Mikey Way began planning Electric Century long before My Chemical Romance hit it big, he just didn’t have the means to pull it off … mostly because he was 12.
“I was in my seventh-grade science class, and I wrote ‘Electric Century’ on a notebook, and I was like ‘I want to do this band,’” he told MTV News. “And right then I began filing away the kind of music I wanted it to be: Britpop, the party influence of bands like the Happy Mondays, New Order, Public Image Ltd. It was always something I wanted to do.”
And now, with MCR officially over , he’s finally (re)turning his attention to the project, teaming with David Debiak (Sleep Station, New London Fire) to make Electric Century a reality. The band was formally unveiled Wednesday, when Way’s image graced Alternative Press’ “100 Bands You Need To Know” issue, and since then, things have hit hyperspeed (EC is still so new that they don’t have an official press image).
But that’s fine with Way and Debiak … after all, they’ve been waiting for this moment for a while.
“We were supposed to have a little break after [My Chem's 2006 album] The Black Parade, and I was like ‘Dave, me and you should really get together and start writing stuff,’” Way explained. “But unfortunately, we jumped right into another album after Black Parade, so we didn’t have a chance to do it … but we talked about it a lot.. And that basically continued for about four years. I told Dave ‘I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but it’s going to happen.’”
“Mikey would send me an annoying amount of voice memos, just little musical ideas, and I’d listen to, I don’t know, a countless amount of them before something stuck,” Debiak added. “I’d start writing lyrics based on those ideas, until eventually, about a year-and-a-half ago, we had time to make this happen. Since then, we’ve written about 35 songs, and right now, our entire focus is finishing a full-length album.”
Debiak handled the lyrics, and Way wrote the majority of the music — “I’m doing a little bit of everything; guitar, keyboards, background vocals,” he explained — and slowly, Electric Century began taking shape. There’s a full lineup being assembled as you read this (Debiak assured me fans will learn the full lineup very soon), and the duo plan on meeting with potential labels in the next few weeks … which means that, after nearly 20 years, Way’s fantasy band will finally become a reality. And, after spending a decade shying away from the spotlight as MCR’s bassist, he’s ready to step to the forefront with Electric Century.
“You know, on the day I showed up for the AP shoot, I was like ‘Where are the rest of the dudes?’ It was kind of like jumping into the ocean, like, ‘Here goes,’” Way said. “When I started in My Chem, it was no secret that I had bad anxiety and depression and drug issues, but then, starting with Black Parade, there was a sea change, and I broke out of my shell. And it led me to this point, where I’m ready to take charge now. It took me years to get here, but I know I’m ready.”
And to that point, Way knows that there are some My Chemical Romance fans that will probably never give his new band a chance. Shoot, some are still holding out hopes for a reunion. But he’s not concerned with the past … rather, with Electric Century, he’s embracing the future.
“When people first used the term ‘Electric Century,’ it represented the shift from steam power to electricity, and it changed the entire universe. And, for me, this is a complete change in my life, on many levels,” he said. “No matter what, throughout time, whenever somebody who was in a popular band goes to another band, there’s people that unconditionally love it, and there’s people who unconditionally hate it without listening to it … you’ve just gotta take it on the chin, and do what’s right, and write the best possible songs.
“As far as people saying ‘It’s too soon, My Chem just broke up,’ it’s like, ‘No, it’s just done,” he continued. “We’ve been formulating this in a laboratory for like four years now. We’ve written 35 songs. It’s time to do it.”