What would All Time Low do? It’s a question the band held close during the recording of their eighth outing, ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’. They’ve thrived embracing the cavalier, carefree attitude that comes with youth, but after nearly two decades together, what next?

author: Steven Loftin


“You start to have that identity crisis of you either become R.L. Stein, writing another Goosebumps book; where you just end up churning them out and simply change some names of the characters,” singer and guitarist Alex Gaskarth muses, chuckling.

“Not to say that there’s anything wrong with that. But it’s a very fine line to walk where you’re either regurgitating the same thing that you’ve done a million times, or you’re going completely off on a tangent at the cost of maybe alienating some of your fans.

“We’ve built something up over 16 years, and there’s an expectation for what people want from this. It’s finding that space and meeting those expectations while also staying true to ourselves as artists and not just regurgitating another Goosebumps novel.”

After the touring of 2017’s ‘Last Young Renegade’, which saw them explore different territories both sonically and conceptually, the good ship All Time Low needed to dock.

“We should be clear about this, too: there was no, ‘Alright guys, it’s time for a break’,” drummer Rian Dawson dazzles with his Hollywood smile. “It was not a hiatus. It was more, ‘We don’t need to do anything this year, we’ve earned a vacation.”

Just as Rian says, the time off wasn’t for any need to escape each other. The core of All Time Low, finished by guitarist Jack Barakat and bassist Zach Merrick, has always been the teenage bond that still runs as strong today; with the four of them sat around a bar table with Upset, at ease, and a clear air of ‘friends before band’ and smiles never wavering.

“I remember Alex told me about Simple Creatures,” he motions to his bandmate. “We’ve been in the band for fifteen-plus years, and we’ve never really talked about side-projects at all. I remember the call, he’s like, ‘Hey, so I’ve been writing with Mark [Hoppus, from blink-182] a lot, and we’re thinking about doing this thing’. And it was just same with Jack [and WhoHurtYou, his band with singer/songwriter Kevin Fisher] – there was nothing but excitement. There was no resentment about it or anything like that. We were all very much in contact.”

“It was really nice to have some time to ourselves,” Alex agrees. “You know, we all got to do various things; whether it was just spending some time at home with our families, which is always great and very welcome, or whether it was diving into new projects new endeavours. Jack started a new thing, and so did I. It was kind of a way to reset, get some headspace and clarity and just move away from All Time Low world for a minute. We’d been on tour for so long too.”

“Fifteen years!” Rian laughs. “Everything just kind of fit into place in the discourse. There was zero contention, zero anxiety about that. No, ‘But what about All Time Low if you’re doing that, and you’re doing that?!'” He continues.

“It was just like, ‘Okay, yeah, you guys flex that creative muscle that you need to, and then when we come back, we’ll be able to focus in on what we need to do next.”

“It definitely refocuses you to take that year off and to be able to do whatever creative processes you want to do on your own maybe. And then it also just made me realise at least like ‘Fuck, I really miss it’ in a very good way,” Rian says.

“It’s like coming back to school, except you like school, and you like everyone there, and you actually enjoy it!” Jack laughs behind sips of gin.

When it came to the four of them getting back in the classroom, or studio, it had to be something special. While they did drop the double A-side of ‘Birthday’ / ‘Everything Is Fine’ out of the blue back in 2018, “At this point, we didn’t feel like we needed to do that again,” Alex says for their decision to go all-in on an album.

“We’d done that, and it served its purpose. The big thing with those two tracks was that we felt as though ‘Last Young Renegade’ was tapering off record cycle wise, and we had a lot of touring left to do. So, we felt like it needed some kind of injection of a new excitement. It was a nice little transitional moment to wind down that record cycle, but without it feeling like we dragged it out.”

So, endeavouring to keep everything barebones, they took themselves away to a house in the desert, where the band set up shop with one simple purpose in mind; to be All Time Low.

To do this, they stripped things back to basics, no rigid timescale, just living and breathing what they love. No one was aware a new record was being made, it was just the four of them – and a producer, Zakk Cervini – hanging out, pushing away any of the bullshit that can crop up from being a band for so long.

“We’re in a unique position because we’ve made a lot of records,” Alex ponders. “This is record number eight for us, and I think, to be honest, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Sometimes having a more rigid timeline and needing to deliver on time actually pushes you to make something great in the constraints of what you’re working with.

“But at the same time, it’s all cyclical, and sometimes that can be too much. The beauty of this album is that the break and a lack of pressure came at the right time. It came at a time when we needed that to make a record that truly represents what All Time Low is in 2020.”

While all four figures of All Time Low were present, and doing what they do best, it was the addition of producer Zakk that helped Alex, Jack, Zach and Rian bring it all back to that question; what would All Time Low do?

“Zakk is the first producer we’ve ever worked with who was a fan first of our music,” Alex says. “He said to us before that he grew up listening to All Time Low, so it’s pretty cool to make a record with a 100% professional and insanely talented producer, but also with that added caveat that he grew up on our music.

“You don’t often look back and reference your own music when you make new stuff. But in his mind, he was able to know where the energy is, and what he wants to unlock from you and that made for a really interesting time again.”

Having met Zakk after Alex worked with him on the Simple Creatures EPs, “He was someone that was fresh in our mind to do our record,” Jack says. “I think that had a lot to do with it as well. Alex liked working with him a lot, and we knew him personally, but All Time Low hadn’t worked with him a lot.”

“Speaking personally, creatively, Simple Creatures gave me an avenue to do something that was very different and off the wall,” Alex says of its marks on ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’. “There were no expectations tied to it, and it was nice to be able to go do that and then come back with an almost even more focused sense of what All Time Low is and should be. It should sound like what we are trying to do.”

The moments in their career that haven’t kept the same timeless sparkle as the cough that introduces ‘Dear Maria’, or the positivity laden chugging guitars that welcome ‘Weightless’, are still ones that have a story. There’s no animosity to anything they’ve touched so far ultimately because it’s helped shape ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’, and the All Time Low of 2020.

“I wouldn’t use the term like, not worked out,” Alex reasons on any past endeavours. “But I would just say that, in the context of this album, doing it in this free-flowing way felt very appropriate. It felt like having that freedom was the best way to get this out, it created a great environment for us.”

“If it wasn’t working we were like, let’s just swim for two hours,” Jack pipes up, confirming the relaxed nature with another chuckle.

“And what’s cool about [having no expectations] is that wasn’t the intent really,” Rian says. “Again, after taking some time off and exploring other avenues, we all came back because we all knew what we wanted to do for the next record without even discussing it. Which shows how genuine it is; how it feels, and I don’t think that would have happened if we didn’t take some time and reassess to figure out where all the pieces lie.”

“It wasn’t a board meeting record where you sit down, and everybody goes, ‘What are we gonna do?!'” Alex eludes to past experience.

“The beauty of where we sit with it is that I’m still a fan of all the music I grew up on, and the music I grew up on is what moulded the sound of All Time Low – for all of us,” he says, met with resounding nods around the table.

“So, because I’m not ashamed of our roots and our beginnings, and where we came from, it’s very easy to still exist in that space and feel comfortable doing so. We’re not looking at ourselves and being over-analytical and going like, ‘Oh, we’re fucking 30, we can’t write fast songs anymore. They have distortion! It’s like we’ve got to grow up and make moody analogue, with clean guitars’, you know what I mean?

“Not to say that there’s anything wrong with that either because our last album, we very intentionally went a different direction and made a more synthy, weird album, and at the time, that just felt right.”

“It felt like it had been kept in for a while. We just needed to write that, and get that out there,” Rian adds.

