Alessandra from Blitz Radio sat down with All Time Low frontman, Alex Gaskarth, to talk about their new album, Last Young Renegade, upcoming Australian tour and musical influences.
To kick things off, you have just announced your seventh studio album, Last Young Renegade, out June 2nd, via Fueled by Ramen. How did this album come to life and what are you most excited about it?
The album came to life over the course of the last year and a half. It started with just a general, “let’s make a record”, and then it became a lot more fully formed as we went along. We came up with this concept of the last young renegade and telling the story of the fall and rise, of this character. Once we came up with that concept it ended up taking on a whole new life. We wanted the record to have these connecting threads that link songs to one another and had all these little connective tissues, so that’s what we ended up chasing. We pushed ourselves sound wise, in a lot of ways, and tried a lot of new things that took us to places that I don’t think we’ve ever been before, which was really exciting. We’ve been a band for a long time, [so] at this point we want to try our hardest to create something new, encourage the fans and show them something different.
Having heard the current singles that are out now (Dirty Laundry, Last Young Renegade, and Life of the Party), I feel like this album has a darker, maturer sound. What kind of music and events inspired you to experiment with these different sounds?
Yeah, I think it was the product of a few different things, you know, we were writing darker songs in general. I think some of the things we wanted to explore on the record were a little bit darker, so naturally, some of the music ended up being a little darker. Outside of that, there was all kind of influences. I even cite Stranger Things as being an influence on the record, because we were watching [it] at the time and it has such an aesthetic and signature sound. There were even times when we started trying to capture that ambiance and that vibe on some of the new music. A lot of it came from this 80’s aesthetic that I was really focusing on – I think because some of my favourite artists passed away. I was going back and listening to Prince and Bowie, [which] got me down this rabbit hole of listening to The Cure and Depeche Mode…just some bands that people may not have expected us to take influence from. We took a lot of our old tricks and added these new elements to it – and I think it came out really cool.
You guys have been making music since you were teenagers, and now you’re all adults. It’s also something really special that your fans have had the chance to grow up with you. How has your writing process changed since you started and how has this relationship with your fans affected you all as a band?
I think our writing process hasn’t changed too much, other than the fact that we’ve learned a lot and are better, rounded musicians at this point. We always strive not to get too comfortable in what we’re doing and to always keep pushing. That’s been something that is really important to us, so that we don’t become stale or boring, not only for us, but for the listeners as well. As far as the actual process, it starts the same – with a rough idea that I’ll bring to the guys, we’ll throw that around and then we’ll write it out from there. Especially if it’s in the context of a record, we’ll take all the songs and see if they have this interconnected theme, and then build on that. I think that’s a big part of our creative process now – building with a bigger picture and scope in mind.[To answer] the second part of the question – it’s been amazing. We have really incredible fans. We’re very lucky that our fans have always, for the most part, been along for the ride. We’ve taken these twist and turns in our career and in our music, we try new things and it seems to me that our fans are really down for what’s next. I know some of the music that we put out, it’s new, it’s polarising, and it’s taken us to new places. Some people were thrown by that at first, but it’s amazing to see those same people come around and be like, “oh wow, I get what you’re doing”, which is amazing. It’s been a really incredible journey so far, and we’re only three songs in.
You’ve just released the track, Life of the Party. What does this song mean to you?
It’s one of my favourite songs on the album. It explores some of the darker themes on the record; struggle, self-doubt, and losing yourself to the more bleak and hollow things in life. I think that’s something that everybody goes through at times, with all different things. As far the musical dynamic, it was really about creating something that felt really anthemic and modern, but also had this [reference] back to these vintage and analogue synths that we were tying into the themes of this record to paint the big picture. It became this anthem for the album that has acted as a cornerstone – I love it. It’s a very different song for us.
Let’s talk about your Australian tour, which kicks off next week in Brisbane. You’ve played in Australia a few times now, but what are you looking forward to this time around?
This time, I’m just really excited to come back. It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten over for a headline – the last few times we’ve been over there, it’s been part of a festival or something like that. I think we’re all looking forward to just getting back over there and headlining; playing shows that are ours. We’re bringing great friends [like] Neck Deep and The Maine, so I know that’s going to be an amazing time. It’s also, I think, the biggest headlining shows we’ve ever done, so that’s an amazing accomplishment for us as a band.
You can catch All Time Low on their Australian tour in Sydney on 13th May at the Horden Pavillion. Tickets available here.
Last Young Renegade comes out June 2nd.