Goodbye, Drum Perth!

music_newsletter2

As of tomorrow, Drum Perth will no longer exist… kind of. Street Press Australia is converting Time Off (QLD), InPress (VIC), and both Drum Sydney and Drum Perth to a fancy weekly magazine called The Music which focuses on a lot more efforts. It’s exciting change, which you can read all about it here: http://themusic.com.au/news/all/2013/07/31/iconic-music-titles-receive-major-overhaul/

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Interview: Frenzal Rhomb

Published in:

 Drum Media (WA) | 16.05.13 | Issue # 338

 Drum Media (NSW) | 09.07.13 | Issue # 1168

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THE LOVE BUG

Back to his “normal crap fitness”, Frenzal Rhomb frontman Jay Whalley is gearing up for his first shows behind the mic since having brain surgery. He tells Daniel Cribb all about the ordeal and his new appreciation for life.

When Frenzal Rhomb had to pull out of Descendents’ Australian tour in February because of a “sudden and unexpected illness”, fans around the country didn’t expect to be hearing tales of a pig tapeworm a few weeks later. A week before the national tour, vocalist Jay Whalley began having seizures and was rushed to hospital, where doctors initially said a tumor in his brain could be a melanoma.

After waiting three weeks, he finally had a biopsy and the results that came back were somewhat disturbing. On a trip to Central America four years ago, Whalley had picked up a pig tapeworm (via what he believes to be a burrito made by a chef who didn’t wash his hands). It made its way into his brain and lived in a mucus cocoon until it died and the body rejected it – which is where the seizures came into play.

He waited until he had an exact diagnosis before going public to avoid crazy rumors circulating the internet. “I didn’t want people to be spreading crazy rumors, because these sorts of things – when you have these big life events – they tend to kind of define you for a while – like, ‘Aw, there goes the pig brain guy,” Whalley tells.

Now, as he sits in the stands of a vacant rugby field, it’s clear he is eagerly anticipating his first shows with Frenzal Rhomb since his Valentine’s Day brain surgery to remove the tapeworm. “It was a really stressful time for my family and for me, and I dealt with it quite badly at that point. I was really miserable, pretty depressed. Every time I think about it I think, ‘Man, a lot of people have to go through that and they get the really bad diagnosis’. I feel like I’ve dodged a bullet.”

“I’m just looking forward to getting back to something normal – swearing at people,” he continues. “Frenzal Rhomb is like my favourite thing ever to do, and so being able to get back to it after they said, ‘You could have brain cancer and we don’t know what kind it is, but we think it’s probably a melanoma or something horrific like that’, to playing shows again about 12 weeks later is pretty amazing, you know.”

Earlier this month he hit the stage with his other band, Chinese Burns Unit, for which he plays bass, when they supported The Bronx in Sydney. “That was good. I mean, that was easy because you just have to strike one pose and sing every five minutes. But with Frenzal, it’s a bit more of an extreme sport for me. But I’m feeling like 100%, back to my normal crap fitness before all this shit happened, so I think [this tour] is going to be really fun…I was heaps buff before, and I could bench like 190-195, so now I feel like I’m pretty much back to my normal glory,” he jokes.

Anyone familiar with Frenzal Rhomb’s back catalogue will know no subject is off limits when it comes to taking the piss. And although in his original post on Facebook explaining the situation he labeled himself “Ham Solo”, “Notorious P.I.G” and “Oink182”, the band’s next record probably won’t deal with the subject in such a comical way.

“I didn’t really document that time. I felt so miserable at first. It was a really full-on experience, and a really heavy kind of time, and a very unusual experience too. I feel like I should have documented it through photos and what music I listened to, but I was just so miserable I kind of didn’t want to.

“I’m kind of now looking back on it and thinking, ‘How can I express this creatively?’. I’m not going to write just some dumb song about whatever. But like I said, even though it was a pretty weird and disgusting outcome, it wasn’t the worst and there’s definitely people going through worse shit than me.”

Between their seventh studio record, Forever Malcolm Young, and most recent record, Smoko At The Pet Food Factory, there was a five-year break. Hopefully fans won’t have to wait so long for another. There was a Facebook post recently that hinted they have half an album’s worth of material.

