2003 was a big year for the pop punk scene. Blink 182 had released their super successful self-titled album and Fall Out Boy had come out of nowhere with their first ever release Take This to Your Grave. Inspired by the atmosphere within the genre, 4 teens started jamming. Fast forward to 2012: those 4 teens are now held in a similar regard to the aforementioned forefathers of the scene, and All Time Low are still yet to reach their cruising altitude.
Currently at home in Baltimore for a month of R&R, and by the sounds of it the first opportunity in a while, guitarist Jack Barakat began telling of the challenges of maintaining the All Time Low mindset after almost 10 years, explaining that the difficult part isn’t always the song writing
“I’d say its definitely getting harder to reach new fans. Finding new ways to get people’s attention these days is becoming a bit of a challenge. There aren’t too many ways to do this you know, other than touring – I know there’s the Internet, but everyone’s there, so that’s why it’s becoming a challenge. We love our fanbase now, so we put a lot into keeping them around and treating them right.”
The band recently released their 5th studio album, Don’t Panic, showcasing just how much of the classic pop punk fury they still retain. However, it was a bit of a case of the ‘hard-earned 5th album’ as the band found themselves between labels right before they hit the studio, leaving the safety of Interscope to re-join long term allies Hopeless records
“We were just on a totally different page to Interscope. It was a mutual split, we weren’t happy with them and I don’t think they were really happy with us, so we just parted ways. We didn’t really have the same vision for the band but we love the Hopeless guys.”
The label fuck-around wasn’t all as bad as it would seem as the band had the opportunity to release the record solo: “We actually released the album independently so we recorded and did all of that stuff on our own before we joined up with Hopeless. They’re great: they understand that we know what we’re doing…we figured out the formula in our band many years ago and we keep things that way.”
Now with a serious amount of releases under their belt, I thought I’d put it to Jack to see which of their extensive back catalogue best represents what the band stands for. Jack, finding it difficult to be objective about his own music, still had a stab at it: “It’s a really hard question to answer, I mean we’re always growing, we’re always changing with each album. I’d say Don’t Panic is probably the one that best captures all the aspects of All Time Low, though Nothing Personal was without a doubt our most commercially successful release, so that one would have to be up there as well”
All Time Low will be returning for what Jack guesstimated as their 5th Soundwave performance. Given the logistical and financial nightmare touring Australia appears to be, we got talking about their fondness for our part of the world, “Oh totally, there’s just something about Australia. We try to get there every year, and for us, logistically, it’s just so much easier to come down on Soundwave. People hit us up like ‘do a headlining tour!’ but it’s just not that easy. So much stuff goes into organising those tours…a lot of money, but Soundwave make it easier.
“Soundwave always have the best lineup as well,” Jack added on the subject. “I mean, Blink, Metallica, Paramore, and Linkin Park,, I’ve listened to literally everyone of these bands for years. I saw the lineup and we weren’t even on it, but I tweeted AJ [Maddah] : “Yo, we have to be on Soundwave”, and it happened…we’ll be coming back once a year for a long time, hopefully.”
With 2013 just around the corner, I thought I’d address their 10th anniversary. Given just how constantly busy the band are, I don’t think they have even had a chance to process the milestone event. Jack laughed at the notion of All Time Low becoming a legacy band, “Haha oh shit, you’re right, 10 years does make it a legacy. That’s a weird feeling, I mean, we’re 24 and already a legacy band. That’s crazy. But I mean we’re going to be touring for that whole year, we don’t really have any sort celebration plans, we won’t be releasing a new record because we already did that”
So I guess that makes their forthcoming Soundwave performance and correlated sideshows the 10th Anniversary party for their Aussie fans!
Don’t Panic is out now.