Band Spotlight: Mathis Arnell of MyChildren MyBride
With three Solid State Records releases under their belt, MyChildren MyBride has cemented themselves as the leader of the newly emerging metal pack. Having weighed in with their thoughts on living a vegan lifestyle and animal rights in the metal music scene, they recently loaned us drummer Mathis Arnell to discuss how to make animal rights part of your everyday life:
1. Introduce yourself! How long have you been playing with MyChildren MyBride, and how did that come about?
My name is Mathis Arnell. I’m 22, from Geneva, Switzerland, and I play drums for MyChildren MyBride (MCMB).
I started playing for MCMB about two years ago, I think. Not the most thrilling story, but I was living in Switzerland and had just finished my schooling. I had been playing in bands for years but wanted to break through to the American music scene since there wasn’t much of one to be found in Europe, especially in such a small country like Switzerland. It really was a fluke. I got in touch with Crimson Management and started talking about an open drumming position. We went back and forth for a while until they put me in touch with Robert from the band. We started talking, and given the distance, I couldn’t exactly practice with the guys, so I filmed myself playing their set. Things started rolling from there, and I ended up flying out to the U.S. to start touring with them, and it’s truly been a dream come true ever since. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot for the life I live now. But not only do I get to travel the world—I get to do it while doing what I love most: playing music. What more could I ask for?
2. What was your first introduction to peta2?
It’s hard to remember exactly, but I’ve always been familiar with PETA, even though such organizations are not as commonly heard of in Europe. But I always found that there was room for a more youth-driven animal rights group. MCMB has worked with peta2 quite a bit over the years, but it wasn’t until I started playing all the major festivals in the U.S. that I saw peta2 stands and teams everywhere. I loved the presence they had everywhere and quickly became familiar with the campaigns they were promoting. I was really impressed.
3. After becoming aware of animal rights issues, what was the first change that you made in your everyday life to help animals?
My first change, as you can probably guess, was cutting meat from my diet. When discussing vegetarianism or vegan diets with people, I can’t tell you how many times I hear, “I could never give up meat—I eat it every day,” which many people are conditioned in a way to do, and so was I. But I can’t explain how easy of a change it is once you have the right reasons to do so. I literally went from one day eating meat to the next day never touching meat again and not even thinking twice about it. I was maybe 15 or 16 at the time and was simply misinformed or rather uneducated on how meat is made. It’s easier than you think to go about life without anyone bringing up these topics and provoking your mind to actually think about it. After all, no one wants to listen to or see the horrors that go on behind the meat industry, right? But I was exposed to it one day, and it really opened my eyes. It made me intensely question whether what I was doing was right or wrong, which made it such an instantaneous transition into leaving out meat and boycotting all sorts of products and food establishments. That’s why I believe going vegetarian or vegan is such a minimal change to your lifestyle—because of how easy it is once you have the right reasons.
4. What are some of your go-to meals on tour? Is it tough to find vegan food on the road or exciting to get to discover new places?
It’s definitely hard being vegan on tour and at times even vegetarian depending on where in the world you are—or even just being healthy on tour. Life is so fast paced on the road that you barely have time to do anything, let alone go looking around for vegan restaurants. And when your day ends at 2 a.m., your options for food are pretty limited. However, when touring through places such as New York City, California, or Portland, Oregon, you actually have some amazing vegan places to choose from. You just need to look it up a little in advance and plan for it. As dumb as that may sound for one meal, that one healthy vegan or vegetarian meal makes all the difference on tour, believe it or not. It’s funny, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had gas station food for dinner on tour because there were no meatless options wherever we ended up. And if there were, it’s sad to say but a gas station was the better pick.
At times, though, we do make the effort to stop at places like Whole Foods. I don’t necessarily have go-to meals on tour, though, because there isn’t much consistency to where we eat. But I have to say I rely heavily on burritos. You can generally find them everywhere, and they’re easily made vegan. But I will also lunge at any opportunity to get tofu-, lentil-, or quinoa-based meals.
5. What advice would you give someone who’s interested in becoming more active in helping animals?
There are so many ways to help animals, but the first thing I always say is to educate yourself. It’s so vital, so important to inform yourself on animal rights so that you can educate others on the subject. Because once you become involved, it will no doubt become a topic of discussion with others. You need to be able to intelligently educate someone on what the modern-day meat industry is, in a way that will stimulate their thinking and be thought-provoking so that they can question their day-to-day eating habits or lifestyles and make choices accordingly. Because the average person is simply raised and conditioned into living a certain way without ever questioning why they live this way—it’s natural in a sense. But I believe it’s so important to understand why—why you eat meat, why you shop here or there, why you contribute to certain things. And if you never asked yourself why, then give it a go. It can easily reestablish your morals or how you view animals. And if it doesn’t, at the very least, it gives you clarity as to why you live the way you do. The reason I’m so big on educating yourself and others is because it’s probably the best way to become active in helping animals—not that contributing to animal rights organizations or anything doesn’t—but because it leads to so much more. It opens your eyes to everything that is unknown to the public—everything that you were never taught and everything that was concealed so you wouldn’t ever question it. And from there, you’ll find truth, which will lead you to take action by either leaving meat behind, signing petitions, going vegan, educating others, working with nonprofits, or anything else you can think of. There is so much you can do by simply becoming aware. Everything begins with an idea. In this case, I believe the idea is that this can be changed. And it begins with you and the people around you.