“That’d be Gordy [Forman, drums] being pretty drunk, I reckon. It depends, maybe he writes more songs than I realise. Most of the time, for every eight songs that I write – or that any of us kind of come up with – about seven end up in the bin. And then we sort of do it all again and get one song here, one song there, another song here, so it’s quite a process, but we’re getting there.”

There may not be any plans of a new record, but they’ve recorded a punk version of Tony Sly’s (No Use For A Name) Flying South for an upcoming tribute CD. The iconic punk rock frontman passed away in August of last year, and the CD will see close friends, fans and some of the genre’s best commemorating his memory.

“We just recorded it last weekend, and I have a feeling that our song may sound the worst out of all the songs because we did it at my studio. We sort of freaked out with the bands involved – Dropkick Murphys, NOFX, Bouncing Souls – we were like, ‘FUCK!’,” he laughs. “You know those bands that are like, ‘Aw, we recorded it in our basement’, but then you find out that their basement’s got like a million dollar studio, or Dave Grohl saying, ‘I recorded it in my kitchen’, and I’m like, ‘Fuck you, your kitchen’s got a massive fucking Neve desk in it’.

“The last time we saw [Sly] was after a show in Jindabyne where our paths kind of crossed, and a few months later we were thinking about that last kind of hangout that we had. Yeah, you never know, you just don’t think about these things at the time, you’re just sort of hanging out, swapping some stories, putting rohypnol in each other’s food, and the next thing you know, these people aren’t with us anymore, and it’s really sad, and he left behind two kids. Hopefully people will buy this record and they get some cash.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2013/07/09/frenzal-rhomb-jay-whalley-daniel-cribb/17595/

Interview: Blue King Brown

Published in:

Inpress (NSW) | 30.04.13 | Issue # 1158

Drum Media (WA)

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Putting the final touches on their new album, Blue King Brown vocalist Natalie Pa’apa’a tells Daniel Cribb they’re on a mission to change the world.

Sitting in the control room of the iconic Melbourne-based Sing Sing Recording Studios, Blue King Brown’s Natalie Pa’apa’a and producer/engineer James ‘Bonzai’ Caruso (Alicia Keys, Madonna) are somewhat hypnotised, mixing the band’s third album. For what seems like weeks, the band has been tucked away in the studio focusing on nothing but refining what they hope to be their defining record.

“It’s sort of a mix of styles as Blue King Brown is known for,” Pa’apa’a describes the record. “I think it’ll be recognisably ours, and our songwriting is ever-evolving, so it’s just been really great to have new songs and new sounds and keep working.”

Fast-paced, socially aware, infectious urban roots is what scored the band an AIR Award in 2005 with their debut, self-titled EP and earned them a play in triple j’s Hottest 100 in 2006 with their song Come And Check Your Head, off their debut album, Stand Up. It’s been a while since then, but with the release of album number three, Pa’apa’a confirms her yearning for change is as strong as ever. When Santana said that Blue King Brown was “the voice of the street and the band of the future”, he could see the passion resonating within Pa’apa’a’s creative mind.

“The world is such an incredible place, and to see so blatantly the injustices faced by so many of our people is just completely unacceptable to me. I’ve always had a really strong inkling for recognising injustice. Since I was young, I was like, ‘What? Why should those people be hungry and we are not hungry? Obviously there’s enough food to go ‘round’. So that’s something that has been who I am from a very young age, and that was always going to come through into my art.”

“Music has been, and always will be, an incredible medium for inspiring people, for comforting people, for raising awareness about issues, for actually gathering people together in one place in a non-violent way to celebrate life,” she explains. “We all have it in our lives daily; it’s a big part of, I believe, human spirituality, it’s something that’s kind of… it’s food for our souls in a sense.”

It will still be a few more months until the as-yet-unnamed new Blue King Brown album surfaces, but Perth will get a taste of the release when the band ventures west for Global Beats & Eats. With a strong belief that music can be an effective vehicle for raising awareness and provoking change, Pa’apa’a also feels food plays a vital role in celebrating multiculturalism.

“Everyone loves music and, yes, everyone loves food,” she laughs. “We have that really rich diversity in different cultures that live here, that have moved here, and that share their food. I love food from all over the world as well, I think everyone does, and so it’s a great concept to have Global Beats & Eats, obviously Blue King Brown fit into that sort of theme.”

