As Van’s Warped Tour makes it’s way to Seattle, WA this month, we thought we’d take a look back at the tour when we covered it during our first year of operation, as well as bands who have been associated with it.
Check out this interview we had with All Time Low five years ago this month…
It seemed like only weeks after All Time Low first got played on MTVs rotation two years ago that the acronym A.T.L. was at the tip of every pop/punk fans tongue. Not to mention the hordes of girls who didn’t care what the genre was that instantly fell in love with the boys from Baltimore.
Fast forward to 2011 and All Time Low is enjoying mainstream success after jumping on board with Interscope records. Their first full length album with Interscope titled Dirty Work was just released at the end of this spring and yes…if you read Lemonade….we loved it.
I was fortunate enough to get a chance to talk to front man Alex Gaskarth about everything from Weezer to Ellie Goulding to having cotton candy in a not so pleasant place recently. Here is how it went.
How is life treating All Time Low lately?
Alex: Very good, it’s been very busy, but it’s been good.
You guys just got off of a tour with Yellowcard and Hey Monday. What did you take away from touring with them and seeing them play live?
Alex: We’ve been really tight with Hey Monday for a while now, so that was a really cool tour to be on with them. It’s always fun to tour with people you know, it’s like meeting up with old friends. Yellowcard was absolutely amazing, I grew up a fan of Yellowcard and getting to share the stage with them was really cool. They are all super nice dudes and really driven, I guess this is like round two for them, since they had a little bit of a hiatus. They seem very determined to see it through and make it work.
Your new single “I Feel Like Dancing” was co-written with Rivers Cuomo (Weezer). He is another legend of the alternative scene, what was that like?
Alex: It was really cool, he’s a hero to me and I have been a major fan of Weezer for a very long time. We’re a bunch of kids who grew up in the 90’s and so Weezer is right at the top of the list of bands that were inspirational to us and were pivotal in this bands creation. Being able to sit down in a room with him and being able to pick his brain was super refreshing, it gave me a really new take on my writing ability. It’s really cool when you’re working with somebody who pushes you in a new direction and it’s a new direction you never thought of. That’s the reason I try to do co-writes every now and then with people like Rivers.
Obviously they are always known as this fun band, is it the same way working with him or does he get really serious about it?
Alex: He was very similar to us in our writing styles, he takes it very seriously, but he has fun doing it. It’s important to him that the song is quality, but at the same time we weren’t afraid to say the word crunk in the song, because that’s the whole point of the song, it’s supposed to be fun and it’s supposed to be kind of ironic. We definitely took that approach and it worked well for us, especially since we both have that same sense of humor.
The video for “I Feel Like Dancing”, kind of pokes fun at being on a major label and has you doing various spoofs. Was it as fun to make as it looks?
Alex: Yeah! It was a blast, it was a long day, it took us a while to get it done, but the video was such a good concept for the song and for the situation we are in. There’s always this negative connotation with major labels that just doesn’t make sense anymore, because, I mean I can’t speak for all the labels, but interscope who we signed with really has a new and fresh vision. When we signed with them, we saw this backlash of people saying “oh this is going to be the end” you know like “this is where it all goes bad” and to be honest that just isn’t the case at all. The stereotypes we portray in the video are completely the opposite of how it’s been, so it really helped to play into the irony of the song itself.
How about the Katy Perry part of the video?
Alex: ::Laughs:: it was an experience! It was a real experience, you know when Matt the director was like “I want you naked, like I don’t want to fake this, I want you to be naked in the cotton candy” I was like “are you serious right now?”. I felt like when an actor really dedicates himself to a role like the dude in The Machinist, Christian Bale, who just went all out and lost all that weight, I got naked and filled my butt with cotton candy.
::laughs Well good for you man, you are a hero! What was your favorite part of Dirty Work?
Alex: My favorite part was working with Mike Green. Mike kind of became to fifth member of All Time Low through the process and he really brought out a great sound from within the band. He and I have created some really good songs together. I feel really lucky that we got to work with him.
It’s funny because soundtracks can be so hit and miss, yet you guys have had some great contributions to soundtracks. One of my favorites was the song you had on the Jennifer’s Body soundtrack (“Toxic Valentine”). How have you guys felt about these songs?
Alex: Yeah to be honest, I feel really grateful we got to do that song and I feel like it’s kind of a bummer we didn’t get to do more with it, because it’s such a cool and interesting song, but sometimes that’s what happens with songs for soundtracks.
It’s definitely sad, because that whole soundtrack was good!
Alex: Yeah and the movie kinda sucked, so it’s kind of a bummer! ::laughs::
Now that the tour with Hey Monday and Yellowcard is over, what are you up to?
Alex: Well we are actually in France right now, we’ve been touring across Europe doing all these festival dates. We are just having a good time living on the bus and playing with some amazing bands. We played with My Chemical Romance and we played with the Foo Fighters, Gaslight Anthem. Just some really good people.
Alex: No, we’ve been over quite a few times, this is maybe our six or seventh time back.
What is the reaction like in Europe?
Alex: Our fan base is really strong in Europe, the kids here are amazing and really big supporters of this genre of music and similar genres of music I guess.
Do you have any idea on what the next single will be off of Dirty Work?
Alex: That’s a good question! “I Feel Like Dancing” is still kind of simmering. It’s a weird process because this is our first dance with Top 40 radio, so it takes a while, it takes time, so unfortunately for the hard core fan base, we are sticking with the video for a while, because obviously we wanted to put it out as soon as the single was released. At the same time we are seeing if this radio game is going to work for us. It seems to be working so far, each week slowly, but surely we are climbing the charts.
What inspires you in the art world right now?
Alex: I am a big fan of the new Foo Fighters album, big fan of Ellie Goulding and a big fan of Batman comics right now.
Have you been able to catch a live show of Ellie’s yet?
Alex: I haven’t yet, I was kind of late on that one. I sort of just recently got into her and everyone else was like “where the fuck have you been dude?”. She’s so great though and the record is awesome, I hope I do get to catch her live soon.
Who’s the gorgeous blonde in your shoot you did for Ragged Magazine?
Alex: Oh Ragged yeah ::laughs::, I wish I knew! She WAS gorgeous! I don’t actually know, I guess she’s a model for Ragged, they were featuring guys and girls clothes, so they wanted a couple chicks in the shots. That was like one of the pictures they featured big time and it made it look like we had a girl in our band.
Well at least you got to do the photo shoot with her I guess!
Alex: ::laughs:: yeah it’s weird, because they write up this sick article about the band and everything, but the shoot is more fashion oriented and that’s something we haven’t done a whole lot of, so we all kind of just stood around looking awkward and uncomfortable and then that girl was there looking great.
What was the Baltimore scene like growing up?
Alex: It was a great scene that really helped us feel like rock stars at a young age and got us ready for what was to come, it really helped us take steps towards becoming a more mainstream act.
What are your fondest memories of growing up there?
Alex: The summers. The summers in Baltimore are awesome, very hot, but they’re great. We lived out in the suburbs and some of my fondest memories are driving around with the guys. I remember trying to book these shows last minute and trying to sell our records. It all felt really natural and organic back then which I am glad about. I am glad we came from that rather than anything else.
Check out the video for “I Feel Like Dancing” below…
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine
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