Jake Bundrick with Mayday Parade
The group’s longtime drummer hits the road for a European trek in support of the band’s latest release.
This past June 15, the alternative pop-punk group Mayday Parade released Sunnyland, the band’s sixth full-length since their formation in 2005. A run on the final edition of the long-running summer Warped Tour festival followed, along with a headlining fall tour in support of the effort. Now, after taking a brief winter break, Mayday Parade is heading back out for a European trek that lasts through the end of February.
Jake Bundrick, Mayday Parade’s founding drummer, says that though he follows the songs’ basic structures, he’s also “switched a lot of the parts up. Luckily, my band doesn’t mind. I’ve just learned so much, and I always try to challenge myself by adding ideas into our set. I don’t really play double bass on records much, but I’ll add it tastefully live if I feel it. Again, I only add what the band will allow. If you don’t, that’s a good way to get yelled at or fired.”
Back in the studio, Bundrick is also highly engaged with his bandmates’ needs—as well as those of the producer. “Everyone in the band writes, and we tend to hash out the songs in the studio with a producer,” Bundrick says. “Technology has grown so much that now our demos pretty much sound like the real deal. So you don’t really have to play together to hear it, and you can make quick adjustments to the music without playing live together. Also, you have to know when you’re needed and know when to just listen. Often we’ll lean on the producer to hash out an idea on a track with one of the guys first before critiquing. That’s what producers are there for, so you need to trust them.”
None of this is to suggest Bundrick doesn’t get to outright shred on Sunnyland. On “It’s Hard to Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerated by Bolts of Lightning,” Bundrick launches into an explosive tom groove during the second verse before transitioning into the chorus with a blazing fill that’s as bold as the song’s title. “That moment in the second verse was inspired by Steve Kleisath [of Further Seems Forever],” Bundrick says. “I grew up studying his playing for years. And part of that fill where it’s heavy triplets was also inspired by Burke Thomas [of Vendetta Red]. It’s also very John Bohnam–esque, in my opinion. I like to view it as a fraction system of 2/1, where there are two strokes in the hands followed by one kick note in triplets. Then I move that around the kit.”
Live, Bundrick’s rapid bass drum flourishes shine as precisely as they do on Mayday Parade’s polished recordings—the result of the drummer’s strict approach to practicing with a metronome. “I [do that] to make sure I know where I am in the learning process,” he says. “One exercise is to start with another 1/1 fraction—one stroke in the hand followed by one kick. Set a metronome at a comfortable speed, and play 8th notes on the snare with your dominant hand, and then add 16th-note bass drum notes in between each snare stroke. Then work your way around the kit on different drums. Then only use your left hand. Once that’s down, repeat the entire process with triplets and 16th notes. Eventually the goal is to freely switch between dominant and nondominant hands around the kit. Prepare for your calves to burn.”
Considering the group’s long run and rigorous tours, Bundrick reflects on what it still means for him to get onstage during long stretches. “It’s the best part of the day for me, and it’s definitely something I never take for granted,” he says. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m humbled to be in this position. It just took finding the right group to make it happen.”
Jake Bundrick endorses SJC drums, Zildjian cymbals, Vater drumsticks, Evans drumheads, DW hardware, Telefunken mics, and 64 Audio in-ear monitors.
Also on the Road
Stanton Moore with Galactic /// Rob Wolfe with Enter Shikari /// Blake Richardson with Between the Buried and Me /// Greg Clifford with White Denim /// Matt St. Jean with Astronoid /// Tommy Clufetos with Ozzy Osbourne /// Jay Postones with Tesseract