Can you introduce yourself and explain what you do in Gates?
My name is Mike and I play bass guitar. I, along with our guitarist Dan King, create most of the visual elements incorporated with the band as well.
The band is set to release its new album, Bloom & Breathe, on October 21st. How has the group's style evolved from the first album you made to this third one?
When writing Bloom & Breathe, we focused on creating a more unified sound. Whether the mood is quieter and more somber, or louder and more aggressive, we worked together to create a unique atmosphere within each song.
What type of stories are told within the record?
This record deals with themes of life and death, growth and decay, and the overarching ambition of living up to your full potential before the inevitable end comes.
Which track(s) are you most excited for people to hear and why?
I’m excited for people to hear the first song on the album, “Everything That Ever Has Been”, and the last song, “Everything That Always Will Be”. They are 2 tracks that came together very organically for us. We played around with the initial idea for “Everything That Always Will Be” a few years ago and had nearly forgotten about it. We later revisited it and realized it would make a perfect closing track to the album. The first song, “Everything That Ever Has Been” was one of the last ones we completed before it came time to record the album. We had been writing for this record for roughly 2 years, and once we ended up with “Everything That Ever Has Been”, we knew that we had a completed body of work.
Lately bands have been pushing themselves to create unique merchandise for their audience. Gates currently has themed frisbees and koozies for sale.Why do you think it's important to create items that are outside the norm?
I appreciate when bands can offer something to fans that they can’t get somewhere else. I don’t want to create the same mundane band shirt that’s been done time and time again. I think it’s important to create high-quality merchandise. I would hope that the person buying the product would actually want to wear / use it. The frisbees we ordered are regulation size and weight, and we splurge to print on higher quality garments rather than on cheaper materials. Sure, they are more expensive to produce, but the buyer is probably more likely to wear your shirt and use your frisbee. I don’t want our merch to sit around collecting dust in someone’s closet.
What are you looking forward to as you get ready to tour with Foxing, next month?
We’re excited to be sharing the stage with Foxing, they’re truly a unique band and are pioneers in the current music scene. I’m looking forward to be back in Seattle, Portland, Denver and to visit a few cities we’ve never been before. We’re all really excited to be spending Thanksgiving on the west coast!
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Interview conducted by Alexis Solomon
You Me At Six stopped in Minnesota on their tour. Last time they were in Minnesota, they were on Journey's 2012 Warped Tour. It has been quite awhile! I had the chance to see them in Wisconsin last year on the Spring Fever tour, and stood with 4,500 other people, enjoying their music. This tour, the shows was a tad smaller (a few hundred people) but their set was just as cool as ever! The band has a flow that most other bands seem to be lacking in the music industry today. You can look on stage and see a band; not just a singer and a guitar player and some guy banging some drums. You see this band as a whole, united for the love of music and they can play a 60 minute set all in unison. The don't need to make jokes or try to be funny with the crowd wasn't something that this band needed to do. Josh, the singer, spoke a few times to the crowd-introduced the band, gave shootouts to the openers, and agreed on calling us "Minneapolis" even when we were 25 minutes out of the city. Other than that, the show carried on song after song, as if you were physical watching their album as it played through.
Something unique that I give this band props for is one time when Josh addressed the crowd and brought up how the generation today, "feels the need to post their lives on social media." how he grew up going to shows and letting the shows be his escape for those few hours. Something that this generation seems to be lacking because we're all too concerned about getting so many likes on a picture from the show or sending out mass Snapchats to everyone. This generation tends to experience lives shows through their iPhone screens. So at the show, for one song, Josh requested that everyone put away their phones and their cameras and just enjoy the song, fully immersed in the feeling of being at a live show with live music.
The show is definitely one that I recommend going to see. This band has done some incredible things in their career and they're over here in the States bringing their music here to inspire people.
Pictures and review by Lealah Abraham