An Interview With This Mad Desire
One of the latest singles from This Mad Desire speaks truth and inspiration in the form of a powerful rock song that comes off incredibly relatable and real.
"Stand Up And Dream Again" is a combination of garage rock, classic rock, and more with fuzztone guitars, swelling synths, and a view point of overcoming the struggles of whatever is going on, stand up, and dream again.
With touches of 90's alt rock, the track gets more intense as it plays on and calls for you to put your fists in the air and sing along.
The video for the single is also quite empowering as you watch riots ensue and leaders speak.
The video and song both showcase the world we live in and how most anything can be handled as long as you never give up hope.
The song is about hope. An important message in our times.
Maybe it's easy for people to lose hope lately with so much happening. Maybe we needed a song like this to realize it's never too late to have hope.
This Mad Desire is known for releasing songs with major messages and not holding back a damn thing.
The band often has a political standpoint and speaks their mind about it without a muzzle.
Songs like "American Dream" are a perfect example of what we mean.
Either way, we need more bands like these guys to be there and say the things we maybe, don;t know how to say. Ot at least don;t know how to say it the way we think it.
This Mad Desire satiates that want.
The band's whole catalog of songs and videos are worth watching and jamming to as they always have something new to offer.
We had to sit down with them to talk about where this all came from and what's next for the band. Here's what happened.
TSWS: Okay so let's start with "Stand Up And Dream Again". This song has an important message and I feel that many people can use this right now. Where did this song come from?
A: Thanks! A lot of songs I write, like Operators Are Standing By or Stand Up And Dream Again, come from the title. I wanted to sing about the thrill of falling in love, seizing the moment, starting over after something has gone wrong – like the line “I try to keep my motor set to drive and crash the car while staying alive”. As I started pulling the American Dream album together, it seemed that this kind of sentiment really fit our modern times. When I put together the video, which includes lots of footage of rioting in America, I was hoping to reflect some of the outrage and confusion that I know many are feeling across pretty much the whole planet and still provide a sense of optimism. To me, it’s important to provide if not a solution than at least a spirit of hope and rejuvenation even when things seem pretty bleak. In the video, I also include plenty of footage of riots and demonstrations from the past to show that it never stops and we are always having to Stand Up And Dream Again!
TSWS: You guys have a killer rock sound and even with songs like American Dream it seems you are politically driven when writing songs. Would you say that's right? What inspires you to write songs?
A: You know, I did not really write many political songs before the Trump Administration! Even with Operators Are Standing By, the single I released just after he won the previous election, I made reference to a female President in the song. If you are trying to be honest with yourself as a songwriter, you cannot divorce yourself from the milieu of the times through which you are living, and so sure, there are songs that reference the Antifa, the Supremacists, Big Tech, etc. and of course, Alice Cooper’s Elected was specifically selected due to the fact that we were in an election cycle!
American Dream, the song, was really inspired by the Universal Basic Income movement and the shifting tides of the economy as a result of Big Tech. That said, there are also songs about love and relationships and even a party song about Iceland! Reykjavik Shuffle started almost as a challenge from Iceland’s main national daily newspaper Morgunblaðið. While promoting our dual language single/video Paris of Love/Paris Amoureux, we performed in Iceland, and in their feature on us, they joked that since I like writing songs about cities, I should write one about Reykjavik. Challenge accepted!
The song Perfect Ring has lyrics by Leonard Cohen. Initially I had been approached and asked to set this poem to music under the impression that it was the last writing of a teenage girl who had committed suicide. A few years later, I found out these words may have been the last words she wrote down but she had copied them from a Leonard Cohen book! I still love singing it.
Hopefully, in terms of lyrical content, there’s enough variety that there’s something for everyone to identify with. And the politics is not delivered in any kind of heavy-handed way. I think it’s important, especially these days, to not alienate people, but rather to keep the conversation going. There’s far too much “canceling” and so on, which only drives the wedges between people deeper, and I’d like to see us bridge those divides a lot more.
TSWS: What bands and artists influenced you guys musically?
