Mike Herrera is back in the country next week for another MxPx tour in support of the most recent album ‘Plans Within Plans‘. The tour starts on Wednesday 6th March in Brisbane and also visits Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. Tickets for all shows are on sale now. We caught up with Mike to take on our On The Record questions this week to find out a little more about the album. Expand this post to take a read of his answers and remind yourself of the tour dates.
Tell us about the release title.
I’ve always got a list of working titles I keep written in my journal. The problem is I never take the time to look back through them. So each time, I start from scratch. ‘Plans Within Plans’ was a name that came from the idea that each song was its own plan, the album itself was its own plan, and all the adventures we experience as we travel through life are their own little plans themselves. Plans within many plans. That’s life.
Tell us about the artwork.
The artwork could have gone in so many directions. We chose iconic, energetic and classic, or that was our intention. The photos were shot by Jered Scott and the design was done by Seth, Jeremy and Bret from the 805collective. I’ve collaborated with Jered Scott on a lot of artwork projects because photos can really swing album art in whatever direction you wish. It’s been a good process. With music, you have to dip your hands into so many other mediums, such as photography, video/film, graphic design, paint, other forms of visual art, business, marketing, tech trends, pop culture, the world wide web, actual geography, accounting, or you can choose to ignore it all!
What format/s was Plans Within Plans released on and did you offer any special packages?
Not every release is created equal. But all full-lengths or serious releases come in CD/vinyl LP/digital, and that includes our latest album, Plans Within Plans. Our first album, Pokinatcha, was just released on vinyl. It’s got a double gatefold cover, fully redesigned, and comes with two records: side 1,2,3 and 4.
Who was PWP released through?
It’s out now: http://www.amazon.com/Plans-Within-MxPx/dp/B0073K974K/ We put it out with a bunch of indie labels, but mainly through our own imprint, Rock City Recordings. DIY is the way to go these days.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
I have my own full studio in Bremerton, Washington, within a few miles of my house. We call it MTS, which is for Monkey Trench Studios. My commute is really easy.
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
I chose to produce and engineer the record myself. Not that I’m such a badass producer, but I’ve made enough MXPX records to know what I want.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
I have many different directions my mind is usually headed! But yeah, with MXPX, it’s a few simple criteria: fast, catchy, energetic and positive.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
I usually don’t listen to music when I’m writing — for that very reason. I just go with what my mind is grabbing onto. I do read a lot of novels about dirtbags. That helps get me inspired.
Were there any albums you were referencing to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
I was going for simple, straightforward and powerful. It’s only rock and roll, but I like it.
How long did you spend in the studio recording?
As little time as possible. Well, actually, I had the guys come in and do their parts, and I spent the rest of the time by myself, doing my parts and writing the rest of the songs. I love just creating new songs. It’s one of the best things about being a musician and recording engineer.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
More? OK. I would put the templates, like tempo and arrangement, together on my recording rig at home (the bunker) and take the scratch tracks to MTS. Yuri plays his drums to that, then Tom, then me on everything else.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
This recording process was pretty standard for MXPX, but I don’t do it quite like that for any other projects.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
I had Jack Parker (lead guitar for my other band, Tumbledown) on guitar for a song, Nick Diener and all the Swellers guys on a song called “Best of Times.” Those guys are all-around rad dudes and I love the Swellers! Wait, there’s more! Stephen Egerton is my good buddy from Descendents/ALL and he not only mixed and mastered the album, he played lead guitar on our first single, “Far Away.” So slamming! He also did the solo on the song “In the Past.” I know a lot of good drummers, and a few live right in my hometown, Bremerton. Harley Trotland (Tumbledown) and Greg Bennett (part-time engineer at MTS) both played some percussion tracks on multiple songs.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
Lots of different guitars, amps and pedals, but nothing too crazy.
Any memorable studio moments?
There’s been so many, but usually the most satisfying moments in the studio are when you get the final mixes back and have a first listen to the songs you’ve slaved over!
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
There’s always a few tracks that don’t make it on and those are usually the favorites. People want what they can’t have!
What track/s do you love playing live?
My favorite track is “Screw Loose,” and we’ve been playing that live. Also, we just released it as a single on vinyl. Check out the MXPX.com store for more information on all releases.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
Anything else you want to say or about the release?
Each album or group of songs is like having a child. You cultivate them and make them grow. Plans Within Plans is no different. It’s alive and kicking.
Metropolis Touring, Tombowler and A Thousand Hills Present
6th – The Zoo, Brisbane [18+] w/ Burning Brooklyn, Love Hate Rebellion and Spuhtnik.
7th – Manning Bar, Sydney [18+] w/ Nerlinger, Batfoot! and Seek The Silence.
8th – Fowlers Live, Adelaide [18+] w/ TBA
9th – Forest Edge Festival, Melbourne [Details]
10th – Corner Hotel, Melbourne [18+] w/ The Playbook, Reckless Fools and Up & Atom.
—> Tickets available now.
—> For more information, visit [Here]