All Time Low

author PP date 18/09/09

Although their latest record landed on a solid #4 spot at the Billboard top200 chart, All Time Low vocalist Alex seems relaxed, easy-going, and humble in comparison to some of the (wannabe) rock stars we sit down with every now and then. Faced with two reporters and a photographer, he takes his time to think about the questions being asked and answers them professionally and with genuine interest. I'll let you guys into a little secret: if you're not into these guys yet, now's the time to do so, before they'll seriously blow up and start playing arena sized venues instead of the 750 person sized KB at Malmö where they played tonight. This interview will get you started, and after that, get a hold of their newest two albums for some of the better pop punk out there. Thanks for doing this interview! Can you introduce yourselves first and also tell us what's new in All Time Low?
Alex: Yeah. I'm Alex, I sing for the band called All Time Low, we just have a new record out called "Nothing Personal" and we're currently touring on that record. So like you said, you guys have just released a new album, "Nothing Personal", it has been quite well received by the press as far as I could see. How do you guys feel about it yourself?
Alex: In my opinion it's the best thing we've ever done. I'm thrilled with it, we put a lot of effort into that record and I think it came out really well. Was it a difficult album to write after the huge success of "So Wrong, It's Right", did you feel any pressure during the writing process?
Alex: Yeah definitely. I mean, there's always a certain amount of pressure when following up to a previous record that's had some kind of success, you know, it's definitely one of those things where you have to sort of stop and think about how to beat yourself or how to one up yourself. And also, to not put out just the same material over and over again. One of the big things for us is kind of try to push ourselves to write outside of the box for this band, maybe go a little bit above and beyond the pop punk sound that we typically have. So this time we wrote and worried more about writing great songs rather than pop punk songs. So would you say that you guys moved slightly more to pop direction compared to the previous album?

Alex: I think you could say that about some songs. That's the cool thing about this album, in my opinion, there's something for everybody. I think there are some songs on this album that are the most pop punk songs we've ever written, like "A Party Song" or "Keep The Change You Filthy Animal", but then there are definitely some songs on this album that are very much more towards the pop side of things, like "Too Much" or, I guess, "Lost In Stereo" maybe? The cool thing about it this time was that we didn't just stick with one sound, it twists and turns which is good. So what would you consider yourself now? Are you a pop punk band or a pop rock band or what are you?

Alex: I don't know. Call it what you want, I guess, I still call it pop punk at the end of the day, but it is what it is, I don't really care about that stuff. So the record sold over 63,000 copies in its first week, did that surprise you?
Alex: Yeah. We were all sort of taking guesses and estimates at what we thought our first week numbers would be, and it was about half of what we actually did, so...I don't think one of us guessed over 40,000. So it was definitely surprising. You also made #4 on the Billboard charts. What do you think about that?

Alex: Incredible. That's something that even if this band doesn't do anything else, even if we fail next week, that's always something I can say that we did, that we had a record that was in the top 5 albums, so that's huge. So you quite value it then?

Alex: Yeah, it's amazing! It's really cool that we have the kind of fans that go out first week and buy the record. As far as I could understad, you worked with five different producers for the album instead of just one or two. How did you come up at this decision? Tell me a little bit about how it is working with so many different people on the same album?
Alex: A big part of the reason we decided to use so many production teams was for the reason that we wanted to have a dynamic on the record, and we didn't want all the songs to sound the same. It was sort of easier to go in with my ideas for songs and the bits and pieces I had on the record, and then have these different producers sort of pull me in different directions, so that at the end of the day, we had one album that sounded consistent because all the ideas came from me but then you had all these different minds pulling us in different directions which sort of added a lot to the album. Do you have any limitations for how much you let the producer decide and how much you set on deciding yourself?

Alex: Absolutely. If it feels wrong to us, we won't do it. If somebody throws out an idea that's a good idea, we'll use it. But if they're insisting that we use something that we hate, we're not gonna do that. So when you wrote these songs, how different were they when you had them compared to what they are now after the producers are done with them?

Alex: Well, it was a little different with each song. There are a few songs that pretty much went in that were finished, songs like "Sick Little Games" and "Therapy"... "Break Your Little Heart". There were quite a few songs that were pretty much done and once we got in with the producer, the producer was like "yeah this song is pretty much good to go, this is easy". But there were a few, like "Weightless" actually took us a really long time to get feeling right. We tried a few different things on that song and it took us a while to really feel like we locked it in so it was perfect. How much say did you have about the making of the video, was that your idea or?

Alex: That actually was my idea, yeah. I just thought it would be fun to poke fun at all the scene stereotypes. Yeah, it seems to be really negative towards everything pretty much.

Alex: That's kind of the joke though. It's meant to be tongue in cheek, it's meant to be ironic. The whole joke is that... I don't know how it is over here, but in America, those shows in the scene are kind of getting kind of very snobby. All the kids kind of talk shit to each other and say a lot of things behind each others back and it didn't use to be like that. It used to be more about coming together. So it's kind of just making fun of that, saying what everybody's been thinking. Okay, exactly because it was that negative, I was personally looking for where were you standing, were you actually saying something positive? I guess that's the thing...

