All Time Low are headed to our fine country in just a couple weeks with Set Your Goals, and Jack (Guitar & Vocals) was kind enough to have a chat everything pop punk.
Hey mate, how are you this evening?
I’m pretty good, how are you doing?
How’s this tour with Fall Out Boy been treating you guys?
It’s been so much fun dude… you have no idea. I wish we could bring it overseas.
I’m sure there are plenty of kids down here that would agree.
The footage of you guys covering Midtown with Fall Out Boy got a lot of attention online, is that something you’d planned to do for a while or was it a last minute kind of thing?
It was actually a really last minute thing… it was completely out of the blue. On that particular date Gabe (Cobra Starship vocalist, formerly of Midtown) was really sick and had to pull out of the show, so because they (Cobra Starship) didn’t play we figured we’d put the time to good use.
Couldn’t agree more mate.
Yeah man, we’re all big fans of Midtown!
Let’s talk about the new record man. Taking into account that you’ve been on the road non-stop for the past couple of years, how’d you go about writing Nothing Personal?
The writing for it was actually awesome, but it was a lot different to the way we’d done it in the past. Given that we’d been on tour since we graduated high school we didn’t really have a whole lot of time to get in a room together and write as a band like we used to.
A big thing this time around was me writing a lot of the songs and coming up with a lot of ideas while we were on the road and then we ended up doing the record with five different producers, so I would basically write the songs with the producers and then the band would come out and we’d deliberate over everything and just yeah… figure it all out and make sure everyone was happy with the songs.
I actually think the record came out a lot better for that reason.
Did you have any definite goals for the songs this time round, be it musically, lyrically or something else again?
To be honest, nothing… we didn’t really have any expectations or anything because when you shoot for some absurd goal that you’re trying to live up to, a lot of the time you’ll just stress yourself out with it, so we tried to avoid that and just try and write really good songs that we love and that we knew we could connect with and enjoy playing for the next two years (laughs).
The only track we’ve heard so far is “Weightless” – which is awesome by the way – is that a good representation of the rest of the album?
Definitely. Our record has a lot of twists and turns which is something new for All Time Low… it’s got a lot of different moods which we hadn’t really been able to do before.
So it’s a good representation of what’s to come, but it’s also a good bridge between the old sound of All Time Low and what can be expected from the rest of the new record.
You did touch on this briefly before, but Matt Squire co-produced your debut full-length – along with Paul Leavitt – how involved was he this time round, as you guys also had Butch Walker and David Bendeth on board for the productions duties with Nothing Personal?
We recorded five songs with Matt Squire, so he did the most songs under one producer’s name, and you know, we absolutely love Squire, he’s like family to us… so there’s absolutely no way we could cut him out of this project.
We love working with him and we always come up with the most… we always try to hit the pop-punk thing on the head and we always nail it with him, so that’s kind of why we had the most fun recording with Matt. With Squire, we did step outside of our box but it wasn’t as obvious as what we did with the other producers.
He really keeps us true to the old All Time Low sound, which is important because some of the stuff we did with Butch and Dave and the rest of the guys really took us down a different road, and even though we’re really happy with how it all came out it was important to us to have Matt keep us on point as well.
Do you think that professional and personal relationship with Matt is something that you’ll take into the next record as well, as he seems to be the proverbial glue that keeps the band’s more traditional elements together?
To be honest, I don’t know how to answer that (laughs). This is one of those industries where a lot of shit gets very mixed up between professionalism and friendship… it’s just how this industry works, you know?
I mean, we’re friends with all the people that work at our record label but at the same time, we do things that they don’t like and they do things that we don’t like, so you have to have these business discussions with someone that you were just out having drinks with.
It’s just one of those weird things, but to keep working with our friends on our music is always a better situation for us, so working with someone like Squire means there’s instantly good chemistry and it makes for better music I think.
Again, you did touch on this before, but I read recently that you guys feel the new record is a bit deeper than your previous releases and has a more varied set of moods etc… Can you elaborate on that?
Yeah man. This time around we really just felt that we should touch on all bases, you know, you have the party songs that All Time Low always writes, you have the songs about drinking and one-night stands (laughs)…
All the fun stuff (laughs)…
Yeah man, but at the same time we decided to try and touch on some things that we’ve never really touched on before, things like the ideas of feeling fucked up by everything that’s been going on in our lives recently, and just generally playing off that stuff as well… the darker side of us I guess, which actually ended up being a lot of fun.
