In 2007, Derek Sanders and his Mayday Parade bandmates could be found canvassing the Van’s Warped Tour with posters and CDs. Their debut studio album, A Lesson in Romantics, had just dropped and Mayday Parade was intent on making a name for themselves.
“We would just practice every day because none of us had jobs or school or any big commitments in our lives. We had all these sorts of goals of writing new music and recording it, but none of us had money. So we followed the Warped Tour to sell these EPs that we got pressed. We knew we had to put in the work because the labels weren’t just going to come to us,” explains Sanders.
The band’s persistence paid off in 2008 when they joined the Warped Tour and played alongside All Time Low, The Maine, and Every Avenue. That same year, the band recorded their second album, Anywhere But Here, and signed with major music label Atlantic Records. Under new management, Mayday Parade began clawing their way into the mainstream music scene. In 2011, following the release of their EP, Valdosta, and the drop of their self-titled album, Mayday Parade, the band was recognized by Songkick as the hardest-working band of 2010. With 194 bookings and 74,000 miles logged in the year , the designation was well earned. For comparison’s sake, Willie Nelson and Lady Gaga were ranked No. 7 and No. 8 by Songkick.
“We knew going into this that if we treated the band like a hobby, that’s all it would ever be. But I think all of us wanted to take our music as far as we could,” says Sanders.
In the past 16 years, Sanders and his bandmates have surpassed all expectations. Between creating seven studio albums, each reaffirming the band’s musical genius, and extensive touring, Mayday Parade has cemented themselves as pop-rock mainstays.
“We just try and go all out at every show and give as much energy as we can. And we all genuinely have a great time performing music and playing shows. I think that our fans kind of feed off that energy and give it right back to use. That special relationship is something that has kept us going for so long,” says Sanders.
Although the band has circumvented the world multiple times while on tour, Sanders says that Alaska is one of his favorite places to play.
“The first time that we played Alaska was in 2008 at the State Fair, and I’ve told many people that out of all of the shows we’ve played, and all the countries we’ve been to, that trip to Alaska was one of my top five favorite experiences. We got to meet and make friends with Alaskans and see glaciers. So it was a particularly epic trip,” explains Sanders.
Unfortunately, due to COVID precautions, Mayday Parade won’t be able to interact with Alaska as they had hoped.
“Things can’t really go all the way back to the way they were pre-pandemic, and we’re not able to go out after shows and talk to people and interact in the same way that we used to. We have to make sure that we don’t get COVID again because that can take us away from touring for several weeks,” explains Sanders. “All these precautions we have to put into place are kind of a bummer. But it’s just amazing to be able to be back playing live music again.”
While Alaskan fans won’t have an opportunity to interact with the band after the show, Sanders says that they are doing everything they can to make it a memorable concert.
“We’re going to be playing songs from our whole catalog, including some of our deeper cuts. Of course, we’ll be playing all of our bangers, too. We’re just so stoked to be on the road again that we have even more energy than we used,” says Sanders.
Mayday Parade joins Taking Back Sunday and local band Bad Friday for a rock supershow on Saturday, May 21 at Williwaw Social (609 F St). Doors for this 16+ show are at 5pm and tickets are available at EventBrite.com.