Interview with All Time Low
Back in May of 2009, I ventured out to see my favorite band as a kid in Fall Out Boy and while in line for the show four boys walked past me that I didn’t recognize which led to girls sobbing and running after them. Those boys were All Time Low and at the time they were second out of five. Since then they have steadily grown to be at the point where they are about to release their senior record ‘Dirty Work’ and luckily enough I was able to sit down with lead vocalist Alex Gaskarath and guitarist Jack Barakat in Boston a few days ago to talk about it!
To say they’ve come far in their career from that point is an understatement. Since then they have headlined and sold out venues that hold over five thousand kids and have hit number four on the billboard charts! Meeting their freshman year of high school and now being eight years further into their career as a band, it is still the original line up and still filled with that wit and humor that has made fans fall in love with their personalities. We talked about the wild way Alex and Rivers Cuomo wrote the new single ‘I Feel Like Dancin’ to those influential first records be it Madonna to Aqua and even more. Read on for our exclusive!
Artist: All Time Low
Title: Dirty Work
Release date: 06/7/11
All Time Low Official Website
Buy at: Amazon
Not exactly a soft one to start but the new record Dirty Work comes out in just over a month on June 7th. What are you guys most looking forward to with like finally having it out?
Jack: I think it’s going to be cool to finally play new songs live. I mean we’ve been playing the same tracks, I mean the last record came out two years ago?
It’s been a while.
Alex: Yeah! It’s the appropriate time to release a new record I think and, I don’t know, we put our hearts and souls into this one so we’re really excited to get it out now and yeah like he said I’m ready to play some new songs live. Fo shizzle.
Are you guys playing any of the new songs or just the single?
Alex: We did. We’re playing the single which came out a few weeks ago and we’re also playing a song that we leaked called Time Bomb. But that’s it. Nothing else.
Jack: You get nothing more!
Alex: Top secret stuff.
Perfect and do you think maybe the process changed at all because it was your first major label release? Like the writing and recording or was it still pretty similar to Hopeless?
Alex: No I mean I think it’s pretty similar to what we’ve been doing. You know I think the major label wasn’t really a factor in the growth. Apart from the fact that we did get to work with some people that we may not have been able to work with before. You know like Neil Avron. You know I think the creative process was pretty similar.
Jack: The only difference was us using the major label money to go to strip clubs.
Jack: And food.
Alex: We ate up most of our budget on strippers and food.
Jack: And sometimes food off of the strippers. Mostly strippers.
Alex: Costs extra!
Jack: So that ate up a lot of the budget as well.
Alex: Shit’s expensive.
Yeah, probably a little bit!
Then maybe what was one of the like stranger places you guys have found inspiration? Like maybe on this record or in the past?
Jack: Especially with the last record, we’ve kind of toured the entire world. We’ve done like the whole-
Alex: I don’t think that’s what the question was. Where was the strangest place you’ve gotten inspiration?
Jack: Yeah, I mean we’ve been to countries in the past year that we haven’t even really known much about.
Alex: When you said the word gross in ‘I Feel like Dancin’, what was your inspiration for that?
Jack: You know I was just thinking like we hadn’t really said that in any of the songs before.
Alex: What exactly was gross to you? Was it a statement about society? Was it a statement-
Jack: She’s interviewing us!
Alex is just helping out!
Alex: I’m just trying to encourage you. I’m just trying to make you shine. Um I think some of the better, some of the cooler inspirations, came from some rough times I had with some relationships and bouncing back and forth between being involved with someone that I have strong feelings for and also exploring feelings for other people. There’s a lot of weight in that kind of situation and a lot of forces pulling in all different directions so a lot of the record is about scenarios that played off of that with out going too much into detail and exposing Charlie Sheen for who he really is.
Jack: You know he released his own bath salt which is packaged in a cocaine packet? How crazy is that?
Alex: He’s an idiot. Huge idiot.
Jack: It’s like bath salt but it’s in a shiny tin foil thing with a sticker on it. It’s pretty fucking weird!
Alex: What a douche.
Alright then maybe, you guys obviously have been in the band since you were fourteen and in high school together.
A little bit, a little bit of a long time.
Alex: Oui is French for yes. O-U-I.
Wow, thanks for helping!
Jack: O-E-I. That’s how they say it in the US. O-E-I.
