It’s been three years since All Time Low has released an album, but they’re back at it again with Wake Up, Sunshine.
All Time Low is one of those bands that many of us have carried on from our teenage years. With their signature pop punk hits, they have a magical way of making us dive in to all the feels. Although the band has eight other studio albums under their belt already, they’ve gone on to release their ninth today, and it’s filled with a multitude of good tunes.
Drawing from how they started as a band, All Time Low made a conscious effort to bring the members together under one roof in order to make this new album, which has evolved into 15 unique songs that take us right back to when we first discovered them.
With this return to a classic approach, we chatted with frontman Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low to get the details of their latest album, Wake Up, Sunshine.
author: Brittany Jenke
Don’t Bore Us: How are you guys feeling about the release of your newest album Wake Up, Sunshine?
Alex Gaskarth: I’m ecstatic! We’re so excited. Despite everything, it feels really good having this record coming out after spending all that time last year making it with the guys. Coming together the way we did to make the album makes this one feel that much more special.
DBU: You guys recorded this in drummer Rian Dawson’s studio back in Nashville – what was the experience like and how did it compare to recording your other albums in the past?
AG: I think what was so great about doing it the way we did this time by starting in Rian’s studio was that there really wasn’t any pressure and no expectations attached to it, which takes a bit of the weight off going into the beginning of the process.
We didn’t really even think we were making a record, at first. It was kind of like, ‘let’s get in a studio and see what happens and see what the next version of All Time Low will start to sound like’. I think that freedom to just work within our comfort zone and not have any outside eyes or ears on it just made us feel really good.
It made us feel like we were reconnecting with what All Time Low was meant to be in 2020. I think that helped us focus in on sending it to the right place when we finally decided that it was going to be an album, and that we were going to have to put all the pieces together.
DBU: You’ve said that making this album under the same roof transpired into getting back to how you guys started and that it created some magical moments – what are your favourite memories of this process with Wake Up, Sunshine?
AG: A huge part of it had to do with the fact we came together and made these songs and this record in a way that we really hadn’t done in a long time. It felt like throwing it back to the days of So Wrong, It’s Right and Nothing Personal – not musically, but in the process.
The fact that we were all together, living under one roof, and working on this music, I think we just had real clarity on what all four of us wanted this record to be, to do, and to achieve the entire time.
I’ve got to say that my favourite memory was that it just felt like summer camp. It was all four of us and our producer living in this big house with a studio in it. It wasn’t a professional studio, it was a studio we threw together using Zack’s [Merrick, bass] gear. It felt really down and dirty and DIY. I think that was really good for the soul.
DBU: Your second single ‘Sleeping In’ saw the band partner with the North Shore Animal League America, raising money for no-kill animal shelters – what influenced you guys to help them out?
AG: We were just thinking of a good cause to tie the video concept in with. I wrote that concept as I had that funny idea for us to interact with these animals, and I thought, ‘let’s just go a bit further with that and let’s push this idea of animal rescue’.
It’s a cause that’s important to us, and we just thought, ‘why not?’. In this day and age, let’s do good with what we’re putting out into the world.
DBU: The track ‘Favorite Place’ on the album featured The Band CAMINO, a band that’s also signed to your label – how did that collaboration come about?
AG: We’ve been very big fans of The Band CAMINO since they fired up, so we wanted them to be part of our family and part of the label. We felt like they would be a very cool addition to the family that we’re a part of now.
For me, when we wrote that song, I felt like I was sort of channeling some aspect of them, in a way. The delayed guitars and the melodies just reminded me of what they were doing with their music.
For that reason I just thought I’d reach out and see if they wanted to be involved and make it more of a collaboration. They were down, and it turns out that putting them on it did make it feel much more real and enjoyable for us.
DBU: The new tracks that you all have released so far have already seen a lot of love, including millions of streams. How has it felt to receive such a positive reaction so far?