Presented by Act-Belong-Commit, Global Beat & Eats is all about promoting good mental health and ensuring mental illnesses aren’t swept under the rug.

“I love that it’s a free event in the park, it’s family friendly, it’s alcohol free and it’s a good vibe, and I think also that the crew presenting it, the Act-Belong-Commit crew for mental health, I love how their whole thing is about encompassing mental health into the picture and the perception of what health is, because in Western society we have far too long ignored the bigger picture of health as being more than just our physical bones and physical things – it encompasses the mental health, our spiritual health, our emotional health, and to me that’s something that I think humanity, and especially Western culture, needs to start really accepting and learning about.”

Blue King Brown will be playing the following dates:

Saturday 8 June – Perisher Snowy Mountains Festival, NSW

Daniel Cribb

Interview: Sons Of Rico

Published in:

 Drum Media (WA) | 04.04.13 | Issue # 332

Time Off (QLD) | 10.04.13 | Issue # 1622

Inpress (VIC) | 24.04.13 | Issue # 1271

Drum Media (NSW) | 30.04.13 | Issue # 1158

VIDEO FROM INTERVIEW

GOING THE DISTANCE 

With the release of their sophomore record, In Rico Glaciers, Sons Of Rico are tighter than ever. But as vocalist Alex MacRae reveals to Daniel Cribb, the album, which contains tales of cannibalism, transvestites and infidelity, is somewhat of a one-man band effort.

“Brisbane was always kind of a, I guess, at first a temporary thing, and I guess I could be moving back [to Perth] in six months, I could be moving to Melbourne, whatever, but being over in Brisbane has proven that Sons Of Rico can do that distance thing – the long distance relationship,” begins Sons Of Rico vocalist Alex MacRae on the band’s interstate dynamics.

With MacRae and drummer Adam Weston (of Birds Of Tokyo fame) residing in Brisbane, and the other three members of Sons Of Rico back in Perth, there’s a fair amount of travel involved when it comes time to prepare for tour. Having flown to Perth from Queensland the previous night, MacRae is still getting his bearings. “I got up at 6am this morning and was twiddling my thumbs,” he laughs, stirring sugar into his cappuccino. He’s quick to point out that the somewhat long interstate flights are aren’t bad, though. “It’s awesome that they’ve got those little screens on basically every plane now. So I watched that Hitchcock movie, with Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren, and then I was like, ‘Aw, I want to learn more about Hitchcock’,” he enthuses. “I was sitting on Wikipedia and decided to ‘acquire’ Psycho.”

MacRae’s curious nature often leads to unlikely song matter, which is a reoccurring theme on the band’s sophomore record, In Rico Glaciers. Track seven on the record, Just My Type, deals with cannibal Armin Meiwes, who, in 2001, found a victim willing to be killed and eaten. “It was huge news for a while. It was amazing because the law system didn’t know how to deal with it, they were like, ‘Well, this guy was willing to be killed and eaten. Is this assisted suicide, or what?’. But anyway, I kind of turned it into a love story, and sort of peppering connotations of cannibalism and violence,” he laughs.

A large portion of the absurd content on the record comes from isolation and late-night internet voyages investigating somewhat irrelevant subject matter as a way to stay sane. Without a car, and living at Weston’s house, 45 minutes out of town, MacRae had plenty of time to kill whilst writing the record in Brisbane.

“I was living with his wife and kid while he was in LA with [Birds Of Tokyo] recording…basically for like six months I just stayed in the house, which was good, because I really had to focus on what I was doing, and find ways to keep it interesting, so I feel like it’s crept into this album that we’ve done,” the affable frontman explains. With a singing voice that reaches glass-shattering intensity, he maintains a fairly calm and collected composer off stage.

It wasn’t a matter of sending mp3s back and forth across the country during the writing process as he handled most of it himself, with the expectation of keyboardist Brett Murray weighing in time from time. If you dismantle the band and analyze each member, you’ll find a huge chunk of the WA music scene. Busy on key duties with Birds Of Tokyo, guitarist Glenn Sarangapany “jumped ship” just before the recording and was replaced with The Witches frontman Chris Callan, bassist Rob Stephens plays with Russian Winters and Simon & Girlfunkle, keyboarist Brett Murray is a seasoned Perth player, and, as mentioned earlier, Weston drums for Birds Of Tokyo.

