Zachary Merrick and Jack Barakat – All Time Low ‘Up Close and Personal Space Invading’

After two long years of waiting, the entirety of an album tour coming and going, it happens! All Time Low finally came back to Australia on the brink of new album Last Young Renegade‘s release and ready to party. I was lucky enough to sit down with bass guitarist Zachary Merrick and lead guitarist Jack Barakat only hours before they performed at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion, to talk about all of this…

So the new album Last Young Renegade is set to be released June 2nd, how did the recording process differ this time around?

Jack: “It was a longer process and we did it in secret. No one really knew we were doing an album. They saw pictures of us in the studio but no one really knew what was going on, we didn’t say we were making an album. Alex (Gaskarth) would go on writing trips to the mountains and the desert to try and get away from the LA scene and focus on the writing and then we would all meet at this old little studio we rented in Hollywood where The Beach Boys did Pet Sounds, so we got a bunch of 80s synths and laid some tracks down.”

Zach: “There’s a lot more experimenting too, more pedals and what not. It wasn’t just pop punk, where it’s like ‘alright let’s find the right distortion tone’”

Jack: “Yeah, we really wanted to make the album sound different, and a little fresher.”

So do you think your influences have changed drastically within this process?

Jack: “I don’t think our personal influence changed that much, we’re still listening to the same stuff but I definitely think we let them affect the music a little more. I mean because this is our seventh album we wanted to try different things and sound a little different while still keeping it All Time Low.”

So should we be expects a Beach Boys tribute hidden track?

Zach: “Shhh! You’ll spoil the surprise (laughs)”

Last time All Time Low graced our shores, Future Hearts was just about to come out, so it’s been some time. What can we expect from this tour cycle?

Jack: “Yeah this tour is interesting because we didn’t come here on Future Hearts.” *whispers sorry into the mic* So it’s definitely a lot of that along with a couple new songs because that’s also our focus with the album coming out in like a month. So if you’re a new All Time Low fan you’ll be pretty happy (laughs). We do touch up on the old stuff a little bit, as we always will. We’re playing the longest set we’ve ever played here. It’s about seventeen songs which is by far the longest set we’ve played in Australia, which is pretty exciting.”

Zach: “It’s usually a side-wave and it’s like an hour at most, so it’s nice to have a full set.”

It’s also quite the step-up in venue size.

Jack: “Oh yeah absolutely it’s pretty cool for us. Australia’s somewhere we’ve always wanted to be successful and play bigger crowds and the shows we’ve done have always been fun, but they’ve always been kind of smaller yet still insane. So we always knew if we could get a bigger venue the crowd would be double the insanity.”

Zach: “It’s also indoors so hopefully our equipment won’t drown again.”

Is the crowd any different to back in the states?

Jack: “Well we’ve only been here seven or eight times, whereas we’ve toured numerous times in the US, so I do think there’s a level of intensity when we come and it’s special to them which is really cool.”

You’ve also brought quite the line-up with you [The Maine & Neck Deep], what’s it like taking these guys on the road?

Jack: “We’ve been touring with The Maine since we were 18/19 so we’ve known them for almost ten years now and done so many tours with them so it’s kind of nice. A lot of tours we’ve done here with either Soundwave or Headlining with local openers which is also fun, but it’s nice to be with your friends and travel the country with them.”

Zach: “And we toured the UK with Neck Deep and have done a ton of shows with them so they’re definitely all of our friends that we like musically as well so that’s why we did it.”

On the back of your single of the same name, who do you think is the ‘Life of the Party’ out of all three bands on this tour? 

Zach: “It’s hard to tell here because you’ve got to fly every morning so it can’t really be like ‘let’s go rage!’” (laughs)

Jack: “I will say all three bands do enjoy to partake which makes it way more fun.”

You guys are famous for your antics on tour. Any crazy stories?

Jack: “There was this one time while we were at Soundwave where Alex fainted on the plane and we almost had to make an emergency landing. Someone had to make an IV out of a bag and gave it to him. He was just really dehydrated though” (Laughs)

Zach: “…and we were playing in 110 degrees (Fahrenheit) heat too and he doesn’t drink water.”

Jack: “Yeah it’s crazy I drink like ten bottles of water a day and he drinks maybe one or two. So he got on the plane, dried out and literally fainted. They gave him three bags of IVs and it wasn’t even enough. That’s how dehydrated he was!”

I’m sure you’re all enjoying the cooler weather this time around then.

Zach: “Oh yeah, it’s amazing. Literally perfect.”

So to wrap things up we’re going to play a quick fire game of Name and Shame. Time to air all your ‘Dirty Laundry ‘(apologies in advance)

Firstly who uses up the most hot water?

Jack and Zach in unison: “Alex!”

Zach: “He takes pretty long showers.”

Who showers the least?

Jack: “Ryan or Zach” (laughs)

Zach: “Yeah I’d say me because I’m always working out.”

Jack: “Ryan and Zachs wardrobe cases both smell the worst by far.”

Last one on the bus?

Jack: “I’d say me or Zach. We’re known to come back at late hours of the night.”

Biggest prankster?

Jack: “I’ll take that!”

Zach: (laughs) “I think everyone kind of does that.”

Jack: “Ryan definitely doesn’t at all”

Zach: “No but we have the bunk banana, where you’ll go to sleep and be like ‘What the hell is this?’ and there’s a banana under your pillow. It’s funny shenanigans.”

Jack: “There’s always a banana under someone’s pillow.”

Who’s the biggest social media fiend?

Jack: “Alex! Like I enjoy it but Alex is next level.”

But would he be the best selfie taker?

Jack: “Yeah no.”

Zach: “Definitely not” (laughs)

Jack: “I take a pretty good selfie so…” *seductively winks

Who’s hair is most likely to fall out because of bleach?

Jack: “My hair will definitely fall out! I’m surprised it hasn’t already”

Zach: “And mine’s going grey so”

Last one, who is the best dressed?

Jack: “Ryan’s a pretty good dresser, he’s on his fashion game. Alex doesn’t want to hear that but it’s true.”

Zach: “I live in Hawaii so we don’t really wear clothes. We just go naked!”

Jack: “Which is also the best dressed! We’re both number one birthday suit supporters.”

Interview by Bree Vane. You can find her on Facebook & Instagram

All Time Low are currently flying through their Australian Tour. Our review of the Sydney show will be up soon, and their new album Last Young Renegade will be out June 2nd via Warner Music Australia. Pre-Order your copy here


All Time Low – Australian Tour 2017
with The Maine and Neck Deep

Tuesday 16th May – Thebarton Theatre (Licensed All Ages) or 136 100

Thursday 18th May – Metropolis (18+) or 1300 762 545

Friday 19th May – Metropolis (Under 18) or 1300 762 545


3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. All Time Low – Gig Review & Photo Gallery 13th May @ Hordern Pavilion, Sydney NSW
  2. All Time Low – Photo Gallery 19th May @Metropolis, Fremantle WA
  3. All Time Low – Last Young Renegades (Album Review)

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