Midtown: Interview With Gabe Saporta

You guys don’t really have to deal with the whole, ‘Boo opening band, get off the stage’ thing, do you?

No, definitely not on this tour because Fall Out Boy and us mesh well together, but we’ve definitely experienced that before, and it blows. We opened the Rock Against Bush tour, which was a very punk rock tour, like a very street punk tour, and that was difficult for us.

It definitely could have been worse, I think another band from the emo scene might have had harder time, but it definitely wasn’t our fans going to those shows, it definitely wasn’t the scene that we’re talking about at Bamboozle at those shows. It was insane. Which is surprising too, because when we grew up in the scene, there weren’t that many bands, so all different kinds of bands would play shows together and it would be like acoustic stuff, or like hardcore shows.

I remember one of our first tours, we went on tour with Dashboard when Dashboard was first starting, and we’d play like hardcore fests together, and everyone was just more open-minded. Now there’s so many bands and so many kids in the scene that it’s a little more divided.

When you’re going to play shows, does that kind of scene division get to you at all?

Definitely with the Rock Against Bush tour. It was just a little disheartening too, because it was like, all the bands on there, we were on there for a good cause, to raise awareness about the election, and I think that in a situation like that, people should put their petty scene politics aside and look at bigger politics, politics that actually matter, and it’s hard for people to do that.

What’s the concept behind Forget What You Know?

I think when I was writing that record, I was just going through a tough time, where everything that I thought I knew was proven to be false and the world just started redefining itself. I just kind of had to make sense of it, so I had to try to forget about everything else and start over.

There’s kind of a somber overtone there.

Yeah. A lot of people have said to me that the album is dark overall, and it is. It’s about the realization that the reality that I knew was fake, and that’s kind of a hard realization, but the positive thing about it is a new reality springs up, and you’re always going to be okay, there’s always going to be something that gets you through in your new reality. There’s more truth to it, at least for me. I found a new reality that has truth to it, but I guess that’s not really represented on the new record.

That’ll be the next album.

Yeah, the next record will be all about the love that I’ve found in the world. (laughs)

Were you nervous going into the recording without direct label support?

No, because as far as anyone cared, we were dead. No one gave a shit about us at that point. We were in a legal battle to get off our old label for like a year, and when we finally got out of it, we hadn’t done anything in so long, no one had heard about us, and there were all these new bands, no one gave a shit about us. There’s nothing to be nervous about.

We went and recorded a record for ourselves without a deal and were just like, ‘Okay, we’re going to make an awesome record for ourselves and prove something to ourselves,’ and that’s all we cared about.

And how’d you end up working with Butch Walker?

We had played a show with him, six months prior to that, and his manager met us at that show too. And when we got out of our deal, we parted ways with our old label, our old manager was out on the west coast and we kind of wanted to work with people here, closer to us, so they just got in touch with us, and his manager was wanting to manage us first.

I had seen Butch after that, and he was like, ‘Oh, I’ve heard your demos, I think they’re great. I’d love to do your record,’ and I was just like, ‘Whatever,’ because at that point I was so skeptical of anyone saying anything to me because we had just been fucked over trying to get out of our deal and whatever, so when we started working with Johnson who is Butch’s manager too, he could tell that I was very wary of any conflict of interest, and he never suggested working with Butch.

We didn’t know Butch very well, I personally wasn’t a fan of any of the work he did, it was all very slick and we wanted to do something a little more rock and roll, and we just took a chance because we had met him and he seemed like a really nice guy.

Butch was an awesome producer and he just had a very cool vibe in the studio and totally got where we were going philosophically with the record.

So what’s the next chance?

I think the next thing for us is to write some more. We’re going to do the headlining tour, then we’re going to write and start working on the next record. This record was definitely more of a record for us, it definitely wasn’t a record for anyone else.

I actually have no idea where the new record is going to go, we’ll see when we start writing, it’s hard to really say. But we definitely like where we’re at now, just to feel a little more rock and roll, and a little more dangerous and we’ll only get better.

Midtown’s Forget What You Know is in stores now. You can catch them Saturday, April 30 at the Bamboozle in Asbury Park, NJ.