“I think everyone has to do their own thing, to some degree, to keep everyone occupied. You don’t want anyone to feel like they’re being left behind and there’s stagnation or anything; you don’t want to have a stagnant atmosphere around the band, so I encourage everyone to be doing there own thing and be creative all the time.”

With the others so firmly embedded with other projects at the time of the album’s recording, when it came time to get down to business at Applewood Lane Studios with producer Magoo (Regurgitator, Art vs Science, Midnight Oil), it was up to MacRae to pull most of it together. “Everything is blur now,” he laughs. “Adam laid down his drums in just over a week, Brett did a couple of bits on a couple of songs and then basically I did the rest…it was a bit of a one-man band thing for a lot of it, but we kind of felt like that was the smartest thing to do with the funds and the time that we had.”

The album’s first single, You Don’t Know What Your Missing, was early proof that the one-man band approach and MacRae’s vision yielded success with listeners. “A lot of crew are connecting it with the glam rock vibe, which is not really intentional, but listening back it’s like, ‘I guess it’s kind of glam. Cool! I’ll embrace that’. It’s kind of gratuitously big and there’s guitar solos. It’s fun.”

Like most other songs on the record, the single has an interesting conception. After a Sydney show in 2011 on the band’s Misadventure Tour, Weston and MacRae ventured into Kings Cross to find kebabs. “On the way this ‘lady’ stopped us and started asking all sorts of things…basically we were like, ‘Aw, no thanks. Unless you’ve got a kebab, we’re not interested’, and so we kept going on and as we were walking away she was like, ‘You don’t know what you’re missing!’, and I was like, ‘Ha, you know, I don’t know what I’m missing. I don’t know if I want to know what I’m missing, but there is something that I’m missing’.

“And just that line, it immediately reminded me of, as a kid,” he laughs, “this is a weird connection – for instance, going to the beach, my dad’s English and he thinks minus 3 degrees in the water is warm, so he’d jump in, and be like, ‘C’mon, come in kids!’, and we’re, ‘No, we’re gonna make sandcastle’, and he’s like, ‘You don’t know what you’re missing, it’s beautiful’, and it’s situations like that I have to kind of ask myself, you don’t know what you’re missing. So it’s kind of like a bit of a sort of mantra to myself and to people to entertain new experiences that come up at you.”

Despite the record being mainly run by MacRae, the band is tighter than ever. “We’ve become tighter, and we know each other better…in terms of writing, I still take on the lead there, so not much has changed in that regard, and plus being in Brisbane it’s hard to write together – although, it’s possible, it’s possible to do it, like putting things in Dropbox and going, ‘New idea up here – see what you think’. Like anything, there’s going to be changes, I think for us it’s a bit more subtle.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2013/04/04/sons-of-rico-alex-macrae-daniel-cribb//

Interview: Blink-182

Published in:

Drum Media (WA) | 21.02.13 | Issue # 326

Drum Media (NSW) | 12.02.13 | Issue # 1147

Inpress (VIC) | 13.02.13 | Issue # 1261

Time Off (QLD) | 20.02.13 | Issue # 1615

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THIS IS GROWING UP

From hosting a talk show to a plane crash – a lot has changed for Blink-182 since they made their last trip to Australia nearly a decade ago. While vocalist/guitarist Tom DeLonge is married with two children, runs numerous companies and is putting together the soundtrack for his second film, Daniel Cribb discovers he’s still making time to pen dick jokes for their appearance at Soundwave.

“I just got a picture of a vagina with eyeballs and a moustache on it yesterday from my friend,” Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge, 37, laughs down the line from his studio, Jupiter Sound, in California, assuring that he is still the same fart joke-fuelled pop punker he’s always been. It’s lunchtime and he’s taking a timeout from recording demos for a new album with his other band, Angels & Airwaves, that will coincide with the band’s second feature film due out in a couple of years. “This will be a very large project with hopefully many, many things that come along with it. I can’t really talk much about it, but this will probably be one of the more exciting things that I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of,” he explains.

