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.
Gaskarth chatted with AP from his home in Maryland about the single and recording an album without A&R suits breathing down their necks.
INTERVIEW: Bryne Yancey
Let’s talk about “The Reckless & The Brave.” How did it come together?
ALEX GASKARTH: 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. alt