All Time Low: "Rock Is In A Weird Spot"
If anybody has the cred to talk openly about rock and roll, it's All Time Low.
The Maryland alternative rock quartet (made up of Alex Gaskarth, guitarist Jack Barakat, bassist Zachary Merrick and drummer Rian Dawson) have done pretty well for themselves with three well-received LPs and another three EPs, and now their fourth album, Dirty Work, is about to drop on June 7.
So what's on the guys' minds? Usmagazine.com recently chatted with them to find out. Read on!
UsMagazine.com: What can you tell us about your new album Dirty Work?
Alex Gaskarth: It's a big step forward for us. When you are on the road all the time, you are traveling, you're away from family and friends and there are definitely downsides to that. This record is more honest and opens up about those problems. It is not a downer record by any means' it's definitely upbeat, and we geared it a little more toward pop-rock.
Us: Being that this was your first record with Interscope, was the process any different?
Alex Gaskarth: No. We were drawn to Interscope since they were not trying to change who we were and were very supportive of what we had going. When we came on board it was a logical maturity. They let us do what we wanted to do. When we turned in a song, they had their comments and their criticisms and their guidance, but it was more about helping us find ourselves as a band. They definitely pushed us, but I'm thankful for it because it took us to some places that I don't think we would have necessarily gone.
Us: Are you looking forward to your album release on June 7th?
Jack Barakat : We've just been waiting to put it out for months now!
AG: We've been finished since January so we've been sitting on these songs for a long time. We're ready to get out there and start playing them live and to have people hear them.
Us: With all the free time before the album drops do you ever feel like maybe you should add just one more song?
AG: Yeah, but that's the benefit of having some time. We're tour-oriented so we'll go into the studio and record four or five songs here, stop, go back out on tour, live with those songs and then kind of see where we are at. It's a good way to gauge what your best material is.
JB: Absolutely. There are some songs we did in January of last year and by Fall of last year we were all kind of like, 'this sucks.'
Us: How much does fan reaction play into what songs you guys stick with?
AG: It's pretty big. You don't want to let the weight of what other people are anticipating let it affect you too much, but there is something to be said for catering to your fan base. While you do have to be true to your own creative process, you have to keep your fans happy.
Us: What made you decide to choose "I Feel Like Dancing" as the first single?
AG: It's one of the catchier songs on the album -- it really gets stuck in your head. I wrote it with Rivers of Wheezer, whom I am a big fan of. So that was why I would love for this to do well. Everybody felt good about it as a lead single.
JB: From a listening standpoint, it's the most universal song. There's something in there for everyone no matter what type of music you like.
Us: Besides "I Feel Like Dancing," what are some of your other favorite songs from the album?
AG: Mine are some of the more lyrical heavy tracks. "Guts" is one, which features Maya from the Sounds.
JB: Big fan of "Do You Want Me," which is the first song on the record. It's a good transition from our last record to our new record.
Us: As an artist, do you put more into the performance of your favorite song?
AG: At a live show it's more about the energy of the whole show and the atmosphere. If there's a song that I'm digging in particular, it makes it easier to play since I get more energy from that one.
Us: You have such creative visuals in your music videos, do you have any planned for this album?
JB: The "I Feel Like Dancing" video is visually explosive.
AG: It's a video within a video. We went with three different approaches. We did the whole "Thriller" thing where the song starts and stops and there's some dialogue. We shot this one on film. So the bright graphics in the video are a little subdued. It's like something out of the 90s and is reflective of pop-rock.
Us: What's your take on where rock is at right now?
AG: Rock's in a weird spot. It definitely dropped out for a minute and gave way to the sort of club vibe that really took over the mainstream world, like dance and hip-hop. I think it will make a comeback, and the rock cycle will start up again in full force.
JB: Rock is one of the oldest styles of music that we still listen to today, so it's going to be around for a while.
Us: Do most of your songs about women stem from firsthand experiences?
JB: There are a handful of songs that are about specific girls.
AG: The lyrics come from experience.
Us: What's the best part of being on tour?
JB: Being on stage.
AG: Traveling the world and getting to play in countries I couldn't imagine myself going to without the band is a really cool feeling.
Us: If you had to describe the album in one word, what would it be?
AG: Better. I'm proud of us for writing the record and I'm stoked to see where it takes us.