All Time Low are a band that have grafted hard and no doubt earned their success. After years of relentless touring and releasing albums, the pop-punks are about to embark on their biggest tour EVER in February as they headline The O2 in London and various other arenas around the UK.

author: Faye Turnbull

We recently caught up with guitarist Jack Barakat, just before he was off to see Elton John in concert, and spoke about their new record Future Hearts, having their hometown heroes Good Charlotte support them, and how they’re not afraid of anything at this point.


You’re bringing your Back To The Future Hearts Tour to the UK next month, supporting your latest record, Future Hearts. Going back a bit, you released Dirty Work in 2011 to mixed reviews and then Don’t Panic in 2012, which was very well received. Fans seemed a little anxious ahead of Future Hearts and the potential sound change, after nailing it with Don’t Panic

“I think every album we’ve released, we released for a purpose and a meaning. We don’t want to completely change our sound, but we want to make them a little different and don’t want to release the same album twice. I think with Future Hearts, we saw it as an evolution of Don’t Panic and a step forward; a more eclectic album with more diversity, but still kept the All Time Low sound, and I think we were really successful with that.

“We wrote and recorded the album we wanted to make and it clicked with fans, so we were lucky in that sense. We haven’t changed too much over the years, but it’s always good to keep changing. Our fans are growing up, so we don’t want to keep releasing the same album.”

You chose John Feldmann, who produced 5 Seconds Of Summer’s two albums, to produce Future Hearts. Did his work with 5SOS influence you to work with him? Did you want a more mainstream-sounding record? 

“Here’s a true story, before All Time Low had played a show, we dreamed of working with John Feldmann. I would always be like, “What if John Feldmann worked with us?” and this was when we were like 13/14. It was always kind of instilled in our bodies that one day we would want to work with him. For the most part, I’d say he was probably doing ‘darker’ albums, he did The Used and Story of the Year. He kind of always had a rock edge to him, so we thought for a while that he wouldn’t be a right fit.

Then we worked with him a couple of times on Dirty Work; we wrote ‘Heroes’ with him, which is a big song within our fanbase and two years down the road, his name was still being brought up. It was just finding the right time and the right place, and everything kind of came together. It wasn’t because of 5SOS that we went with John Feldmann. The 5SOS thing did help, because Alex was in the studio with Feldmann recently, so the experience was still fresh in his mind, but other than that, I would say that would be the only bridge there. It was just always something we wanted to do since the beginning.”

Feldmann also fronts the ska-punk band Goldfinger, were you not interested in going down the ska route?

“[Laughs] If you listen closely on the album, there’s definitely some weird things there. We do have trumpets in some parts. There was a song that was actually pretty horn-influenced that didn’t make the album that was really catchy, but it just didn’t feel right. There’s a lot of violins on the album, which was cool. It’s nice to have that kind of stuff, but still make All Time Low songs. Feldmann was really good for that and I think he brought a really cool energy.”

Future Hearts was very well received, and I saw Alex [Gaskarth – lead vocalist] recently tweet that you’re already writing again…

“Yeah, we’ve definitely started writing. We were waiting until January to get back right in there. If there’s anything our fans have learned from All Time Low – we don’t take long between albums. I don’t have a day or anything, but I’d expect something sooner rather than later.”

After your commercial success, is there pressure to maintain that popularity? Do you ever approach songs like, ‘Would this sound good on radio?’

“There’s always that conversation, because you want to continue growing. You want to write songs that people are going to like. We never wanted to be the band that writes dark, indie music.

“Since the beginning, we’ve always wanted to write catchy, poppy songs that everyone can have a good time to, so I don’t think that’s going to change. It’s our seventh record, so I think we’ll feel the least pressure we’ve ever felt making an album. We’re not afraid of anything at this point. We’ve been through the ups and downs, so we’re just going to make a new All Time Low album and it’ll probably be the best one we’ve made. I think fans will like it.”

t’s amazing to see how far you’ve come, from supporting the likes of Plain White T’s in 2007 to headlining The O2. Only a few other bands from that era and scene have really made it, like Fall Out Boy and Paramore. What do you think is your appeal?

