Interview: Madina Lake

“We haven’t played or even been a band for five years or something,” Nathan Leone states. Talking before Madina Lake’s first performance at Slam Dunk, the excitement that surrounds the group’s return is at an all time high. “It’s been great knowing we had Slam Dunk,” the frontman enthuses. “It’s a festival atmosphere; you can run into a bunch of friends in other bands… It’s incredible. It’s like being back from the dead or something.”

Ten years on from the release of their celebrated debut, and four years on from their last performance together back in 2013, the enthusiasm that greets the group as they take to the stage is second to none. “It’s insane!” Nathan exclaims. “I had no idea what to expect. Since we have not been a band, we really entered a totally different life. It could not have been more of an opposite life to what I have at home.”

Jumping around on stage, diving into the crowd, with fans screaming along to every lyric, it feels like barely a moment has passed since the group were last together on stage, let alone four years. So what exactly have Madina Lake been up to during their time apart? “Mateo [Camargo] moved to Los Angeles, where I am. We’ve been writing music for TV and films,” Nathan details. “We just did a trailer for the new Pirates Of The Caribbean film. It’s amazing.”

“He and I have been writing partners for fifteen years or something,” the frontman continues. “We started writing pop songs for other artists, doing co-writes for them, and that was amazing. We went from pop to film and TV. It’s like a completely different animal. Coming back almost full circle to write with Madina again has been amazing. That’s obviously what really moves us.”

It’s what moves their audience too, drawing fans from around the world together in celebration of the music they love. “Last night I met a couple of girls from Germany who said they’d drove 20 hours to be at the show. I can’t tell you what that feels like. We are so grateful,” Nathan expresses. “It feels like we didn’t skip a beat or something,” he marvels. “I credit that to the amazing grace of the kids that support our band. The second we got on stage, it was like all of our best friends were right back in the room. It felt magical.”

It’s a magic the band have always been celebrated for creating. From the immersive energy of their live shows through the enchanting world and narrative they constructed over the course of three albums, Madina Lake have always been about diving headfirst into the moment and celebrating the here and now. Commemorating a decade of their debut album ‘From Them, Through Us, To You’, and ten years of mutual adoration with a fanbase who never stopped supporting them, that’s exactly what the band are here for.

But it’s not all they have in store. “We’re working on the next batch of songs,” Nathan states, excitedly. “We were going to just do one or two, then that became four or five, then we just kept going.” Diving headfirst into their creativity, Madina Lake are back, and it seems that they’re here to stay. “We currently have I think seven tracks. Maybe there’ll be a full record after all,” the frontman teases.

While the way this new music will arrive is still being debated, the group’s enthusiasm for what they’ve created is unmistakable. “The first track we did is like eight minutes. It’s very self-indulgent,” Nathan laughs. “It’s all over the place. It’s like a little journey. Now we’ve circled back and the latest that we’re writing is coming out very much like the ‘From Them, Through Us, To You’ phase. I love how things are coming out now. It feels good. I think that’s what we’re going to stick with.”

With a tentative target of Autumn for new music (“September or October?” Nathan indicates), and rumours of this becoming an annual event, Madina Lake are as strong now as they ever have been. “Like I said, we had no idea what to expect,” Nathan expresses. “I’m loving this, every moment of it. If we have the ability to do it, if people are interested enough once a year, I would be all for it.”

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