After skyrocketing to pop-punk stardom in the late ‘00s, All Time Low headed to the majors for 2011’s Dirty Work with Interscope. Realizing their music doesn’t lend itself to the current major label model—“[Major labels] are trying to sell singles, and the kind of music we play doesn’t lend itself well to that,” frontman Alex Gaskarth says—the band jumped ship and recorded their follow-up independently. Now rejoining Hopeless, who released So Wrong, It’s Right (2007) and Nothing Personal (2009), caught up with Gaskarth to discuss the re-signing, the upcoming album and the freedom of being an independent band again.

author: Matthew Colwell

All Time Low have officially re-signed with Hopeless. How did it happen?
It was a process that came naturally. Having worked quite a good ways through the record independently, [we] started reaching out to various labels to see what the prospect was of us signing with different companies. It was a good situation in the sense that it was the first time in a long time that we got to sit back and mull over a decision and make the decision that was absolutely, 100 percent what’s best for us. A lot of the time, especially when you’re a young band or when you’re already in a deal, as was the case Interscope, you have to make a few compromises because that’s the only way you’ll get it done. But, this time around, we were in [a] unique position where we were able to ask for exactly what we wanted and see who was willing to give [us] that.

There are lots of people and a lot of labels that we love, so everybody reached out and we sat down and talked with a lot of people. What ended up happening was [along with] that sense of familiarity and family that we had established with Hopeless, they came to us with a really cool and forward-thinking deal. It was offering a very equal-opportunity and beneficial situation for everyone, which I think is sort of the wave of the future, especially with independent labels. Not to mention, we just love everybody there. We know they love us and we know that they love the band—that’s really the biggest selling point at the end of the day.

Hopeless released So Wrong It’s Right and Nothing Personal, so in a way, did it feel like you were coming home?
Yeah, I think in a big way. It’s a new start and a different approach this time around, but it definitely does feel like home. It’s coming back to something very familiar. We know everybody over there really well, and most of the team really hasn’t changed. We know they’re going to do a great job, that they know how to handle our band—and I think that’s probably the most exciting part of it all.

You’ve been fairly vocal recently with your frustrations around Dirty Work’s release and your time with Interscope. Do you feel more comfortable putting this new work into the hands of people you have a personal relationship with? Absolutely. I think that makes all the difference. I have been vocal, but at the same time, by no means do I think it’s really anyone’s fault with [Dirty Work]. It’s one of those “that’s the way it goes” situations. It was a bummer, and I wish we’d had a little more foresight to see that it was going to happen. But when you’re in the moment, it’s very hard to think like that. You want to be optimistic and stoked on what you’re doing, but it was one of those typical cases where the floor just dropped out underneath us. A lot of [our team at the label] were displaced and rearranged, so by the time the record was out, everybody that had been working on the album wasn’t there anymore, so we had a whole new team that didn’t really “get” us. It ended up being okay in the sense that they ended up letting us go to pursue new things.

What can you tell us about the new album?
What I can say that we are definitely gearing up for a fall release. We want to have it out this year, and I think the sooner the better. Realistically, we won’t get it out this summer, but [that’s why we] went ahead and released one song from the album ourselves—to start setting [the release] up. I think it’s going to be a great partnership again. Looking back to Nothing Personal, I think that was one of the more successful debuts we’ve had from a record, and I expect nothing less. I think everybody’s really excited to just go for it.

We don’t want to announce record titles or song names or anything quite yet, but I think in the coming weeks and months, you’re going to see more and more starting to spill out, which is really exciting.

You wrote a lot of this record independently, but you’ve worked with a vast amount of people in the past with co-writers and producers. The phrase that comes to mind is that this time around, there were “less cooks in the kitchen.” How has that worked out for you, and why did you choose to do it this way?
With Nothing Personal, we split it up between producers. There were less co-writes, [but there] was more diversity among producers. With [Dirty Work], there were those opportunities and moments where it was like, “Go write a song with this person, and then have this person produce it.” It was a very major-label approach, and that does work sometimes. I learned a lot and I got the opportunity to work with some incredible people, but I think the reason for the new approach this time was that it felt like it was the right time for us to flex our own muscle, and to show people what we’re capable of on our own.

I think the fact that there were all these people to fall on with the success and faults of [Dirty Work], people pointed the finger in all different directions. “Oh, it was the major label. Oh, it was the co-writers. Oh, Alex can’t write his own songs. Blah, blah, blah.” This time around, it was just time to establish the fact that, “Hey, this is the music we write. This is what I’m writing regardless of who’s involved.” There’s really no one to take the blame but us this time. If you love it or hate it, it’s All Time Low. There’s no curveball. There’s no forks in the road. It just is what it is, and I think that really makes it a solid album.

When you guys were in the studio, you weren’t saying too much. Who did you guys do this record with? Where did you record at?
We recorded in L.A. with Mike Green, who did five or six songs off the last record. They were actually five or six of my favorite songs on the record, tracks like “[Under A] Paper Moon,” and “Guts” and “Heroes,” and some of the songs I really think are some of the best songs we’ve ever written and recorded as a band that may have gotten lost because of the focus on the stronger singles and whatnot. I think it was a no-brainer to go with the guy who felt the most natural, and he really kind of complements us as a band. He feels like a fifth member. Like, he pulls everything together. So, we went with Mike Green, and Neil Avron is mixing it, so he’s making it sound all purdy.

