Valentino Arteaga of Of Mice & Men (US) on Cold World and their December Australian tour!

Since bursting onto the scene with their self-titled debut album in 2010, Of Mice & Men have charged to the forefront of the metalcore genre, as well as commanding the emergence of a new metal insurrection. Their fourth studio album, Cold World, released on September 9th, marks a new era for the band, dripping with heavy riffs, brutal vocals and their trademark melodies. We caught up with drummer Valentino Arteaga, as he decompressed between touring with Slipknot, releasing a new album, and kicking off on a global headline tour.

“We’re really pumped. It’s been long overdue; we’ve been working on this album a long time, and we’re really proud of it… we put all of our blood, sweat and tears into it.” You can practically hear Valentino grinning over the phone, as he discusses the release of Cold World. “With this album, we definitely dipped into a lot of the things that we felt made OM&M what it was. We tried to give it a fresh new look… something that was exciting for us and at the same time, we knew our fans could get into as well.”

“When we create music, we like to think of it as an overall piece,” he reflects on working on the sound of Cold World. “Some of the influence from earlier albums was there. We listened to our fans in a lot of ways … so there’s parts that sound like The Flood, and there’s parts that sound like Of Mice & Men 2016, but at the end of the day, that’s what [our sound] is like.”

There’s been definite comparisons of the new album to earlier tracks from the band, and Valentino acknowledges them in the creative process. “Those songs are there; we’re not going to write the same song again. But we use some of the influence from those songs, and from other places … to write new music that challenges us as well. That’s the whole point of it, constant elevation. Always trying to better yourself. In a lot of ways, being a musician, that’s what it’s all about; it’s a life-long journey of creating music.”

This is their third release working with producer David Bendeth [Paramore, Breaking Benjamin]; “Getting him to work on this album was absolutely essential for this album to be what it is… when you make music and its coming from the heart, and you’re putting everything out there, it’s like… man. You just hope it’ll see the light of day. He really helped us, kind of mentored us, opened our eyes to a lot of things musically. He kind of understood us as people, and then worked around our strengths, and even some of our weaknesses, to push and turn them into strengths.”

“I think in many ways, creating records is more of a learning process,” he says. “I can kind of relate it to school, it’s not always super fun. There’s a lot of work that goes into it. When you’re jamming and working on your tunes, it’s all fun and sounds good, but when you get under the microscope of the studio and you want to make an album that is going to, essentially, last as long as music lasts. [David] really got into our heads about stuff like that and made us realise that as musicians and as artists, we really need to take things seriously. Not that we weren’t before, but serious in the sense that we really needed to think about song writing and the way that the music is going to be heard; the way that people are going to listen to it.”

“Our earlier records, which are more of a metalcore sound – very thrashy – [David] helped us find a way to speak in a language that wasn’t just that.” Valentino explains. “Because we can do that fine, that’s our strong point – we’ve got albums full of that stuff. That’s something that will forever be a part of OM&M. But it’s about going into new music, trying new things, seeing what your fans want to hear, and what you want to be playing, and how important is this to you… he really helps with that. We’re trying to reinvent our heavy sound, trying to trace new landscape musically.”

Valentino and the band remain humble, and inherently attached to their love of creating and sharing music. “We put a couple of singles out and we’re stoked that there’s been so many positive reviews, [but] for us, we’re just happy that we get to make the music. We found the sound, and we’re continuing to find our sound with every album – as progressive people and as musicians.”

“Pain”, the single released concurrent to their announcement of Cold World, features vocalist Austin Carlile absolutely tearing it up in the film clip. It’s an uncomfortable foray into pain as part of the human condition, relevant to recent heart surgery and associated complications of Carlile’s genetic condition, Marfan syndrome. “That video was kind of a culmination of that… the idea of the lyrics and video and everything, it all kind of came together at the same time. It really was a comment on himself personally, as well as the things that we all go through physically or mentally from tour. Or, you know, anybody in the world.”

“He felt like a song like that is important, because people need to pay attention and realise that there is a lot of pain going on, whether you see it or not,” he explains. “I love that the video [for “Pain”] is so shocking… you’re going to feel something. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with our music, is we want you to feel it. There has to be some kind of connection, that’s more than just face value. There’s so many songs on the album that will push the boundaries further.”

It’s not just the sound that has developed, but the interplay between vocalist Austin, and vocalist/bassist Aaron Pauley. “What’s awesome is [they] have found a really great balance between their voices… they really nailed it – working together, writing songs. One of my favourite songs on the record is the last song, ‘Transfigured’; that’s the perfect harmony of Austin and Aaron singing together.” He gushes over the vocalists stepping up their game, and the versatility it’s afforded the band. “There’s a lot of songs that are super heavy and feature both of them. Aaron is one hell of a screamer, and they go back and forth on certain songs too… on this album it was more organic, and together, and thought of in unison.”

OM&M are returning to Australia at the end of the year, and will certainly provide a show you can’t afford to miss. “We’re coming with A Day To Remember, [they] are our bros. It’s going to be seriously pandemonium, I hope everyone’s ready out there because us and them haven’t toured together in a while and we’re pulling out all the stops. It’s going to be A Night to Remember… and Men.”

Cold World is out now, through Rise Records, and metalcore fans need to check this one out. Of Mice & Men will be on Australian shores in December.


December 10th | Red Hill Auditorium, PERTH
December 13th | Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre
December 14th | Festival Hall, MELBOURNE
December 16th | Hordern Pavilion, SYDNEY
December 18th | Riverstage, BRISBANE


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