Awesome so maybe what would be like the most familiar sounding song off this record for the fans and maybe the most disfamiliar?
Alex: I think..ooh! Disfamiliar.
We’ve been discussing this all day. Is that a word?
Alex: Disfamiliar, I don’t know!
Dissimilar, like maybe the most out of left field for you guys.
Alex: I got you. Call yourself a journalist (all laugh).
Jack: Making up words (laugh)?
Alex: Disjournalist. Fuck (laughs), what was the question? Okay no I got you.
Jack: Unfamiliar. By the way (laughs).
Alex: I think one of the more familiar sounding songs on the record, there’s a few, where we tapped into the old school All Time Low energy. There’s a song called ‘Heroes’ that really goes back kind of to the pop punk that started us. I think, you know, ‘Time Bomb’ is something that could have been on the last record. I think there’s some songs that are small departures from what we were doing on the last album but then there’s a few that are very disfamiliar such as, the song called ‘Return the Favors’ that’s pretty strange for us. Song called ‘No Idea’ and a song called ‘Guts’ that are sounds we’ve never really played with before and it was a lot of fun making those songs because it’s fun to push yourself sometimes.
Good answer then you did write ‘I Feel Like Dancin’ with Rivers of Weezer so how did that collaboration initially come about?
Alex: It was kind of random. I mean we didn’t know him at all. We just kind of threw the idea out there at our label because they were on Interscope. They were our label mates and we kind of had our label reach out and just say ‘Hey we got some new kids on the label and Alex would love to sit down and write a song with you. He’s a big fan’ and Rivers came back with a yes! It was that random and I went over to his house and we grabbed our acoustic guitars and turned my phone on record and that’s how we wrote the song. We just kind of jammed and sang stupid lines into my phone and that’s how it come about. That’s magic!
Alex: (To Jack) You clapped right in my ear and it made my ear ring. I like hurt my ears. I need a doctor.
You may need to go see a doctor tonight?
Pretty awesome then who would be your dream person to collaborate with? Like for both of you!
Alex: Um okay..I’m going to let Jack answer this one first so I can think of one.
Jack: I’m going to answer for Alex and say Dave Grohl.
Alex: Dammit! Dammit!
Jack: I knew that’s what you were going to say.
Alex: Damn you Roger. Yes Dave Grohl would be a huge one for me! Also, Lady Gaga would be a fun collaboration I think. She seems like a very creative hip chick and I could possibly try to seduce her at the same time.
When you’re working with her?
Professional and then do you have one, Jack?
Jack: Lady Gaga.
Jack: And I would watch the video tape of Alex seducing her and that’s how I’d get seduced.
By the two of them? Perfect. Then the first time I ever honestly heard of you guys was when you were out with Fall Out Boy.
Alex: Oh nice!
A long, long time ago.
Before I was even into this kind of stuff but obviously Fall Out Boy is pretty historic as we all know. You guys have toured with a lot of historic bands in the past like Third Eye Blind and Good Charlotte this past summer. Maybe if you could go out with any three dream bands, who would they be? They could be broken up even.
Alex: I would love to do a tour with us, Foo Fighters, Third Eye Blind and-
Alex: Blink 182. That would be a fucking serious tour.
Jack: Yeah we would definitely headline.
Yeah, all over that!
Alex: That would be a lot of money.
Alex: To pay those bands.
Jack: Yeah we’d headline though.
Alex: That would be difficult to get to happen I think.
Now you may have a video already in the making but I don’t think one’s already out for this record. We don’t have to talk about it!
Alex: No I want to talk about it! Let’s talk about it!
Oh you do want to talk about it? Let’s talk about it then!
Alex: We shot a video for, well the first single ‘I Feel Like Dancin’, it two weeks ago? About two weeks?
Alex: And we just saw the second cut of it and by god is it funny.
Jack: It’s very sexy.
Alex: It’s a sexy video.
Jack: It’s probably the sexiest thing we’ve ever done.
Alex: It could well be.
Jack: We’ve done a lot of sexy things.
Alex: Could be the sexiest video ever.
Jack: We’ve taken pictures in our underwear. We’ve really done it all.
Alex: When it comes to sexy, some would say that we’ve really done it all but I think we’ve gone above and beyond this time. We’ve really proven ourselves. This is Blue Steel for us.
Jack: You know we also believe body hair is still in.
Jack: We’re bringing back the eighties!