You also recently announced your collaborations on the record, which include Jason Vena from Acceptance, Cassadee Pope and Anthony Raneri of Bayside. How did those come about?
I like to say that it kind of came together in a much more natural way than some guest appearances are. Cassadee, for example: We were working on the demo and she just happened to come in with Rian [Dawson, drums], and I was like, “Hey, why don’t you sing this harmony? Fuck it. Who cares?” She stepped up to the mic and sang it, and we were like, “Wow. That actually makes the chorus sound rad.” So, we just kept it. It was one of those things where it was a lot of friends and a lot of just people hanging out and we wanted to get them somehow on the album.

What do you want people to know about where you guys are headed and your signing with Hopeless?
Above all else, it’s really just that we’re in it for the long haul. I think because [Dirty Work] was kind of left dead in the water halfway through, people thought it might be the end for the band. We’re in it to do this as long as we possibly can, and we love the music we write. We had a blast with the last record despite some of the shortcomings, and I think now is the time to pave the way for a new brand of All Time Low. One that is much more self-sufficient and knows quite a bit more than it did in its previous form. Expect to see us on the road a lot. Expect us to go hard on this album. We’re really excited, and just looking to the future and really happy to be partnered with people that give a shit.


In a recent interview with The Gunz Show, All Time Low discussed the band’s dealings with Interscope during Dirty Work, their new album and signing with a new label. Read several of the quotes below and check out the full interview here.

author: Matthew Colwell

On Interscope and Dirty Work’s release:

“It was a tough thing. I don’t want to badmouth anyone over there – for what they did they were really rad. It was a lot of bad timing, in a lot of ways. It’s kind of happening with all major labels at the moment. It was just one of those textbook situations where we signed, we had the record done, and then one thing led to another. First they had to gear up for a [Lady] Gaga release, so we got pushed back, and then they had like a whole firing and re-staffing moment, so we didn’t want to release without a team behind it, so it got pushed back again. It was a really frustrating moment for us, but it happens and it was completely out of our control, which was unfortunate, because I think that was a solid record and it definitely lost a bit of steam because of all the stuff Interscope was going through. So it was a bummer. But you live and you learn, and it’s one of those things that I don’t think affected us in a way that’s going to drag us down too much. We learn what we like and we learn what we don’t like, and we know what to avoid now.”

On the new album:

“We are done with the record, so it’s being mixed over the next couple weeks by Neal Avron (Fall Out Boy, Weezer, New Found Glory). He’s going to be making the record sound amazing. He dropped everything and mixed “The Reckless and the Brave” for us last minute, just so we could get something out before Warped Tour. We felt like that track sums up the album in a really good way.”

“It’s for sure a progression, but there are elements of what we used to do sprinkled through. Like I said before, this time around I tried to get rid of the idea of using genre influences and time period influences like I have in the past.” 

“It definitely has some pop on there – I’d say it’s a pop rock record overall.”

“There is some disdain and a little bit of bitterness in some of the lyrics, but at the same time there’s a lot of resolution and a lot of resolve. Powering through the bullshit and trying to fix the situation – that’s always kind of what this band’s been about. It’s not about dwelling on the negative, it’s more about pushing through and finding the good in the shit that does happen to you.”


The unheard song All Time Low co-wrote with Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus for 2009’s Nothing Personal is one of the scene’s holy grails. Even Hoppus has nothing but good things to say about the tune: When AP interviewed him last year, he said, “I wrote a song with All Time Low that I think is a great song that will never see the light of day.” So what exactly did happen to the song? Below, All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth [second from left] gives the full story of the collaboration: how it came to be, what the song sounded like and why it was never finished—at least as an All Time Low song. For more tales of unheard songs and albums, along with bands who never came to be, check out AP #288, on sale June 5.

author: AP

How did you end up working with him?
That’s actually a really good question; it’s all really blurry now. [Laughs.] Actually, it’s a funny story, now that I think about it. Rian [Dawson], our drummer, got a Blink tattoo a few years back. He posted a picture of it online, and I think Mark saw that, I guess, because of the reaction. Mark sent him an email and was like, “Yo, that’s an awesome shout-out, blah blah blah.” As soon as he reached out, we kept in touch, Rian hit him back. One of us, I think Jack [Barakat] or myself, reached out. It was right around the time we started working on the record [Nothing Personal]—we just reached out, shot-in-the-dark style. We knew he was producing and writing for other bands, and put it out there: “Yo, it would be really fun to work on a song together.”

He was into it. We were already out in California working on the album, so he brought us out to his studio, and we sat down and worked on a song together. It was pretty crazy, because when it all happened, it was such a blur. Obviously, Blink is a big inspiration for us; they’re kind of a band that inspired us to start a band. That’s definitely a defining moment for us.

How nervous were you to work with him?
Super-nervous, actually. The first time we met him, me and Jack were hiding our anxiety, but I don’t think we were hiding it very well. We were definitely geeking out in the studio the first time.