If it’s anything like the band’s film debut, Love, sci-fi fans will be lining up out the door. It’s no secret that DeLonge has always had a fascination with the unexplained and extraterrestrial (see Blink-182’s Aliens Exist). After receiving some Gone Squatchin’ attire for Christmas from his managers, his interest is currently consumed by Big Foot. “I wanna find Big Foot like everyone else and if I can contribute, then I shall. He’s out there – he might even be here in the studio with me at this moment… my fascination with strange topics is what keeps me sanely insane,” he laughs. “It’s the one thing that pulls me out of worrying about music all day long, is when I start thinking about weird stuff like that. It’s a lot of fun.”

Such subject matter has drifted away from Blink-182’s music, but they’ve still kept their signature sound, as evident on their debut independent release, Dogs Eating Dogs, which sees them split with Universal Music after 15 years, cutting their ties with major labels for good.

“It’s amazing, we’re finally free. We’re able to do whatever we want to do. I mean, with a label, if you ever want to record something, you can’t, because they own it, so then you have to go to them and say, ‘Hey, we want to record something’, and they say, ‘Okay, we’ll get back to you and see if the funds are available to pay for it’. Then they get back to you and they say, ‘We don’t have the funds to do it’. It’s just a big joke, you know. You have to ask them to make music… I thinkDogs Eating Dogs is a much better example of what our band can do in these times, rather than when we were on a major label.”

With DeLonge first announcing their split with Interscope on Twitter with a picture of Mel Gibson in Braveheart in the midst of yelling “freedom”, one might assume the title Dogs Eating Dogs could, in some way, be a reference to the cut-throat world of major labels.

“It’s not. Mark [Hoppus, bass] came up with that – it was a lyric out of one of the songs. He sometimes gets in these interesting moments when he’s flying to and from Europe, back over here, where I think he kind of investigates and swims in the waters of the back of his mind. Sometimes he digs into some dark places – and I think most artists do that – and that’s really where that term came from. It showed its face in the song and it just seemed like a really great line, because everyone can interpret it in different ways.

“To me, it’s just very representative of humanity – the constant fight to get ahead and the constant fight to win summed up in three words. To everybody, that’s what’s great about art – it’s different and what I liked about it was it was ambiguous at best, so people can kind of think it means a few different things.”

Before the band went on an indefinite hiatus in ’05, the vocal split between DeLonge and Hoppus was almost 50/50, but both Dogs Eating Dogs and 2011’s Neighborhoods seem to be more DeLonge-heavy. “It’s not intentional,” Delonge says. “I mean, I’m more prolific now in my career than I’ve ever been. I’ve had a lot of experience over the past ten years, with all the Angels & Airwaves stuff and scoring movies, it comes naturally, or comes more naturally and quicker to me now than it ever has in my life, and you know, I’m a hard worker and I’ve got my studio and I like to be productive.”

It was a plane crash drummer Travis Barker was involved in 2008 that was the catalyst for the Blink-182 reunion, but the problem for Australian fans was it was also the thing stopping them coming Down Under. “I don’t blame him one bit; if I was him, I’d be doing the exact same thing. It’s a big hurdle to get over. I think like anybody else your logical steps are making decisions and challenging yourself and preparing emotionally for that kind of stuff, but I can’t even pretend to know how somebody does that, because it’s monumental… we haven’t been down there in a very long time, so I think we’re all looking forward to some really good stuff. It’s gonna be good – I’ve got like three or four dick jokes that I’ve been saving.”

The last time Blink-182 toured Australia was in 2004 to promote their self-titled album. Blink-182 saw Hoppus, Barker and DeLonge rent a house just outside of San Diego and spend months there writing. But with Hoppus spending half of his time at his second home in London and, until June 2012, hosting his own talk show, plus with Barker working on his solo material, amongst a slew of other commitments, it’s hard to get the band in one room for long enough to catch up, let alone write and record an album.

“My aim was specifically to write music together and not apart, because for Neighborhoods we weren’t together at all – we just weren’t even really talking. This one was, ‘Let’s write music together, and let’s try and show a more progressive form of the band’. What I wanted to do was make [us] challenge Blink’s legacy to be more modernised with larger landscapes and more delicate compositions.”