Alex: There’s a whole thing about like ‘Oh guys shouldn’t be hairy’ but you know what? Maybe they should!
Jack: So should girls!
Alex: We are ape descendents are we not?
Jack: We are! We’re men.
Alex: Monkeys are hairy.
Jack: We eat with our hands. Sometimes our feet. Sometimes off strippers.
Alex: All comes full circle.
Maybe! Then this is taking it a little bit back but you guys are still pretty young we’re all pretty young like 22, 21?
Alex: 23! I’m 23.
You’re 23? Yeah, older!
Alex: Older! Old as fuck.
But what would you say was the first CD or cassette you bought as a kid and then the first concert?
Alex: The first CD I bought with my own money was Metallic’s ‘Black Album’.
Jack: First record I bought was Aqua.
Alex: Here’s-. Dude! I remember the first five records I ever bought and it’s so bizarre and like not coherent. It was Metallic’s ‘Black Album’, whatever Madonna record was out at the time. It’s that one that has like the slow song (starts singing) ‘You only see what your eyes want to see’ you know that song? That one!
Alex: That’s the one! I have that album. Backstreet Boys ‘Backstreet’s Back’. Third Eye Blind’s self titled album and shit I think Green Day’s ‘Dookie’ or ‘Nimrod’.
Jack: ‘Dookie’ was top five for me.
Alex: Those were the first five records I ever purchased for myself when I had an allowance. It’s pretty good!
It’s a pretty good five!
Alex: Shows my broad taste of music. Even at a young age. Even as a wee lad. Yes!
Then maybe your first concert and do you think those influenced you guys?
Jack: Ironically enough me and Alex’s first concert was the same but we didn’t go together.
You didn’t go together?
Alex: It was Fate-d.
Jack: It was a festival called HFS Festival.
Alex: Tival! Jack and I coming together is a lot like the characters in Lost. It was sort of like we were always connected. We were always meant to be together. To be with each other.
Jack: That was a cool festival. It was like Sum 41, Good Charlotte, Linkin Park.
Alex: Limp Bizkit.
Jack: Limp Bizkit.
Alex: It was pretty cock rock but it was awesome. I was very excited about it. It was cool they did it in the Redskins stadium.
Jack: We were high we were drunk. We were having a great time!
Alex: There were a lot of people! I think that was the first time I saw anybody smoking weed actually.
At that festival?
Jack: That was my first time smelling marijuana. I remember being like to my brother ‘what is that?’
Alex: I remember being like (sniffs).
Jack: He was just like ‘that’s weed’ and I was like ‘Okay’.
Alex: And then he bought some (laughs).
Jack was five.
Jack: I thought it was a kit kat.
And then it’s a little heavier but you guys have been in this band since you were like fourteen and obviously you’ve been doing it for about I want to say eight years?
Jack: Yeah about eight years!
So did you honestly ever think that it would get to this point?
Jack: Yes. We knew all along!
Alex: Just a logical progression into our eventual stardom.
Yeah eventual stardom (laughs).
Alex: No honestly-
Jack: I would have been a huge dick in high school.
Alex: Hey you know what? I’m going to be famous. Fuck you! Do your homework!
Alex: No I don’t think any of us planned or expected this. It was really just something we were doing for fun. We all liked music. We were all fans of the same bands. It just made sense you know, bro? We just got together and we were just jamming and then (laughs) eventually it started becoming a little more successful locally and I think that’s when we started to get a taste for the next step. A hunger for it. As it were. We went for it and now we’re just addicts and I’m not going to be satisfied till I take over the world.
Jack: Then I’ll go to rehab and you know that whole story.
Then maybe, obviously you guys have this record coming out, but the tour ends tomorrow at home in Baltimore. Then what’s coming up for you guys? Are you going to be staying on the road? Are you going to be going over seas? What’s in the plans?
Alex: We’re always going to be on the road.
You guys are always on the road.
Jack: We’re born to run.
Alex: We (laughs) we tour quite a bit. Yeah I don’t think we have any plans to stop right now. After this, we go pretty much straight back overseas and then back here.
Jack: Yeah we’re born to run every day.
Alex: Born to run, baby! I think with in the year, I think we’re pretty much going to circle the world. In the fall, I think we’re probably going to like Australia, Japan and all that. So it’s going to be rad!
"Dirty Work" by All Time Low - release date: 06/7/11..