A: I have always been attracted to songwriters like Neil Young, David Bowie, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, and Lou Reed. When I was first getting into bands in high school, I was also into Pearl Jam, Jane’s Addiction, and all the bands that were out there in the 90s. The fun thing is the people I record with and perform with all have completely different influences so it all just adds to the kaleidoscope. One day someone came up to me and said, “Mac, this song makes me think of Marilyn Manson.” Not two hours later, this other lady came up to me and said, “I want to say this song makes me think of Supertramp!” They were talking about the same song!
TSWS: How did this all start for you?
A: When I was little, I was really into KISS and that got me interested in music. Also, I have a mirroring issue with my hands whereby each hand does the same movements as the other hand. My parents noticed that I would clench my left hand while I gripped a pen or a fork and took me to a doctor. The doctor laughed and said, “Haha well he’ll never play the piano!” My mother had me in piano lessons the next day! It was actually great physical therapy. I guess it just went on from there!
TSWS: You guys are releasing singles, and videos quite often and it's an impressive creative drive you must have. What sort of advice would you have for other aspiring bands out there?
A: Since the pandemic started and live music is pretty much toast for the time being, there is more time to devote to other things. We had some success making videos for Operators Are Standing By and the twin Paris videos with a professional studio (Digital Canaries) so I knew I wanted to make more. I had never used any video software and thought I’d figure it out and come up with something that would be a unique look for the current songs.
As for advice, I would take advantage of all the free/low-cost opportunities that exist now to upgrade skills or attend music conferences to network. In some ways, this is a great forced opportunity to make sure you have your songs set up correctly for royalties, learn more about music/video production, and network online with fans and other musicians. It’s not easy out there for anyone. Hopefully, things move back to normal soon!
TSWS: What's next for you as a band?
A: The future is as in flux for us as anyone, Covid-dependent. Hopefully, we’ll get back to live music soon! In the meantime, there will be more lyric videos! The next one is for Antifa and the Supremacists –which I feel gets more timely by the second. Also I just released on streaming services the first album I ever made with my first band called Karma Repair. I put it out under This Mad Desire – Sweetness Machines (Archive Series) just to make it a bit more accessible to people as we sold out of CDs years ago. And of course, we have just released American Dream on Limited Edition Clear Vinyl so that’s been pretty exciting. Also, I’ve been writing the next album and working again with Dan Konopka (OK Go) and some other great musicians. And there is an Operators Are Standing By remix that will likely come out in spring or summer. I’m hoping to do something cool with a 45 with the original on one side and the remix on the other. This is still in development!
TSWS: Did you used to perform live often? Will you be focusing on that at all in the near future?
A: I certainly hope so! I miss the stage… I’ll likely do a couple of online events as I’m learning more about how to conduct them (from a technical standpoint). My last series of shows all had fun elements that made the shows into events (step-and-repeat booths, balloons, photographers running around, video displays) so it’s a little different to do these online things that really lack the feel of a live event. And honestly, I really miss traveling for music. It’s not just seeing real people who dance and sing along and all that. It’s also the experiences that you gain from touring that inspire songwriting. The song So What Oh Well (Cocaine in the Limo) came as a direct result of a gig in New York City, Paris of Love and Reykjavik Shuffle –obviously Paris and Reykjavik, respectively.
TSWS: The videos you design for the songs feels like a big undertaking. Do they come out how you want them to?
A: Just before I was assaulted in summer 2019 (I was attacked by a meth addict randomly on the street and beaten very severely), I started making fake protest signs based on the names of the songs and lyrics (like “Did the Russians Put You Up To This?” which is a line in Antifa) that are in these songs which I thought I could use as T-shirts and other visual elements that would accompany American Dream and be used as props in a live show or for future videos. Since there is not the live element, I have been using them in the lyric videos –which helps give them all a consistent look and feel.
I had zero experience doing any video-editing on the day I started making the Stand Up And Dream Again video, but I figured it out. (Actually I am happy to discuss this with anyone who is interested in getting into making their own lyric videos.)
Generally speaking, I am very happy with how they look and so far the feedback has been very positive!
TSWS: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans out there?
A: The best way to stay in touch is through socials and our mailing list. You can sign up at thismaddesire.net. In the meantime, stay safe and remember that We’re All Alive Together. Stay safe and spread love, kindness, and This Mad Desire!