If The Clash were from Miami and made a record in 2013, it might sound like ¡Mayday!'s new album, Believers.
With rock and Caribbean guitar riffs, simple and heavy basslines, snap-and-crack drums, multilayered lyrics, and catchy hooks, this slab is the Miami rap crew's latest masterpiece.
We spoke with MCs Bernz and Wrekonize about Believers, touring through the weed states, ¡Mayday!-label whiskey, why music critics don't matter, and how to survive the apocalypse.
-Mayday's Wrekonize on Solo Debut, War Within: "Written on Some Real-Life Shit"
Crossfade: Talk about manipulating the universe.
Bernz: The album is about, like, being able to shift your reality, bro. That's what we're on right now. We feel that you gotta be able to do that. The people we hang out with are constantly living art and living all creativity, and we feel like they're shifting their own realities. That's just metaphoric. In terms of what you want, you can achieve it, if you can really see it. That was one of the overlying themes of the album.
Wrekonize: When people hear our music it kind of makes sense. We make believers out of them.
How many tours have you been on now?
Wrek: The one we just did was our third with our label, Strange Music Inc., and we did one early ourselves. So this is the fourth one, and we're about to go on our fifth in September.
Now that you've been around the country a few times, is it any different in Colorado, Oregon, California? You know, the weed states?
Bernz: They are very different, my friend. They have a different attitude, specifically on marijuana, but in general. We have the most fans in those areas. They have the most open-minded people and the live-music scenes are thriving in those areas. We resonate there. And our music is pretty vibey. A lot of those cities are just a lot chiller.
Strange Music does a lot of great merch, like cups and koozies and sunglasses and all type of shit. What type of ¡Mayday! merchandise would you like to see?
Wrek: I'd like to see a flask, a ¡Mayday! flask. A shot glass would be cool too.
Bernz: And I want take it up a notch, like, having a ¡Mayday! whiskey or ¡Mayday! rum.
Wrek: Our own rum. That's dope. Something with some wood barrels. Real authentic. With an oaky flavor.
Is ¡Mayday! a crew with a bone to pick?
Bernz: 'Cause we just make music with chips on our shoulders. We've got a bone to pick with everybody. That's the aggressive undertone we like to have in the music.
You've now been interviewed by The Source. What other outlets are on your list?
Wrek: I don't know, like Rolling Stone and that crap. But the more albums we sell, I feel like music gets to people in the oddest ways now. It is what it is.
Bernz: The critics will hop on the bandwagon as soon as we get huge. Nowadays, critics and reviews, I don't know if they hold as much weight as they did. I don't know if anybody cares what they think anymore.
Wrek: That's the beauty of an independent fanbase. You have to worry about the critics a lot less.
Best moment from last tour?
Wrek: Seeing how we've grown on people and affected them personally, with ¡Mayday! tattoos and shit like that, like real fans. Before, we were kind of like some cool phenomenon. This time, we got to see how our music has affected people. We really see its progress.
When you gonna do a South and Central America tour through Brazil, Argentina, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean?
Bernz: We're tryin', brother. And we're trying to get distribution in Europe. Hopefully next year. And then as soon as we get over there, we ready for the next.
Where do you most want to play?
Wrek: Barcelona again, and Red Rocks in Colorado. We haven't gotten to play there yet.
What do you think about Edward Snowden and the NSA leaks?
Wrek: Interesting. I don't know what I think. It's interesting and captivating to see it unfold.
Bernz: I think it's hilarious that half of South America is inviting him in just to piss off the U.S. Every country down there is raising their hand like, "Yeah, come on in to piss off the States."
What do you think about public information and the Internet?
Bernz: It's a beautiful thing, bro. We should get to a point where there's less secrets among us.
Wrek: I don't know. Jury is still out. She needs a hug.
Who else would you like to work with?
Wrek: I wanna work with Bonobo from the U.K. He's a dope producer and works with a lot of instrumentalists and world sounds. I would love to see what he does with ¡Mayday!
How many more Strange albums will there be?
Bernz: I don't know. We just keep making music.
There's a song on the new album called "High Ride." What's the best route through Miami for that kinda thing?
Bernz: I like Old Cutler. From the Grove, from Vizcaya, all the way down to Black Point and then back up. It's a good hour at least.
What's the story behind the song "Mortuary Mary"?
Wrek: It was an imagination thing. But see, when we go out in any city, there's always a girl who's so done with the scene, and has been around, and is bored, and she just wanna vacate and change location. It's nobody we know personally, just sparked by what you see when you go out.
"Last One Standing" -- what's that about?
Bernz: We wanna speak about the artists that have come and gone in our lives, and the way the world takes artists from us because of real-life situations. We been doing this for some time. People come and go.
Wrek: It's basically just about standing your ground and being the last of the ones to survive the apocalypse or the problems in your daily life. If the walls collapse, what you gonna do? Survive it. Standing at the end of days and being strong enough to survive.
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Bernz: You know, stay tuned. There's a lot more music. Bernz solo project, keep a look out for that. Wrek's War Within, make sure to check that out. And we're touring in a city near you in the next six months. And we love Miami.