Word on the street is that Yellowcard is coming to town this month. It’s been 10 years since their breakout single “Ocean Avenue” was released and launched the Florida based pop-punk band to commercial success all over the country.
The Eagle couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to exchange some words with the band and engage in a long, in-depth interview with Sean Mackin, Yellowcard’s violinist and backing vocalist.
Tam Sackman: Let’s go back to the beginning. How did Yellowcard form and what is the significance of the name Yellowcard?
Sean Mackin: Well, we were a group of friends in high school and… we kind of had a catchphrase for a party foul. This party foul term we used was “Yellowcard.” So out of this group of friends we started playing some songs and playing some shows and that was the birth of Yellowcard.
TS: Looking back, how do you feel about “Ocean Avenue” as the album that really brought you into the public eye? Is there anything that you would change?
SM: Absolutely not. I’m so fortunate to have been at a point in my life where I met the guys in Yellowcard and get to play music for a living. When I was growing up, my mom was like “Hey, you’re going to play violin. If you’re living in my house, you’re going to do it.” And I was like “Mom, I don’t want to play violin! I want to play basketball with my friends! Violin is not cool.” She was like “It’s a gift, and you’re gonna thank me for it.” And she was right. I get to play music every day with my friends and it’s amazing. Ocean Avenue is a major part of the legacy of Yellowcard. I love it and I embrace it and we’re celebrating that now on the Ocean Avenue 10 year tour.
TS: Why did you wait 10 years to release the acoustic album and why release an acoustic album at all?
SM: Well, we wanted to do something special. A lot of our songs are conceived in an acoustic fashion or with an acoustic guitar. Kind of just sitting there, f*cking around and playing songs. And so a lot of our fans have always asked about it and we wanted to do something special for our 10 year anniversary, so we worked really hard for a full studio re-release.
TS: Your most recent album is “Southern Air” (besides “Ocean Avenue Acoustic”). What’s different about your music now as opposed to how it was at the time “Ocean Avenue” was originally released?
SM: I think there are similarities. We’re still the same people, the same formula is still there, so you have a vintage Yellowcard sound. Almost everything else about our music has changed though and art mimics life. Our lives have evolved and changed, so our music may have more mature themes, a bigger sound, maybe something darker at times. But when we came out with “Southern Air,” it was really kind of a…I don’t want to say nostalgic feeling…but it was a great feeling that our singer captured after we had spent some time on the road. He had spent some time in Georgia and kind of fell in love with the idea of being at home and being where you had come from and that energy had transferred into our songs. I think you can really get a sense of the heart and soul of Yellowcard off of “Southern Air.”
TS: How do you think you’re able to keep so many lifelong fans, those who have been listening to you since the early 2000s, even before that, potentially, and now are coming to see you on tour with this acoustic album?
SM: I have no idea and I have no control over that. That’s why you’ll hear me talk about how grateful we are to have such wonderful fans that care about us. Any challenges that we go through in our lives, the fans are there. And that’s great therapy for anyone. I can’t really take credit for that. And we’re just really happy to be where Yellowcard is at right now and we want to continue doing this for a long time.
TS: So what’s the future of Yellowcard looking like?
SM: It’s looking bright! We’re always working on new material and we’re really excited to see what the future holds. This is a big, big moment for Yellowcard. A big time for us to kind of just sit back and celebrate the songs that we’ve created. We’re really enjoying the Ocean Avenue tour, and we get about four months where we can just enjoy the moment, and we’ve worked really hard on this set. If anyone’s been a fan of Yellowcard, I definitely wouldn’t miss this one.
Come out and see Sean and the rest of Yellowcard on Sept. 18 at the Fillmore Silver Spring. Tickets are still available online.