Recently I headed out to Lowell to do an interview with a familiar face in Aussie punks Tonight Alive! It had been a minute since we had caught up with lead vocalist Jenna but we talked everything about their current recording for their new full length record to the tour they had just begun with All Time Low!
We’ve been doing this for a while so I’m not going to ask you the same things but I know you just finished a new record, are you finished with it yet?
We’re in the middle of it.
How has that recording process been going, considering it is your third album?
Fairly different! Really different. There’s never been so much attention to detail as there has been in the past six weeks. We’ve laid down drums, bass, rhythm guitars and keys are in the works right now. So we’ll do the tour then go back in and sort of put the rest of it together.
So we wrote this record for like a year and a half plus. I’m not sure if you’ve read this or seen me say it before but we kind of wrote a track listing for the record early last year and then we scrapped the whole thing. It was one of those situations where we realized that every album we’ve done has been a step forward from the last but the songs we were writing would have been a repeat of the past. We’ve matured a lot and our fans are maturing. It’s just kind of time to experiment with our sound. So that’s where we’re at now.
So you had had this whole album ready to go and then you just scratched that.
Yeah I guess it wasn’t totally ready to go but we’d written about fifteen songs so we could have done an album with those songs but they just weren’t at a caliber that we were sort of ready to represent the future with. Yeah we’re forward thinking a little now.
Perfect and then do you think the writing process still changes or do you think you’ve kind of gotten into a steady rhythm within the band, considering you guys have been together for a long time now?
Yeah I mean ‘The Other Side’ was written really, really easily. It was just Wak and I. We just kind of found a good chemistry acoustically and we would just be backstage or on the bandwagon, van, wherever we were and it was just like jammy. So it was really natural. Before that, ‘What Are You So Scared Of?’ was actually kind of hard to write because we were coming out of high school and we used to use this guitar program called Guitar Pro. We would do like manuscript and it was all Midi sound and we would send the files back and forth and develop it together but it just was too many cooks in the kitchen. This time around, we’ve continued to write acoustically but we’ve demo-ed as we’ve gone rather than just at the end of the process. So it’s been good for perspective and being able to build the tracks on the computer. Yeah I guess it’s the same but different.
Then I wanted to ask. I did watch some of your more recent interviews you’ve done just to prepare. Like ones you had done at Soundwave that kind of thing and I know you kind of went into this record with kind of like a game plan from what I remember.
Kind of, yeah!
I know you said that was something different for you. How do you think that affected the process?
I think with the whole early songwriting like first fifteen songs, that was kind of like a wake up call. We were like we’re about to make our third record and it’s our fifth release, we’re going to be however old when we put it out. It sort of made us think a lot about what was important and what this album needed to be for Tonight Alive. For our fans, for us individually. So it became not a concept album but it’s really nice to have the name of the record ready to go. The visuals are ready. I’m just excited. I think we’re a lot more prepared then we’ve ever been. We’ve always based everything we’ve ever done around touring. This time, we’re saying let’s not book anything for the rest of the year and give this as much time and thought and energy as it needs. So that’s definitely affecting the sound and how much we can experiment with it.
And do you think that’s something that is going to be like early 2016? Do you think it’s going to be something that you try to put out before the end of the year? What’s kind of the plan?
Originally yeah we wanted to put it out third quarter this year but it’s starting to look like we will just freestyle. I think it will be a stronger release if we wait until the new year.
Then obviously you’re just starting this tour tonight but you do have a lot of experience touring the states and All Time Low has a similar fan base. What are you most looking forward to during this run? You’re obviously playing these huge rooms compared to maybe something you’ve done in the past. You’ve definitely built your way up.
Obviously we’ll have a great time with All Time Low. They’re really good people and we have like a really easy going friendship. So there’s always a good atmosphere behind the scenes. So the shows are going to be great. Hanging out is going to be great but I realized over Christmas, New Year and the past few months, I kind of started missing our fans. We’re not really far away from them very much so there’s just been a lot of internet interaction over the past few months where people have been kind of pouring their heart out and other fans are reaching out to them and supporting each other. I was like, wow I’m really proud of our fans. Like they’re really looking after each other. Growing up and giving each other advice and I was like wow we’re creating a really special community so I realized that on this tour, I’m really looking forward to actually going to merch after we play and spending time with people. Sometimes you’re really exhausted and sometimes you’re like man we did a meet and greet or we did this, this, this I don’t want to go to merch and it’s kind of an overwhelming atmosphere because it’s loud and whatever but I’m actually really looking forward to hanging out with people and just chilling with our fans.
You miss them?
I have yeah it’s really weird. Not necessarily hasn’t happened before but we’ve had the opportunity. We’ve had space. I just feel like our relationships are stronger then ever.
Perfect and obviously when we started interviewing you, Hands Like Houses had started touring and there are other Australian bands that have started to come over here and tour successfully. When we first started talking to you though, Pierce The Veil hadn’t broke yet and Sleeping With Sirens hadn’t broke yet which is when we did our first interview during your time with them. You had been touring Australia for years before you came here. You’ve been doing it so much, maybe advice to bands to keep on coming here? Just to keep coming back because it is so expensive to come here?
Absolutely. I guess I think the make or break situation of touring is how much you want to be there and how much you’re willing to sacrifice. How much you’re willing to give. So for us, you kind of have a double life but you know that it’s not an equal balance thing. It’s like you’re definitely going to be away more then you’re going to be home. You’re not going to have money in your pocket. It’s going to be where you’re feeding it into a spiral. That is the touring world. So I guess advice is take every opportunity that you can and also create opportunities. You can’t wait for other people to say here’s a great tour that’s going to make you really big and successful. That’s never going to happen unless it’s like a One Direction kind of situation where they’re humongous. I think you have to have a DIY mentality to start with and you have to work really hard and save and then blow it all away into the music world but it is rewarding. Write good songs and make relationships. Keep an open mind. Everyone has something to teach you. Just have respect and you will be respected.
Perfect and then obviously the band is very busy right now. You’re in the middle of recording your new record and you’re just starting this tour with All Time Low which I know is quite the long tour.
It’s not a two weeker but what is coming up after this run with All Time Low?
We’ll go back to Jersey and record lead guitars, keys and vocals and that will be another month there basically. We plan to go home in July but it’s kind of unknown and I like that. For once, we’re not on a total schedule where I can say in November, I’m going to be here or whatever. So I’m actually looking forward to, it’s not going to be time off necessarily, but at least breathing time and time to put an album together really. Not just a record as music but the vision for it.