The lesson that these toe-dipping exercises brought forward was predominantly self-belief. “It’s our name on it, forever,” Rian reasons. “So we have to be proud of it, even if it’s at the expense of some fans sometimes. If we’re not stoked on it, then it becomes a case of to not mention it, or to play it live. We connect with our fans very much in a live setting, so if we’re playing songs that we don’t love or do feel regurgitated or anything like that, it’ll show through pretty easily with us.”

Admitting that they’ve made records with the compromise of songs being written, or put on them, as “what’s beautiful” about where they are now is proof that the All Time Low are a band that are still yearning to develop. They’re still the four boys that formed a band in high school, where opportunity called, and they aren’t letting it get away.

They take losses on the chin, and break down the essence of what those missteps may have been, to lead to them making ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’. And it’s this balance that keeps Alex’s words of “we didn’t want people to see through it; it’s not just us that end up feeling – there are songs we never play for a reason,” echoing through those carefree desert days and nights.

“There are some songs we don’t play anymore because we didn’t really vibe with them to begin with, and then on top of that, when we did play them you could tell that the fans didn’t even buy-in because we didn’t either in our hearts.”

“Even we didn’t buy-in,” Alex continues his admission. “So at this point for us, the biggest thing is it has to feel so rad in the moment. We all have to be stoked on the energy that occurs right when you create it, because that thing is the magic moment. Eight months later, you might hate the song, but remember how you felt in the first five minutes when you were first writing? And if everyone in the room was jumping up and down going ‘Fuck yeah!’ That is what’s going to translate at the show, right?”

It’s this energy that propels through the London underplay show they play while they’re in town. Alongside every classic track from across the All Time Low arsenal, the likes of ‘Some Kind of Disaster’ and ‘Get Away Green’ slot so naturally alongside that Alex’s next exclamation is beyond agreeable.

“Those are both songs that had that energy about them. It just felt like this is quintessential All Time Low – but in the here and now. I had those moments where I would listen to the songs, and I’d be like, ‘I feel like I’ve heard these songs 5000 times and they’re still career-defining – but [the album’s] not even out yet!” he smirks.

When asked what their favourite moments on ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’ are, given it’s a fifteen-song strong effort, the conversation ends up snowballing into the band naming every song with its merits, not a single one forgotten. “This is going to sound douchey to say, but there was just no fat to trim – I’ve listened to it so many times, and I’m just in love with it,” Rian sparkles.

Last year marked the tenth anniversary of ‘Nothing Personal’, undoubtedly the album that cemented All Time Low’s place in the pop-punk canon, where they tacked a more focused view on growing up with the acceptance of their success and the voices they were speaking for and to.

Celebrating their seminal effort brought with it various facets, and for Rian the hunger was there to keep going. All Time Low have always been the kind of band that revels in the chaotic madness that comes from the electric energy of a gig.

This little break from the break to honour this chapter should have had an effect on ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’, given its return to their roots, right? According to Alex, not as big a part as you’d think.

“I think they helped for a lot of reasons, but I wouldn’t say that the shows, or even the 10-year tribute; I don’t think that they had any bearing on it because most of the music was written at that point,” he shrugs. “But I will say that from a reinvigoration standpoint, it definitely got us thinking about our beginnings and being appreciative for the fact that we were where we were.”

“Seeing how excited people were at the shows and realising how meaningful that record was to people,” he continues, “I think really amped up this new record because it feels to me like it’s going to fit in as a very classic All Time Low record. One that, three or more records from now would be like, ‘Oh, that’s a top three or whatever else’.

“I just think that it speaks so much to what All Time Low is – it feels very much like this band’s record, you know? Which is weird to say because it makes it sound like I value other records less or differently. But it’s just like, this feels like such a culmination of everything we’ve ever done slammed into one thing, and you don’t always get that magic.”

“It was also playing those shows and feeling that connection with the audience while playing those songs. When we were writing new music a lot of the time all I could think about is how is this going to be live… but how are we going to do this live? And every single one of those songs just makes sense live like there’s no real thought process of how it will work the crowd.

“It’s like all this work, and I feel like those ‘Nothing Personal’ shows, like you said, reinvigorated that sense of that fan-band connection – we’re all in this together and all of these songs I believe will have that connection, which isn’t always the case. Sometimes you need to prove it, but with these, it’s just like, ‘Oh that’ll work’.”

“We found that out real fast playing ‘Some Kind of Disaster’. The first time we played it, we were like, ‘Ooop there it is!” Zach says, amazed.

“That was one of those moments in a band where you’re like,” Rian says with his mouth agape and wide-eyed. “And that was definitely one of ’em. Even ‘Get Away Green’, when we did it at Slam Dunk – that was out of nowhere. We just played a new song. It was Alex’s idea we were like, ‘No, we’re not doing that’,” Rian chortles.

Jack adds, laughing: “Yeah, I was so against it, but it ended up being really good!”

“And then by day two, everyone’s singing along!” Rian marvels. “I was gonna say the opposite happened when we took that year off. I was just like, I wanna play more shows! I mean, finally, we did at the end of last year, when we did those ‘Nothing Personal’ shows. I remember on the last Jersey one we were texting, and I was like, ‘Can we just fucking keep going?!'” His excitement palpable.

“Sometimes we have to step away from something to realise how much you take it for granted,” Jack adds.

“Yeah, you not so much take it for granted, but it’s like, ‘Okay, we’re doing another tour’,” Rian reasons.

“I take it for granted!” Jack jokingly retorts.

“[It was an] autopilot of like, ‘Okay, this year is set’, and then it goes away and it’s just like, ‘Oh my god!; like, halfway through the year I was just so ready to get back on the road.”

The bare essence of All Time Low can no doubt still be heard echoing from the concrete of Rian’s parent’s basement when they first began, chaotically rattling through blink-182 covers. So, it’s fitting that this should be the sentiment that rounds off All Time Low Mk VIII with ‘Basement Noise’.

“That song was written in a moment of reflection and looking back on the very beginnings of this band and what it was all about,” Alex says.

“I think what’s interesting about that song, and how it frames and ends the record is that it very much describes what we were feeling while making this album because it was reminiscent of how we started making music in Rian’s parents’ basement. It was very much a callback to those feelings, those emotions and so exploring that in that song felt very…”

“It’s very meta!” Jack quips.

While love, yearning, and the inevitable heartbreak, are the bread and butter to all music genres, in pop-punk the angst that thrashes around, hoping for someone to understand, does have a life-span. Often, bands that start out in this world fall into the trap of being proper adults still trying to process those thoughts that do change with time, through no-longer-youthful eyes.

Alex’s reasoning for how All Time Low adapt to this pitfall continues the trajectory of self-awareness and knowing how to balance being true to processing what he needs to while ensuring the factors that drew the world to the band stay.

“A big part of it is that it’s all the lens that you’re looking through,” he says. “Even when there are songs that feel reflective of our older material, it’s all being done through where we are now as people and as friends and as, you know, encounters that we’re seeing in our 30s or whatever.

“At the end of the day, it would feel insincere to be writing about the things I was writing about when I was 20. We’re not forcing it and being like, ‘We’ve got to sound like we’re still 21 years old’, it’s more about just casting the right net and getting the thought out of it, whether they’re memories or whether their experiences or whatever and then putting it putting it through the lens that feels right.”

Which is why ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’ does genuinely feel like the next great All Time Low album. It dabbles with the future, while deeply rooted in that understanding that the action-packed tunes, and the minds that created them, are in this with us. Exposing the main trend for the album, even its title feels like Alex talking to himself, reminding he and his bandmates of the fact they’re living their childhood dream.

“A lot of the album is very reflective,” he says, eyes focused. “Like a kind of self-reflection, but there are a lot of parallels between talking about the band, and fanbase, and how we’ve all come up as a unit together.”

