If you haven’t heard of All Time Low by now then you can probably declare yourself officially old. These guys have been blowing up huge and their popularity and success shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon; as evidenced by their selling out 9:30 Club way in advance of their upcoming show there on Monday night. All Time Low are a pop-punk band in the vein of Green Day or Blink-182, and if they keep doing things right they will soon be as big as the bands that inspired them. We caught up with lead singer Alex Gaskarth and asked him a few questions about the band’s early days, who inspires them, and what went into recording their fourth album “Dirty Work”.
author: Michael Darpino
MD: When you were in High School, was music always the first career choice for you and your band mates?
AG: Definitely for me. I know the other guys all got into the colleges they wanted to go to and they had a back up plan. For me I had my mindset on doing this and that’s all I focused on. I’m glad it’s working out because I didn’t really have a back up plan – haha.
MD: Did you have any garage bands before All Time Low? If so, how many and what did you call them?
AG: Yeah but none that I want to admit to – haha.
MD: How did your guidance counselors and parents respond to your musical aspirations? And then, how did they react to your success at such a young age?
AG: The guidance counselors were very supportive and actually allowed the three of us to do a “work study” program where we would leave school early to go to band practice. We’ve all said it before but this band wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for the amazing support of our parents. Heck our mothers used to drive with us on tour ha ha. I think they’re really proud of everything that we’ve accomplished so far and hopefully they know how much we appreciate all of their help.
MD: Name a favorite band or singer of yours from each of these time periods: 2000s, 1990s, 1980s, pre-1980.
AG: Lady Gaga, Blink 182, Green Day, The Beatles
MD: Who would you say is the singer or band that all the members of All Time Low take inspiration from?
AG: I think it’s been well documented but Blink 182 is definitely the band that inspired us to be a band and probably was the most responsible for us being the band we are today. They really taught us that it was okay to have fun being in a band and playing music. The fact that we’ve gotten the chance to get to know them and play shows with them has been very surreal.
MD: Do you have a favorite band or singer from the DC harDCore scene?
AG: I didn’t really grow up listening to DC hardcore but have started to become more familiar as I’ve gotten older.
MD: I have to ask about the 2010 Six Flags incident and ensuing saga. What went down at the show where those kids got maced?
AG: It was just a bad situation where the show wasn’t properly staffed and secured, and kids were getting hurt. We want our shows to be a fun, positive experience for the fans so hearing that something like this had happened made me feel awful and I felt like I had to say something.
MD: Your reaction to the incident got you banned from performing at Six Flags parks or something right? You even had to cancel the rest of your appearances at Six Flags parks. It was never really clear if you guys dropped out of those remaining Six Flags shows or if you were banned from performing by them. Care to set the record straight?
AG: Yeah, we were informed we weren’t allowed to play the remaining dates of the tour that were at the parks. It just turned out not to be the right fit for our show.
MD: Your work is often compared to Blink-182 and Green Day. Do you feel this is an accurate comparison?
AG: I think those bands definitely influenced us musically and even more so in Blink’s case from a standpoint of attitude and having fun. Those bands were part of our musical influences but I don’t think we sound exactly like them.
MD: Let’s talk about your new album “Dirty Work”. How did you guys approach writing this album? How long was the recording process? How was cutting this album different from your production experiences on your previous albums?
AG: This was by far the longest we’ve ever worked on a record and we wrote way more songs than we had for past records. I think we wrote close to 25 songs to get down to the 11 on the standard version, and I think it really shows. Top to bottom this is by far the best album we’ve done and we hope that fans feel the same way. We recorded the CD on and off for all of 2010 and worked with a few different producers.
MD: Your concerts are known for being high energy parties. Can DC expect more of the same when you play here next week?
AG: Definitely, we want fans to be able to come and escape for a few hours at our show. We’re having a blast every night we get to go out there and hopefully the fans are too. This is the best lighting package we’ve ever brought out on tour and we’ll also be playing a couple brand new songs.