All Time Low

All Time Low

This weekend both we from The Rock Show Magazine and Lisa Leysen from RMP Magazine were given a chance to speak to All Time Low. Lead guitarist Jack Barakat and drummer Rian Dawson kindly took some time out of their craaaazy busy schedule to catch us up on their upcoming album "Future Hearts", living in the tour bubble, and more...


Do you have any weird rules while on tour?

Jack: We don't really have too many rules apart from being clean. We like keeping a really clean bus without anyone's clothes all over the floor. If you're smelly we will probably kick you off the bus.

Rian: That's very true. It's all very fun and games but when it comes to the bus we are very particular and very clean. We've been touring for so long that we kind of know not to mess with each other on the bus because that is our collective home. There are about 14 of us on there, so we all have to take care of ourselves and not do anything too crazy. It's been good though, we haven't really had any major bus incidents.

Jack: Just don't sleep with each others' girlfriends. Try not to.


So do you all bring your families on tour with you then?

Rian: No, that's the biggest rule!

Jack: There's just not enough room. On our bus there are at any given moment 14 to 16 people. If our girlfriends come out there are 20 people on the bus and it's just not that big.

Rian: Family's do come out for a show and hang out at the bus and drink all our booze, but they don't even want to be on the bus either. It's really cool if you know it and live it, but if you're used to a house or an apartment and suddenly find yourself in a bus it's just like “Oh my god, how do you guys do this!” So friends and family usually just come out to the show, stay in hotels and then come back.


Just don't sleep with each others' girlfriends. Try not to.

Jack Barakat, All Time Low

You've done your fair share of co-writing in the past. What can we expect from “Future Hearts” in that regard?

Rian: we've always in a sense co-written. When we started as a band it wasn't even a word really. We would have a producer who would help us write, just like any other band did at the time.

Jack: we also weren't big enough to be able to get co-writers.

Rian: Indeed. On this record we have songs that were co-written by Joel Madden, John Feldmann, Mike Green. Mark Hoppus sings on it!

Jack: Yeah, Feldmann produced the album, Mike Green did our last two albums.

Rian: These days there's not too much difference between producing and co-writing. Co-writing for us has always been a way to expand our pallet because you get the best of both worlds. Especially if it's someone you respect, like Joel Madden for example, you get all of his songwriting experience combined with Alex's (mainly). Now for the next record we have some of Joel's ideas in our heads. It just builds your repertoire a little more so we're always big supporters of it.


So what can we expect from the album?

Jack: It's very dynamic. There are songs that are in the same vein as other All Time Low songs, but they're still very different. For example, “Something's Gotta Give” is a very happy-go-lucky, fun summer song. “Kids In The Dark” is a little darker.

Rian: It's definitely a very dynamic record. We always say that “Don't Panic” was kind of the same thing throughout. It's a great record and it's what we needed to do at the time, but there's no dynamic. It starts at a hundred and it stays there the entire time.

Jack: It has no ballads or anything. There are no slower songs. There are some dark, emotional songs on “Future Hearts” as well as really happy ones.

Rian: It's a very well-rounded record this time around. We covered all our bases with ballads, rock, pop punk, pop rock. It's got everything. I always say that if you pick your favourite songs from all our records there will be a song that sounds like that on this new record.


Do you feel like you've grown up as musicians a bit with each album? Or maybe even on a personal level?

Rian: On a personal level we probably haven't.

Jack: That's actually true.

Rian: Honestly, it's tough to tell. If you compare what we as songwriters, especially Alex, wrote back in the day there is no doubt in anyone's mind that we've grown. With this record we went back to our original songwriting type with all of us in a room together and all of us writing together. We haven't done that since “So Wrong It's Right” and “Nothing Personal” so that was a nice change. Previously it would have just been Alex writing. He'd send ideas to us and we'd go into the studio and play our parts, adding our thing that way. This time we were all in the room and were all contributing. If you look at it that way you could say “no we haven't grown” because we went back to the same songwriting techniques, but as songwriters and musicians we all have.


We've been getting bras on stage for about 8 years so the numbers are probably up in the thousands by now!

Jack Barakat, All Time Low

Tell us more about your bra collection!

Jack: We've been getting bras on stage for about 8 years so the numbers are probably up in the thousands by now!

Rian: There was a tour when we collected them and threw them all at We The Kings in the end. There were like 800 of them. We've also donated them to charity before.

Jack: We've donated a good amount of money to the Keep A Breast Foundation, which is a breast cancer awareness program. We love boobies!