Of course, the All Time Low fanbase – including their own official Hustlers Club – is an important factor behind the band’s success, but they’re also the ones who whip the tide of creative change into a confusing mess of stillness and wary adventure. But for All Time Low, they know they know they have a responsibility to evolve, as referenced on ‘Melancholy Kaleidoscope’ which sees a rousing chorus ending with “Can’t be 100 if you’re only giving 95.”

“[That is] a perfect example of a line that does speak to the band. You’re never going to be your best self if you’re not giving your best,” Alex says.

“That is how, at least I, personally, felt at the end of the ‘Last Young Renegade’ cycle, you know? I think we were just a little burnt out,” Jack adds.

“Sure. That’s why we weren’t ready to go make a record,” Alex continues. “But for me personally, that song is also about being okay mentally. You can’t begin to fix what’s going on with you, or whatever, if you’re not invested in starting to fix yourself. It was kind of that song for me. It was a wake-up call for myself to say, ‘Hey, like, you know, you can feel better’.”

There generally tends to be three components to growing as a band, and in the vast majority of cases, most only get the choice of two; success, founding members or longevity. But somehow All Time Low have all three. What do they put that up to?

“I think the brotherhood of this band is what has kept this band going,” Alex muses, “and has kept the band feeling fun and fresh and like we want to do it. And I think the reason you see a lot of bands over time dis-band is that it does become a job.”

“As much as that sucks to say because you’re doing the coolest thing in the world, it’s true. You know, there are people that do get to a point where they’re like, ‘I can’t fucking stand being around this person anymore, I need a break’. I need to go do something for myself, whatever it is, and in this case, we’ve never had them. I feel like whenever we’re off tour for a long time, we’re always texting each other being like, ‘I fucking can’t wait to be on tour again’.”

Now All Time Low is a bonafide name that can pull headline slots and arena tours, the fact bands they grew up listening to, and formed their sound around, haven’t lasted as long with such success, with no line-up changes is remarkable.

Even blink-182, the band that gave them cause to start scrappily covering pop-punk songs, succumbed to a ‘hiatus’ after side-projects became involved, and had line-up changes after less time than All Time Low to boot. All told, they’re a band who are a solid form of just what it means to be a band.

“I mean, it’s pretty wild when thinking about that, we, sixteen years into a career, still get to make albums and they still feel great to us, and people are still engaged.” Alex beams. “They want them and want to hear what we have to say and do next. Beyond that, it’s just cool to see this band grow and change and evolve and shift with, you know, sort of what All Time Low is and what people perceive us to be.

“We’ve always operated within a wheelhouse of All Time Low. It’s always been fun to kind of push the walls and the envelope what that is and what we sound like,” he continues.

“With every record, we hone and enhance and change that style a little bit. But to me, especially with this album, it very much feels like a quintessential All Time Low record. And this is going to be one that you know, ends up feeling very classic in our catalogue.”

Hours after Upset’s interview with All Time Low, they head off to a BRIT Awards party where afterwards Jack posted a band selfie on Instagram with the caption; “You know how they say don’t start a band with your friends? That’s why I started a band with my BEST friends.”

There’s no more proof needed. They may have taken the odd detour, but the lost young renegades are once again found. 

Taken from the April issue of Upset. All Time Low’s album ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’ is out now.

source: https://www.upsetmagazine.com/features/all-time-low-interview-apr20

Our lives would be some kind of disaster without All Time Low’s ‘Wake Up, Sunshine.’

author: Mackenzie Hall


Pop-punk stalwarts  All Time Low  are no strangers to reinvention—they’ve been doing it for the better part of two decades. With their latest record,  Wake Up, Sunshine , the boys are eager for you to hear what they’ve been keeping secret for far too long.

At the time of this interview,  Alex Gaskarth  is recovering from the flu. He’s at home in Baltimore, coming off a three-day run of underplay shows with the rest of his All Time Low bandmates. “It was the worst fucking timing,” he says of the sickness. “It sucked. I was all medicated up and trying to fight through it.” 

It’s not the first time a lead singer has fallen ill for an important performance, but this is a special set of circumstances. All Time Low were in the midst of promoting their new single, “ Some Kind Of Disaster ,” and—though fans didn’t know it at the time—their upcoming album, Wake Up, Sunshine.

But the band didn’t arrive there overnight; their January-long teasing campaign practically drove fans to riot in the streets. The journey to Wake Up, Sunshine took all of 2019—as well as their collective mental and emotional well-being.

 “We weren’t feeling super-enthusiastic about making another record when we wrapped up the  Last Young Renegade  cycle,” Gaskarth says. “All Time Low historically haven’t taken a ton of breaks, so this came at a great time. It allowed us to step away and explore some things that were unexpected but pleasant surprises.”

He’s speaking, of course, about the myriad of enterprises All Time Low have taken on in the last year.  Jack Barakat , guitarist and jokester foil to Gaskarth, began the emo-pop project  WhoHurtYou  with frequent All Time Low collaborator Kevin Fisher. Drummer  Rian Dawson  continued to build up clientele at his recording studio in Nashville. Bassist  Zack Merrick  currently lives in Hawaii and organizes regular beach cleanups in addition to his musical stylings. And Gaskarth himself teamed up with his childhood hero,  blink-182 ’s  Mark Hoppus , to create the dream-pop project  Simple Creatures .

“Alex had called us all separately and told us he would be doing the project with Mark Hoppus,” Barakat says, speaking from his home in Los Angeles. “He was probably surprised to hear my answer of, ‘Well, maybe we should take a break.’ I was a little burnt out from touring. At some point, you’re like, ‘Well shit, I just missed my entire 20s.’ Well, not missed, but I toured my entire 20s.”

For the first time in years, there wasn’t a rush to start the next project.  Fueled By Ramen  hadn’t set a deadline to get in the studio, so for the moment, the band let Last Young Renegade sit. It had already been one of their most ambitious projects—a darker, more moody All Time Low than 2015’s  Future Hearts  or 2012’s  Don’t Panic . “To be honest,” Barakat says, “at the end of Last Young Renegade, for the first time, it felt like we didn’t know what was next for All Time Low. There wasn’t a clear path or an obvious answer.” 

While the question of the band’s future might have been a difficult one, even more mind-boggling was what the members would do with themselves. 

“It’s always difficult for me to take a break,” Gaskarth says with a sigh. “That’s when my mind wanders, and I go to a weird space, mentally.” He admits that part of the reason he dove headfirst into Simple Creatures was his eagerness to fill idle hands just as much as it was a new creative outlet. “When you have some time away from [the band], you actually have a bit of an identity crisis,” he continues. “‘Well, what do I do now? What am I doing with myself? Who am I? What do I mean in this big world—if not the person onstage playing shows for people?’” 

Barakat agrees, adding, “All Time Low are such a big part of our own personal identities; we’ve been doing it since we were 14 years old. We’ve been doing All Time Low longer than we haven’t been doing All Time Low. So when you take a break from that, you lose yourself a little bit. Or at least, I did.” 

Far away from the day in, day out of call sheets and set times, the members of All Time Low floundered a little. The only marks on their calendars were for  Slam Dunk  in May 2019 and possibly  a string of anniversary shows around their 2009 album   Nothing Personal . The rest was wide open. Other bands might see this as a chance to drift apart, maybe consider calling it quits for more than just a year. But, according to Dawson, that was never a possibility. 

“What I didn’t count on was missing the guys so much,” he says. “You’re not away from them for more than a couple [of] weeks, maybe a month at a time. That was what I realized the most: ‘Wow, I miss these guys when I’m not with them.’ Being in this band for 17 years, not everyone can say that. We’re very fortunate.”