Admitting that Neighborhoods suffered due to the lack of communication, DeLonge believes it was an imperative step in getting the band back on track. “I wouldn’t change anything about that, very specifically because we were able to do it and it was an important conduit to get the band working again, and that’s really what its goal was. Its goal wasn’t to be the greatest Blink album, its goal wasn’t to be the greatest album – the goal was: can we make an album? And we did and now we can move on to make better stuff.”

***BREAKOUT***

BACK FROM THE BLINK

It was Tom Delonge that initiated Blink-182’s indefinite hiatus in 2005 – a decision that left fans worldwide, and even Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker, in shock. With two releases out since reforming in 2009, Delonge looks back on the band’s time apart.

“I feel good about it, you know. It was something that gave me an entirely different career experience. It made me into who I am, rather than just being the guy from Blink, and that’s important to me because I have a lot going on in my life – I have a technology company, I have a shoe company, I am making feature films, I have multiple albums out and I’m doing a lot of big stuff. I’m running fan clubs for Jack White and The White Stripes and Pearl Jam and Blink and a bunch of others that are launching. All that stuff came out of that hiatus and my challenging myself to be just me. That way when I come to Blink I can offer so much more because I’m not just one specific thing, I’m a complex dude,” Delonge laughs.

“So it was a really great thing for me and a really great thing for the band, for everyone to kind of rebuild themselves independently and come back and offer so much more. A lot of the time bands don’t have that ability, and then what happens is, they stay within the confine of their four walls for their whole career and they never branch out and become themselves personally, and when they do, they come back with much more of a solid foundation of what they know their limits are and what they are unlimited with and what they can bring to the table, and that’s when it gets really exciting, I think.”

But when he called the hiatus, it wasn’t specifically for those reasons; they were simply a byproduct of the hiatus. His initially motives were far more simplistic. “At the time, it was I needed to be with my family, and [Blink] weren’t communicating and I kind of lost control of our ship a little bit. When everyone needs time and support in different ways but no one’s communicating, things get defensive and offensive very quickly and that’s really what happened. Same old story – petty things built up and then everyone starts filtering the situation differently. Very normal, very human.”

Blink 182 will be playing the following dates:

Wednesday 20 February – Allphones Arena, Sydney NSW
Friday 22 February – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane QLD
Saturday 23 February – Soundwave, Brisbane QLD
Sunday 24 February – Soundwave, Sydney NSW
Tuesday 26 February – Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne VIC
Wednesday 27 February – Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne VIC
Friday 1 March – Soundwave, Melbourne VIC
Saturday 2 March – Soundwave, Adelaide SA
Monday 4 March – Soundwave, Perth WA

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/blink-182-tom-delonge/

Interview: All Time Low

Published in:

 Drum Media (WA) | 11.10.12 | Issue # 309

Drum Media (NSW) | 12.02.13 | Issue # 1147

Time Off (QLD) | 06.02.13 | Issue # 1613

HIGHS AND LOWS

Prepping for an end-of-the-world party, All Time Low frontman Alex Gaskarth gives Daniel Cribb the lowdown on an album nine years in the making.

Having put the final touches on their fifth studio album, Don’t Panic, All Time Low are squeezing in a few more games of football on friends’ front lawns and saying goodbye to pets as they pack their suitcases in preparation of the album’s touring cycle, which will see them on the road for months, travelling all around the world as well as appearing at Soundwave Festival next year. The shows kick off in the US with The Rock Show At The End Of The World tour. At face value, the title comes off as a simple reference to the world supposedly ending this year, but as frontman Alex “10 minutes late to everything” Gaskarth shares, it’s meaning runs far deeper. “It’s a few references wrapped into one. The [new] record is called Don’t Panic, so there’s a reference there to Douglas Adams and the book Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. In those books there’s another story called The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, so it’s kind of a reference to that,” Gaskarth reveals.

It might seem like an odd story to reference their most heartfelt record yet to, but you’d struggle to find a better theme to sum up the way All Time Low has evolved in the short time since 2011’s Dirty Work. “I was thinking about the book and I was sort of thinking about how the theme of the Hitchhiker’s Guide is ‘don’t panic’ and I find it ironic how fitting that sentiment was for where we were as a band and where we were with this record. What came together was this realisation of, ‘Shit, this makes so much sense to sum up the whole album’, because the entire cycle of us leaving our last major label, Interscope, and then making this record and resigning with Hopeless and stuff, there were a lot of times where we could have freaked out. It was sort of one of those things where we held it together, we made it through, so it’s kind of a testament to not panicking and keeping your cool.”