AG: It’s extremely rewarding, gratifying, and amazing knowing that 15 years into this career people still have interest and want to enjoy what we’re putting out there. We just feel very lucky that people are continuing to support what we’re doing.
I think what’s rad is the way it happened because we didn’t originally plan to put out six songs from the record. We were going to have three out and then the record was going to drop. And then this whole global pandemic bullshit happened, and we were sort of forced to do things differently. So, we thought, ‘let’s just keep putting songs out off this record’.
What I love is that kind of serendipitously we have just enough time to put out the record leading to the songs interlude. What I feel that is really cool about that is that I think when you consume the album that way is that it gives it this whole new vibe, almost.
The first six songs, in my opinion, are very much a reintroduction to all the things people know about All Time Low already, and then I think the second half of the album takes us to a lot of new places. I really enjoy that we’ve got to share the journey that way, and have it feel like it’s been this progression.
DBU: What are you hoping that the fans will take away from this album given the current state of the world in the midst of COVID-19?
AG: I just hope that it’s a bright light. I hope it’s an escape for people. I hope it gives people a bit of hope and somewhere to go during this…whatever we’re going through right now. For us, making this record was really cathartic and healing for us in a lot of ways.
I think it really rekindled our passion for the band and each other. Not to say that it was lacking, just it’s nice when 15 years into a career that you can do something in a way that inspires you and suddenly makes the whole thing feel brand new. I hope that the sentiment carries over as people live with the music and digest it.
DBU: With all the madness that’s currently going on in the world, how do you feel it has affected you guys and your album release?
AG: We thought that putting this record out on time was important. Sure, we could push it back, but at the same time does that really do any good for anyone?
Sure, it might help our first week of sales, or something like that, but that’s really not what this is about. It’s about sending a message and being that thing to make people feel great. We need more of that in the world right now, so hopefully we can contribute in a small way or a big way, either way [laughs].
DBU: Are you guys doing anything special to keep fans engaged during this lull of live shows?
AG: We’ve been coming up with as many things as we can think of to keep people engaged and entertained and feeling connected to us. We’ve talked about doing a bunch of live streams and that’s started to roll out now. We’re doing a listening event for the release tomorrow, US time. Hopefully the audience can join and enjoy it.
Beyond that, I think we’re just kicking up as many ideas as we can. Our bread and butter really were the live shows, and getting there in front of people and doing that, so this is new territory for us and we’re finding our way through it.
DBU: How are you guys utilising your time during self-isolation? Are you using it as an opportunity to get the creative juices flowing, so to speak, or are you just keen to see the reaction to this album for starts?
AG: Usually after we complete an album, I don’t start getting creative again until I’ve given myself a chance to digest and process. I like to flip gears and reflect on how it all went but also take a little bit of time to recharge the ‘creative batteries’.
In this case, given how everything is going on, I’ve actually felt pretty inspired and I want to dive back in already. I have no idea how I’m going to channel that yet, but I feel like it’s not the typical situation. I don’t feel the way I usually feel. There’s a lot to think about and process in a lot of this. It’s crazy and it goes pretty deep.
We’re really sharing in this experience on a global scale for the first time. Obviously there’s been pandemics before, but we’ve never been so interconnected in the way we are now, and I think it’s really changing the way we all look at the world. I think that will be an interesting thing to dive into.
DBU: Are you guys hoping to make your way back to Australia eventually? I know that things are quite unpredictable at the moment, but I know that fans would be quite keen to see you on Aussie shores again.
AG: Hell yeah we are! We have been talking about it since last year. Obviously we don’t have anything announced yet, and I don’t think anything official is on the books now that we have no idea what’s going on. It’s even harder to commit to anything.
Originally, our plan was to try to get over there sometime around our fall/winter, so your spring/summer – later this year. So, hopefully we can continue to do that and all of this will be distant memory, and we’ll be able to go over there and have a great time. We’ve just got to take it as it comes.