What was working with him like? Was it super-collaborative right away? Was he taking the lead? How was the dynamic between you guys?
That was really the first time I had ever really reached out as far as quote-unquote co-writing. But for me, co-writing has never been a handout. I’ve always been the predominant writer in All Time Low, and I’m really controlling when it comes to what we do. That’s a general misconception of our band and how we make our records—even when we have been credited as co-writing, I’m always a massive part of that. I would never take handouts. Despite the fact that I’m terrified and nervous, it was really a collaborative thing from the get-go. I went in with a lyrical, vocal idea and he had worked on guitar parts that sounded super Blink-182-ish, and he played it for me. I was like, ‘This vibe’s perfect; I’m a fan. Let’s roll with it.” 

What was the lyrical conceit of it?
It sounded like a relationship-kind of song, but it was actually about the trail of the scene, and how fans come and go and tend to be very fickle. At the time, Mark was still working on +44 and the members of Blink were in and out of different projects. It was a topic that related to both of us. We were working on this new album and taking co-writes, and people were disapproving. Everybody had an opinion and thought they knew what was best for our band. At the same time, Blink was not a band, and they were going through the same kinds of things—like, putting out music and putting their hearts into their new project and people weren’t receiving it the way I think people should. People weren’t giving anything a valid chance just because it wasn’t Blink—and because we weren’t the quote-unquote punk rock band we were supposed to be. [Laughs.] That’s kind of what the song is about.

That’s funny that your idol, however many years older than you, was going through the same things. It’s cool to find a common ground.
It’s very rad. That was one of the coolest things about us writing together—the topic became very awesome.

Was the song actually finished?
No, not in terms of All Time Low. We demoed it—it was one of the first songs we wrote for that album. It was never recorded as a full band; it was never seen through.

So it was a demo with you and Mark?
Yeah, it was fake drums, one guitar track. Super stripped-down. I still have it on my laptop; it sounds like absolute shit. But it’s a cool song.

Why did you decide to never go through and finish recording it?
It ended up just being the wrong vibe. It didn’t mesh with the other songs; it sort of felt like an outlier. Which happens pretty much every record cycle. Every record we’ve made, apart form our first one—when I think we wrote 12 songs and put ‘em out—every other record cycle, you end up writing more than you need. You have to pick your favorite children, I guess. Some of the children unfortunately get thrown out. [Laughs.]

And you want to put your best face forward and have the best material out there.
For sure. It’s all a matter of perspective—when you look back, maybe the song is better, maybe the song is worse. At the time, it didn’t feel like it fit.

Do you think the song will ever see the light of day?
It’s actually a funny story—I’ve mentioned it vaguely before. Before Blink fully reformed and confirmed they were getting back together, Mark was working on a project with a friend of mine, who now plays in the band Stars In Stereo, this guy Justin [Siegel]. They were a band for a minute—we took ’em on our small-venue tour that we did, it was their first and only tour as a band. They were this band called City (Comma) State. The first form of that band actually had Mark Hoppus in it, and it was a girl-fronted band—but Mark was a dual vocalist/bass player in the band. Justin played drums.

Out of the blue, I got a call from Mark, and he was like, “Yo, man”—and this was probably a year and a half, two years after the song was written. I got a call and Mark was just like, “Hey, been listening to the material we worked on. Would it be cool if the new project I’m working with used it?” So they actually tracked it as City (Comma) State, and it never saw the light of day. It’s a funny story you asked, “Was the song ever finished?” because the one time the song was finished by a band, it was not my band. It has this chick Joanna [Pacitti] and Mark singing on it, it’s pretty awesome.


To outsiders, ALL TIME LOW might seem to be in a precarious position. Exiled from Interscope after the release of 2011’s Dirty Work, the band find themselves independent again—but in talking to frontman ALEX GASKARTH, you’d never sense any uncertainty. With a completely self-funded, self-recorded album in the can (labels: inquire within) and a mainstage slot on this summer’s Vans Warped Tour, things in Camp ATL seem to be moving smoothly. The new album push begins today with the release of their new single, “The Reckless & The Brave,” available for free download here.

author: Bryne Yancey

Gaskarth chatted with AP from his home in Maryland about the single and recording an album without A&R suits breathing down their necks.

Let’s talk about “The Reckless & The Brave.” How did it come together?
It’s essentially about going back to the day that we decided to take a real shot at this band. I feel like the reason the song was written was that the longer we’re in this band, the more we realize those moments happen quite a bit—those moments of taking a leap of faith, per se, and hoping for the best. The song deals with the day we decided to take a shot at signing to a major label for the first time, dropping everything, going on tour and opting out of going to college—taking that beaten path, I guess. The reason I think this song became so pertinent when it was written was because it was happening at a time when we’d just parted ways with Interscope, and it was another leg in our adventure. Even signing to Interscope and then parting ways a year later, both of those things felt like the same kind of leap of faith. It’s that angle that’s a big overtone of the entire record, and the reason we wanted to put this song forward first—because it speaks to the whole record and sets up the whole thing.

You just finished recording the new album yourselves, sans label. How did the experience differ versus recording Dirty Work?
It was much different, in the sense that when we signed to Interscope, the vibe was really good, but then again, you never know what’s going to happen—it’s a fucked-up industry in that sense. You really don’t know which way it’s gonna go. We were on cloud nine when we signed; the team there was really into it, they were telling us all sorts of things like the record was great, the direction was awesome and so on.