Rian: It's tougher than you'd think to donate used bras to charities. It's not like t-shirts!

Jack: No one wants them.

Rian: True, but when we can we try to donate them.


Over the years you’ve played most of the major festivals, released hit records, won awards, did massive tours all over the world, launched your own podcast and you’re even “starring” in an upcoming film. What could possibly be next?

Jack: I think we're always focused on growing our live show and our touring career. We pride ourselves on how much we tour and the shows we do, so we always try to become bigger and play even bigger shows.

Rian: When it comes to festivals it's pretty easy to take a benchmark of where you're at in your career. Just looking at where you play in the day and at what stage tells you a lot. In that sense the idea is to keep climbing. As long as we can keep playing and keep having a crowd there we're happy though.

Jack: The first time we played a lot of big European festivals we started out in little tents and we finally made our way to playing early on the main stages, so hopefully one day we'll be performing later on the main stages. At some festivals we've reached that already which is great, but the goal is to reach that everywhere else too.


Talking about dicks now. They were bound to come up at some point!

Rian Dawson, All Time Low

How do you keep up with your touring schedule?

Rian: This year has already been so crazy! We started in the UK, then went straight from the UK to Australia and New Zealand. Then we were in the US for like two days before heading back to Europe. We don't really know where the hell we are right now!

Jack: We already know our entire touring schedule until December.

Rian: Yeah, we're already talking about 2016 at this point.

Jack: We're very pre-planned and we like being on the road, obviously. We don't do well staying at home.

Rian: We don't really get to keep up on where we are. For example I don't know where we're playing tomorrow or anything like that. This is just what we do and we've learnt how to make a daily appearance.

Jack: We're in Paris tomorrow.


Do you actually get to see some places though?

Rian: Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. Today we didn't really get to see Antwerp because we're a couple miles away from the city centre. It's a shame because we've never been to Antwerp before, but we don't really have a mode of transportation to get there and we have a busy day. There are some days when we get to walk around town though.

Jack: It's nice when the venue is in the middle of the city.


When you're always on the road are you still aware of any upcoming releases from other bands?

Jack: That's a great question. Not really I guess. Obviously we use the internet and everything, but it's still kind of hard to keep track of what's happening in the outside world. We call it the tour bubble. We live in a bubble.

Rian: Even outside of music it's hard to keep track. I mean,  take the news at home for example. You can wake up and check the news sites, but a lot of it slips past you.

Jack: One day I realised I hadn't talked to my sister or brother in two weeks. It just all goes by so fast that you kind of forget where you are.

Rian: Yeah, days of the week are hard. I'd be like “hey mom, how was work today?” and she would answer with “what are you talking about, it's Sunday.”

Jack: Our lives are just venue, bus, venue, bar down the street, bus...


Me and Alex used to be in the front row watching those guys.

Jack Barakat, All Time Low

So do you actually get to see the support bands?

Rian: Yes. Most times we've finished all of our press and meet & greets by the time doors open, so from then until show time is basically our free time. We get to watch the other bands. This time we have Real Friends and Neck Deep out which is great!

Jack: If we're headlining the other bands are chosen by us so we're usually pretty familiar with them.


Well great job picking Real Friends and Neck Deep this time!

Jack: Thanks!

Rian: To be honest it's been a while since I've seen the two support bands have as much of an impact on the crowd as these guys have. Since the first night the fans just love it from start to finish. Sometimes it's hard for newer support bands when fans don't know them as much, so it happens that by the time we hit the stage the fans are only just starting to warm up, whereas now by the time we get on stage everyone is good to go!


What is it like to know that girls have your faces on their shirts and walls? Isn't that a bit crazy?

Jack: I don't really think about it to be honest. It's weird now that I do think about it though. They are very dedicated.

Rian: Not to sound cheesy or anything, but the craziest thing about our fan base and how dedicated they are is when we put out videos or pre-sale stuff. It's crazy how much they all rush together for the cause.

Jack: “Kids In The Dark” came out three days ago. We played it live for the first time last night and everyone knew the words already. That wouldn't have happened 20 years ago.

Rian: There's no trickling down. It's all or nothing right away.

Jack: We'll play “Kids In The Dark” and “Something's Gotta Give” tonight. We've never really been into playing songs that haven't been released yet because if no one knows it it's just weird.

Rian: It's cool for about 30 seconds. We should just play the chorus and second verse of new songs and then stop!


Future Hearts” has been called the most anticipated album of the year several times. Are you flattered by those high expectations or a bit intimidated?

