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OF MICE & MEN Drummer On AUSTIN CARLILE’s Exit: ‘We Needed To Rise To The Occasion’

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Monday, 08 May 2017
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Ryan Daniels of Kilpop conducted an interview with OF MICE & MEN vocalist/bassist Aaron Pauley and drummer Valentino Arteaga at this past weekend’s Carolina Rebellion festival at Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. You can now watch the chat below.

OF MICE & MEN last month released a surprise new single and video called “Unbreakable”. The song is the new material from the Orange County metalcore outfit since the departure of longtime singer Austin Carlile. Handling lead vocals in the group now is Pauley.

Speaking about Carlile‘s departure, Aaron told Kilpop: “For us, this is something that’s been… A few months before the public knew about it, we knew about it. But it’s just been awesome to be out playing shows again with our brothers. We’re down a guy, but at the same time, it’s awesome to see our fans kind of hugely supportive of everything.”

He continued: “I took over a lot of the lead kind of screaming stuff, and then Alan [Ashby, guitar] stepped up also too. And everybody’s really stepped up to kind of ensure that when we continue this on as a four-piece that we can still bring an OF MICE & MEN show, an OF MICE & MEN performance to people.”

Asked if there was a time, after Carlile‘s exit, when the remaining members of OF MICE & MEN had to ask themselves if they should carry on a band, Valentino said: “For sure. It’ something that we all kind of thought about. When that was happening, obviously, Austin‘s health issues have been no secret to the public or anything like that, and we’ve always known, because being in a band is like being in a family. We’re a traveling circus also, and things are crazy all the time. Towards the end of that tour, it was, unfortunately, getting more difficult, and we all kind of had the talk together, because, of course, we had to talk together, and he kind of let us know what was going on. And, of course, we knew and we supported him, because that’s what we kind of have to do and because it’s for the best of his health. And so we didn’t necessarily know what we were gonna do, and we didn’t know if it would be right to… There would never be a replacement, so we would never want there to be some sort of public thing of, like, this person filling in or whatever.”

He continued: “We needed to rise to the occasion, because that’s what he would have wanted. He’s excited about the music. This is what he wanted us to do, and it’s what we’ve always wanted do and it’s what OF MICE & MEN has always done. The best-laid plans of OF MICE & MEN often go awry. You never get to dictate how your future is, but all you can do is just roll with the punches and kind of figure out what feels right in your heart and what feels right in what you wanna do. And that’s what OF MICE & MEN has always been: in the face of adversity, rise up. Don’t be afraid; be unbreakable. That’s what the OF MICE & MEN spirit is, and that’s what this band has been built on since day one.”

Carlile announced his departure from OF MICE & MEN last December. Although his exit was initially believed to have been caused by the fact that he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic tissue disorder, he has since revealed that a feud with his former bandmates might have contributed to the split.

OF MICE & MEN‘s latest album, “Cold World”, came out in 2016.

Photo credit: Lindsey Byrnes

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