But during the process of making that record, there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen. We decided to go with the multiple-producer angle because that’s what we’d done before and it worked. But I think with Nothing Personal, it worked because it was much more laissez-faire in terms of label involvement. Hopeless was like, “Okay, this is what you want to do, and we’re gonna enable you to do it, but you do it.” This time around [With Dirty Work], there was a lot more A&R involvement and a lot of people wanting to stop by the studio to give their two cents. It is what it is. In that major-label world, you totally see where it would work; it’s how you imagine a hip-hop record being made, these people stopping in all the time and saying, “That joint’s sick,” or whatever. But with us, you just end up having these dudes standing in the back of the room, and they’re air-drumming the shit out of these songs, but they have no idea how to play drums. It’s one of those situations that makes for the wrong atmosphere. With this new record, it was so much different because there was no one to come in, critique or compliment for that matter—it was just us and Mike Green making a record. The only other person that came in was our manager Keith Lazorchak, because that’s an opinion we really value, as that dude’s been with us from the get go. It was much more organic.

How many songs did the band record? How many do you think will make the album?
I think in total we tracked 15, and as you do, you always have some extras and some outliers. We whittled it down a bit and I think the record is probably going to be 11 songs, and then I’m sure there will be a couple of B-sides, international versions and all that. I think in total, the world will hear 13 of the 15.

When do you think the album will be out? What’s the label situation as of right now?
I have no clue, and to be honest, I’m not making that mistake again. [Laughs.] Because last time, we promised everybody a date and then as it goes, it got pushed back and it was a whole clusterfuck. I think this time, until the date is locked in with a label, a lack of label or whatever it ends up being, we’re not gonna announce that.

Will you be playing the song live on Warped this summer? Or any other new songs?
I think there’s a damn good chance. The song obviously debuts today, so it makes sense to do something fresh. I think it’s a safe bet.


ALL TIME LOW guitarist/court jester JACK BARAKAT has never been shy about speaking his mind—although what usually comes out of his mouth is of the potty-humor variety. When Barakat reached out to AP about writing an Op-Ed, we were concerned we’d have to use more black bars on this article than there was available ink. Luckily, his “rock star reality check,” as he likes to call it, turned out profanity-free and is a genuinely interesting perspective on the current state of the classic rock ’n’ roll lifestyle—which, according to Barakat, is on life support. 

author: Jack Barakat

As I revved the engine of the Ducati motorcycle between my legs and checked my aim down the hallway of the Beverly Hills Hotel—obviously to make sure I caused as much damage as possible—the last thing I thought to myself as I let go of the hand brake was, “I hope I didn’t give the front desk my personal credit card.” Okay, fine, that never happened… But could you imagine if it did?

I first approached Alternative Press a couple of months ago about writing a piece for this magazine. I’ve been an avid reader of AP for many years, and it’s been a dream come true for our band to be featured in it so many times. Initially, I wanted to write about the state of the present-day music industry, but considering the mess it’s in, that didn’t sound like much fun. After traveling around the world and interacting with people of all professions, I have realized that almost everyone has wanted to be a “rock star” at some point in their life. The most interesting thing about this notion is the response when I ask them why. The most common answer is, “The girls and the parties, man!” With this in mind, I decided to spend my 800 words clearing up misconceptions about the music industry, touring and “band life” in general.

Now I’m not saying I know everything about the subject, but my band All Time Low have been at it for a while. We’ve seen a lot, smelled a lot, touched a lot and tasted a lot. So let’s start with the basics: sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll—or should I say iPhones, Bud Light and backing tracks. It’s not that sex and drugs don’t exist in the industry anymore, but they are definitely not as common as they used to be. If you ask me, the internet is to blame for the death of this rock ’n’ roll cliché. These days, a more common backstage scene is one of innocence: band members sipping vodka-Red Bulls while creeping their Twitter @replies. I know, I know, exciting stuff. The internet has created a place where people cannot just talk about what happens backstage or on the tour bus, but they can also prove it with very public pictures. People tend to become a lot more cautious when their name and reputations are at stake.

The day of the rock star is dead. These days, instead of wanting to hear (and dream) about oiled-up hotel-orgy stories, fans would much rather meet the band and get their T-shirt signed. And drugs? One of the reasons why drugs were so popular in music back in the day is because band members literally had nothing else to do. I am currently sitting in a field in Germany listening to Incubus play while I type this on an iPad loaded with over 40 games, movies and other nifty apps. We have been in this field for 15 hours, and if the internet didn’t exist, I’d probably be doing drugs too, simply out of pure boredom. (I guess it’s a good thing listening to Incubus already makes you feel like you’re on acid. Ha!)

While thinking about the so-called rock ’n’ roll life, I like to think back to the crazy stories that spanned the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Whether it was Jim Morrison whipping his junk out onstage in Miami, Led Zeppelin driving motorcycles down the corridors of the Chateau Marmont, Ozzy Osbourne snorting ants with Mötley Crüe or Mick Jagger eating a Mars Bar out of a girl’s crotch (but hey, we’re all guilty of that one), it all makes me wonder what the biographers from our era of music will say. I can see the pull quote now: “It was a hot summer night in Hamburg, as the fans waited outside the popular German hotel lobby. A then-23-year-old Alex Gaskarth stared intently at his computer screen, frustration hanging in the air as he struggled to inch his way towards beating his high score on the then-popular computer game Diablo 3.”