Alex: Yeah that's the thing. The positive message is that we're making fun of the fact that people can be so negative, and the whole idea is to get people to lighten up a little bit. You guys have been writing and releasing good songs since from all the way back on your debut album, but I'm just wondering, how much of your mainstream success do you think can attributed to the Dear Maria song, for example?
Alex: Man, I definitely think that mainstream success can be attributed to any song that has a video or more of a push, because that just makes sense. The songs that get the plays on the websites are the ones that more people find out about, and therefore they break through to the mainstream. I think that's just simple business. There's a reason you make a video for a certain song, it's because that's the song that connects with the most people. I think it's just... you roll with the songs that you think are gonna have most impact on people, so it's sort of just a balancing act. That song was played a lot in the radio even over here, you know when you hear the song yourself on the radio, what goes through your mind?

Alex: Well actually, in America, it really didn't get a whole lot of radio play. This new record is really the first record we've put out that's getting radio play, at least in the states. Over here it's different, but... it's crazy. Before we came here, I heard "Weightless" on the radio for the first time. It's just surreal, different, you know, it's very cool. How do you think you guys have changed as a band since your high school debut "The Party Scene"? What, if anything, would you say to yourselves today if you could reach back in time and talk to you when you were writing that record?
Alex: I don't know. I don't really have any regrets, to be honest. Plenty of people have their opinions about our band and our music and which album is better than which album, but I really don't have any regrets. I think it's been a natural progression for us, the band continues to grow, and we continue to make the music that we love and that we're happy to make. We're just having a good time, so I really would just tell myself... I wouldn't tell myself to change anything, I think I would just tell myself that "stand behind what I feel is right and do it". How do you think you've changed as a band since then?

Alex: I mean we've all done a lot of growing up, it's impossible not to when you're.. we're all pretty young, we're sort of a young band who is thrown into a big, big world. So we've all grown a lot, we've all learned the ins and outs of the record industry, and sort of...become much more cynical but also much more enlighten because of it. Can you elaborate on the ins and outs?

Alex: Sure. The record industry is a roller coaster, the popularity of bands can fluctuate. Bands have to do certain things to stay current, to keep themselves more relevant than all the competition. It's really sort of just been our.. the past few years have been us kind of learing those techniques, learning how to do that, through the internet, through meet and greets, through touring constantly, to putting out records on relatively consistent basis. Do you think your dreams for what the band can accomplish have also changed since the beginning? Are your goals different now than what it was back then?

Alex: I don't necessarily think that our goals are any different. We don't have a cause that we stand behind or anything like that. But one of the big things is seeing that we've come this year, it definitely gives us the confidence to think that maybe we can go further with it. So yeah, I would say that the dream just continues to get bigger, we would like to take this as high as we possibly can. What's your favorite All Time Low song to date and why?
Alex: To date? I'd probably have to say.. I still have to say "Jasey Rae". That's one of my favorite songs that we've ever written. It's just one of those songs that really connects with me for some reason. I just love that song, it has all the elements of a good pop punk song, and it sort of defines us a band. You think that when you are in a relatively popular band like yours, do you often listen to your own music, or do you never listen to your own music?

Alex: When it's a new record and it's just coming out, I'll listen to it a lot just to make sure that we didn't suck [laughs], butno I don't really listen to our CD that often. What about that one song you guys co-wrote together with Blink 182's Mark Hoppus. Is that one ever coming out?

Alex: As of now, I don't know. Is it a good song?

Alex: Umm, it's not a terrible song, but it definitely wasn't the best song that was written for the album. It didn't fit the album and it's not something that... unless we really went back and tried to work it out a little better, it's not something that I'd feel comfortable putting out right now. If we look back at your touring history, the list of bands you've played with pretty much includes the who's who of modern pop punk scene. What are some of your favorite bands from the scene, and also otherwise?
Alex: Man. From that scene, obviously Blink 182. Jimmy Eat World. Fall Out Boy. Northstar. Outside of the scene? Recently, I would say Lady Gaga, Third Eye Blind are a huge one for us, Green Day, AFI, I could go on forever. I know that feeling. Much of this tour is sold out even here in Europe - did that surprise you at all?
Alex: Absolutely. This is only our second time over here, it's really strange to know that people actually wanna come see our band. Today is the 2nd date of your tour overall, what are your expectations for this tour?

Alex: My expectations are pretty high. All the pre-sales are looking good. Based on yesterday, it seems like everybody's really here to have a good time, and nobody's holding back, which is really cool. You guys are on tour for more or less the rest of the year, as far as I could see, almost every day. You've also previously been on such you guys ever get into serious fights becuase you're together so much?

Alex: Fortunately no, nothing too serious. We definitely have our arguments but I think that's pretty normal for anybody who's together that much, but luckily it's not ever serious. Well that's good. Tell me about a day on an All Time Low tour, a regular day?

Alex: Wake up late, wander around whatever city we're in for a little while. Come back, sound check, generally we'll have a meet and greet or a signing or something. Just meet as many kids as we possibly can, sound check, eat. Depending on when we play, sometimes we'll go back out. A lot of the guys right now are wandering around. After the show we'll generally just try to meet up with people and hang out, and see the city and have drinks. Just enjoy ourselves. So what's next for All Time Low?
Alex: After Europe we're going back to the States and headlining a tour with We The Kings, Hey Monday and The Friday Night Boys. We're taking Christmas off, and then next year, I think we're coming back to the UK and possibly Europe as well. We might be back sooner than you think! That's all the questions I have, thanks for the interview. Do you have anything else to say to the fans and the readers?
Alex: Anybody reading, thank you so much for giving our band a chance, and hopefully we'll get to see you in Denmark soon.

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