They didn’t even have the intentions of writing any real body of work—just getting together and jamming, like they did back in high school. Luckily, Dawson had an all-inclusive recording studio just across the country. In January 2019, Gaskarth, Dawson and a few regular All Time Low collaborators debunked to the honky-tonk capital to start All Time Low: Phase Eight.

Along for the ride was producer  Zakk Cervini  (blink-182,  Waterparks ), with co-writer Andrew Goldstein ( blackbear ,  5 Seconds Of Summer ) joining the Palm Desert sessions, both of whom have rich history with All Time Low. (The former produced Future Hearts, while the latter produced Last Young Renegade.) Thus, it didn’t take long for everyone to get writing. 

“The first [complete] song we wrote was ‘Some Kind Of Disaster,’” Gaskarth says, speaking of the anthemic lead single that kick-started Wake Up, Sunshine. “That was the moment where we all said, ‘Well, this sounds like it could be the next version of what we’re going to do.’” It is, simply put, a fantastic All Time Low song. Opening with just Gaskarth’s vocals and the strum of a guitar, you can hear the way it’ll travel from the walls of underplay clubs to the edges of festival fairgrounds. It rings out the way “Something’s Gotta Give” or “Backseat Serenade” do on previous All Time Low albums—an immediate hit that fans grip on to for years to come. 

For a band who had just booked some studio time on a whim, this was a welcome win. There weren’t even whispers of putting together an album—at this point, they were lucky to be cranking out songs. But after the success of “Some Kind Of Disaster,” they were ready for more.

“By the time Nashville was over, we had a record,” Dawson says. “Well,” he clarifies, “I mean…we had 15 songs. But we were fortunate to have the time to step back and reassess.”

With that, they headed to  Coachella . We’re kidding. But they did go to Palm Desert, one town over. It’s a popular vacation spot for Angelinos, two hours inland (six with traffic), with plenty of fancy Airbnbs and upscale taco spots. All Time Low found a spot to stay in August 2019—the only requirement being a pool—and got to work, this time with the entire band.

While the bones of Wake Up, Sunshine had been formed in Nashville, Palm Desert was where they started to assemble the album. Almost seven months later, they could look at what they had made with fresh eyes. But through it all, they kept the DIY feeling close.

Even if the writing was done, the work wasn’t over for All Time Low. After a quick jaunt up to Big Bear Lake, California, to wrap up the last of the production, they finally had a finished record. Then it came time to organize and execute the string of Nothing Personal anniversary shows, still with the secret of Wake Up, Sunshine in their back pocket. Shortly after the release of “Some Kind Of Disaster,”  they announced a series of underplay gigs , some at venues they hadn’t played since their teenage years. 

“We hadn’t played shows in so long,” Barakat says. “We thought, ‘Let’s reinvigorate not only the fans, but ourselves.’ It was a way to get the die-hard fans super-stoked but also [give] a present to them. Thanks for everything. And thanks for sticking around.”

It’s a statement that’s consistent throughout this camp. Throughout all three interviews, everyone is careful to acknowledge just how long the All Time Low phenomenon has sustained. It’s not by accident. The band don’t wallow in schmaltz—Barakat is too busy cracking them up with dick jokes—but they know that this is a special thing. On the record, one track stands out to Dawson as the beacon for how far they’ve come. 

“‘Basement Noise’ is probably the best closer we’ve ever put on a record,” he says. “We’re talking about my parents’ basement—it’s where we would practice [in high school]. I played it for my mom, and she teared up.” All Time Low are known for powerful closers (from “Lullabies” to “Therapy” to “Afterglow”), and “Basement Noise” follows through yet again. The chorus simply repeats “They’re just stupid boys making basement noise/In the basement/Noise in the basement” with an acoustic guitar. For all the talk of DIY aesthetics, it zaps you back to the early aughts, with tighter jeans and terrible haircuts, with four teenagers lying on the floor of a basement, dreaming about the future.

“It feels like such a beautiful way to close the record,” Dawson continues. “We started in 2003 in ninth grade in my parents’ basement. Between marching band practice and me working at Rita’s, we’d sneak in our practice.” He pauses and takes a breath. “Now we’re playing all over the world.”

But right now, it’s just a normal Monday morning. Well, what passes for “normal” for All Time Low. And Gaskarth is just at home—not too far from that first basement where he found the chords for their first record. “Now we’ve been making records our way,” he says, reflecting on the process of Wake Up, Sunshine. “Here is the inherent risk: This record is just us, for better or for worse.” 

He pauses, then laughs. “Well, I think it’s for the better.”

This feature originally appeared in AP #380 with cover stars Palaye Royale.

source: https://www.altpress.com/features/all-time-low-wake-up-sunshine-interview/

 

Staring down 30, the beloved band opens up about keeping fans happy while diverging from the sound that made them huge

author: Brittany Spanos


In 2007, the four members of All Time Low hadn’t even hit the legal drinking age when a couple of boyishly goofy songs about girls began to push them beyond their local scene. Signed to the taste-making indie label Hopeless Records, the Maryland quartet released their scrappy but hopeful sophomore album So Wrong, It’s Right, and suddenly pop-punk had a new band of skinny-jeans-wearing heroes with frosted, side-swept hair.

A decade later, the band sits around a table in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, settling in for a late-afternoon round of bowling at the dive-y Gutter. Clutching beers and fresh off a day of press for their new and seventh album Last Young Renegade, the group of longtime friends – singer Alex Gaskarth, guitarist Jack Barakat, bassist Zack Merrick and drummer Rian Dawson – talk over each other with polite excitement and the type of easy comfort that comes with having been performing and writing with one another for nearly 15 years straight.

“It’s kind of crazy how adult we’ve become,” Barakat reflects. Between tours, the members have each found time to move away from the suburb of Towson, Maryland, where they grew up; currently, the four are spread between Hawaii, Los Angeles and Baltimore. With brief brushes of tabloid fame behind them – Barakat was most famously linked to Playmate Holly Madison and actress Abigail Breslin – the rockers are beginning to settle down. Gaskarth married his longtime girlfriend Lisa Ruocco last spring, while Dawson proposed to country singer Cassadee Pope earlier this year.

Even as they approach 30 and launch new families of their own, the experience of spending their twenties in the limelight makes the band feel as if they’re stuck in a “maturity purgatory,” as Barakat describes it.

“You’re thrown into situations at a young age that people that age usually aren’t exposed to,” Gaskarth explains. “So on that hand, it kind of matures you, sometimes before you’re ready for it. At the same time, as you get older, there’s less expectation for you to act mature. So you get stuck in this limbo between growing up and not having the same kinds of responsibilities as people who don’t live life on the road.”

All Time Low’s maturity purgatory comes with some perks: They can release their most “serious” album yet and still relish every minute of pre-release anticipation. Bowling against one another allows them to indulge in a bit of the harmless chaos that made them stand out in the first place. They pose obscenely, rib each other lovingly, and even though they’re keeping tabs on the scores, they prioritize having a good time over actually winning (though, for the record, Merrick, the band’s quiet jock, racks up the night’s highest score).

When it comes to sales, too, numbers aren’t everything to the band. Though, for the record, their previous album – 2015’s Future Hearts – debuted at a career-high Number Two, while Last Young Renegade marked their fifth Top 10 debut, a hot streak for any artist.

“The chart stuff is great, but we don’t rest everything on it,” Dawson says. “We care more about the career span, so to think about one day as a make-or-break, or anything like that, would be silly for us.”

“But I still think about it every day,” Barakat jokes.

“We’re not gonna be the people at the Oscars that are like, ‘Oh, no, we don’t care about these awards at all,’” Dawson adds.

“Oh, we want those awards,” Barakat chimes in again.

“We’ll take an Oscar,” says Gaskarth as the group erupts in laughter.

“An Oscar … can we?” Barakat offers innocently.

