Combining alternative rock with elevated lyrics, Make Yourself delved deep into the band’s psyche, splicing anger, tenderness and hope in powerhouse tracks like Pardon Me, Stellar and the anthemic Drive…
Mike: "Pardon Me was hugely transformative for our career. It opened up all kinds of doors for us, but the single came out and fell by the wayside. There were some radio stations on the East Coast that asked if we could come in and play Pardon Me acoustic and it spread like wildfire. That was what really propelled the song. Radio stations started playing the acoustic versions we recorded and the demand became so great that we ended up recording an EP of acoustic versions because we couldn’t keep up with all the stations that wanted us to come and play. That led to the album version being played and it grew in a very organic way."
Brandon: "Stellar was my experience of falling in love again and it was a very different kind of love than the love I experienced as a teenager. It felt much more expansive, hence the ‘meet me in outer space’ imagery. I was also just feeling blown away – as I continually am – by Mikey as a guitar player. He’s been fascinating me since we were little kids. We confound each other, which makes for good creative partners. We throw each other’s intuitions into the woods, then chase them down and find really cool gems as a result. He showed me that guitar riff [for Stellar] and it was so strange and like something I’d never heard before that it was quite easy to write melodies to it. It sparked any number of ideas."
Mike: "I remember recording the musical pieces of Drive at home and then sitting in a car with Brandon. He’d been spending time with it and I remember him singing the lyrics to me in the car as they appear on the album. The version we made before we recorded it properly was really the same. I could never have predicted that it was going to be a smash-hit song, but I knew that it felt special to us. It felt like an honest encapsulation of being vulnerable and I felt like people would connect with it. I connected with it."
Brandon: "A lot of those topics [in Drive] are still things I wrestle with. The song is about reckoning with fear and uncertainty and I’m still in a kind-of active dance with that, as I probably will be my entire life. Just because you write something down, put a melody to it and a bunch of people like it doesn’t mean it was a thought that was complete – it’s not as if I became enlightened around the idea of not letting fear dictate the course of my life. It was basically just a proclamation of, 'I’m doing this dance just like any of us are – here’s a pretty melody to accompany it!'"
Mike: "It was gratifying when [Drive] did connect with audiences. Pardon Me was a big deal for us, Stellar was the second song that came out and a big deal on MTV, and then when Drive came out it really pushed everything over the top. We’d already sold a million albums before Drive even came out, so when it did, it was just crazy. Drive blew it all up completely."