“I think it’s a mix of right place, right time. I’d say we were kind of on the tail-end of that whole scene of bands. We were a little late to the party, but we got there just in time. I do think we have a very unique connection with the people that listen to our music. I don’t know if many bands have that same connection, it’s rare and I haven’t seen it that much before.

“It’s a special thing, especially in the UK, the fans that saw us open with the Plain White T’s in 2007 are coming to see us play at the O2. It’s that kind of fanbase we have and I think it’s the reason why we’re able to play these massive venues. I’d say we’ve had a low commercial success in the UK, we’ve been on the radio a bit, but I don’t think that’s the reason we’re able to play these big venues.

“I feel like it’s been a snowball effect; once these UK fans became All Time Low fans, I don’t think they went anywhere. We’re very appreciative of it and we definitely wouldn’t be able to play those kind of venues without them.”

Is it a bit mind-blowing having a band like Good Charlotte supporting you on your Back To The Future Hearts Tour, surely you grew up listening to them? 

“It definitely is mind-blowing! I grew up idolising Good Charlotte, they were the band that gave us hope to become a band out of Maryland. They were like the hometown heroes.

“Every time we hang out, even now since we’ve become friends, it’s still so bizarre to be in their presence, because they’re the reason why we’re doing what we’re doing. I would say it’s more flattering that they accepted the tour with us and they wanted to do it. It’s great for younger fans too who have heard of Good Charlotte, but don’t know their music.”

It’s been 10 years since the release of your Put Up or Shut Up EP, will you be playing any shows to commemorate it or anything? 

“That’s something that we’ve kind of discussed, but we haven’t confirmed anything. We did one show at the end of last year and we played Put Up or Shut Up in full, it was just a cool experiment to see how it would do and it was probably the most fun show I’ve had in a really long time. I think it’s a very strong possibility.”

You also take out a lot of newer and younger pop punk bands on tour like Neck Deep and State Champs, is that a label thing or do you have a say?

“That’s a good thing about being All Time Low – everything we do, we do because we want to. We’ve never been that band that’s been told what to do. We always have an opinion and we’ve had the same manager since we were 16.

“When we headline, we take out whoever we want to take out. The label sometimes suggests bands they’ve signed and we’ll take them out, if we like them. That’s a cool thing about being in this band, it’s nice to have that influence on fans and introduce them to newer bands and give them our stamp of approval.”

What was the last gig you went to as a fan? 

“Actually tonight, one of my best friends scored me tickets to see Elton John in like a 2,000 cap venue, so I’m literally freaking out. I had trouble sleeping last night. I’ve never seen Elton John play and it’s such an intimate venue. I have really high hopes that it’s going to be one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. I’m excited!”

Are there any bands you’re excited about at the moment or any releases you’re looking forward to? 

“I’m really excited about the new Panic! At The Disco album, I’ve always been a big fan and think Brendon Urie is a genius. He does no wrong in my eyes.

“I’ve been listening to the Twenty One Pilots album a lot; I’m friends with Josh in the band and he’s become a close friend. Me, personally, when I make a personal connection with a band member, I tend to listen to their music and it kind of makes you appreciate it a bit more. I like good people making good music.”

Thanks for your time! Do you have any final words about the tour? 

“The UK has always been, in my opinion, my favourite place to tour, so I’m really excited to get back. I look at our Facebook every day and I can’t believe we’re headlining the biggest venue we’ve ever played. It’s something myself, and I’m sure the other guys, think about pretty regularly, so we’re really excited!”


After the release of their sixth studio album, Future Hearts, All Time Low have been busy touring the world performing to their thousands of fans. 

Their European leg of this epic album campaign is ending with the legendary Reading and Leeds festival. 

We caught up with frontman, Alex Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat, before their set to chat everything from Miley Cyrus hosting the VMAs, to their exciting UK arena tour announcement.

author: MTV UK

I saw you back in 2008 with Cobra Starship, on your co-headline UK tour, what’s changed since then?

Jack Barakat: “Not much! We’re all a little bit hairier.”