In the mid-aughts, All Time Low were part of a boom of young pop-punk bands becoming boy-band-level icons for even younger listeners in search of equal parts angst and irreverence following the success of Fall Out Boy. With So Wrong, ATL provided exactly that: Two of the most popular songs from the album are a tune about a stripper (“Dear Maria, Count Me In”) and a moving breakup power ballad (“Remembering Sunday”).

Onstage, the band was rambunctious, mimicking the lovable immaturity of their heroes Blink-182 by making dick jokes, climbing up to theater balconies and displaying bras on their microphone stands. Their combination of confidence and cluelessness made them both awe-inspiring and relatable to the even younger kids moshing in the pit. At first, the naughty banter was a defense mechanism for a young band that feared an empty room as much as they did a sold-out one.

“When there’s 25 people at a VFW hall and only three of them are there because they like you and the sound is terrible and the songs aren’t that great, you have to figure out ways to get people to look you up later on MySpace or PureVolume,” Gaskarth says of their early stage style. As crowds grew and they began to expand outside of the United States, the naughty-joke mentality aided them more than ever when they would play in front of “30,000 Rammstein fans” at European festivals. “It’s like, ‘OK, what can we do besides play our show that will maybe have these guys be like, “This band isn’t that bad”?’” Dawson continues.

In the time since that magical pop-punk renaissance from which All Time Low emerged, most of their contemporaries have broken up, reconfigured or moved on entirely. All Time Low, on the other hand, have only gotten bigger.

As the band gets older, their fans remain the same age, with hordes of teenagers filling out theaters around the world. New rock overall has become increasingly less prevalent on radio and the charts, though young pop-punk acts still generate buzz and cult followings. Many of the new generation of young, spunky rock acts – such as 5 Seconds of Summer, SWMRS and Waterparks – cite All Time Low as their biggest influence.

“I’m not just saying this to sound nice, but we’re never going to get used to people saying they started a band because of us,” Dawson says. “Whether it’s a high school kid or a 30-year-old saying Jack inspired them to play guitar or whatever it is, it doesn’t quite feel real.”

“You know that never happened, Rian, but thank you for making me feel good,” Barakat jokes.

For Last Young Renegade, All Time Low have settled into their version of adulthood. Off Hopeless again, they’ve joined Fueled by Ramen, a label with a roster that resembles an Avengers-style lineup of mid-2000s rock mainstays who can still fill arenas and top the charts, like Paramore and Panic! At the Disco. Much like those two bands, ATL have found a way to broaden their sound without jeopardizing what has made them so appealing to young listeners for more than a decade. A bit darker than their past work, the quartet’s seventh LP sounds like one of their most carefully curated statements yet. Gaskarth’s writing and singing are at the sharpest of his career, and the songs overflow with big pop hooks. His personal improvement is a product of years of heavy touring and and a tight album-release schedule, with the band having issued new LPs every other year since 2005.

“We kind of know what we’re doing now,” the singer says with a laugh. Recalling the sessions for So Wrong, Gaskarth notes how songs often arose out of random moments and spurts of inspiration. Matt Squire, who produced So Wrong, would refuse to let the singer back into the studio until he had lyrics to go with the sketchy instrumental arrangements that would come out of their spur-of-the-moment sessions. Now, the band has more focus and vision than ever before.

“It would be unfair to ourselves and unfair to our fans to not push ourselves to try and change and do things that people wouldn’t expect and haven’t heard before,” Gaskarth continues. “Sometimes the easy road is to keep repeating the pattern.”

Touring with bands like Green Day and Thirty Seconds to Mars inspired All Time Low to pursue more of an atmosphere they can reflect in a live show. For the mood of Last Young Renegade, they looked back to move forward: Instead of reverting to the youthful, party-centric vibe of their early releases, the band reflected on their lives and careers as well as the road they took to get to this point. The concept of nostalgia weighed heavily on the band while writing their new material. Gaskarth dug even deeper into his history and cites pre-band childhood memories – watching Ghostbusters and John Hughes movies, for example – as just some of the early moments from his life he used as inspiration.

“A lot of it became about that vintage feel of [my childhood],” he notes. “I thought that would be a cool way to present that emotion musically and sonically, so what we ended up doing was go back and find these analog synths and weird pedals that we dug out of strange equipment rental spaces.”

A year of major musical losses also served as inspiration. The band went back to listening to Prince, David Bowie and George Michael and studied the sounds and qualities that made those artists such icons both in and beyond their time. “We’d key in on a sound or a pad and just a tone and try to take that and pop it in [one of our songs] and see what happened,” Gaskarth explains. “It ended up transforming all the songs into what we ended up with on the record.”

All four members of the band knew that fans would likely be shocked when they heard new singles like the sobering “Dirty Laundry.” All Time Low came of age when social media was still nascent, and have been quicker to adapt to the changing ways musicians can interact with their fans than most artists who weren’t necessarily raised on the Internet. So when the song was released, they kept a close watch over the online response.

“I remember seeing a comment that was along the lines of, ‘Ah, I’m not sure if I like the song, but that last chorus is great,’” Gaskarth recalls. “In my head I was like, ‘That’s the part that feels familiar.’ When it gets big and goes loud, that’s what feels like All Time Low from 10 years ago. That was safe.”

Gaskarth has continued to keep tabs on what fans write about them on Twitter and other platforms and claims that the same person tweeted him a few days later to say that the song had grown on them.

“I’ve been like that with bands, though,” Barakat admits. “Even with the new Paramore, at first I was like, ‘Ah, I don’t get this.’ Then a couple listens in, I’m like, ‘Alright, this is fucking catchy.’ It sometimes just takes a second to comprehend.”

Dawson cites his initial disdain for Green Day’s slowed-down Warning, and all recall being taken aback by Blink-182’s contemplative self-titled 2003 LP, each being thrown off by their favorite pop-punk legends easing into adulthood without a fight. Eventually, all have come around to those two albums with time.

“It’s really important to have those moments where you kind of take the fan base and shake it.” –Alex Gaskarth

“I think the biggest thing when talking about Last Young Renegade is that we wanted to present something fresh,” Gaskarth returns. “I don’t want this band to stop, and I think if we went the safe road and kept making album one and album two over again, it would peter out. It’s really important to have those moments where you kind of take the fan base and shake it.”

Appropriately, All Time Low found camaraderie with a similarly cult-favorite band that has taken huge creative risks in recent years. Tegan and Sara are Last Young Renegade‘s sole guest stars, appearing on the synth-y, atmospheric “Ground Control.” The track is one of the more blatantly Eighties-inspired moments on the album, a reflection of Tegan and Sara’s own foray into big-hook synth-pop with 2013’s Heartthrob. Both acts felt a mutual admiration, and their collaboration yielded a delicate, melodic feel unlike anything All Time Low had pursued before.

“It’s nice because that chorus is all three of us singing,” Gaskarth says of his harmony with Tegan and Sara. “We’ve never done anything like that as a band, so it was fun.”

“Ground Control” is Last Young Renegade‘s penultimate track, followed immediately by what the band describes as their “best impression of Phil Collins,” the slow-burning “Afterglow.” Instead of building toward familiarity, like on “Dirty Laundry,” here the band strips away any trace of the uptempo pop-punk that made them famous.

“It leaves you with that cliffhanger of ‘Well, what’s the next movie going to be like?’” Gaskarth says of “Afterglow,” claiming it as one of the band’s most John Hughes–ian moments. “You wanna end on him with a boom box over his head. Or they’re all walking down the hall, and he throws his fist in the air.”