The band took a risk when they cut their contract with Interscope short, but it also left them in a position of power – they have a strong worldwide following, a knack for writing catchy tunes and the means to fund their own projects. “Through the cycle of [Dirty Work] we realised a major label just wasn’t the right fit for us, and so we were left in this place where we didn’t want to be on that label anymore. Fortunately, they let us go, and then we were in an even more unique place where we were completely unsigned. We had no one backing our music and no one advertising our band, other than us touring, so it was definitely like, ‘Shit, are we done? Should we keep doing this? Is that it?’ There were a few moments where we were like, ‘Maybe this is it for the band’, but we decided not to go that route, we decided to make a record and do it ourselves and show off the best side of All Time Low.”

On the band’s previous records they’ve jumped from studio to studio and had numerous producers and writers work with them. “I think a big part of [that] was the desire to learn,” Gaskarth explains. “A lot of what we wanted was to kind of take the best aspect of what other people could offer, you know? Go in with different producers, go in with different writers and see what made them great; see what made them tick as far as successful writers. I don’t claim to be a knowledgeable writer by any means – compared to some of the people out there  so it was important for me to put myself in a room with these people and really pick their brains and be like, ‘Well, what can I walk away from this experience with? What can I learn from you that will benefit the band later on in life?’ I think that was a big reason for it; we just felt like it was going to give us the tools to do this more professionally later on.”

This time around it was about proving that they could produce a killer record with just the four of them sitting in a room, throwing ideas around. Don’t Panic is solid proof that they’ve taken all those lessons on board and channelled the best parts of each previous album to create something that’s unique.

“Writing and spending time with [writer] Butch Walker, I learnt a lot of his sensibility and his writing style,” Gaskarth says of the man behind tracks from Avril Lavigne, The All-American Rejects and Fall Out Boy. “He sort of pulled me into my own as someone who can write pop-influenced rock music, but give it like an edgy twist and give it attitude and give it balls and have it still be cool. That’s something he’s always been good at so I learnt a lot from him. Writing with Rivers [Cuomo, of Weezer], I learned the same kind of thing. I even did a song with Tricky and Dr Dre, who are hip hop producers, and that taught me a lot about the way they approach writing music, which is more fluid and little more vibey. I sort of write with a lot of intent and they write very fluidy, like, ‘Here’s a bunch of ideas – what doesn’t suck?’, and they would pick and choose and put the best things together.

“I think what’s really important is taking what you learn, but then also applying it to yourself. Not completely emulating what those people do, but applying your favourite aspects to what is it that makes you unique as a writer, and I think that’s what we really tried to do on this album; take the best of all of it.”

All Time Low will be playing the following shows:

Saturday 23 February – Soundwave, Brisbane QLD
Sunday 24 February – Soundwave, Sydney NSW
Friday 1 March – Soundwave, Melbourne VIC
Saturday 2 March – Soundwave, Adelaide SA
Monday 4 March – Soundwave, Perth WA

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2012/10/11/all-time-low-alex-gaskarth/9452/

Interview: Evermore

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 06.09.12 | Issue # 304

Published in Time Off (QLD) | 19.09.12 | Issue # 1595

Published in Drum Media (NSW) | 18.09.12 | Issue # 1128

Published in Inpress (VIC) | 19.09.12 | Issue # 1243

A LITTLE MORE

It’s been a long wait between albums for Evermore fans, but the band’s fourth full-length is almost within reach. Vocalist/guitarist Jon Hume chats to Daniel Cribb about his underwear and the joys of finally being an independent band.

Since the release of Evermore’s third full-length in ’09, Truth Of The World: Welcome To The Show, the three Hume brothers that construct Evermore – Jon, Dann and Peter – have collectively celebrated 11 birthdays. A lot has changed during that time and while the brothers have been quite busy with other commitments unrelated to Evermore, the time apart has allowed each member to refine their individual sound and bring something new to the table. When Evermore frontman Jon Hume answers his phone, he’s headed out to celebrate Dann’s 25th birthday. While pre-party anticipation creeps into his voice, a bigger celebration is just around the corner. Follow The Sun, the fourth offering from the Hume brothers, is finally ready for release and the boys are gearing up to hit the road.