Look, I’m not saying bands still don’t have their crazy fun sometimes. Hell, I remember being woken up the morning after a crazy night in Pittsburgh as our tour manager was trying to speak very calmly on the phone to a rather livid hotel owner—apparently the night before, we had gotten too inebriated in our hotel room. I’ll spare the incriminating details for now, but let’s just say the night ended with our lead singer running out of the hotel ass-naked, with a flat-screen TV he had stolen from the room. “Rock star moments” still do happen, but unfortunately for the future biographers of the music world, they are few and far between.

This Op-Ed originally ran in AP 279. To buy a back issue, head here.


Dirty Work Tour
O2 Apollo
Manchester, UK
January 21, 2012

Even without attending one of their shows, it’s a pretty easy task to guess the main kind of crowd that teenage heart-throbs All Time Low pull in on any one of their tours. That’s right, about 90% of any crowd at their show tends to be teenage fan girls aged between 13 to 17, a few boys in this age group today. Of course, there are older people present, and statement is clearly digressing a little, but this is fact is entirely true to the audience present at the Manchester date of their first UK tour of 2012.

New kids on the block We Are The In Crowd (***) receive a startling reception for what must be their second or third time over to these shores so far in their career, and with a newly announced headline tour of their own in a few months time, the crowd before them are a perfect target audience to pull in with their sweet pop-punk tunes. Admittedly these guys don’t seem completely ready to perform in a venue of this size and stature, but songs like ‘Rumour Mill’ and ‘Lights Out’ don’t fall on deaf ears.

The Maine (****) come across a little like a more teen targeted Maroon 5, but when they bring out their potential to the full it’s clear they’re more than just that. A slightly more indie/alternative rock tinge on the pop-punk formula that composes most of tonight’s happenings, The Maine are a band who should be put onto a bill of a slightly more older audience generally to see exactly what they can pull out of the bag.

The aforementioned fan girls aplenty almost manage to literally scream their lungs out once All Time Low (****) come onto the stage, very capable of causing a few cases of tinnitus throughout the room. Though some of the audience are clearly lusting over frontman Alex Gaskarth and co., it must be acknowledged that behind their fringes and skinny jeans comes talent and a knack for a catchy hook. Obviously single hits like ‘Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)’ and ‘I Feel Like Dancin” get some of the biggest sing-a-long moments, but nothing comes across quite as spectacular as the whole room singing back to the bare bone acoustic moment of ‘Remembering Sunday’.

The back-to-back encore of their staple tracks ‘Weightless’ and ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’ leave the set to an explosive end. Despite the consistent sex related jokes brought throughout the songs and the persistent high pitched screams throughout the crowd (which, of course, is in no fault of the band themselves), All Time Low stand as perhaps the next big name of this generation’s pop-punk genre.

author: Zach Redrup



Set list:

Forget About It
Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)
Coffee Shop Soundtrack
I Feel Like Dancin’
Six Feet Under the Stars
Stay Awake (Dreams Only Last for a Night)
Poppin’ Champagne
Lost in Stereo
Remembering Sunday
Art of the State
Do You Want Me (Dead?) (Followed by Killing In The… more )
Dear Maria, Count Me In

Baltimore-based pop-punk band All Time Low turned a few heads with their recent video for ‘I Feel Like Dancin’,’ which featured the band members jokingly borrowing music video ideas from Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. They even went so far as to wear the skintight bodysuits from Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance.’

The song, co-written with Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, was the group’s first major-label single after several years as an indie act. ‘I Feel Like Dancin’’ and the new single ‘Time Bomb’ appear on the group’s latest album, ‘Dirty Work,’ available now on iTunes.

author: Scott Shetler

 PopCrush recently caught up with All Time Low frontman Alex Gaskarth. In addition to discussing the new music, Alex told us about writing with Rivers, recording a cover of Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella,’ and stepping into in the boxing ring with Mike Tyson (in a video game, of course).

You’ve been playing the new material from ‘Dirty Work’ on your ‘Rise and Fall of My Pants Tour’ with the Ready Set. How have fans been responding to the new songs?

The response has been very cool. You go into that and you never quite know what to expect, especially when you play new songs for the first time live, but they’ve been going over really well. The kids have been very excited about it and getting really into the live show. The tour has just been a whole lot of fun.

In the video for ‘I Feel Like Dancin’,’ you have a record label guy basically trying to make you his puppets. Have you ever had any real meetings like that?

[Laughs] Luckily, no, we have never been put through anything quite like that, which is fortunate. When we signed with a major label, we noticed that there were a lot of people assuming that’s what was going to happen, so we sort of played into that joke.

Was it fun to make fun of some of pop music’s biggest superstars?

Absolutely. It was less making fun of them and more just poking fun at the idea of stealing people’s ideas. And it was really a good excuse for us to dress up as women too.

Did you keep any of those outfits as souvenirs?

