What does the name “Mannequins” mean (the EP title)?
I think that we titled that EP and based it around the fact that came as the result of something that was a bit stressful on the business end of the music industry. In our experiences in the last year, with signing (to a label) and touring, we’ve learned a lot about the deep, darker aspects of the music industry, so I think we released that EP as sort of a metaphor about how plastic music has really become. We featured the surgical lines on the face (on the album cover) because a lot of artists are trying to cut you up, so to speak, and try to alter you. To make you fit into their marketing mold, so I think that was our way of saying that we’re not trying to be one of those bands.
What was the writing and recording process like for the “Mannequins” EP in comparison to the process for “Wide Awake”?
I think that “Mannequins” came about in a completely different era for the band than “Wide Awake did. A couple of years had passed and it was a completely different lineup. I think when you start a band at a young age, you face a lot of evolution as people take separate paths and grow up. So I think it was a more mature sound for us. We were in a better place as a band, trying to escape the metalcore and screamo scene and kind of establish ourselves as a rock band. The EP itself was actually recorded during the process that was intended to be for our LP called “Corrupt Me”. But push came to shove, and some fortunate and unfortunate events happened that led to it being broken off into an EP. I think it’s kind of a blessing in disguise because now we will be able to come out with our full length as a stronger band that’s been on the road for a year.
What kind of information, if any, can you give me in terms of a new album from Picture Me Broken?
There were seven tracks that were recorded during the same session that EP was recorded in. We’re going to essentially take them, break them down, re-produce them, rewrite them a little bit, and write an additional fifteen to twenty songs. We’re going to be hitting the studio as soon as possible, as soon as we get off the road here in a week.
You guys have definitely gone through some lineup changes. What does the current lineup, in your opinion, bring to the table in terms of writing and performing?
You know, I think this lineup is more musically on the same page. We all want to establish ourselves as a straight-up rock band. I was really searching for the youngest, best musicians I could find. We’re really lucky to have two kickass lead guitar players, and Shaun Foist (drummer), who I met in studio during our “Corrupt Me”/”Mannequins” sessions. I think that this lineup offers really solid musicality. I think that they’re all really motivated guys, and for the first time I feel like I’m standing on stage with the right people.
Where do you take musical inspiration from?
We take it from all across the board. It’s kind of a blend of classic and modern influences, especially on the new album. We’re going to try and go for that huge arena rock sound, especially after getting off the road with Alice Cooper and watching his set every night. I think we’re taking inspiration from bands like Queen, Motley Crue, Rush, etc. Shaun and Dante (guitar) are really into the classic rock sound. I used to usually avoid listen to older music, but I’ve started to recently and it’s definitely opened up my perspective. Modern-music-wise, I personally listen to this really obscure British pop-artist called IMX. I think his lyrics are very articulate and it sounds really dark. I think it’s kind of cool to lace pop influences in with that.
I think over the years, there have been three albums that have stuck with me, that have engrained their way into my skull, in a way. Those albums are “Decemberunderground” by AFI, “The Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance, and “American Idiot” by Green Day. So I’m fusing all of the aforementioned influences and trying to create the effect that those records created on me.
I’ve always been very impressed by the song lyrics from Picture Me Broken. Is writing lyrics something that comes naturally to you, or is there a lot of constant practice when it comes to writing?
I’ve noticed that lyrics don’t come about when you’re struggling to write lyrics. They come about because you absolutely have to write them down. I’d say that it’s definitely not a chore to write, but it does happen sometimes when you’re trying to and you don’t necessarily strike the right chord with yourself where it pours out so naturally. I guess in some aspects it can be a bit of a struggle, but like I said, the best lyrics come about because they have to be written down, not because you’re tearing your hair out for three hours trying to think of a rhyme.
You guys just did a tour with Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper. How did that come about?
We hadn’t toured for awhile because a lot of us were two young. When we hit the ground running, word started spreading about our live show. We then started making a lot of connections with people, and then people started to believe in us and endorse us to the point that our booking agent partnered with Marilyn Manson’s management, who partnered with Revolver Magazine. They all made the phone call that made the stars align to where we got this incredible opportunity. I was really excited that people believed in us that much. I think that we’ve grown so much as a band by touring with these rock icons. There’s nothing that’ll make you step your game up more than witnessing that up close.
What kind of message would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
I think, nowadays especially, that rock music has been stretched and contorted into a bunch of different subcultures and subgenres, and has lost its importance. I think that we’re trying to be a young band that wants to get back to the original meaning of what rock music is. That’s part of the reason why we diverged from the scene that we were kind of getting pigeonholed in because we realized it was important to us that people left our show feeling like they saw a rock band.
After you finish up the Marilyn Manson tour, what are the future plans for Picture Me Broken?
It’s a really crucial time now, so we don’t plan on taking any breaks any time soon. We’re going to be heading right back into the studio, and then getting our butts right back on the road, which is exactly where we want to be.
You can keep up-to-date on all of the latest news and music from Picture Me Broken on their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/picturemebrokenband).