When All Time Low first started out, the band was quoted as saying that you were aiming to bring back the good time feel of bands like Blink 182. Do you think the more serious tone of your newer material will still allow you guys to do that?
Absolutely. By no means is it a serious record. All I meant by those comments were that this time around we put some songs on the album that we’ve never dared do before, know what I mean? That isn’t to say that this record is a dark record or anything like that – it’s quite the opposite – if anything, it’s one of the poppier and happier summertime albums we’ve written… if you can get any more summertime than our previous records (laughs).
It should be cool. It’s just a good mix this time and I feel like everything is a lot more balanced.
No doubt you’ve been quizzed as to why the song recorded with Mark Hoppus (Blink 182) didn’t make the record – so I’m not going to punish you again about that…
(Laughs) Thank you man.
But will the track be used a B-Side or digital release in the future, coz I know a lot of people (myself included) are very keen to hear it?
Man, I don’t know, that’s a good question. I’d like to say yes, but it all depends on our schedule and obviously Mark’s schedule, because we’d all have to get together again to make it happen.
Do you think the advertising surrounding Nothing Personal – i.e.: the slogans about haircuts and fashion etc… – could be taken the wrong way by some of your younger fans, or do you think kids are smart enough to know when you’ve got your tongue planted firmly in your cheek?
That’s another very good question man. We did think about it, “are we actually going to piss people off with this whole campaign”? I think for the most part that people get it but there’s always going to be someone telling jokes and other people don’t get them, so sorry if you fell behind but try and keep up.
It’s not like anything we’re doing is very obscure, it’s pretty obvious humour. Hopefully we don’t piss anybody off and hopefully nobody falls by the wayside because of it, but we’re not too worried about it. I think everyone knows that a lot of what this band does is all in good fun.
You will be heading to Australia for the second time in June… how did you get involved with the people at Take Action?
Our label, Hopeless Records, actually runs the Take Action! Tour, so we’ve known about it and been affiliated it indirectly for a long time. We’ve never actually done the tour in the US but we’ve always contributed music to their CD’s.
So when we heard that Hopeless wanted to take it overseas we immediately reacted and said, “well, it’s about time that we went back overseas and hit Australia again”, so it made sense to combine the two.
It’s awesome that everything lined up and I’m glad that we’re able to do it.
A lot of great bands have had the privilege of being involved with the Take Action tour in previous years, so as a young band is being a part of such a charitable tour (and cause) something you really look forward to doing?
Definitely man, and it’s really cool that we get to pioneer the first overseas one too. It’s really cool that we get to brand the name and bring it with us as we travel.
It’s also the first time that we get to tour with Set Your Goals for a long period of time, which I’m really excited about. I love those dudes and they’re an insanely good band!
Will your Australian fans be hearing many of your new songs at the shows?
There’s a good chance that we’ll throw in… well, we’ve been playing “Weightless” on the Fall Out Boy tour so since we’re headlining we’ll actually have time to play some songs (laughs), so yeah, we’ll probably throw a couple more new ones in there.
As I mentioned previously, you guys have spent a lot of time on the road over the few years. Who are some young or up and coming bands that you’ve seen that you want kids to check out?
Up and comers that I would DEFINITELY recommend to everybody would have to be The Dangerous Summer and The Friday Night Boys.
A lot of people already know the band, but A Day To Remember is another awesome band. Chad from New Found Glory produced that record and it’s a lot of fun, so I definitely have to shout them out.
Everyone knows about Set Your Goals but they also have a new record coming out this year and that’s going to be big… Every Avenue is also working on a new record.
That’s a big list man.
Yeah dude, there’s so much good music coming out this year!
Following on from that, what have been your favourite records so far in 2009?
Oh man, Lady Gaga’s new record is up there for me. I’m a big fan of that CD.
Probably A Day To Remember (Homesick) and… man, I have a hard time remembering what came out this year so I’ll just stick with those two for the moment.
That about wraps it up mate, is there anything else you’d like to put out there?
I don’t know man, to anyone that happens to read this or hear this or whatever format it comes out on, thank you for paying attention and hopefully we’ll see you all when we’re out there.
I’ll be sure to spread the word.
Awesome man, take it easy!