As ¡Mayday! grew and evolved from a local Miami group into an international crew signed to independent music juggernaut Strange Music, it went through a series of transformations. When crafting their fourth album for Strange Music, rappers Bernz and Wrekonize realized the dramatic shifts ¡Mayday! had endured. The pair went on internal quests for answers, which resulted in ¡Mayday!’s new LP, Search Party.
“In the beginning, the whole vibe of ¡Mayday! was that we’re on an island on our own, the island of Miami,” Bernz explains. “We eventually left the island to go to Strange and to go into the world. This is our way of looking back to see the people that were left behind, that didn’t make it up to this point in our search, which is not only the band members, but people who were left on the island when we went out on this trip, this Strange trip.”
A hallmark of ¡Mayday!’s trip has been innovation, a trend that continues with the Search Party rollout. ¡Mayday! is releasing a series of Search Party videos whose storylines are linked. One of the songs in the rollout is “Airplane Mode.” On this laid-back tune, Bernz and Wrekonize rap and sing about being weighed down by the stress of everyday life and needing space from information overload.
“Whether it’s my phone, the Internet, politics, it just seems like the noise level is super high,” Bernz details. “It think it’s important in today’s day and age to literally just turn off, log all the way off as my man Krizz Kaliko would say.”
Adds Wrekonize: “To be able to chop off the line of information for a second and just focus, breathe, relax and decompress moving forward, in like 20 years it’s going to be part of your balanced breakfast. If you don’t do it, it’s like your head’s going to explode.”
With all the busyness of modern living, ¡Mayday! knows the importance of taking control of your life. On the deliberate “DO,” Wrekonize and Bernz cut loose and detail a night on the town in their hometown of Miami, one in which they’re in control.
“Sometimes you just have to be assertive, put your foot down and say which direction you want to go,” Wrekonize explains. “Otherwise, you’ll get swept along to something you don’t really want to do.”
That type of determined and decisive action often leads to positive results. On the spunky “Better Place,” ¡Mayday! explores a related theme: how moving on from an unproductive relationship is better than letting things linger.
“‘Better Place’ is about that moment of clarity,” Wrekonize says, “the moment of acceptance to where it’s like, ‘OK. I see what it is now. I see what’s the best for you. I see what’s the best for me and really appreciating that positive moment you’ve reached.’ Some people never get to that place.”
Similarly, the uptempo “How Would You Know” features Wrekonize and Bernz examining relationships that have faded. It’s a semi-autobiographical song about the dissolution and shifting of ¡Mayday!’s lineup, but also speaks to the bigger issues of friends falling out with each other.
“What I thought about when we were writing ‘How Would You Know’ is that it’s something that everybody experiences even if you’re not in a band,” Wrekonize says. “It’s like when a relationship hits a fork in the road. You’ve got to go left and the other person has to go right. You feel that. Sometimes it’s positive. Sometimes it’s negative. You can feel left behind. I realized that when we started to attack the topic in the song that it’s about relationships at the end of the day. It’s really about maintaining your relationship and keeping the balance and keeping it healthy and communicating to one another because a lack of communication makes it so where these demons can grow.”
While “How Would You Know” details friendships lost, other parts of Search Party are decidedly upbeat. The energetic “Have Someone,” for instance, features ¡Mayday! celebrating the excitement that comes with building a new relationship, while Bernz and Wrekonize trumpet the fun that can be had when living life to the fullest on “Long Night.” The latter features a guest appearance from Tech N9ne, who demonstrates his seemingly endless creativity by approaching his performance on the cut in a distinctively clever way.
“It’s great to have somebody that’s that great of a lyricist on hand, always willing to do whatever we need,” Bernz says. “Then it’s just trying to find what would be cool that you haven’t heard him do with us yet.”
When ¡Mayday! joined the Strange Music fold in 2011, the group quickly graduated from a Southeastern sensation to a group with a national fanbase. The crew had already been delivering high-energy live shows and inventive music. With Strange’s backing, ¡Mayday! got on national tours with Tech N9ne, released three acclaimed albums and collaborated with Kendrick Lamar and Tech N9ne on Tech N9ne’s gold-certified single “Fragile.”
As ¡Mayday!’s success continued, the group went through several rocky periods and lineup changes. While living lives in flux, ¡Mayday! found the cathartic oasis it needed with the robust Search Party, which features collaborations with the group’s former members and a cadre of Miami producers.
“When we went back and listened to the album as a whole, we realized that although we didn’t set out to do it like this, the way it ended up kind of feels like a relationship album in a way,” Bernz reveals. “It’s our relationship with our friends, our music, our career choices, everything. It’s one of those examples where it kind of feels like we’re questioning where we stand among everybody and everything.”
¡Mayday! was searching for answers and closure while making Search Party. They found both, and the results are stupendous.