Yeah actually, the Gaga suits were custom-made. I believe they were made by the guy who made the real ones for her video, so we got to keep those, which is pretty rad [laughs]. The costumes were crazy. They actually had to sew part of the costume together on our bodies. It was pretty ridiculous.

You wrote that song with Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. When you get together to write with someone like Rivers for the first time, is there a lot of awkwardness and feeling each other out?

Yeah, I would say so, a little bit. It’s a pretty personal experience to write a song, at least for our band. We value the music that we put out. We’ve always been protective of what we do. So in any co-writing situation that involves a stranger, it’s [about] feeling [it] out and making sure that the vibe was right.

Rivers really got it and was a very cool guy. He knew from the get-go, after a brief conversation, what we were going for with the song and was way into it.

There used to be stories that Rivers would construct his songs using these complicated mathematical formulas. Did you see any evidence of that?

[Laughs] I didn’t see anything quite like that. That might be a secret reserved for Weezer songs.

It was a really relaxed setting. We went to his house and kicked it in his living room. We sat down with an acoustic guitar, wrote the song very quickly. We both had the right vibe for the song. I said I wanted to write a very tongue-in-cheek jokey song, and that’s where we went with it.

You guys worked with Tricky and The-Dream on ‘No Idea.’ That seems like kind of an odd pairing — what compelled you to work with them?

I had worked with them on our last record, on a song called ‘Too Much.’ I’ve always liked working with those guys because it’s like two different worlds colliding. They don’t work on much rock music, and I’ve obviously never gotten into R&B too often, but I am a fan of R&B, so it was cool to pick their brains. I learned a lot from them.

What did you take away from the experiences with them?

Some of the biggest stuff was just how they work melodies. There were a lot of cool and unique devices they use in their songwriting that I’ve never seen before. There’s a lot of improvisation in the way they write. They’ll just kind of track everything and wait until the vibe of the song feels right as you’re playing it live, and then try to hone in on those little bits and pieces, which was unlike anything I’d ever done before.

Big Time Rush just put out a version of ‘No Idea.’ Did they rip off your song?

No, they did not. [Laughs] We actually found out they’re pretty big fans of ours. As I’m sure a lot of people know, they’re not entirely a real band. They’re actually characters from a TV show. So while the band does exist in real life, it’s more focused on doing episodes of the show, kinda like the Monkees from back in the day.

So what happened was they expressed interest in our song, which is the one I wrote with Tricky and Dream, and they basically asked us if they could do an adaptation of it for their record. It was just one of those things where we thought, “Why not?”

A recent review called ‘Dirty Work’ your strongest album and said it was your “ultimate bid for mainstream acceptance.” Is it accurate to say that you made a concerted effort to expand your audience?

I think so … Some of it was probably unconscious, but I’m sure there was an amount of it that was a conscious effort to expand and try something new and hopefully gain more fans. At the same time, though, that album did feel like a natural progression. It felt like those were the songs we needed to write at the time. Having a new label and a new opportunity and a new shot kind of inspired that drive.

All Time Low’s new single is ‘Time Bomb.’ What’s the story behind that song?

The song is about two people torn apart by their own infatuation with one another. It’s one of those things I think a lot of people have felt, that kind of relationship where everything is so strong, but the relationship itself becomes volatile. It’s about the struggle to hold a relationship like that together, and the fight and the desire to make it work.

Is it true you’re shooting a video for ‘Merry Christmas, Kiss My A–’?

Yeah, we’re working on some kind of a video for our Christmas song. We actually put the song out last year and it’s on the bonus version of our new record, but we thought it would be fun to push it a little more this year. I think it’s gonna take a lot of people by surprise. It’s certainly not as wholesome as some people may expect.

We saw that you did a cover of ‘Umbrella’ by Rihanna. Was that kind of a goof, or was it a serious appreciation for the song?

That was total appreciation. We did it for a record called ‘Punk Goes Hip-Hop.’ It’s a Fearless compilation that they put out every now and then. While the song isn’t necessarily hip-hop, it’s definitely R&B and it kind of fit the vibe. It’s a song that we all really love. I think it’s a well-written song, and it was cool to put our spin on it.

That was actually, funnily enough, how we ended up getting in contact with Tricky and Dream, because they wrote that song for Rihanna. They heard our cover of it and that’s when they reached out to see if we wanted to work together.

Do you have additional tour plans in the near future?

We’re going to the U.K. early next year, followed by a tour in Canada where we’re supporting Simple Plan. We’re gonna go over and do Punkspring in Japan, and then our spring and summer is a little bit cloudy right now. We’re still hashing it all out. But I think things are gonna be announced pretty soon.

Have you already begun writing new material for the next album?

Yeah, I feel very inspired lately. I’ve been writing on the road and working on a lot of new ideas. So writing is also a possibility for next year, and working on new music.

We saw that you guys got involved with Mike Tyson’s iPhone game. Can you explain what that’s all about?

It came to us through a mutual friend. He was working for the development team. It’s the same company that did ‘Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out’ back in the day, which was a classic console game. They said they were bringing it back, and they were going to do these “celebrity guest appearances” in the game. And we were the guinea pig for that. We were the first one that they released with the game.

