wrote this? This is so good!” We’ll all be sitting around, I can’t play guitar very well but I’ll pluck it out on my acoustic and then I’ll record it on my MacBook, then I’ll show it to the guys. Shay and Alan will be totally rolling their eyes (laughs). Then they’ll throw something in and they’ll just shred it! That’s usually how it works.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: So what can we expect from Of Mice & Men in tonight’s performance?
Austin: A completely crazy, raging, fun, positive, awesome, thrilling, boner-giving experience (laughs). We have fun. We have a lot of fun and it’s really important to us. I think it’s really important that we show that to the people who come out to our shows. We want each person to walk away with something different and I don’t want it to be just another show. We want it to be a performance and an experience. We want it to be something that you could feel and be touched by. Maybe taste if you’re lucky enough to get my finger in your mouth (laughs). You know what I mean; we want to make it an experience.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: People want to know what makes Of Mice & Men so awesome?
Austin: I’m not awesome (laughs). Life’s short, you know. The things that normal people think about up here (points to his head), I don’t think about at all. I have a bad heart, been through way more than most people have. I don’t care what people think about me, I don’t care if people accept me. I live my life through kindness; I live my life through love and if that catches on, that’s rad. If it doesn’t and people think that I’m just a weirdo, then that’s fine too. I’ve just seen too much and I just try to care more and I have a carefree attitude. I don’t know. Like this interview, I probably look like an idiot (laughs). I’m just standing here like shaking but you know, I’m stoked for this and it’s things like this that make me remember why I do it and why I’m here. It’s things like that. Like look at that dog over there (motions to a dog nearby.) It’s so pretty, I want to go pet that dog because I think that would be something cool to do. Life is awesome and I think that I have a lot of life in me. I don’t know, maybe that’s why. And I am best friends with my Creator and the Person I care about the most and He gives me my happiness and without Him, I would have absolutely nothing. I’d have a bus (laughs).
S.L.A.M.! Scene: (laughs) you’d have a bus.
Austin: Probably not even that. I wouldn’t have anything at all.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: If you could estimate how many tattoos you have right now, how many would you say?
Austin: One hundred and sixty-four.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: Really?
Austin: No, I have no idea (laughs). Seventeen thousand million (laughs). No, I don’t know. I mean I have my entire right arm and my side, my chest, my thighs, my leg, my neck. I’m getting my entire right arm done during Christmas. I’m getting Squiggy tattooed right here on my neck; no, not really (laughs).
S.L.A.M.! Scene: Is there anything going on after the Outbreak Tour?
Austin: We have our headlining tour which we are on now and that ends somewhere on the east coast and then the As I Lay Dying tour starts.
S.L.A.M.! Scene: Who will be a part of that tour besides Of Mice & Men and As I Lay Dying?
Austin: It will be iwrestledabearonce, Sylosis, The Ghost Inside, which is sick, and then us and As I Lay Dying. That tour goes for about a week and a half to two weeks and then we’re home. We’re home for two weeks before Christmas and then all of January, thank God! I get to be home and visit my girlfriend, go to church, go surfing, go to Disneyland (laughs). A whole month and a half off just to be able to do whatever I want. It’s rad!
S.L.A.M.! Scene: Thank you so much Austin for the interview. Have a great show!
As Austin quickly went back into his tour bus, as the fans had spotted him during our interview, the interview made the anticipation for opening the doors unbearable even for me. With such honest answers and stories, there was no doubt that his performance would be just as amazing. A lot had changed from the last time S.L.A.M.! had interviewed Austin and Shay back at Warped Tour 2010. Of Mice & Men were continuing on their path for greatness and to touch kids with their music and life stories. As they appeared onstage in front of a sold out crowd, you could tell that’s what they all lived for.
For more information on Of Mice & Men, head on over to Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ofmice.