Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade to Release Solo EP

Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade will be releasing his first solo EP, My Rock and Roll Heart, on February 14th via Rise Records/BMG. The EP will be comprised of five stripped-back covers of songs from Jimmy Eat World, Something Corporate, Saves The Day, The Juliana Theory, and local Tallahassee band, Goodbye Love.

Today he’s released a cover of Jimmy Eat World’s “A Praise Chorus.”

Derek Sanders has a close connection with Valentine’s Day. As a present for his wife in 2017, he recorded a cover of the song “But Lauren,” originally by the Tallahassee-based band Goodbye Love. Sanders, the long-adored frontman for pop-punk act Mayday Parade, thought it would make for an excellent Valentine’s Day gift, considering he and his wife had been listening to the song since they were both in high school—as well as the fact that she shares the song’s namesake.

“I really only intended for her to hear it,” remembers Sanders. “…But it snowballed from there.”

Now, Sanders has put together his first solo EP titled My Rock and Roll Heart, releasing February 14 on Rise Records. Made up of five stripped-back covers, the acoustic EP acts as a snapshot of songs that inspired him to be a musician in the first place. The tracklist is all music that he loved as a teenager, anchored by the “But Lauren” gift.

Goodbye Love was the brainchild of Mike Hanson. He had been in several bands in Tallahassee throughout the years, including a hardcore band that got Sanders’ attention as a preteen. As Sanders and Mayday Parade grew out of Tallahassee, Sanders spoke to Hanson a few times, sharing that Hanson’s songs were always a source of inspiration for him. Thus, once the “But Lauren” cover was recorded, it made sense for Sanders to get Hanson’s opinion.

“He was actually the one to say, ‘This is great, you should put this out somehow,’” says Sanders. “That was when I started thinking about what other songs would be fun to cover.”

For Sanders, it’s not only a chance to cover a song by one of his heroes, but also to expose people to the song for the first time. “Nobody is gonna know that song—this was before the internet, and Mike never really broke out of Tallahassee,” says Sanders. “It’s such a shame his music never had a chance to do more than it did, and it’s cool that people will be able to hear it through me.”

Considering that “But Lauren” was an impactful song for him in high school, Sanders looked for other songs from that time in his life. Certain bands he knew he had to cover from the start. “All of the songs on the EP are ones I was listening to at 15 or 16 years old,” says Sanders. “I was like, ‘I gotta do a Saves The Day song, I have to do a Jimmy Eat World song.’ It was very nostalgic and really brought me back to my teenage years.”

In addition to his council from Hanson, Sanders looked to other Tallahassee natives for help on the EP. Daniel Lancaster plays in the band Stages and Stereos and happened to run into Sanders while he was in the midst of putting together the EP. “A few years ago, I played a couple acoustic shows,” says Sanders. “I played some of the potential EP songs live, and at one of the events, Daniel was playing acoustic as well. We talked about doing one of the songs together. He came out to sing ‘A Praise Chorus,’ [by Jimmy Eat World] so then when it came time to record that song, he sings the bridge and all of the harmonies.”

Despite already having a successful career in the music industry, Sanders isn’t slowing down anytime soon. “I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to be able to still make music,” he says. “When I started getting into music, I got an acoustic guitar when I was ten years old. I spent all of my time with that acoustic guitar, just learning to play and writing my first songs. I’ve been in so many bands since then, and it’s cool to go back to playing acoustic and singing—the way it all started.”

Track Listing

  1. But Lauren
  2. Rocks Tonic Juice Magic
  3. A Praise Chorus (Featuring Daniel Lancaster)
  4. Punk Rock Princess
  5. August in Bethany
Jason Tate
Jason Tate Jason Tate is the founder and editor-in-chief of chorus.fm. He can also be found at @jason_tate on Twitter and on Facebook.