Yay, for Madina Lake! The Chicago pop-rock-electronica band is moving up the alt-rock chart with their current single, "Never Take Us Alive" -- No. 43 at the moment. The guys recently played Michigan, and I had the opportunity to interview bass player Matthew Leone about the band's latest full-length, "Attics to Eden."
Here's the story/interview (originally published in the Gannett Lansing State Journal and on LSJ.com):
Madina Lake goes eclectic on new album: 'We finally became who we always meant to be,' says bass player
By Anne Erickson, Gannett Lansing State Journal
Never mind that they're best buds with Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance. Never mind that they're signed to Roadrunner Records, the same label as Nickelback and Slipknot. And never mind that they're one of the most coveted alt-rock acts out there.
As soon as Madina Lake bass player Matthew Leone answers the phone, you get the sense these guys are down to earth.
Matthew is humble, spontaneous - and darn funny.
"We haven't played a show in five months, and we don't know where anything is or how to sound check anymore," he said, laughing. "But we're in Nashville and its 45 degrees here, and we're from Chicago so we're used to, like, negative 4,000. So this is great!"
Matthew and his twin brother, Nathan, started Madina Lake in 2005. The two won some cash on the reality show "Fear Factor" and put it to good use - by financing a demo. Pretty soon they were touring the U.K. with pop-punk band Paramore.
Matthew is quick to point out that reality TV wasn't a priority. See, it was more of a fluke.
"We never planned to fuse the two, and it was never our ambition to catapult off that acclaim," he said. "The only reason we did that was to make fun of that culture. We thought our friends would think it was funny to see us go on and get (beaten) by girls. When we won, we never believed it."
Madina Lake has spent much of the past few months in recording mode - writing, working with producers, etc. At the moment, they're gearing up to release a new album on April 28 that Matthew says will truly represent what Madina Lake is about.
"Musically, we finally became who we always meant to be," he said. "I think for most bands, their first record is younger, more inexperienced and more energetic, and that was the case with us. But after being on the road and learning more about ourselves and each other, we grew and evolved, and this record shows that."
Devoid of genres, the disc - titled "Attics to Eden" - jumps from 3,000 beats-per- minute dance-metal anthems to double-fuzzed electronia to mainstream pop-punk. It's hard to pinpoint. Kind of like Madina Lake.
Matthew elaborated on the album's sound, confirming that the band is moving away from its initial punk-pop impressions to something heavier and more complex.
"If we're lucky, people who wrote us off on the last record because we were classified in such a niche will give us a second chance. We would love for them to see that we're not who they thought we were."
The point is, Madina Lake is not your run-of-the-mill modern rock band.
"We listened to Bruce Springsteen, Guns N' Roses and Paul Simon when we were recording this album," Matthew said. "Those guys create an undeniable image around the music. It whisks you away to this beautiful mythological world. And that's always been our goal: To grab the listener and to take them on a journey and to have them walk away somehow affected."