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Interview: Make Do and Mend

If you like punk/hardcore in 2011, you’re a lucky person. There is a renaissance afoot, gestating in the arse-end-of-nowhere towns of America and spreading it’s tendrils across the pond and across the globe. Too many bands to list are tossing out furiously innovative music and playing life-affirming shows across the globe. One band that seems to bridge the gap between these scenes and styles, while standing head and shoulders above most, is Make Do and Mend.

Bursting forth from the sleepy West Hartford, Connecticut armed only with with a slew of EP’s, split 7’s and a knack for conveying true haggard emotion through songs that satisfy both head and heart. We spoke to vocalist/guitarist James Carroll about their debut full-length End Measured Mile, touring plans and how things seem to be looking pretty rosey right now in punk rock.

Alter The Press: What did you hope to achieve with 'End Measure Mile'? Do you think you achieved it?
Make Do and Mend: I think that in anything we do musically, and really in life in general for that matter, we strive for two things. We strive to progress to the point where we feel like each next step is a marked improvement from the last, and we strive to operate in a genuine and passionate
manner. So in that regard, I think that we achieved what we were going for on EMM.

ATP: There seems to be a renaissance in innovative punk/hardcore driven along by labels such as Paper and Plastik/No Sleep/Panic/Run For Cover and countless bands. Why do you think this is?
MDAM: I definitely agree. I think it has a lot to do with a lot of focused people who are dedicated to providing a genuine contradiction to a lot of the shitty trends that exist in music culture today. It has as much to do with bands and labels as it does with music fans. We are very proud to be associated with so many incredible bands and people.

ATP: Stylistically you stick out from the other ‘wave’ bands and the bands on Panic/Paper and Plastik. Why did you gravitate towards those bands/label?
MDAM: It wasn't a conscious gravitation by any means. We always want to work and associate ourselves with people who are passionate and genuine in what they do so that really accounts for why we love P+P/Panic and all of The Wave. Stylistically The Wave is just a group of people who love and respect one another as people and musicians. Sound and Style has always been sort of secondary to that.

ATP: How did your relationship with Paper and Plastick come about?
MDAM: Vinnie hit us up about doing a record together. We love him and his label and decided it was a great fit.

ATP: Your music gets frequently compared to the usual suspects e.g. Hot Water Music etc. Do you have any bands that really influence your songwriting that might surprise people?
MDAM: I think our direct influences really differ person to person. On my end, I find a lot of inspiration in anything from Jimmy Eat World to Tragedy.

ATP: The packaging for the vinyl version of 'End Measured Mile' was a really impressive piece of product design. How much creative input did you have into that?
MDAM: The coolest part about the album layout was that is was a huge group effort. We came up with the concept and we leaned on a few extremely talented people to make it look the way it does. Namely: Vinnie Fiorello, Rob Dobi, and Peter Winsiewski.

ATP :What have you got coming up tour/release wise?
MDAM: Nothing release-wise, as EMM has only been out for a few months. The spring is going to be insanely busy tour wise, though. We head down to SXSW with Balance and Composure then fly directly to London for our first ever UK Tour with Fireworks! After that we fly home and have about 5 days off until we start a US tour with Fireworks and The Wonder Years.

ATP :How did the Fireworks UK tour come about? What are you looking forward to about coming to the UK with Fireworks?
MDAM: The Fireworks guys were cool enough to ask us along, and of course we obliged. We love those guys as a band and dudes so we are very excited to head across the pond with them. I think that we are most excited to meet and play for so many new people.

ATP: Lyrically 'End Measured Mile' deals with alot of different themes. How do you approach writing lyrics? What was the recording process for End Measured Mile like and how did it differe from your previous releases?
MDAM: Since our last EP "Bodies Of Water" my life has changed a lot. I'm 24, I live on my own and work a 40 hr/wk desk job, I'm in a great relationship, and our band has been afforded a ton of really incredible opportunities. So I think lyrically I tried to play my usually dark depressing lyrics off of a lot of the positives that I see in my life right now. So I still deal with a lot of tough thoughts and feelings but I have some pretty pretty incredible things that help me to come with them IE: Touring, Friends, Loved Ones, Significant Other, etc.

ATP: What new bands should people in the UK check out?
MDAM: There are way too many to name. In 2011 expect incredible new records from Touche Amore, La Dispute, Defeater, Pianos Become The Teeth, Balance and Composure. A new band that we are all extremely psyched on is Seahaven. Like I said there are too many to name. Start there and keep digging!

‘End Measured Mile’ by Make Do And Mend is available now on Paper + Plastick and Panic Records.

Make Do And Mend on MySpace and Facebook.

Words by Barney Dufton

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