Before you prepare all the neat adjectives you’re ready to throw our way, take this into consideration: the Put Up Or Shut Up EP is a favourite of yours. You go back to it from time to time and revel in it’s youth but now, ALL TIME LOW doesn’t seem like the same band to you because hundreds of fans don’t know that disc
due to being nowhere close to puberty at that time. Guitarist Jack Barakat insisted before the group’s recent gig in Toronto, even with the filtered pop hooks and hysterical fans, they’re still the same musicians. It’s just now, they have something to prove.
Do you think this Canadian stop with live up to your last gig in Toronto?
Yeah, it’s actually cool not to play the Kool Haus anymore (laughs). We’ve played there so many times and so we decided to play another venue. The decision was just a shot in the dark and we ended up picking Sound Academy.
Is it safe to say the screaming won’t quit and the stage will be bombarded with bras and underwear?
I’m not sure how that trend started but now, by the end of the first song of every show, we’re just covered in bras. Fans just go up there and throw them on stage. But I don’t think it’s actually their underwear, they must bring ones they’ve bought. It’s a little bit less rock n’ roll but it’s still rock n’ roll. We used to collect them and count them to figure out how many we had but now we just don’t keep them really. There was the idea of donating them but they do have people’s phone numbers on them and stuff.
Since you’re gaining more commercial success with every release, are you nervous at all to issue one that may not be successful at all?
There’s a little bit of pressure especially with our fan base and the success we’ve had that you mentioned. For us it’s always been difficult putting a new record out because of the expectations from fans and what they want to hear. But you can’t really think about that; you just have to make the record you want and hope the kids will like that. We’re not the type of band to reinvent ourselves and change our sound.
“The long career, the non-stop touring, the passion to create; that’s everything we hope we can show people. I definitely think we can show that with our new material.”
How would the band handle putting out a record fans didn’t like?
Luckily we haven’t been put in that situation. I don’t know how we would react. I figure there would be a lot of bummed people (laughs). There was a weird reaction to when the new single “I Feel Like Dancin’” came out. I think we expected a kid to say “what the f*ck is this?” but most people like it. Some who didn’t at first have said it’s grown on them. That’s kind of what we aimed for with that song; for people to listen to it and be taken back a bit and then say they love it after a few listens. That happens with a lot of records too.
The response was mixed, partially due to the lyrical content. What influenced you to write a song of that nature?
Alex did it with Cuomo Rivers. I happened to be in the room when that happened and it was really f*cking interesting. The whole record just has a lot of serious, darker songs, mostly lyrical as it still has that poppy, upbeat feel to it, and we thought that we needed a cool party song. We’re All Time Low and that’s what we’re about. Then we just kind of came up with this fun track and honestly, I think we nailed it.
Would you say you’re more or less trying to showcase the youth and fun pop punk normally presents?
Yeah, completely. There’s no agenda with that song. Basically, Rivers just painted what would happen if we were at a party and figured out a way to put it into lyrics, making it a track that’s Weezer meets All Time Low.
Do you think others criticized the single a bit too much before remembering some of the band’s older material that’s a bit more fun than serious?
Absolutely. People expected serious songs because that’s what we said would be on the record and they were kind of surprised by it. Like “Poppin’ Champagne”, that’s a really silly song and I think some people forget that and the stuff we’ve written in the past.
You did say the record is a bit darker and more serious than people think. Can you provide an example?
There’s a song on the album called “Return The Favor” that starts with piano and ends with piano. There’s also acoustic guitar that runs into that making it sound a bit theatrical, almost like a rock ballad. It’s the complete opposite of anything we’ve ever done, like so opposite of the spectrum. It’s pretty personal; I’m not too sure what it’s about but I interpret it as someone not putting in the same amount of love as you are. That itself is pretty different from anything we’ve done (laughs).
What are your hopes for Dirty Work?
The goal is to please fans while reaching a whole new audience. No band wants to keep playing the same clubs in front of the same people. We want to play in front of a larger audience and in the biggest venues and appeal to as many people as possible while keeping things natural and a bit organic.
Was that goal affected by the fact you’re now releasing your very own work on a major label in any way?
Not musically. We’ve never had that meeting where the label says we should write a rap song (laughs). They pretty much told us we can do what we feel like doing. We didn’t have anyone screaming in our ears telling us what to do. They just kind of told us what they wanted from us and said they hope to see what we can do over time.
With the label, the fans and the general public watching, what do you hope to prove to everyone when June rolls around?
We want to prove to everyone we can be one of those bands that’s around for a very long time. The long career, the non-stop touring, the passion to create; that’s everything we hope we can show people. I definitely think we can show that with our new material. We’ve put a lot of hard work into this career thing. We might have only had about three months off in the past five years.
What do you hope to prove to yourself personally?
Absolutely nothing (laughs). Just see how everything goes. Myself and the rest of the guys definitely don’t plan too much ahead. We just kind of go with the flow and take things as they come. That may change because this new record is definitely all over the place. It’s in a box, but it touches every corner of that box.
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