PropertyOfZack had the chance to sit down with Mark McMillon of The Story Changes as the band hit the road with Hawthorne Heights back in mid-December for a string of holiday shows. Despite the delay in posting the interview, the information remains fresh. Mark and I discussed touring with Hawthorne Heights through all of 2010, plans to release a 7” in March, a possible full-length by the fall, and more. Read up and enjoy!
For the record, could you state your name and role in The Story Changes?
I’m Mark and I sing and play guitar in The Story Changes.
Tonight’s the first day of Hawthorne Heights short run of holiday shows. How excited are you guys?
Yeah, we’ve actually been out on and off with these guys since the beginning of summer. It’s been a long year on tour together. We got home from Europe, had a day off, did Thanksgiving, and started these shows. But we had a break this week with four days off, so it was kind of nice to go home. I’m definitely excited to be back out with them. This The Story Changes’s fist time up to New Jersey and New York City this year, so it’s good to be back. It just sucks that it’s so cold.
It seems that both you and Hawthorne are always touring together. Where does the great relationship come from? And is it always a blast being with them?
We’ve known those guys for a long time. We came up in the same scene playing music and stuff. Then their band had a lot of success and got to a point where they were getting bigger touring packages and didn’t have as much control over what was going on as far as that aspect of that it made sense to tour with other bands. We still toured quite a bit and went out with other package deals and we kind of made friends, but didn’t really keep touch a lot. A year ago, in December, we rekindled our friendship and they took us back out on tour with them and Just Surrender and we hit it off. We’ve done other tours without each other since then, but it really feels like we’ve been on tour since then. It’s a lot of fun to go out with your friends, especially people form your own town.
You hit up Europe and the UK with Hawthorne as well just a month or so ago. How was it getting away from the States to play to some fresh faces?
That was cool. TSC didn’t actually play on those dates. It was a Hawthorne thing, they went over. It was with Anberlin. The rest of Europe was with a band from there called We Are The Ocean. I’ve been playing guitar live with Hawthorne as a live guy, so I went with them. Just as like a dude thing, because we’re all bros, they new that Poppy, the other band member in The Story Changes, had never been the Europe, so we just brought him. It was cool that we got to go and update our site as we went along. It was fun. It was definitely neat to travel with your friends and to go there and see all of that was awesome.
In a recent update you guys stated that you recorded five songs before you left on the trip. When did the writing process take place for those?
To be honest, we’ve been so busy the year and a half. We tend to write when were home and we’re lucky enough to live three blocks from each other and we have a really cool rehearsal space. It kind of reminds me of The School Of Rock, only it’s in a warehouse building that is a block from where we live. When we’re home we try to get together and write, but it’s just very rare that we get a lot of downtime. We kind of write in blocks and then we’re back out on the road. When we’re on tour with a band like Hawthorne we’re only doing a half an hour a night, so we’re only doing like six songs. We have a couple records out, so we kind of don’t want to play new songs that people haven’t heard. We’ve put those songs away. It’s been incredibly hard to write because we get real excited about it and then we take such a long break and then we come back to it. These songs we’ve been working on and off for the past year. It was the first time we ever went into a recording not knowing what they were going to be on; like it wasn’t set out to be a record. We just finally got three weeks off and wanted to go into the studio and record them. I know one song is going to be coming out in March on a 7”. That’s the only set thing. The rest of the stuff we’re really happy with, but we’re just kind of figuring it out.
How would you compare the sound of it to previous material?
I think it’s definitely similar. I think I can hear a little bit of change. Everything we do is a little more evolved, especially doing the two-piece thing with the loops. When we started off it was still very much rock powered pop in nature. We’ve slowly started adding more looped keys and stuff and I think the newer stuff has a little bit more of that going on.
If there’s downtime, would you like to record more songs to add to the four for a full-length?
Yeah, it was a tease just going in there real quick. It definitely got the fire under us again to do another record. It’s just a matter of finding time and figuring it out. We kind of went into those songs just seeing how they would turn out. We were more pleased with it than we thought we would be. We were actually talking on the drive today to maybe release the other stuff digitally to get something out for our fans. The plan is to really buckle down and work in the beginning of the year on writing and take it from there.
Would you like to have a larger release out by this time next year?
Yeah, by the summer would be awesome. The fall is more realistic to have a full-length out.
Will you guys be holding off on touring because of the winter and writing?
That’s kind of the plan, but then we get offered something really cool like this and then we’re back out. I feel like I say that in an interview every two months and then here we are. We just love what we do and we can’t ever turn down a tour, especially for a band still coming up. We don’t ever want to turn that down. When the songs are ready we’ll put it out and I think right now the agenda is to definitely write. We’ve talked about doing a little tour in February to stay fresh, but we’ll see. I know I’m doing an all acoustic tour with Hawthorne and I’ll be with them for that. That’s like two weeks. That’ll be my vacation. I’ll probably write on that a lot to be honest because we’ll have a lot of nights at hotels and stuff like that.
Thanks so much for your time, is there anything else you’d like to add or that we should be on the lookout for?
Keep in touch. It’s cliché, but check out our Facebook. We make a point to lock everyone out of our social stuff, so if you contact our band sites, it will actually be us who responds.