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Of Mice & Men

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Monday Nov 24, 2014 7:30PM The O2 London, Buy Tickets More Info

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Of Mice & Men is on a mission. Tastemaker publications like Alternative Press, Outburn and the UK's Big Cheese have put them on the cover. Kerrang! placed singer Austin Carlile amongst the...

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Of Mice & Men is on a mission.

Tastemaker publications like Alternative Press, Outburn and the UK's Big Cheese have put them on the cover. Kerrang! placed singer Austin Carlile amongst the Top 25 living rock stars. Of Mice & Men continuously dominates the stage, whether they’re on the Vans Warped Tour, headlining, supporting veteran bands like As I Lay Dying or leading sing-alongs at festivals around the world. The group’s ampersand ("&") symbol is as ubiquitous as it is synonymous with the group's charismatic passion, unique creativity and pulsating energy.
What's the secret? And what is the Of Mice & Men mission, exactly? The answer to both questions is in one word: Inspiration.

"I hope that anyone that hears our band can walk away from the experience thinking, 'I've been through something similar. I know where they are coming from and listening to this music has helped me,'" Carlile explains. "Our music is heavy and angry, but we have learned that the sheer emotion of the things we write about have helped people get through hard times. We want to help people channel their emotions into something positive. That is 100 percent of the reason why this band is here. This is why I'm doing what I'm doing, to inspire. If you're not helping others, or at least contributing to someone's benefit, then I don't understand why you'd even be alive."

The unstoppable momentum that has fueled the young frontman since he left Attack Attack! and formed Of Mice & Men in Orange County, California has propelled the group's songs across two incredible records, each of them steeped in the life experiences of an intensely hard-working artist who has lived in at least eight states.

The 1936 literary classic from Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, from which the band takes its name, contains the phrase "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." This bit of wisdom has defined the band's spirit: Of Mice & Men battles down obstacles with strength and perseverance, no matter what is thrown their way.

"I'm here, alive, and I'm relentless, I'm relentless, I'm relentless," Carlile screams in "Ohioisonfire" with nothing less than the utmost conviction. "I'm not going anywhere," the singer once told AltPress.com. "It's going to take more than a little open heart surgery [or] a fork in the road to stop myself and Of Mice & Men."

The band's screamo / metalcore-redefining self-titled debut laid the foundation for the album that was to follow, The Flood, which remerged in a brand new Deluxe Edition packed with four new tracks produced by Cameron Webb (30 Seconds To Mars, Flyleaf) and mixed by Joey Sturgis (Asking Alexandria, We Came As Romans).

The Flood added the nu-metal bounce of genre defining bands like Linkin Park, Chevelle and Papa Roach that once dominated the radio airwaves to the group’s signature style, all while maintaining a sound that is distinctly original and purely Of Mice & Men through-and­through. Guitarists Alan Ashby and Phil Mansala name-check guys like Slash to Guitar World with good reason, as there are several moments of guitar bombast throughout their accomplished music. Drummer Valentino Arteaga holds up the bottom end with tasteful fills, driving rhythms and a commitment to intensity to match the band's ever growing exploration of song-structure and broadminded accessibility.

Whether listeners are dealing with broken families or broken homes, trouble with the people around them or thoughts of suicide, Of Mice & Men put their hearts on their sleeves and throw down a mixture of aggressive anthems and melodic melodrama that creates an instant connection. The video for Carlile's tribute to his late mother, "Second and Sebring" (from the first album), has amassed over 3.2 million views on YouTube. Songs like "Still YDG'N" are messages to anyone who has ever felt the ground ripped from beneath their feet to stay planted and to stay strong.

The new tracks on the two-disc Deluxe Edition of The Flood -­"The Calm," "The Storm," "The Flood" and "The Death" -form their own conceptual EP. "The songs really tell a story," Carlile explains. "If you really pay attention to the lyrics, it takes the listener on a small journey."

Of Mice & Men’s obsessive attention to detail --which encompasses everything from the artwork to the band's constant interaction with their fans through social media --is precisely why the group has built such a strong connection with the audience. Their authenticity is palpable and their shared struggles relatable. "Everything, from the music to our performance, from the lyrics to the fact that we don't have backtracks, is real," emphasizes Carlile.

Even with a groundswell of positive support beneath them all around the world, Of Mice & Men remain hungry for new experiences, new relationships, new challenges and have their eyes set on the always moving horizon in front of them. "I want to skydive onto stage. I want to have pyrotechnics. I want to say, 'Up next is Linkin Park' and 'up next is Slipknot,'" proclaims the singer and band co-founder. "I always want to be the best at whatever I do. And if I'm not the best, I'm going to work my ass off until I can get as damn close as I can.

“My family and my dad taught me that under no circumstances do you give up or stop,” he adds. “He taught me how to work hard and he taught me that if you want something, you have to work for it. You have to give 100 percent of what you are or who you are or you're not going to get anything out of it. I've seen what hard work does and what heart does. If you're passionate about something and you have just a sliver of talent, the rest is hard work. A lot of bands don't work as hard as we do. We're going to keep pushing for more. We're not going to stop until we're satisfied... And for me, that will be never!"