Today’s DIY Interview is with Mark McMillon (Guitars/Vocals) from The Story Changes

1. How did you get your band name?

We got our name from an early song of ours called the War. The song carried over from my previous band and when this band came together, a friend suggested the name from the line in the song.  It just sort of stuck!

2. How did this band get started?

The two of us came up playing music in our hometown of Dayton, OH and were involved in a few other projects beforehand.  When an early version of the band wasn’t working out, my band-mate Chris or “Poppy” as we’ve nicknamed him over the years, came on board and we’ve been hitting it hard ever since.  We’ve been a band for a few years now. 

3. What bands are you influenced by?

We love a lot of the stuff that came out of the late 90’s punk and alternative scene.  Bands like Seaweed, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Jimmy Eat World are big inspirations to the two of us.

4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?

Obviously this couldn’t happen now, but I would love to have had the chance to do a run of shows with Nirvana. They put on such an amazing and energetic show that was so real. I would love to have the opportunity to watch them nightly and just learn.

5. Best food to eat on tour?

We’re both vegetarians.  Mexican, pizza, and Indian are all favorites.  Pizza Luce’ in Minneapolis is one of my favorite places to eat. I just ate there last night on tour.  

6. Why should people listen to your band?

I don’t want to force art on anyone, that’s missing the point, but if you’re into pop, alternative, and punk rock, give it a shot.  We take a different approach with our live show, being just two of us. It’s fun, the way rock and roll should be.

7. Did any of you guys think your life would turn out this way? What did your parents say about your band?

We’ve been fortunate enough to travel all over the world playing music. We’re not a big band by any means, but I never thought we would have a chance to do everything we’ve been able to do thus far, especially for the most part on our own.  We’ve worked extremely hard over the years and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do.  The two of us were lucky enough to have parents that have been super supportive over the years.  

8.Who are a few bands that you feel everyone should be listening to right now?

Into it/Over it, Polar Bear Club, Koji, Balance and Composure, Aficionado, It’s all Happening, and the Composure are all putting out great music that you need to check out!

9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?

I hate that recorded music has become so disposable in the digital age. It’s all become about buying individual songs.   I love listening to albums as a whole.  As an artist, putting out an album and putting thought into the song order, album art, packaging, etc, is such a cool way to present your music. I think some of the younger generation is missing out by just buying single tracks off of iTunes.   

10. Memorable tour experience?

Every time we drive through the Southwest U.S., it’s impossible to not be in a good mood.  The scenery and weather in Arizona, New Mexico, and California, always make for some of my favorite memories on tour. We’ve had some great shows out that way as well!

11. If someone was to check out your “Recently Played” playlist on your iTunes, what would they find?

On last night’s drive, I was listening to the new album by Samiam. It’s great!

12. What is your favorite song to play?

It varies from tour to tour, depending on the setlist, but “Constellation” is always a fun song to play live.

13. What were some of your music influences and how involved in music were you growing up?

I never was super into music growing up, it hit me a little later.  My first favorite album was Faith No More’s  Angel Dust. Nirvana was the reason I decided to buy an instrument and learn how to play.

14. What music reminds you of your childhood?

I grew up skateboarding.  When I was really young, my older brother snuck me out with him quite a bit to skate with him and his friends. They used to blast older Metallica when skating the ramps. Anytime I hear In Justice For All, it always reminds me of those days. 

15. If you weren’t in your current genre of music/position, what else would you see yourself doing? 

I’m not really sure to be honest. I would probably be working construction and hanging out in Dayton, Ohio.

16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?

It’s pretty relaxed, but usually our routine involves me running backstage or out to the van to warm my voice up quickly, then meeting up with Chris to make a quick decision on the setlist for the night. Nice and easy!

17. What is something that most fans don’t know about you?

I’m absolutely horrible at video games.  I can’t hang!

18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it’s a place where your band could flourish?

I think it’s sort of slowly dying.  The average modern rock station only plays like eighteen different songs a day on average, just looped over and over. It’s really sad. Internet radio is well on it’s way to taking over.  We’ve had a lot of luck with internet radio and I hope the support continues!  

19. What do you like to do in your spare time?

I don’t get a ton of time off these days, so I tend to just hang out at home and catch up with friends when I’m in town.  I’ve been listening to so much new music lately on my downtime. Spotify has made my life so much easier to discover new artists and listen to old favorites.

20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?

I discovered last month that I am a machine on the sand volleyball court. Never knew I had it in me!