Upon unleashing their album, Wake Up Sunshine at the top end of lockdown (our review here), All Time Low have been making these tough times as productive as they can to connect their newest collection of songs with fans all over. From Zoom chats to wine collabs, live streams and a new team-up with Demi Lovato, the band have proved that releasing a new album in uncertain times can certainly still work in their favour. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Well, All Time Low certainly made the lemonade alright. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with frontman Alex Gaskarth to chat more about the “lemonade” (aka the band’s recent hit, ‘Monsters’ going #1 in the US) as well as their latest single, ‘Once in a Lifetime’ and how the effects of the past twelve months have been.
Hey Alex! I was just watching Matt Cutshall’s latest video before and I wanted to know, besides his underpants in your face, what’s the strangest object that’s been thrown at you at a show?
A prosthetic leg.
Wow, really did that hurt?
It didn’t hit me. Fortunately, because it was pretty heavy. But yeah, my biggest concern was then just that there was someone presumably in the crowd missing a limb that they needed, so then it was all about like lost and found from the stage being like who belongs to this leg and how do we get it back to you? It was sick too, it was at some festival and they had all the bands sign it and stuff, so it was pretty cool.
Congrats on your newest song ‘Once in a Lifetime’. It’s a super catchy song and I love how this song and the video in fact kinda celebrates the fleeting moments in our lives. Did you plan on name dropping your own band on the song?
We didn’t plan on it, but when the line came up and it fit, it felt really good. we sort of cringed about it for a minute. I thought about it for the longest time and deliberated over it for hours. By the end of the session we were just like you know what? I think it’s good. As a band that’s been together going on 18 years now, I think we’ve earned the right to drop our own name in the song, so we just went with it.
It’s kind of coming full circle for you guys too in a way. Because didn’t you guys also get your own band name from a New Found Glory lyric?
We did. It came from a New Found Glory lyric. Yeah, it just had a ring to it. We were figuring out what our band name was going to be, we had a show coming up and we needed a band name, and then it stuck.
So would you be stoked if a band gets their name from one of your songs off of Wake Up Sunshine?
Yeah. I think it’s the coolest thing ever. Actually, I feel like I saw a band at some point posting on Twitter a couple years ago. There was some band that had taken their name from one of our lyrics so I thought that was really cool. It really feels like a full circle moment.
Wake Up Sunshine just celebrated its first birthday last week. One year on, are you guys still glad you dropped the album right at the beginning of Covid?
Yeah, no regrets. It was an album that was inspired by our coming together and re-establishing what this band was all about, what we stood for, what we love doing and the kind of music we love to make. The album itself is thematically about rising up to meet challenges and creating your own sunshine and being okay when the world hands you lemons. That was sort of an important body of work and an important sentiment for what was going on in the world at that point. It was really nice for us to be able to still share that music with everybody and connect.
Well, it’s definitely giving you lemons! Can we just talk about ‘Monsters’? I feel like that’s been going incredibly well for you guys these last couple of months!
That’s the lemonade! We’ve been so lucky and really fortunate to have a song from the newest record connect in ways that we’ve never connected before as a band at all, at least not in the the States. We haven’t had a tonne of radio love here and so to have a number one song for as long as it was and to cross it over to pop and see all of that come to fruition during such a difficult time was really amazing and humbling. I’m excited to actually get on the stage and play it for people.
So will ‘Monsters’ set the precedent for what the next All Time Low record will be like?
That’s a hard question to answer. I think it definitely is informing some of what we’re doing going forward. I think that as ‘Once In A Lifetime’ has come out, you can kinda hear notes of ‘Monsters’ in that a little. Some of the production sensibilities and the approach we took with ‘Once in a Lifetime’ has some similarities and some takeaways from what ‘Monsters’ originally informed.
At the same time, we’re not going to pigeonhole ourselves just because we had success off of one song. It’s not now suddenly like, okay, let’s do that twenty times because that would get boring too. We still have to keep the process exciting and keep trying new and different things. While it’s definitely informing where we go next, I think there’s still a lot of room for new experimentation.
Yeah, that’s it and I guess with every All Time Low album that’s come out, I’ve always found something to enjoy about it.
