Magnolia Park Bio
What would a Halloween mixtape be without a sequel? Breakout Epitaph Records genre-benders Magnolia Park have heard your cries, and they are prepared to deliver. The hard-charging, prolific five-piece act from Orlando—vocalist Joshua Roberts, guitarists Tristan Torres and Freddie Criales, drummer Joe Horsham, and keyboardist Vincent Ernst—are set to follow up their 2022 debut LP Baku's Revenge with a brand-new project, Halloween Mixtape II, out on October 27, and their kaleidoscopic fusion of sound is more innovative than ever.
The spiritual sequel to their 2021 Halloween Mixtape, Halloween Mixtape II expands on the narrative around Magnolia Park’s fictional universe and its characters Baku, Heart Eater, SoulEater, Dream Eater, MoonEater, Pumpkin Eater, and the Reaper. "We just want to create soundtracks for our characters," says guitarist/songwriter Tristan Torres. “That's why we have the Eater EP series — they're all introducing individual characters. Then they come together for this Halloween mixtape moment."
Taking inspiration from a variety of pop culture juggernauts – the legendary virtual rockers Gorillaz, anime, and Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas – Magnolia Park, each of whom are producers in their own right, have ramped up their trademark genre-splicing sound and come out on the other side with moody, ruminative lyrics wrapped up in explosive melodic breakdowns.
“We went for more aggressive sounds and more in-your-face,” Tristan confirms. “That's because we're trying more aggressive genres like phonk and metal. We have songs with breakdowns on the last record, such as ‘Misfits,’ but now we have ‘Animal’ and ‘Do Or Die,’ which are two massively heavy songs.”
Tristan adds: “I really want to be a band that pushes like our sound every time. Between me, Freddie, and Vince, we're all producers and we all have these different worlds that collide. So when we bring the songs and sounds together, they're very experimental. ‘Do Or Die’ blended phonk, rock, metal, and hip-hop together, and I thought, ‘Yeah, this could be the start of Halloween Mixtape II.’”
To achieve their updated aesthetic, which is a bold rush of magnetic pop, punk, nu-metal, hip-hop, phonk, and 2000s theater-emo, Magnolia Park tapped longtime producing partners Andrew Wade (A Day To Remember, Wage War) and Andy Karpovck (who also worked on Baku’s Revenge). Over the course of one month, the Orlando-based producers helped refine and polish the band’s myriad influences.
“Vince comes from a pop-leaning world, Freddie comes from a math rock and experimental world, and I'm very more hip-hop-oriented,” Tristan explains. “You can hear that in our sound – all these worlds colliding. We're not selfish about our sounds, we like it when we all mix together. Josh's amazing voice is the nail on the coffin, and Joe is such an amazing drummer.”
Nowhere is Magnolia Park’s unique sonic mesh more apparent than on the guttural, industrial-meets-nu-metal blast “Animal” (featuring rapper Ethan Ross and dark-pop singer PLVTINUM), which showcases Joshua Roberts’ Chester Bennington-esque vocal howl. “It was an organic song, because we did it in only a couple of hours,” Tristan says. “It's such a weird collaboration, but it works so well and it sounds so cool. We got to do the video all together – we all flew out to LA and we got to hang out and make this really cool, nu-metal-style video.”
Elsewhere, on the chugging hip-hop-driven screed “Antidote,” Magnolia Park join forces with alternative-pop singer Kailee Morgue, who recently appeared on the Scream IV soundtrack (“In My Head”) with Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda. “Me, Freddie, and Vince came up with that hook before flying out to LA for like two weeks,” Tristan shares of the recording process. “I feel like Kailee really elevated our melodies and the vibe. She's a very vibey person – it fits super well with the spooky, Halloween vibes of the record.”
The eerie mood continues into the slow-stomping, urgent “Dead On Arrival,” which likens human flaws and anxiety around self worth to horror-movie villains. “I had this weird dream where I kept hearing ‘dead on arrival’ over and over,” Tristan says. “It came out with this spooky vibe all on its own – we weren't even like premeditating. It was a weird, magical moment that all came together really fast.”
For all of its hair-raising moments, Halloween Mixtape II has an amorous side, too. On the synth-lined ballad “Fell In Love On Halloween,” Magnolia Park spin out a bombastic ballad about finding romance on All Hallow’s Eve. After Tristan sent the song’s title to Freddie, his bandmate built a heartfelt hook. “I got to add some specific lyrics,” Tristan says. “‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ is my girlfriend’s favorite movie, so I added that for her. I really think our fans are gonna like that song. It's a very special song for this specific record.”
As summer cools into fall, let Magnolia Park’s genre-rich, hook-packed Halloween Mixtape II be the perfect soundtrack to whatever you have in store this October. Whether it’s cuddling under a blanket to a horror movie classic or building out a killer costume, Magnolia Park’s characters will be right there with you in their ever-expanding universe.