Alex Gaskarth: “Yeah I have slightly more chest hair now. I mean, so many things have changed, we’ve grown up a lot, we were young then, we were kids, so it’s pretty wild to know that we’re still a band.”

Jack: “That tour was really special to us because it was our first time seeing an All Time Low crowd in the UK, so I think that was very special because we knew this was going to become one of our favourite places to tour. It kind of jump-started our career here and made us want to come back more.”

Alex: “It was a very early indicator for us that there were people getting really passionate about our band here.”


What’s different about the UK?

A: “I think that the UK has just always embraced rock music, there’s an undying love for rock and roll here. For a band that walks that line it’s made things much better for us.”


What’s it like to be sharing the Reading Main Stage with the likes of Panic! At The Disco? Those guys have been around a similar time to you and on the same circuit…

A: “It’s pretty rad, I love those guys, we’ve grown up next to them and we’ve both been at it for a really long time.”

J: “I admire Brendon, I think he’s a great performer.”

A: “It’s one of the things I always love about Reading, you can pretty much guarantee that there’s gonna be some peers and friends on the bill with you so it’s always fun.”


You’ve just announced a UK arena tour, tell me a bit more about that, are you excited to be coming back next year?

J: “Of course! It’s our first headlining arena tour in the world, it’s awesome that we’re getting to do it in the UK.”


You’re playing the O2 Arena, which is huge!

A: “I know, it’s insane, it really is.”

J: “It’s intimidating!”

A: “We kept getting asked to come back and bring the Future Hearts tour to the UK so this is our best way of doing that and hitting as many people as we can.”


We’re coming to the end of festival season, has this year been a busy one?

A: “Oh my gosh, yeah! This year has been insane, it’s been non-stop since the record came out we’ve been touring, touring, touring. It’s a great way to spend your summer, the festival circuit is so much fun, we’re sort of wrapping it up in Europe with Reading and Leeds, this is a great way to end it.”


What can we expect from your set here at Reading this year?

A: “A dance party!”

J: “I think the best part about these shows is that you never know what’s going to happen. They’re very spontaneous which usually makes for an interesting show.”


We’ve got the VMAs coming up on Sunday (August 31), what do you think about Miley Cyrus hosting them?

J: “Big Miley fans.”

A: “I love Miley, I think she’s gonna kill it. She’s so, so charismatic and she’s hilarious so I think she’s perfect for it.”

J: “I think she’s punk-rock as f**k too! She just does whatever she wants.”


I know you’ve been non-stop since the album came out, but when can we expect some new music?

A: “I don’t know, that’s such a good question. We are still so heavily into Future Hearts right now that it’s hard to think about what’s gonna come next. Who knows! Maybe next year, I don’t know, we’ll have to see.


Obviously you’re absolutely huge now, where do you envisage yourselves five years down the line?

A: “Hopefully still doing this! It’s not something we want to stop doing. We want to keep growing it, we wanna keep playing for as many people as we possibly can.”

J: “Yeah, five years ago we were playing like 1st or 2nd on the Main Stage at Reading, and we’ve all said we just wanna be deeper in the line up. We wanna headline Reading one day. We started in a tent so it’s cooler to be here on the Main Stage.”


Finally, if you had to share a tent with two people from the line-up who would it be and why?

J: “Brendon [Urie, Panic! At The Disco] is a good cuddler.”

A: “And he’s got some good ghost stories.”

J: “And Vic Fuentes from Pierce The Veil, he’s a gentle man. Vic and Brendon, no girls apparently! It’s a boy’s club. 


Pop-punkers All Time Low recently completed a sell-out stint of gigs around the UK; fans over here can’t get enough of them and every time they play, the stage is littered with bras! Lead singer Alex Gasgarth took time out from the tour to tell MTV what life is really like on the road with All Time Low; revealing who has the messiest hotel room, what TV shows they are digging right now and what happens when they search their own names on Tumblr…

author: MTV UK

MTV: Hey Alex, please tell us: who out of All Time Low is worst at waking up in the morning?

Alex Gasgarth: Probably me. I’m a fairly big procrastinator so I can be fairly difficult to wake up. It’s been me and Zach. He and I are pretty deep sleepers.