Thank you, I appreciate that.
So can we expect a tour first or the next All Time Low record?
That’s a good question. I don’t know! Right now, we have no concrete plans to make another album. Obviously there’s new music in the works, so it could be happening at some point, but whether or not it comes before or after a tour is heavily dependent on the world.
The thing that we can control is our music and our creative process. The thing that we can’t control is the world getting back to some semblance of normalcy. So we’re just sitting here biding our time, making music, feeling good about the music we’re making, and I’m hoping and longing to be able to get back on a stage and share it with people. We will hopefully be able to circle back and put new music out around the same time as getting back on tour.
Do you have another wine collab on the way?
We do! We have a lot of exciting news actually coming in the wine world. We have kind of rebranded and repartnered with a different winery. I don’t think any of this has even been announced yet, so I’m not sure I’m supposed to be telling you this but we’re working with a new vineyard in Oregon and they have been amazing partners and have been helping us to refine and improve and change up what we’re doing a little bit.
The next thing that you’ll see is probably a relaunch of The Summer Days Rosé with new grapes. A whole new world of grapes to explore, which we’re really excited about.
Nice! I can’t wait to give it a go as I didn’t taste it last time, but hopefully I can get it this time round!
We’ll send it your way for sure.
Thanks! So I guess when you’re working on your new material, how do you decide if it’s an All Time Low song or if it’s perhaps more for Simple Creatures?
You know, it’s tricky. One of the big things is whether or not I’m working with Mark [Hoppus] when we make the music. The idea with Simple Creatures is so heavily dependent on market and collaborating so that truly defines whether or not it’s going to be Simple Creatures.
Sometimes I’ll write an idea alone and then I’ll be like I don’t know, this doesn’t really feel like All Time Low, but maybe it could work for Simple Creatures. For the most part it usually is very dependent on what frame of mind I’m in at the time and that puts a lot of intention behind what I’m writing for.
Oh cool, sick! So we last saw you at Good Things Festival and you’ve played that festival twice now. Would you be open to playing on the next one, once restrictions and borders are open?
I love that festival. We had a blast. When we came over and did it with All Time Low it was amazing. Then when I came back and got to do it with Simple Creatures it was equally amazing because we were such a new band, such a new project. It was weird to come all the way to Australia with this new project that you know was kind of untested and we only had a few songs out and the show still went off. It was still an amazing time, so yeah, it was a great experience. We’d definitely come back and do it.
That was Simple Creatures’ first festival set, wasn’t it?
And has anyone else approached you guys in playing their festivals?
Well, not a lot of people are approaching anyone about shows to be completely honest. We’ve talked about wanting to do new music and do more shows as soon as we possibly can. It’s hard to plan for because we don’t even know what we’re doing with our main bands right now. But I think the minute that we kind of have a clearer picture on that we will start talking about it.
Great! So there will definitely be more Simple Creatures music to look forward to?
Yeah, absolutely. I was actually just on the phone with Mark today talking about when we’re going to get together next and write some songs. So hopefully soon. Everybody over here has been fortunate we’ve been able to get our vaccines underway, so Mark and I are feeling a little bit safer and a little bit better about seeing each other in person now and actually being able to write. It’s going to be fun.
Amazing, I can’t wait to hear that! So besides your own record, what new music’s been getting you through the past year?
I’ve been listening to Beabadoobee and I am really enjoying Kenny Hoopla. The Weeknd record is awesome too. I plugged my phone in just before this and I really wish I had my phone because then I could open up Spotify and see what I’ve been listening to. But everything that Bring Me the Horizon’s been putting out lately has been sick. I think they’re on it right now. I really like what they’re doing.
Hopefully we can see All Time Low on a Bring Me The Horizon tour. That would be insane.
Let’s go! That would be fun.
Thanks so much for your time Alex. It was great to chat with you. I do have one request for whenever you start playing shows. I reckon ‘Hello Brooklyn’ would make for the perfect opener given everything.
I like it. Thanks for the suggestion!
Interview by Tamara May (@citylightstam)
Stream ‘Once in a Lifetime’ here