The band takes a moment to riff on this idea, and suddenly a character named Johnny is walking down the hallway of a school in a made-up film before a final-scene freeze frame. Barakat, in his best movie-trailer-voiceover impression, closes out their goofy, brief interlude:

And Johnny was never seen again. …

source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/how-pop-punk-survivors-all-time-low-finally-grew-up-197349/

 

At night, you’ll find Rian Dawson holding down All Time Low’s rhythm section with his airtight drumming. But before the lights go down, the 27-year-old musician is likely holed up backstage working on a different sort of passion project. For the past few years, Dawson’s become a budding producer and engineer, the product of an ever-inquisitive disposition and time spent rubbing elbows with the likes of John Feldmann (5 Seconds Of Summer, Good Charlotte) and Grammy-winner Chris Lord-Alge (Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins). He recently signed his first management deal with Self Titled Management—who helm the careers of fellow producers Casey Bates, Rob Freeman, Brandon Paddock and Ace Enders—and is eager to fill downtime on tour with production and mixing projects. Backstage at the Back To The Future Hearts tour in St. Louis, Dawson chatted with AP about his emerging new career behind the boards, and how an exercise in staving off boredom actually saved some of the best tracks from All Time Low’s Future Hearts, from ending up on the cutting-room floor.

author: Evan Lucy

What was the moment for you where you went, “Oh, I could do that”?

It was never the moment of, “I can do this.” It was the moment of, “How the hell do they do this?” It was when we finished Put Up Or Shut Up, we started playing to backing tracks. Back then it was a tambourine or shaker, stuff like that. We had to get the guys who mixed it, Zack [Odom] and Ken [Mount], to send me the tracks. I remember me asking all these questions: “How do you actually do this? Do you have to pull it from the song?” I just had no idea what went into making a record. At that point, I got interested in how the pieces fit together.

You guys were really young at that point.

Back then it was just a real juvenile interest. I didn’t know what Pro Tools was, didn’t know anything like that. But as the years moved on, I’d figure out what I loved sound-wise about my favorite albums. I’d listen to Enema Of The State and that drum sound. I loved Jerry Finn’s style. Then Take Off Your Pants And Jacket came out, and I’m like, “Jesus, how do they do this?” I really just dove in and tried to find out on my own what I really liked about this sound, what did I like on this record vs. that record. That led to more and more research.

Eventually I started fiddling around with Pro Tools on my own. I’d take a track that was already mixed and mastered and figure out what EQ did, what compression did. That really took hold when we were doing Future Hearts, and I wanted to take a crack at mixing some of the songs just for fun. We’d recorded a song called “Kids In The Dark,” but it wasn’t going to go on the record. We didn’t think it had the energy, so I took a crack at it thinking it would be a B-side. I mixed the song—it wasn’t mixed, but it wasn’t a demo; it was just raw, and there wasn’t a ton of life to it—and I guess Alex and our manager, Keith, heard my mix and decided it needed to be on the record. It ended up being mixed by Chris Lord-Alge, so not my mix, but it was a really cool feeling.

[Future Hearts] is the first album I’ve ever been listed as an additional producer on songs. The ones I mixed originally—“Kids In The Dark,” “Dancing With A Wolf”—were ones we weren’t sure were going to make it, so I took a stab at them out of boredom. When you’re in the studio with the band, John Feldmann and his engineers, you don’t say all of your ideas. Nothing against John—he’s very open, and so is Alex, more so than me. But you’re still kind of reserved. I’m still nervous around John Feldmann; he’s made some of my favorite records and is an amazing songwriter. I knew these songs weren’t necessarily going to be on the record, and when you’re sitting with the song by yourself for six hours, you kind of get these ideas. I’m lucky enough to have the ability to put the ideas into the song. I sent those songs over to Alex, and we decided we were going to do them for the record. When they went to Chris Lord-Alge for mixing, you always send a reference, and that reference was my mix. As it went along, he said, “Hey, there’s a few things from your reference that I don’t have in the track.”—yeah, that’s my production, and CLA wants it! That’s going on my tombstone.

And it’s kept building from there?

I kept going at it. I’m one of those guys who hates being still. I love working. When I’m home, I can play drums, but I’m not going to play drums all day. I started building a studio about two or three years ago and I’m just always in it. I help out my girlfriend [Cassadee Pope], so I decided to open it up to other bands to take a crack at it. I openly tell them, “If you can afford someone better, get someone better.” I charge what I think is fair. I don’t take my name into account or anything like that. I know it is a benefit; Twitter followers alone, it’s a benefit [Laughs.] I make sure they know what my sound is, that I love a big pop-punk, energetic production. It’s been really fun, man. It takes up a ton of free time on tour, too. The room we’re sitting in now is dubbed “the Pro Tools Room,” so every day I have a dressing room that I can mix in from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., which is when our first meet-and-greet starts.

You’ve got a lot of projects in the works?

Yeah, right now I’m doing this band called the Everyday Anthem. They took a chance on me, and I took a chance on them. They didn’t have a ton of music out at the time, but they covered “Something’s Gotta Give” acoustic, which a lot of bands don’t do. I heard it and thought, “Damn, these guys are good.” I think I put out a tweet saying I’d love to mix some records, and I saw their name. They sent me some songs and it was really rough, but I was lucky enough that the songwriting was there. At this point, I’m sure a lot of the projects I’m doing will need a lot of work. But I’m finishing up an EP of theirs right now, and I’m really stoked on it.

You’re moving to Nashville in the near future, which will probably open a lot of doors.

Luckily, moving to Nashville lets me pursue this as a career, because the guys in Nashville… I feel like I could work at producing and engineering for the next 50 years and not get close to what they can do. It’s the best of it. I’m always eager to learn. I’m lucky to have our sound guy, Phil [Gornell], who runs a studio out of Sheffield, England called Steel City Studio. He’s a phenomenal mixing engineer, so he’s been a big help. I have no pretense about how good I am; I know I have a lot left to learn. It’s exciting to be around people who are willing to teach. It seems like this world of engineers and producers want to help each other out to an extent. At the end of the day, it is competitive, but you’re always sharing secrets. It’s like a secret club of magicians who only share with each other. I’m lucky to have had conversations with Chris Lord-Alge, Neal Avron, John Feldmann. I’ve got a huge advantage in that aspect.

As a drummer, how do you avoid wanting to keep the drums way up in the mix?

[Laughs.] It’s definitely tough, man. Generally the first mix note I get back is, “This is fucking great, but maybe turn all the drums down about 3dB.” [Laughs.] It’s so true. Modern-day rock recordings—not so much in country, which I’m also really interested in—have a ton of the drum energy up front. I’m pretty lucky in that aspect, but on “Bottle And A Beat,” which is a song I mixed on the Future Hearts deluxe edition, I knew I was going to mix it from the start. I had Alex come to my place to do mix revisions, rather than emailing me and being, “It’s the third line of the chorus on this part…” The first thing Alex says is, “I’m sorry, man; drums have to go down a lot.” He said down by 5dB, we agreed on 3dB. We got it back from mastering, and the first thing I thought when I listened on a real stereo system was, “Wow, the drums are pretty fucking loud!” [Laughs.] He still tells me he can barely listen to it because the drums are just so loud.

But it makes me realize the audience doesn’t just want to hear drums all the time. Even the way I play, you almost don’t want to know the drums are there until they’re gone. A lot of audience members can’t tell when I’m hitting the kick or the snare, but you take the drums away and the song is gone. I’ve learned to mix like that: Accent the parts where the drums should be showing, and otherwise strip them away as much as possible. But for all I care, take out guitars and bass! [Laughs.]

What’s the biggest difference between producing and mixing?