Jack: Now that the record is done I don't think we're very nervous. We're very confident with what the album is and I didn't know anyone said that it's the most anticipated album, but if they have that's an honour.

Rian: When you're doing the record there is that sense of “we need to make this record really good”, you want it to be better than the last one or at least have it be on the same playing field. But then once the record is done and you hear it we are all like “yeah, we did it!” So far this has been the best reaction to new songs that we've ever had so if that is any indication for the record we'll be in good shape I think!

Jack: Yeah! When we get news from the festivals and when we see all the bands we're always checking to see how far we are from the top. How big is the name and how close is it to the headliner? Bands may not say it a lot but we all do that. We all look at that stuff.

Rian: Oh yeah! I'm sure there have been lawsuits over how big a name was.


Maybe that's a typically male thing, comparing how small or large something is...

Jack: Haha yes! That's what we should do. We should just have our band renamed and be a dick.

Rian: Yeah with the name inside of it.

Jack: Foo Fighters' dick would be HUGE!

Rian: Talking about dicks now. They were bound to come up at some point!


Obviously we use the internet and everything, but it's still kind of hard to keep track of what's happening in the outside world.

Jack Barakat, All Time Low

Talking about Foo Fighters, is there a band you would still like to open up for?

Jack: To be honest our bucket list has in my mind been checked off at this point. We opened up for Blink 182, Green Day, Foo Fighters. I can't really think of someone to put on my list. We've toured with everyone that we love musically. I mean, I love John Mayer but we're not going to tour with John Mayer.

Rian: I think it would be cool to do a tour in an enclosed room with Blink. We've done festivals with them and outdoor stuff, never in an enclosed room. I take it in any way, shape or form though!

Jack: I think now we would have a better chance. They started playing a lot more shows!

Rian: True. It's a crazy thought though. If someone would have told me five years ago that we would have played with Foo Fighters, Green Day and Blink 182 I'd be like “no way!”


Well at least you don't each need your own managers! How do you feel about the whole Blink 182 situation?

Rian: We've had the same manager since we played to less people than are here doing this interview right now. We've had the same guy our whole career and hopefully it'll stay that way. We're fortunate. Blink is in a tough situation and it's one of those things nobody wants to happen I'm sure. At the core you really hope it all works out because they were best friends. If that works out then maybe they can go back to playing together but if not then hopefully they are all happier now than they have been.


You're from Maryland originally. Did the shows you see there when you were younger influence you as a band?

Jack: Oh definitely! I used to go see Good Charlotte. It was always their hometown show so it was always the biggest and the most memorable one. Me and Alex used to be in the front row watching those guys. The reason we do what we do today is that we went to those shows and saw Yellowcard, Goldfinger, Fall Out Boy and bands like that. We saw all those bands in Baltimore that we tour with now.

Rian: That's how we got started too. They would play to these rooms of 500 or a thousand people and one local band sells some tickets. We did that for Motion City Soundtrack and bands like that. Opening up for these bands is kind of how we got our start. We were very fortunate that at the time when we first started Baltimore had a great music scene. We would play almost every weekend to maybe 20 people, maybe 200 people. We did that every single weekend for years and every weekend those numbers just went up and up. Nowadays the scene there doesn't seem as strong anymore. Hopefully it comes back around because that can really be a great starting point for a band.


So now for the question we always ask: can you promote one lesser known band from your neck of the woods?

Jack: Shit. I'm so disconnected!

Rian: It's the tour bubble! I don't know any Baltimore bands that haven't had their chance at success!

Jack: State Champs aren't that well known over here in Europe. They're opening up our US tour!

Rian: That's great! We played a show in upstate New York and there was this guy that came out and talked to us after the show. He plays bass in State Champs and we talked to him for a while about touring and stuff. We weren't too familiar with their music so we listened to it and loved it. Then we asked them to open for us in the US so that's how that one came about. Just because he was at our show and having a great time.

Jack: Also, Set It Off. Whenever we played a show in Cleveland their vocalist Cody actually used to come out and we'd call him from the crowd to sing “Coffee Shop Soundtrack” with us when he was like 15 years old. Now he's got his own band and is touring, so he basically owes us 50% of the band.

Rian: In reverse I think Neck Deep is bigger in the UK than they are in the States, so if anyone from the States hears it I think they are really going to kick off there. I would love to take them on tour in the US.

Thanks guys!

All Time Low
The pop punk band All Time Low formed in Maryland in 2003. Lead vocalist Alex Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat put the group together and recruited drummer Rian Dawson and bassist Zack Merrick...

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