MTV: If you’ve had a heavy night partying on tour, what is your breakfast of choice? 

Alex: I don’t advise this everyday, but a greasy heavy breakfast is the best idea after a heavy night. It sounds like the worst idea but actually, it’s the best. On this tour we have one of our favourite catering guys catering the tour. If you get up early he will cook up the a full English breakfast and it is everything you need to make yourself feel better and worse at the same time.

MTV: Although you were born in the UK, you haven’t lived here in a while. What’s the most touristy thing you have done while you’ve been over here?

Alex: Last time we were here as a band, we took a tour of Parliament and got to visit Number 10 Downing Street, we saw the Prime Minister’s place. I don’t think I’m supposed to say this, but we were allowed on the roof of Parliament and saw Big Ben in action. That was pretty epic. Very cool.

MTV: So dish the dirt; when you are staying in hotels, who has the messiest room?

Alex: To be honest, were are a pretty frugal band and try not to waste money so we usually stay on the tour bus but when we stay in a city for a few days we check into a hotel. Sometimes we even share rooms. The room you don’t want to go in, that always looks like a boom has gone off in it, is either Zack or Jack’s. They settle into a room and unpack their bags all over the place so it always looks like a war zone.

MTV: What’s the best thing you have ever ‘borrowed’ from a hotel on your travels?

Alex: We had this weird thing for a while which I feel really bad admitting now. We started for some random reason unscrewing and stealing the tops of beer taps as a trophy. Because you really have to earn that. It’s not like grabbing something someone’s not going to notice, like a napkin. This is more of a challenge where if you have to get the tap completely unscrewed without being caught in the act, pocketing it and getting out of there without anyone noticing. That’s an accomplishment. It’s reminiscent of a climatic scene from Indiana Jones.

MTV: So what do All Time Low get up to when you are in a city waiting to play a show?

Alex: It depends on the day and what our schedule looks like. When we’re not scheduled for press or do meet or greets then we usually just explore and aimlessly wander around. Most of the time in major cities we’ll find the city centre, walk around and go shopping or grab some food. Some of the guys in the band and crew are very fond of good food and eating out.

MTV: Are you into any TV shows at the moment?

Alex: We watch a lot of television and movies on the bus. Everyone’s obsessed with True Detective. We’re all in different parts of the show, so as much as we want to talk about it, we can’t, in case we ruin it for someone else! Lots of spoiler drama on the bus. A lot of us were doing Breaking Bad and House of Cards before that.  We have a strange obsession with Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. We’ve watched it probably over a 100 times. It’s so bad it’s good; it’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen. It’s great but in the worst way.

MTV: Do you ever look yourself up on Tumblr? ATL are pretty huge on there.

Alex: I’m very careful with stuff like that. I’ve done it before, because everyone is guilty of being curious and seeing what’s out there. I like to do it after we’ve started a tour, to see what people’s reactions are to the new set. So I do it to kind of spy and see what’s going on with our fanbase! But I can never dig too deep on Tumblr because the second you do that, you come across something you just don’t want to see. Sometimes I go in with a little bit of interest but I have to close the page before it gets to weird.

MTV: So we know that Jack Bakarat gets lots of girls underwear thrown at him on stage…

Alex: Woah, I would like to argue that. We ALL get underwear thrown at us. But Jack just hoards it. He makes a point of making himself look cooler and insists that it gets put on his mic-stand. They are not all being thrown at him. The amount of bras I have taken to the face that end up getting claimed by him; it’s not fair. I’m putting my foot down.

MTV: Well, Jack does like to mess around on stage, so perhaps he has more time to collect the bras.

Alex: Jack is a quarter guitar player, three quarters hype-man/village idiot in All Time Low. He’s the Flava Flav of this band.

MTV: After you’ve played a show, what’s the one song that gets you in a party mood for a night out?

Alex: Our musical rotation changes so frequently. We were really into the latest Paramore record; ‘Ain’t It Fun’ is such a jam and gets us going. Lately it’s been much heavier stuff. I’ve been really into the new Letlive record as well. The Architects album is awesome, it’s really really good.