Out of Orlando, Fla., surges the sound of a multi-talented pop-punk group, creating music for an audience ahead of its genre’s time. Magnolia Park takes pop, rock, and punk to a new level, as open-hearted, yet hardcore artists who are fearless in acknowledging raw emotion, human heartache, struggle, and grief through electric, resonating music.
Blending their love for artistry in creative collaboration, Jared Kay, Josh Roberts, Freddie Criales, Joe Horsham, and Tristan Torres come straight from making a name for themselves in the Orlando music scene to releasing their brand new single, “Love Me,” featuring Sleeping With Sirens’s Kellin Quinn. Following their latest 2020 releases, including “Sick of It All, “Sunburst,” and “Houdini,” “Love Me” showcases the band’s creative flow through telling the story of feeling trapped and trying to escape the confinements of a toxic relationship. Head-banging rhythm paired with the intelligent use of rock drums and electric guitars fuel the energy behind Josh’s vocals and the band’s ability to capture anxious moments of heartache and longing through an insanely infectious punk sound.
Music goes beyond creating, however, as the band are also champions for equality and diversity in the pop-punk genre, unafraid to speak about social issues regarding human rights, inclusivity, and fairness, as it only means to stick up for what’s good. Their open support for fellow POC-fronted punk bands in the genre screams volumes in an industry that is meant to be divisive and competitive. For Magnolia Park, pop-punk is activism and expression, more than just making music. Pop-punk is home. Pop-punk is family. Pop-punk is embracing your true self and moving forward with it without shame. Magnolia Park is everything pop-punk needs to be today, and there’s no question of hearing their revolutionary motives through their music.
Bands like New Found Glory and A Day to Remember also came out of Florida, but to the average listener, Orlando isn’t typically the spot for punk music, but here you guys are. Can you tell us about the pop-punk scene in Florida? What about it inspired you to make music?
Josh: I think the pop-punk scene here in Florida is something special. You have a lot of hidden gems here, and when you hear them you wouldn’t believe this is where they’re from. Florida is also very welcoming when it comes to pop-punk and we can’t wait for shows to come back and bring the Florida family back together under one roof.
Magnolia Park has recently come onto the music scene as a band, yet you all individually have spent years in music. What’s it like for you as a band to put your personalities together and collaborate in that sense?
Josh: It’s sometimes challenging but always exciting. We get to hear different ideas that we wouldn’t think about all the time because of the different backgrounds and that leads to the sound we’re creating now. I think, in the beginning, it was challenging but now it’s bringing this new wave of just authentic creativity.
What was it like working with Kellin Quinn on your new song, “Love Me?”
Josh: Working with Kellin was very surreal for us. I know Josh especially because he listened to Kellin so much even back in his old days when he sang for Closer 2 Closure. He’s definitely a great person and we’d love to work with him again. Who knows, maybe a “King For a Day Part Two” or “A Trophy Father’s Trophy Son Part Two.”
“Love Me” has a techno-modern-electronic element to it with heavy guitars and drums. It’s very Sleeping With Sirens, yet still Magnolia Park. Can you talk about the process of developing that sound together?
Jared: All of us are big fans of Bring Me the Horizon, Sleep Token, and Machine Gun Kelly, who are great at writing songs with heavy-hitting live instruments with electric backing sounds. We wanted to take a shot using that idea and “Love Me” was the result.
Why do you want someone to pretend to love you?
Jared: “Love Me” is about someone’s experience being stuck in an abusive relationship and unable to leave. The line is meant to portray how when someone loves another who is abusing them they just want them to “pretend to love.” It’s hard to leave someone you love, but if they pretend to care for you then you can pretend everything is okay. It’s a very dark yet relatable statement for those trying to escape an abusive situation.
Let’s backtrack to another single you’ve released this year with a much heavier sound. “Houdini” is sonically so different from a song like “Love Me.” Would you say that song tailors more to your hard rock, punk roots?
Freddie: “Houdini” definitely tailors to our hard rock and punk roots. We wanted to create a spooky song you can head-bang too while you trick or treat.
For a lot of traditional hardcore, pop-punk fans, so many are attached to the idea that “pop-punk” can only ever be for bands like Green Day, or that the words and genres of “pop” and “punk” shouldn’t even be mixed. Do you have an opinion on that?
Why did you choose pop-punk as the musical pathway to follow for Magnolia Park?
Freddie: We’ve all been in other bands, whether it’s metal, straight pop or post-hardcore. It always comes back to the genre that made us love music in the first place. So pop-punk is home in a way.
“Sunburst” is a song that plays off a pop-music vibe. It’s mellow but it’s got that acoustic guitar and edgy lyrics. It’s very Blink-182. Can you talk about how you approach songs like this one when it comes to crafting a more pop-sounding track?
Freddie: I love how you pointed out that it reminds you of Blink-182 because we modeled the drumbeat from, “I Miss You.” We just wanted a vibe you can share while kissing your special person. We just thought about nice things like violets, lasagna, and Jennifer Aniston.
Who are some of the bands that influenced you when growing up? Do you still implement them in your music today?
Jared: Definitely. Linkin Park, Movements, Neck Deep, Mayday Parade, Blink-182, Relient K, Sum 41, Silverstein … We write songs that are meant to bring back the nostalgia of the early 2000s sound.
What do you hope people take away from your music?
Freddie: We just want to make music to help people get through their day. Whether you lost your job to COVID, are going through a bad breakup, or in an abusive situation, we want our listeners to know that one day, things will get better, that you are strong, and your feelings are valid. And that our music can give you comfort on your worst days.