Rian Dawson – All Time Low ‘How Purposeless Ideas Created A Pop Punk Awakening’

Everyone’s favourite pop punk heavyweights All Time Low are back with their 8th full-length record, Wake Up Sunshine (our review here) and sees the band back in their prime element of playing catchy, infectious music to their worldwide legion of fans. In a time of uncertainty, the four-piece are constantly striving to find new ways to stay connected with their fanbase to make up for the lack of touring. So we caught up with drummer Rian Dawson to take us through the creative process of Wake Up Sunshine, working with hip hop artist Blackbear, side projects and touring with friends The Maine.

Hey Rian! Congrats on the release of Wake up Sunshine! How are you celebrating the release this time around with all the isolation limitations?

This whole situation has definitely brought on a new type of creativity. We’re still trying to find ways to engage our fans, keep our communication with them, and let them know that we’re excited as they are for the record. We’ve been doing happy hour live streams, online chats and a live stream of the record with fans. This is our first release that we haven’t been able to be on the road for to promote it, and it’s brutal. We miss hearing the fans, we miss seeing their faces and seeing their excitement. So at least with all these live streams and chats, it’s as close as we can get to the fans for now. 

Yep! It’s definitely unfamiliar waters for everyone right now, that’s for sure.
Your latest single is ‘Monsters’, and while that track initially took me a few listens to get into it, but now each time I go back to listen, I enjoy it more and more. I love it now! It also features guest vocals from Blackbear. How did that collab come about?

Yeah, that was actually one of the last songs we wrote for the record. Andrew Goldstein is a good friend of ours who we’ve known for over a decade, and he co-produced and co-wrote that song. He had done a lot of work with Blackbear, including ‘Hot Girl Bummer’. As we were filling the tempo for the song, we thought it would be cool to have some sort of hip hop feature, and Blackbear came to mind because we’re all such huge fans, so we hit up Andrew “what do you think? Would he be interested?” It was kind of a shot in the dark, and Blackbear turned out to be a fan of ours too, so it just worked out. 

Wake Up Sunshine is a super fun-filled, upbeat pop punk album from start to finish, and it really does take you back to the early years of the band. Going into the studio, as a band, what were your visions for this record?

It was pretty crazy the way it unfolded. We got together here in Nashville where I’m based, at my studio and we just kinda started writing, letting ideas flow with no real purpose. There was no announcement that we were working on a new album, so at the time we didn’t even know we’d be make a new record. It could have been All Time Low, it could have been Simple Creatures, we were just getting ideas out there. A month later when we left Nashville, we had this group of 20 songs that we loved, so we’re like let’s just keep this rolling so we found some spare time in June/July to fly out to Palm Desert and did the same thing. At the same time, we weren’t like let’s make it nostalgic, we just kinda wrote what we felt at the time, and we all just happened to be on the same page. Which doesn’t happen alot, it’s very rare, it’s just an exhilarating feeling for everyone to wake up “okay this is what we’re going to do today…” and then it just poured straight out of us. 

Regardless of the different side projects, with Alex in Simple Creatures and Jack in Who Hurt You, Wake Up Sunshine is still a straight up All Time Low record, which is great.

Yeah, I think honestly the fact that Alex and Jack were able to flex a different creative muscle with Simple Creatures and Who Hurt You, allowed the focus of All Time Low to be even more pinpointed and hyper-focused than ever before, because they allowed themselves to creatively let go of whatever weird ideas or maybe not-so-suited for All Time Low ideas they had. They were left with just pure All Time Low ideas.

Do you have any side project ventures you’d like to visit down the track, or is your focus just on All Time Low?

If going to bars once they reopen can be counted as a side project I’ll happily hit that one up! *laughs* I actually have a recording studio here in Nashville, and there was about 2-3 years where I was producing a bunch of bands and guiding their music in a certain way which was really fulfilling for me creatively. I’ll let Alex and Jack take the lead on side projects, and I’m going to take my time off when I have it here in Nashville. 

Are there any bands you’ve been working with lately that we should keep an eye on?

Yeah. This band called Next Year’s End. Their drive and interaction with each other reminds me alot of All Time Low, I produced their EP, and they’re just a really good time.

Last time you toured Australia you brought along Neck Deep and The Maine, which brings me to say that you bring out an awesome selection of supports for us Aussie fans to witness live. When this whole pandemic is over and you’re getting ready to tour again, what 3 bands would you love to see tour with All Time Low?

The Maine is truly one of my favourite bands of all time and they just happen to be very good friends of ours. I would love to take them on tour any time, we’re going out on tour with them this summer in the US hopefully, fingers crossed, along with The Story So Far, Grayscale, Movements (for Sad Summer Fest). I’d love to just bring as much of that package over to Australia if we could. If we only get 3 bands though, it would have to be The Maine, Grayscale and The Story So Far.

A Sad Summer Fest tour for Australia would be truly epic! Stay safe and healthy during this time and we’ll hopefully see you guys back here soon!

Interview by Tamara May (@citylightstam)

Wake Up Sunshine is out now. Get it here.

all time low - wake up sunshine

All Time Low – Wake Up Sunshine tracklisting

1. Some Kind of Disaster
2. Sleeping In
3. Getaway Green
4. Melancholy Kaleidoscope
5. Trouble Is
6. Wake Up, Sunshine
7. Monsters (feat. Blackbear)
8. Pretty Venom (Interlude)
9. Favorite Place (feat. The Band CAMINO)
10. Safe
11. January Gloom (Seasons, Pt. 1)
12. Clumsy
13. Glitter & Crimson
14. Summer Daze (Seasons, Pt. 2)
15. Basement Noise


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About Tamara May (1085 Articles)
Wall of Sound's Head of Album Reviews. Weekend Content. Pop Punk Enthusiast.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. All Time Low Like Getting Cosy & ‘Sleeping In’ – Wall Of Sound
  2. Wall of Sound Presents: “2020 YEAR IN REVIEW” – By Wall of Sound Assistant Editor Tamara May – Wall Of Sound

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