Monday, November 14, 2011

Pop-Punk All Time Low Touchdown in Manila



WHEN:     September 22, 2011
WHERE:   EDSA Shangri-La Hotel

Alternative Press hailed this band on the cover of their "Most Anticipated Music of 2011" issue. And indeed it was worth anticipating as former indie band All Time Low releases their fourth album and first major label record Dirty Work. It conquered even the Philippines charting at leading record bars with throngs of fans flocking to get a copy of the album on its first day of release. So with the amazing response All Time Low got here, it was a no-brainer that they just had to come to the country for a concert held last September 22 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to the delight of the fans.

For Dirty Work, All Time Low – featuring Gaskarth, Dawson, lead guitarist Jack Barakat, bassist Zack Merrick – teamed up with some of rock's most in-demand producers and studio aces, including Mike Green (Paramore, Boys Like Girls) and Butch Walker (Pink, Dashboard Confessional). The result is their most confident collection of songs yet, including the blistering Time-Bomb and Guts, which features a guest spot from Maja Ivarsson of the Swedish indie-rock group the Sounds.

The carrier single I Feel Like Dancing was co-written by Rivers Cuomo of Weezer at his Southern California home together with Gaskarth. 
In a lot of ways, this is the perfect summer record," says drummer Rian Dawson of the band's fourth album. "The songs are really loud and will get you to roll the windows down. It's just a fun record all around.”

Despite the good-times vibe of Dirty Work, All Time Low spent a grueling two years making the album – in between brief breaks from their non-stop touring schedule (which has included top slots at Warped Tour in 2007, Bamboozle in 2010, and festival billings with their heroes Blink-182). The majority of the sessions were completed with Green in Los Angeles, but the freewheeling schedule only boosted the band's songwriting spirits. 

The diversity of All Time Low’s influences is inherent on this album. Just the Way I'm Not is the band's homage to Def Leppard classic stadium rockers – they even sampled the British group's drum sound on the track – while cuts like Do You Want Me (Dead) find Gaskarth channeling icons like the Clash at their catchiest. "They played a vital role in a few songs on the album," he says. "I really admired how they broke all the rules – they helped me realize that you can change up your sound and you don't have to be afraid of holding yourself back." 
Gaskarth's most surprising lyrical influence, however, came from Ella Fitzgerald's It's Only a Paper Moon on the track Under A Paper Moon – a testament to All Time Low's broad musical tastes and proof of how far Gaskarth has grown as a lyricist. "It's one of my favorite songs," he says. "We get lumped into this category of bands that grew up on Blink-182, but this song really puts us beyond that category of pop-punk."
All Time Low have come a long way since forming in Baltimore as teenagers playing Blink covers in high-school. Before they'd even graduated, they released two raucous mission statements -- the 2004 EP The Three Words to Remember in Dealing With the End and the 2005 full-length The Party Scene – and went on to sign with indie stalwart Hopeless Records in 2006. But it was their 2007 release So Wrong, It's Right that cracked everything wide open. All Time Low's third record, 2009's Nothing Personal, fared even better, debuting at Number Four on the Billboard chart and earning them positive reviews from outlets as far-reaching as Alternative Press and The Washington Post. 

Despite their success, All Time Low have kept their egos in check – even their road crew include pals who've toured with the band from their early days playing tiny Maryland clubs like the Recher Theater. And this was further witnesses as the Philippine media met them before they went onstage to rock the crowd.

Manila surely was at an all time high with this band called All Time Low!

Members:  Alex Gaskarth (vocalist and rhythm guitarist), JackBarakat (lead guitarist and backing vocalist), 
Rian Dawson (drummer) and Zack Merrick (bassist and backing vocalist)


We know you've answered this question before, but can you explain for us again why you decided to call the album Dirty Work?
Gaskarth: The title of the album summarizes the theme of the songs, most of which centralize around escapism; running from my problems, burning bridges because of those problems; and the realization that its hard work to rebuild after those problems have torn people apart. There was a time when the work I was doing felt wrong, and that my life choices had paved the way for something worse to come. The record deals with overcoming that idea.

Do you feel any kind of pressure on this album following the success of Nothing Personal? In addition, this is your first release on Interscope Records. How have things changed for you now that you're on a major label?
Gaskarth: Sure. There's always pressure to live up to the success of the previous release, but you can't spend all your time stressing about it. The main goal in the record making process is to focus on what you want next and strive for it. That's all that matters.

Not much has changed as far as the dynamic of the band or how we function. With Interscope as our new family, we have an opportunity to grow beyond the capabilities of an independent label. That's not to say that Hopeless "wasn't good enough," because Hopeless was a phenomenal label to be tied into, and they did so much for us. Partnering with Interscope simply introduced us to a larger team, with global reach and resources, essentially opening new doors for what we can achieve as a band.

Does the band’s increasing popularity have any impact on how you see yourselves and your fans?
Gaskarth: We’ve been fortunate enough to have some amazing opportunities as the band has grown but it feels very much the same. We still have this amazing connection to our fans that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

My Top 5 All Time Low Fave Songs

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