We’re all video game fans and that was a little nostalgic piece for us to go back and see a game that was around when we were just tots. It was definitely a cool opportunity.


Although All Time Low’s fourth full-length, Dirty Work, didn’t hit stores until early June (a delay from its intended spring release), the band have regained any lost momentum in the ensuing months. With one single in the bag (“I Feel Like Dancin’”) and another being readied for a U.K. release (“Forget About It”), the band have a full slate of upcoming tour dates planned to support the album, including upcoming runs through the U.S. and Canada. The quartet recently wrapped up a six-week stretch rocking massive festival crowds alongside luminaries such as Weezer and the Foo Fighters. To get the skinny on their recent travels and what the near-future holds, ATL singer/guitarist Alex Gaskarth chatted with AP about seeing himself in video games, rocking out with Rivers Cuomo and watching your idols turn into fans.

author: Brendan Manley

You just finished a pretty high-profile run through Europe. How was that?
It was really rad; we did all the summer festivals. I think it was six weeks. They line [festivals] up so perfectly throughout Europe and the U.K., so we were hopping around country to country. I think my favorite part was the lineups of the festivals were so rad. One day it would be us on the main stage with the Foo Fighters and Blondie, and the next it would be us and Weezer. It was really cool.

Did you hang with any of the icons?
I didn’t get to meet Dave [Grohl], unfortunately. They would always play last, and we were always running around when they were backstage. The one crazy story I got out of all of it was one of the first days we played with the Foo Fighters, we were walking offstage and Taylor Hawkins, the drummer, comes running up behind the stage and he’s like, “Dude, I missed you guys?” I’ve never met any of them before, and I was like, “Wait a minute…what?” He’s like, “Yeah, I wanted to check you guys out,” and I was so pissed, because we’re all such big Foo fans. That was a cool moment, to know that they actually know who our band is.

Rivers Cuomo recently joined you onstage for “I Feel Like Dancin’.” That must’ve been a trip.
Yeah, it was rad. Rivers and I wrote that song together. There just hadn’t been any good timing for us to collaborate together on it live, so that one day in Scotland he sent me an email a few days before, saying, “Hey dude, do you mind if I hop up and have a go?” and I said, “Absolutely not.” He jumped up and sang the second verse and had a good time with it. I think it gave something unique to the crowd there that night.

What’s it like working with that guy?
Weezer’s been a band that’s been super-influential on us and also just a band I’ve really looked up to for a long time. It was very cool. When the first whisperings of us working together began, that was already a shocker enough. Then you get to the point where you’re talking, talking about hanging out, figuring out days you can perform together… That’s just a whole other level of coolness for us. We’re such big fans, so it’s been very rad. He’s such a good dude; he’s very down-to-earth. There are a lot of stories about him being such a character and to be honest, he’s actually a pretty straightforward dude.

You recently appeared on the Mark Hoppus Show. How does one prepare for that, as opposed to other shows not hosted by pop-punk royalty?
It’s cool, because we’re all pretty close with Mark at this point, and it’s fun; it’s neat to see him doing that. It’s good to see that he’s got a lot of things going, so it’s fun to do. The funniest thing about it is that he completely changes once they say “action.” It’s really funny: He goes from being like your best friend and chit-chatting about bullshit, to [snapping] right into interviewer mode and suddenly he has no idea who you are. It’s really funny, like, “Wait a second, weren’t we just talking about dogs pooping?” That’s kind of cool—it’s a game face, I guess.

How have things been going otherwise since Dirty Work came out?
I think it’s been good. It’s been hard to follow, because record sales are just absolute shit. It’s been hard to gauge it by that, because you look at the numbers every week and you’re like, “Fuck, is something wrong?” But then you see all these other artists’ records coming out that are doing substantially less than they’ve done before, and it’s like, “Okay, maybe it’s just normal.”

So it’s kind of a weird place for everybody as far as gauging what’s happening, but it was one of those things where the numbers are lying to everyone right now, and we haven’t actually been in the country to see if kids still want to come to the shows. Overseas, it’s been absolutely amazing. The pre-sales for our upcoming tours seem to be going really well. The hype seems to be there.

I’ve scoured the Internet every now and then, and it seems like people are reacting really well to the new songs. I’m stoked on it, I fully believe, so I’m just happy to be back in the States and to be gearing up for the U.S. tours.

What do you have coming up in the next year?
This year, our next tour is a little bit of the U.S. and Canada, and then we hop over to Australia, Japan and Southeast Asia, because we haven’t been over there in a while. Then we jump back to the States for a U.S. fall tour that we’re still lining up, and that pretty much takes us into the winter.

The release of Dirty Work was delayed. Was that frustrating on your end?
It was a combination of things. There are big artists putting out records on Interscope, and also during that time there were some management issues at Interscope. As with many major labels, I think a bunch of people got fired. We just wanted to make sure we didn’t get caught up in that shit storm essentially, so we decided to hold off on putting the record out.

So it worked out to be a good thing?
It sucked at the time to hear that we had to push it back, but hindsight’s always 20/20, and I think waiting a few months was pretty much worth it.