The production work is a lot more creative. I see mixing as algebra: There’s a solution and a way to get there. You can’t go too far outside the box or the song is gone. The pieces are all there for you. With production, you’re creating those pieces, and that’s something I’ve never really been that good at. I’ll openly say I’m not the most creative drummer or songwriter—and that’s okay, because I have Alex who is nothing but creative. With production, it’s a scary thing, but it’s a lot easier for me to sit in a day for eight hours without anyone looming over my shoulder. I’m very new to the production aspect, but everything is a step in the right direction for me.

source: https://www.altpress.com/features/twiddle_knobs_not_fingersall_time_lows_rian_dawson_on_his_budding_producing/

In a recent interview with The Gunz Show, All Time Low discussed the band’s dealings with Interscope during Dirty Work, their new album and signing with a new label. Read several of the quotes below and check out the full interview here.

author: Matthew Colwell


On Interscope and Dirty Work’s release:

“It was a tough thing. I don’t want to badmouth anyone over there – for what they did they were really rad. It was a lot of bad timing, in a lot of ways. It’s kind of happening with all major labels at the moment. It was just one of those textbook situations where we signed, we had the record done, and then one thing led to another. First they had to gear up for a [Lady] Gaga release, so we got pushed back, and then they had like a whole firing and re-staffing moment, so we didn’t want to release without a team behind it, so it got pushed back again. It was a really frustrating moment for us, but it happens and it was completely out of our control, which was unfortunate, because I think that was a solid record and it definitely lost a bit of steam because of all the stuff Interscope was going through. So it was a bummer. But you live and you learn, and it’s one of those things that I don’t think affected us in a way that’s going to drag us down too much. We learn what we like and we learn what we don’t like, and we know what to avoid now.”

On the new album:

“We are done with the record, so it’s being mixed over the next couple weeks by Neal Avron (Fall Out Boy, Weezer, New Found Glory). He’s going to be making the record sound amazing. He dropped everything and mixed “The Reckless and the Brave” for us last minute, just so we could get something out before Warped Tour. We felt like that track sums up the album in a really good way.”

“It’s for sure a progression, but there are elements of what we used to do sprinkled through. Like I said before, this time around I tried to get rid of the idea of using genre influences and time period influences like I have in the past.” 

“It definitely has some pop on there – I’d say it’s a pop rock record overall.”

“There is some disdain and a little bit of bitterness in some of the lyrics, but at the same time there’s a lot of resolution and a lot of resolve. Powering through the bullshit and trying to fix the situation – that’s always kind of what this band’s been about. It’s not about dwelling on the negative, it’s more about pushing through and finding the good in the shit that does happen to you.”

source: https://www.altpress.com/news/all_time_low_discuss_dirty_work_frustrations_their_upcoming_album_and_signi/

Being Flecking Records favourites, it was only natural we caught up with All Time Low as they hit the roads of America and Canada on the Bamboozle Roadshow 2010. We met up with Rian Dawson and Jack Barakat, and a surprise guest (Alex Gaskarth) gatecrashed the interview in Toronto, Canada.

author: Tanu Ravi


For those who might not know you, introduce yourselves!
Rian: Sure! I’m Rian, and I play drums in the band and do occasional back up vocals.
Jack: I’m Jack and I sing and play guitar for All Time Low.
Rian: In that order.

So how has the Bamboozle roadshow been going so far?
Jack: It’s been an amazing tour and quite an experience.
Rian: Kind of like a dream come true for us. A lot of our first inspirational bands like Good Charlotte and Third Eye Blind are on this tour, so it’s been cool to hang with them. Dancing with them and singing with them.

What is the most Rock ‘n’ roll thing you have done on this tour? We heard about your mace incident in Texas.
Rian: Yeah, our fans got maced, that’s always been a goal of ours.
Jack: That’s very rock ‘n’ roll I’d say. It would have been more rock ‘n’ roll if we had maced them ourselves.
Rian: It sucked, because we had nothing to do with it really.
Jack: But it’s still a cool story, it’s still rock ‘n’ roll.
Rian: Yeah I guess it is.

Which bands do you enjoy watching the most on this tour? Do you get to watch a lot of bands?
Jack: There’s nothing much to do because we always get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
[Jack looks out of the window over the industrial streets of Toronto.]
So we get to watch all of the bands every day, that’s basically all we do.

Rian: It’s kinda cool. There are two stages, the main stage which has Good Charlotte, Third Eye Blind, Boys Like Girls, so the more lucky bands as it were, and then the side stage has more newer bands who we get to make friends with and hang out with.
Jack: Yeah, they’re bands like Stereo Skyline and Mercy Mercedes.
Rian: So literally all we do is jump on the side of the stage and watch all these bands, and like I said you know we get to watch Good Charlotte, Third Eye Blind, and some of our best friends Boys Like Girls, so it’s been a really good time for us.

If you could host your own festival, who would headline and who would support?
Rian: Pretty much just this tour.
Jack: Plus Blink-182 and Green Day.
Rian: Oh, and maybe Jimmy Eat World!
Jack: Blink-182, Green Day, Jimmy Eat World,
Rian: And Good Charlotte and Boys Like Girls. As for us, we would just open everyday so that we could just spend the rest of the day watching all the bands.
Jack: Weezer!
Rian: Ooh! Drake, Phish!

Who are Phish?
Rian: You never heard of Phish huh? Did you ever smoke marijuana?
No comment.
Rian: Well, they like invented marijuana!

Do you prefer playing huge venues like this one tonight, or do you prefer the smaller intimate shows?
Jack: Well there are probably the same amount of people here that would be at a smaller show anyway.
Rian: Last night we played at a venue just outside of Detroit and the venue was proper for the amount of people. But then there are times when the size of the venue is just not necessary and I think tonight is one of them. Actually this whole tour has kind of been like that. [laughs] But I mean, we didn’t book it, we just play.
Jack: Yeah, we are not Blink-182!
Rian: But it’s still cool. I mean there is definitely a better vibe when it’s more intimate and a venue is more packed out.

Well at least you got this nice dressing room!
Rian: Yeah that’s a good part! We got a nice room.
Jack: But we have no food. We got given four Doctor Peppers and like six waters.
Rian: Yeah that’s our rider for today.
Jack: That’s just what they had left over from the last people that were here.

So you’re always on the road, how do you cope with being away from friends and family?
Jack: Picture messages!
Rian: A lot of picture messages! We’ve been touring since we graduated high school, so it’s kind of been a gradual process. At first we weren’t touring that much, and then all of a sudden it just snowballed, so you just tend to learn to deal with it.
Jack: Sometimes our friends come out and meet us in certain cities and stuff.

Rian: Yeah same with family, my Mum comes to Vegas a lot.
Jack: What was she doing in Vegas?
Rian: I dunno, I wondered what she was doing in Vegas, maybe she works there.
Jack: She works there?
Rian: So yeah, it’s just something you have to do, it’s part of the job. Probably the worst part of it, except for interviews [laughs].
Jack: Actually, I kinda like it. You say it’s hard being away, but I like to get away from people in Maryland who I don’t wanna be around. I mean there’s my friends and my family, then there’s people I get to leave and be like “peace bitch”.

Like who? Gangs?
Jack: Yeah, the gangs and people like that.
Rian: Yeah, inner city gangs.

Let’s play word association!
Music.

Jack: Blink!
Rian: Ah that was actually gonna be mine too.

Sheep.
Rian: Wool!
Jack: Bah bah black sheep.

Touring.
Jack & Rian [simultaneously] – Naked/Nudity [laughs].

Alcohol.
Jack:
Every night.
Rian: Drunk.

Feed The Pony. [In our last interview, we taught Jack and Alex English slang – including ‘feed the pony’. Rian was not present.]
Jack: I LOVE feeding the pony!
Rian: Quesadilla! What does feed the pony mean? Is it a sexual euphemism?

Gary Coleman Rian: De… ohhh! Short!
Jack: RIP.

Bandmates.
Jack: Gay.