Since the Truth Of The World… touring cycle died down, they’ve somewhat disappeared into the background. With the brothers engulfed in other projects, Evermore could have quite easily stayed dormant for years, or even disbanded, but other forces were at work, ensuring no such thing eventuated. “We could have easily gone, ‘Oh, we’ve done this thing, we’ve had this band ten years and let’s just go do something else now’, but it really didn’t feel like we’ve said all that we needed to say. And musically there’s such good chemistry between the three of us that it’s not something that we could walk away from. There’s just so much good music, we can’t just walk off and do something else,” Hume explains.

“If we all made [separate] music it would just be different and it’s hard to put your finger on exactly why, but I guess just being brothers and making music together since we were kids, there’s a certain chemistry in the whole writing process that I don’t fully understand, but it works and we really enjoy it and it just felt really good, after a little bit of time working on other stuff, to get back to Evermore and make a record.”

Part of the reason they went underground for so long was because they were building their own studio in the countryside of Victoria. With their own studio in place they were able to break free from the constraints of a major labels and be completely independent – something Hume emphasises was a goal from the beginning. “We could sit down and make whatever record we wanted to make, whereas our previous three were all on Warner Music. I guess there was always a bit of pressure to work with other producers, which was a good experience, but because Dann and I are producers, there was already plenty of ideas in the mix. We didn’t really need someone else to find our direction,” he says. “I think now, more than ever, you’re kind of in control of your own destiny as a musician and I think it felt right to us to actually put our own album out there.”

Although they’ve been out of the mainstream spotlight, fans still had opportunities to connect with the band and keep up to date with the progress of the album and individual songs as the band released demos and live recordings as they went along. “[Warner] actually did stop us from doing that previously, which seems silly to me. I don’t know what their policy on that is now, but back when we were making our previous albums, they had some sort of policy where they didn’t want anything to go out until it went through them.”

And now they return with their a new single, which didn’t need to go through any big label ears first. “Our new single, Follow The Sun, we recorded a live demo of it for YouTube probably nine months ago; the chorus has got completely different lyrics and the song is called All The Way. Our songs always go on journeys, so I think it’s interesting for our friends who hear a song from the start and hear it go through three different phases of different ideas making their way into the song, and so this time around we gave our fans a listen earlier on to the album. I think people dig it, being a part of the process and understanding how much time we put into the different aspects of the songs.

“Songs like It’s Too Late, once they’ve been out for years and we’ve played them so many different times, we sometimes forget exactly how the recording goes because of the slow evolution of the way we play it live. Sometimes I find myself going ‘Oh, whoops, I’ve actually changed a lyric’,” he laughs. “That’s just part of the creative process, really.”

With the freedom to release their music whenever, wherever and however they wish, they’ve put together an EP of album b-sides that will be sold exclusively on tour. While it sounds like a unique idea for tour/album merch, that’s just the tip of the Evermore merch iceberg. “The album’s called Follow The Sun, so we were like, ‘What’s something that would be cool to haveFollow The Sun written on?’ and sunglasses was the first thing we thought of. I kind of think we just felt like there’s only so many times that people want a band t-shirt, so we’re not doing any t-shirts, we’re just doing any creative thing we can think of,” he explains.

Their 2004 debut album Dreams saw Evermore pillowcases sold at shows and around the time of 2006’s Real Life Evermore underwear surfaced – not exactly sure what the connection is there, but they were popular all the same. “We’ve actually still got a massive box of Evermore underwear in my garage,” he laughs. “They were really popular, but somehow a box got left behind at some point and it’s still sitting there. They were very popular, but it always felt slightly weird, to be honest, when people are asking you to sign their Evermore underwear and I’m just like, ‘This is just strange’, so I think we’ll probably give the Evermore underwear a miss from now on… Occasionally someone still brings [a pillowcase] to a show to get it signed and I’m like, ‘Argh, I wish I had one of these myself’.” A box full of unsold underwear will have to suffice as a consolation prize. “I kind of wish we made boxer shorts, but we didn’t,” he shares. The conversation then directs itself to the topic of disposable underwear, and it’s clear that things need to wrap up quickly. “That’d be handy on tour, actually!”

Daniel Cribb