Of Mice & Men and the struggle to join metal's big league

A photo shoot with Of Mice And Men on a black background in 2016

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO WIN A GOLDEN GOD FOR BEST LIVE BAND IN 2015?

Austin Carlile (vocals): “It felt awesome. We’ve been up for a lot of awards for random magazines and stuff, and it’s cool, but to be up for Best Live Band for Metal Hammer, that trumps them all. And the fact we actually won was really cool, and it meant a lot. We give a lot for our show, and I want people to hear our music and to hear our story, and to know who we are. A big part of that is giving your all when you’re playing, so the fact we won Best Live band was like, ‘Finally, finally, someone recognises how hard we work!’”

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR CAREER HIGHLIGHT SO FAR?

“I think, hands down, it has to be our new album, Cold World. Recording it, the process, how it came out… I just couldn’t wait for everyone to hear it. Restoring Force was exciting, but then with this record it’s a whole new step. It’s a whole new ballgame now, and we’re ready to do it.”

WHAT BANDS THROUGHOUT METAL’S HISTORY HAVE INSPIRED YOU THE MOST?

“There’s definitely a lot! One of my biggest influences is definitely A Perfect Circle, and Tool. I love Maynard James Keenan as a vocalist. I love Deftones, Coal Chamber, Snot, Filter… any music from the 90s! I’m gonna say Corey Taylor, too. Just who he is as a person, and how he’s kind of taken us under his wing, and hearing him talk about the band every night onstage [when we’ve toured with Slipknot]. He doesn’t have to say anything, but he says, ‘I’ve known Of Mice & Men for five years, and they’re on their way up, and they’re killing it, and they love doing this!’ I feel like he sees who we are, and he sees why we love doing this. I look up to these people because they’re 20 years older than me, and they’re doing what I wanna be doing in 10, 20 years. It’s so cool to see and have mentors and heroes like that who have turned into peers and friends. It blows my mind that we’re even here. It’s just rad.”

YOU’VE ALREADY COME FURTHER THAN MOST BANDS WOULD DREAM OF. WHAT’S NEXT?

“I wanna win a Grammy for Best Rock Record. I think that would be cool. Although at the end of the day, it doesn’t really mean anything, because to us this record is a great rock record! But I think my ultimate ambition would just be to keep my heart where it is and make sure the music stays the same, because that’s what means more than anything, and that’s what got us here today. It’s all about the music, and how our fans and people relate to it, and that’s something that you can’t replace. And when people do relate, that’s when people change.”

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