Hanson.
Jack: Hanson? I thought you said Handsome! Handsome.
Rian: Yeah, handsome guys.

FIFA World Cup.
Rian: Xbox 360.
Jack: Exciting.

England.
Jack: I… like… England.
Rian: Fish – like fish and chips.

Fans.
Rian:
Amazing
Jack: Sexy
Rian: Loud
Jack: Sexy, amazing, loud.

Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with? Rian: Erm, this would be a question probably better for Alex.
Jack: Yeah.
[Alex just so happens to be peeping round the doorway.]

Rian: Alex, who do you want to collaborate with?
Alex: Your butt.
Rian: My butt? No seriously, who?
Alex: Dave Grohl!
Rian: Oh yeah, that’s a good one. Dave Grohl. Kurt Cobain, John Lennon.
Alex: John Legend [laughs].
Rian: Alex looks good today, I was expecting him to be puking everywhere. We had to wake up at 4.30 for the border crossing, we were all too tired to get up and Alex was just wasted watching some weird movie with our light guy Jeff.

So who is the most embarrassing band or artist you’ve got on your iPod?
Jack: Probably Hilary Duff.
Rian: I only know one song by her.
Jack: I have her entire collection.
Rian: Eiffel 65.

They’re not embarrassing, they’re cool!
Jack: They’re not embarrassing?
Rian: The “I’m Blue” song? This is because you’re from England, you’re allowed to listen to that kinda stuff.
Jack: You’re from England?
Yes Jack, the accent should have been a give-away.
Rian: We’re not allowed to listen to that stuff here.

Are there any songs you would love to cover?
Rian: Now that you mention it, I would love to do a Foo Fighters cover, but Dave Grohl won’t let us do it. He doesn’t like the way Alex’s voice sounds. I’m just joking, I’d love to cover “Learn to Fly”.
Jack: I’d like to cover “Hey Jude” by The Beatles.
[Alex walks back in.]
Alex: It’s Hey June.
Jack: Hey Jew?
Rian: Isn’t it Hey Jude?
Yes it definitely is Hey Jude.
Alex: June, it’s June.
No it is 100%, Hey Jude.
Alex: OK [pauses]. It’s Hey June.
Rian: OK, agree to disagree.
Alex: June.

So how do your USA/Canadian fans compare to the UK fans?
Rian: Spoilt.
Alex: Yeah.

Rian: We tour the USA all over like three times a year, and the UK is sometimes only like once a year, so we find when we go over to the UK they’re willing to give it their all. Whereas USA fans sometimes just stand there singing instead of moving around and dancing.
Jack: It’s still awesome.
Rian: Yeah, it’s still awesome but when you go to the UK you just know they’re thirsty for it. I am excited to go back there, for Reading and Leeds Festivals.

What advice would you give to new bands trying to make it in the industry?
Jack: Suck as much…
Rian: Quit!
Jack: Suck as much “quit” as you can.
Alex: Meet everyone you can, play all the shitty shows that you can.
Jack: M-E-A-T everyone.
Rian: Play all the shit shows, play all the one-person-there shows and don’t complain
Jack: And go down on every single record executive.
Rian: That’s a big one
Jack: We went down on [name removed] at least five times each.
Alex: Errgh!
Rian: But then we got signed to Drive-Thru, so we still made it.

Yes you did! So to whoever [name removed] is, fuck him, it’s his loss!
Jack: For the record, we didn’t say that, Flecking did.
Rian: Yeah.
Alex: But on the record… fuck him [laughs].
Rian: Last time we saw him was in Vegas actually.
Jack: He was working with your mum.
[laughter]

What is next for All Time Low?
Rian: We finish up this tour at the end of June, so then we should be finishing up the record, unless Alex shits the bed and goes crazy like lead singers do, lock themselves in a room. So we finish the record in July, we go overseas for August and September and we’ll be back in the USA maybe slash Canada, I dunno. [to Jack] Do you know?
Jack: I dunno.
Rian: [to Alex] Do you know?
Alex: I dunno.
Rian: I dunno, maybe we’ll find out.
Jack: As well as Reading and Leeds we have some other festivals in Europe with Blink-182! And then we’re hoping the album will be out early next year.
Rian: Yeah early 2011. Wow, 2011. We’re all gonna die soon.

Have you seen the film 2012?
Rian: No I haven’t actually.
Alex: It’s all bullshit.
Jack: John Cusack, I like John Cusack.

Who is going to win the world cup?
Alex: Spain.
Rian: Spain lost today to Switzerland.
Alex: Did they really? Spain!
Rian: [After some advice from roadies] Brazil! Brazil or USA.
Jack: Yeah, I’d say Germany.
Rian: Hows your goalkeeper [Robert Green] doing?
No Comment.
Rian: Isn’t he really good normally?
We prefer David Seaman. Why are you laughing Rian?
Rian: His last name is semen. He comes out of a pee pee when it’s not pee.

source: https://www.fleckingrecords.co.uk/2010/06/all-time-low-interview-10.html

The guys from All Time Low (Alex Gaskarth, Jack Barakat, Zack Merrick, and Rian Dawson) stopped in to talk withSeventeen about their upcoming tour. Plus we got you the scoop on their dream dates and gifts they really love from a girl!

author: Seventeen magazine


The European tour starts January 23 – check out the album Nothing Personal and see where you can catch a concert on their MySpace.

17: You guys are going to the UK right?

All Time Low: In January we’re going to the UK and Europe, Australia, Japan – Hawaii maybe.

17: You’ve been on tour non-stop, what’s your favorite part about touring together?

ATL: Just the antics. Living the high school dream. We play video games every night. The rock star life died with video games.

17: What’s your favorite date you’ve ever been on or your dream date?

ATL: Aquarium.

Jack Barakat: We’re from Baltimore, the Baltimore Aquarium is like world famous.

Alex Gaskarth: Here’s what you do, you pay the fee to rent out the aquarium after hours.

Rian Dawson: You’ve never done that.

AG: No, I haven’t but I’m planning. This is my dream date. So you set up a dinner in the…

RD: A fish dinner?

AG: Stop messing with my dream date!

Zack Merrick: My dream date would be I would meet some chick on the beach and she’d just be coming out of the water from surfing and I walk by her and we start talking and she’d be like “OK, we’re going to go on a date. I’ll meet you at the water at 8 AM”. That would be pretty sick.

17: So you have a lot of girl fans. What makes them stand out to you at your shows?

RD: There’s this weird thing when people meet bands where they don’t really talk, they just stand there and you’re like, “Hey how are you?” and they’re like, “Eh.” It’s nice to be able to have a real conversation.

AG: I think the worst thing they could do is to be too cool for school. The key to starting any relationship is to be outgoing. Carry yourself with confidence.

17: And what’s the nicest thing a girl has ever done for you?

RD: I’m into more of a personalized gift thing; it’s not so much about money as the thought. Like if somebody makes you something cool. My ex-girlfriend used to paint or make things for me that were like close to her heart which was always really cool. Something with a personal touch is always better.

17: Speaking of gifts, what’s on your holiday wish list?

ATL: Alex always buys all of us gifts and we never give him anything.

JB: This year I will be asking for a private jet.

RD: Alex and I live together and house gifts would be nice.

17: So let’s say, in your biggest dreams – no money limits – what would you get for each other?

JB: A moonbounce for Alex.

RD: For Alex, I would buy a nice petting zoo because he likes animals a lot.

JB: Put the animals in the moonbounce.

RD: For Zack I would buy a room full of original posters of his favorite movies like Home Alone and a plaque with the filming locations of all of them.

AG: And one wall, a movie theatre screen with all of those movies preloaded.

source: https://www.seventeen.com/celebrity/music/reviews/a6670/all-time-low/