I heard ATL were added to a Mike Tyson iPhone game, Mike Tyson’s Main Event?
It was kind of funny: A friend of ours who used to work at our booking agency, William Morris, went through a couple more jobs and ended up working for this company that was remaking kind of a tribute to that old ’80s video game, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, so they did this iPhone app called Mike Tyson’s Main Event. It’s essentially the same idea, like the timing and the punches and that sort of quirky, funny animation. They hit us up and they decided they were gonna do these increments of releases where they would release different “celebrity packages” each couple of months where they’d do an installment with a different group of people or a different band or whatever. They hit us up to be the first one, and that was really cool, because that game has so much of a nostalgia factor for everybody.

Are you guys interested in boxing, or it was just random that you ended up in a boxing game?
I think it’s more that we’re interested in video games. Anytime someone hits you up and says, “Hey, you want to be in a video game?” it’s like, ‘Fuck, yeah.”

Do your characters have any special powers in the game?
They all have these quirky special moves based off what we all do. I think my guy swings a microphone, and Rian [Dawson, drums] has a special move with his drumsticks. It’s pretty funny.

Is there anything else happening in the next few months regarding any upcoming releases?
We have some stuff in the works. As far as the new single, I’m not sure yet. That’s another whole game we’re letting happen. We do have some cool things in the works—I can’t really mention much of them—but there’s some cool things we’re chasing and possibly some fresh content and whatnot. Hopefully, we’ll have some things to keep it fresh soon.

We’ve heard you guys have a third guitar player for live shows.
We do. His name is Matt Colussy. He’s actually our assistant tour manager, but he used to play in a band called the Morning Light. They were on Fearless, and he’s a great musician. The record, and the way we wrote the record kind of called for three guitarists, so we pulled a Green Day and added in the unofficial member to help out live. It’s actually going over really well.

What else is going on? Any fun recreational experiences lately?
To be honest, we’ve already been on tour quite a bit this year. Touring is fun for us, so we’re just stoked to be back out on the road. We’re excited to be back in the States, having spent some time overseas. It’s going to be fun to get back out on the road over here.

Are you looking at another two years of promoting the album?
I guess so, unless the record fucking tanks and we have to do a new one sooner. I think we’re just buckling down to grind it out.


On their fourth album, All Time Low get stranded between bratty snot-rock and witty power pop. Dirty Work — already a Top 10 hit — shows off the band’s ability to weld slick harmonies to jackhammer chords, but it also sounds a little scattered. One minute ATL quote Ella Fitzgerald, the next they reference a more contemporary bard: “I think some dude just grabbed my junk/And now I know how Ke$ha must be feeling,” Alex Gaskarth sings on “I Feel Like Dancin’.” That song was co-penned by Rivers Cuomo, but the party jam here is “Time-Bomb,” a tightly wound anthem that sounds like a real panic at the disco.

author: Caryn Ganz


All Time Low‘s latest effort, Dirty Work comes out June 7, 2011 on Interscope/Hopeless Records.

I met the band just over five years ago at Sonar, a gritty Baltimore club where they played with Underscore (whose singer at the time — Matt Flyzik – would later become their tour manager). They rocked the 300 capacity room, and I immediately saw their potential. Singer Alex Gaskarth possessed a natural charisma that most frontmen can only dream about, while sidekick Jack Barakat overcompensated for his internal insecurity and played to the adoration of the crowd.

The band was recording Put Up Or Shut Up — an EP that five months later would put them on the map and launch their incipient career. It was a humble beginning, and dreams of rock stardom were, at the same time, elusive and attainable.

Their subsequent full-length, So Wrong, It’s Right in 2007 and their follow-up, Nothing Personal in 2009 brought the band to the industry’s attention.

Good Charlotte, Sum 41 and Simple Plan followed Blink-182 and Green Day, taking the reins of the pop-punk revolution at the beginning of the century. Fall Out Boy carried the flag into the latter half of the decade. From the industry’s point of view, All Time Low seemed the heir-apparent; poised to fly the pop-rock banner in the new decade.

The band’s image is edgy, yet safe. Bad boys who are not too bad. With the right PR – and a little push – All Time Low could be top 40 radio hit makers.

Well, that was the plan.

Somewhere along the line the band lost their way. Dirty Work is an album that never should’ve seen the light of day. Gaskarth’s rich vocals are buried in an auto-tuned mess. The music shows off Gaskarth and Barakat’s growth and development as a songwriters — except that most of the tracks on this album should’ve been experiments that they lock away and refuse to let anyone hear.

While stadium anthem “Just The Way I’m Not” shows the band’s technical proficiency, the Fall Out Boy-inspired “Return The Favor” fails as it highlights that – though Gaskarth is good – he is no Patrick Stump. And while ”That Girl” is Bieber-worthy, Justin Bieber is a better overall musician, and the band is just too old to try to pull off that song.

This experiment went wildly out of control. The album lacks overall direction and cohesiveness. I could forgive the album if it were collection of radio hits, but I can’t imagine any program director that would put most, if any, of these tracks on their playlist – except possibly to repay a favor.

The guys in All Time Low are good musicians. You can’t tell from this album though. The band still puts on a great live show, and maybe these songs will sound better live. Hopefully they’ll be able to weather the storm.

The band recently completed a tour with Yellowcard. They might want to ask them how forgiving the industry can be.  (2.0/5.0)

author: Idobi