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Who would have guessed that one of the biggest bands of the mid-2000s would be a violin-wielding rock band? Yellowcard seemingly defied the odds and has gone on to rack up numerous hit songs and multi-platinum albums. After going on a two-year hiatus to recuperate, Yellowcard has returned with a new album, "When You’re Done Thinking, Say Yes," and are rolling into Tempe April 11.

The State Press spoke with Sean Mackin, Yellowcard’s energetic violinist, about the new record, touring again and Arizona’s blistering heat.

The State Press: You guys have been on hiatus for a bit. What have you been up to in your downtime?

Sean Mackin: Well, big thing for me was that I got married. After six years of dating we finally settled down and I’m just enjoying married life. After working and touring 300+ days a year, it’s nice to be able to buy a house and just relax. Other than that we’ve just been working on this new Yellowcard record.

SP: It’s been 2 years since you’ve been playing music together. What do you think has changed the most about music today and what has helped you reconnect with your fans?

SM: For trends in music, fewer records are being sold these days so other music outlets are very important. We have to be realistic about how music works these days. We’ve used our forum on our website as well as Facebook and Twitter pages to answer fans questions and keep everyone updated on what we’re up to.

SP: How have your goals changed as a band from what they were before?

SM: We’ve always [striven] for longevity as a band. Always trying to do something different. For me, I’ve been able to travel to more places than I ever thought I would. As long as we are able to keep playing shows and making records we are very happy.

SP: Can you describe the writing process for your latest album?

SM: With Yellowcard, it’s always been a natural process. We’re all old friends and just play well together. Taking two years off gave us time to rest and inspiration. It’s a little different now because we live in different places but with old friends we can just jump back to where we left off. Nothing was forced or premeditated.

SP: Yellowcard was on Capitol Records but has moved to Hopeless Records, which is a smaller label. What drew you to Hopeless?

SM: It was the best fit for us as a band. We’re like all the bands on Hopeless Records, too. We’re still close with people at Capitol but Hopeless lets us do what we want to do. For them to focus on us and really support our vision is a great thing. You really can’t ask for anything more.

SP: You guys come from a lot of different backgrounds. Can you elaborate on some of the bands influences?

SM: We’re a pretty diverse group. Because of the violin, I have a classical music background but Ryan (Yellowcard’s lead singer) and I really enjoy singer/songwriter stuff as well as very fast punk music. Our drummer, Longineu “LP” Parsons, is an amazing jazz drummer as well. It’s all over the place.

SP: What song on the new album stands out to you the most?

SM: “Sing For Me” is the biggest departure for us as a band. It’s this big ballad that lyrically and sonically goes in a different direction than other Yellowcard tracks.

SP: You’ve started this tour by playing in foreign countries before you’ve even played in the US. How has that been?

SM: It’s been amazing! We’ve played the Philippines, Finland, Russia, and a a bunch of places we’ve never been to. It’s nice getting back into the swing of things, especially playing with our friends in All Time Low. We’ve just been playing shows and having cook outs with the guys. It’s been the best time being on tour.

SP: Any headline dates on the horizon?

SM: Of course. It’s hard cramming songs into a 40 minute set so we’re excited to headline. I think around June-July we’ll get some full shows and definitely a tour in the fall.

SP: Do you have any funny or memorable stories from touring in Arizona?

SM: We were on Warped Tour a few years ago playing in Phoenix. While we were playing, I looked over at the thermostat across the way and it read 135 degrees. I can never get over how freaking hot it gets in Arizona!

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