Not Skipping A Beat

(Photo courtesy of Biscuit Media Group)

Not Skipping A Beat
An Interview on The 2020 Experience with Mike and Shawn Cavallo of Manic Drive

By Sarah Komisky

The brotherly duo Mike and Shawn Cavallo that make up the popular band, Manic Drive, have not skipped a beat this holiday season. Literally. The artists that are known for their high energy and theatrics on stage, have not let the pandemic slow down their momentum off stage. Although each have experienced a year of joys and sorrows, gain and losses, the boys in the band are using every part of their 2020 experience for a purpose. As I sat down to talk with the band, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a new side of Manic, their candid and serious side. A side that most fans don’t get to see with their beloved humorous personalities in the forefront. In turn, here is a look at a different kind of interview as we recapped the year, signature humor sprinkled throughout. Hey, we had to! Welcome to our “Home for The Holidays” issue, Manic Drive.

Sarah: Mike and Shawn, I’m so excited to have this conversation with you guys! Thanks for chatting with me. Getting started, for those who are not familiar with Manic Drive, share a little bit about who you are and how you got your start in the music industry?

Mike & Shawn Cavallo: Hi, happy to share our story. We’re brothers and ever since a very young age, we loved music. Our father was musically inclined and inspired us to perform music incredibly young. Churches, cafes, festivals etc. over the years, our parents would take us to many concerts. Straight out of High School, we formed Manic Drive and went full time with music recording our first Album “Reason for Motion” in 2005.

Sarah: Congratulations on the release of “Vol. 1” (which will be out when this interview is published in December)! When talking about this album, it seems to be such a very real by product of your 2020 experience delivered in a very authentic way. Furthermore, I was curious to know, what did you learn about yourselves and each other in the authenticity of creating “Vol. 1?”

Mike & Shawn: Thank you. “Vol. 1” was a real honest reflection of the last year. We had started writing the new album as of late 2019, leading into the new year. We had experienced loss with the passing of our mother, and new life with a beautiful baby boy. It’s true to say these emotional experiences wove its way through the album.

Sarah: When it comes to this album, you both had a lot of downtime creating at home. Being on tour and always on the move as a band, what did this downtime mean to you both?

Mike & Shawn: As 2020 was a shock to many of us, interestingly, we didn’t really go through a “downtime.” Yes, tours halted this year and things most definitely changed, but we were already anticipating to be releasing new music, videos among other projects…Also, having a little one around takes up quite a bit of time, haha.

Sarah: The theme for our magazine this month is “Home for The Holidays.” For all of us, the holiday season looks different for many reasons, and I know that speaks to your lives as well. In turn, how are you finding meaning, purpose, and hope in this season that could otherwise be hard to find?

Mike & Shawn: We as a family are personally not going to allow ourselves to get swallowed up by the shadows of 2020. We, among millions of families love Christmas and what it really means. We encourage everyone to not get entangled with fear, instead focus on what is meaningful and purposeful in your life. Find what drives you and gives you passion in life. It’s worth living and fighting for.

Sarah: One of the things I found so significant about this record is the paradigm it gives of both extreme joy and extreme loss that we all can relate to. Therefore, reflecting on 2020, what have these two contrasts taught you this year?

Mike & Shawn: To find joy even in what we lose. Truthfully, most of us, if not all, will face chapters of joy and grief. It’s merely inescapable. How we answer these challenges defines our strength, and more importantly, to assist those struggling with similar obstacles. And when those joyous of days come, treasure them forever.

Sarah: I want to walk though some of these songs on the EP. “Pinky Swear” is such a sweet reflection of what it means to be a dad, especially for you Shawn, being a first-time parent – congrats! Consequently, all of us are reflecting more on being grateful for the people and experiences in life that are good. How have you seen that in your life?

Shawn: Becoming a father has been the most thrilling, excitable and exhausting experience, haha. Aside from losing sleep, having our son Cody has been nothing short of a miracle for our family. In a strange way, the little guy became a hero. Allowing our family to find that happiness from being shrouded by a tough year. The biggest lesson of it all, is what promises really mean. A promise I will never break.

Sarah: On the other side of that, Mike, I know you have experienced illness recently (on a side note, we are so glad you’re doing better) as well as both you and Shawn experiencing loss with your mother’s passing this year (we send our condolences). In turn, how has the theme of the fragility of life as seen in, “Thank God I’m Alive,” connect to seeing the hope found in even the most difficult and devastating life experiences?

Mike: Thank you. I have been recovering well. I have a third procedure coming this Dec, so still a little bit of a process, but relieved that this is a mild endeavor. And yes, it’s true, when we face grim times, you end up appreciating life that much more. With our mother passing, it was important to hold on to her legacy, her memory and everything she taught us. What we do in life, lives in people after we are gone.

Sarah: Your song “Cute” talks about relationships. Many of us came into 2020 with wrong priorities in our relationships and had the pandemic re-evaluate that for us. Talk about the song and how it can be relevant to this issue we are dealing with relationally?

Shawn: The song “Cute” was actually coming from personal experience when I first was dating Jen, now my wife. A song about love sure, but really all the virtues that comes from it. Patience, communication, and forgiveness. Something I believe most couples wrestle with. Just simply wanted to relate and share my story a little.

Sarah: “Champion” is such a fight anthem that is so needed for our current circumstances. As 2021 approaches, how do you think we can all gain more of “champion” mindset as we finish 2020 strong and approach a new year?

Mike & Shawn: Go find the biggest sword you can!!! LOL. In all seriousness, “Champion” was the first track we wrote for “Vol. 1” when we started writing back in late 2019. Interestingly how 2020 hit us and well, everyone. How to rise from the giants shadowing 2020 became very relatable to so many people. There will be a time when you will face a giant, you might even get knocked down a few times. It’s how we rise above where we find our true strength!

Sarah: Everyone has different meaning when it comes to the term, “Home for The Holidays.” What does it mean to you?

Mike & Shawn: You know honestly, we’ve always taken that saying quite literally. To be home with family sitting around a fire, sharing stories, laughing, playing silly games. Home is where the heart is.

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