THE PV Q&A: Electric Century's Mikey Way on the Band's Mentality: "you know what you’re comfortable with so you don’t blindly run into situations anymore when you’re a little older"

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By Josh Chesler

It’s been about four years since Electric Century laid down the tracks of For the Night to Control. It happened to be not long after My Chemical Romance broke up, leaving the band’s bassist free to team up with former Sleep Station and New London Fire frontman David Debiak for the electronic duo they’d talked about forming for years. But after the duo’s first full-length released as a limited edition CD included in an issue of Kerrang! Magazine, For the Night to Control never really saw a wider release.

Now, the multi-instrumental gloomy electro-pop duo are ready to give the record a proper release (both on vinyl and digitally) before preparing to take the next steps in their current project’s life. We caught up with Debiak and Way just as they’re gearing up to release For the Night to Control to talk about the new (old) record and how different starting a band from scratch is these days compared to their first times around.

PUREVOLUME: What’s it feel like to finally have a real release of For the Night to Control after having created it so long ago?
MIKEY WAY: It’s weird because this album is so old. We’ve been living with these songs since 2013, so it’s been a while. It’s a weight off of our shoulders really. The more I listen to it, the more I love it. We’re finally getting to share that with the people who didn’t buy the issue of Kerrang! It’s going to be really cool, and it’s something that we’re super proud of. It deserves to be heard.
DAVID DEBIAK: I’m just excited to get this thing especially out there on vinyl. We’re looking forward to signing a few of these and getting them out there. For me, just being able to hold it in my hands and put it on the record player has been a dream come true. That’s something I can’t wait to share with the rest of the world.
PV: What did it feel like for you guys to start a new band as adults after building up so much experience with your other projects?
DD: I’ve been working with New London Fire for about 10 years, and Mikey was originally supposed to be a part of that. We were supposed to do that together, but he got sidetracked with a My Chem record to support. We just kind of put it off for a while, but we knew automatically what this was going to be once we reconvened on it. We both always knew the day would come when we’d get the chance to do it.
MW: We’re both really experienced, so we know what makes us comfortable. As far as what the project is at this point, we’ve done it on our terms, which is really great. Having experience, you know what you’re comfortable with so you don’t blindly run into situations anymore when you’re a little older.
PV: So then it sounds like you two were pretty excited to get going with Electric Century after spending the last 15-20 years working on other bands...
MW: I feel like the whole “starting from square one” thing is exciting. There’s something magical about it that you lose after years of doing something. You kind of take things for granted and forget things, so it’s cool to be able to pull everything back. It’s like pulling the camera back, and it all comes back to “Oh, I love music!” It makes you remember that you love music and that’s why you make songs.
DD: I think what’s been most fun is that recently we’ve started the process of thumbing through songs for our next record, and it just feels so familiar and fresh and exciting that it’s kind of how we felt when we were going through the process of writing and recording For the Night to Control. We were just totally excited about it.

PV: Electric Century isn’t exactly what a lot of people would probably expect from two guys who are mostly known for their work in the rock world. What was that like to jump into such a different electronic sound compared to what you’ve previously done?
DD: For me, it was totally exciting. The one guy we always mention is D. James Goodwin, who’s a producer on the record and probably like the third member of the band. We kind of just relayed what we wanted this thing to sound like, and he was able to capture it and bring us into that world. The more we got into recording this record, the more we both realized we were doing something we hadn’t really done before. It felt really good.
MW: Me and my brother were heavily into Britpop in the mid-’90s. I think Britpop for me probably has as much to do with my teen years as rock ‘n’ roll. I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t at least think about Oasis or listen to Oasis. It’s something that was always permeating in both of us. We just love the genre, and there’s nothing stopping you from doing it. The beauty of the world today is that you can literally record something or write something and put it out whenever you feel like it because of the internet.
PV: How has the reaction been from fans of your former bands to the new Electric Century material? Obviously it’s not the same, but have you seen a lot of crossover from the crowd who loved My Chemical Romance, Sleep Station, and/or New London Fire?
MW: I run into kids in everyday life, and they’re rock kids but they love Electric Century. I guess there’s a commonality with the melodies maybe, or maybe kids are just more eclectic nowadays where this isn’t out of the realm of what a kid who liked My Chemical Romance would also enjoy. I feel like people’s palates are more broad now. It didn’t used to be that way. It used to be that kids would be like “Oh, I only like this…” It used to be that at a certain age of your upbringing you gravitated only to one thing, but it’s not like that anymore. It’s great.
PV: What’s the biggest difference between starting a band and putting completely new music out in 2017 as opposed to when you guys first got into the industry 15-20 years ago?
MW: The entire landscape has changed. The internet made the playing field completely even for everyone. There are all these kids who are becoming superstars, but 20 years ago — before the internet — they would’ve just been that one kid in their town who was really good at playing guitar. Now there’s a stage for everyone because of technology.

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