Interview With Taking Back Sunday: Now Tell Them Louder

Taking Back SundayIf anything, life in the Taking Back Sunday camp is never dull. After releasing Tell All Your Friends in 2002 and cultivating a rather rabid fanbase, this Long Island crew lost a few key members. TBS emerged from that crisis relatively unscathed and certainly unphased, replacing their prodigal sons, and releasing Where You Want To Be, which eventually sold over 500,000 copies. They became the biggest band in Victory Records’ history. And then they jumped ship, inking a deal with major label, Warner Bros. Records. For Louder Now, TBS have turned up the volume and polished their emotional rock. Relax, I’m not calling it emo or “eem” because that would be a disservice to the complexities of Louder Now, which is indeed a bit louder and rowdier than its predecessors. TBS, featuring lead vocalist Adam Lazarra, guitarist/vocalist Fred Mascherino, guitarist Eddie Reyes, bassist Matt Rubano and drummer Mark O’Connell, are in a happy place. But like I said, it’s not like major band trauma and drama sets them back or anything.

Mascherino, who joined the band after Tell All Your Friends and was once in Breaking Pangaea, phoned me from his New Jersey—yes, he’s from Jersey—crib to chat about Louder Now.

You live in Jersey?

Well, I’ve only been here a year and a half. I am from West Chester, Pennsylvania, originally. That’s my old stomping grounds. I moved up here to be close to the band and I chose New Jersey over Long Island.

Good choice, my friend. You left Victory for the seemingly greener pastures of the major label machine. People were ready to write you off when you lost members, but Taking Back Sunday came back bigger and better. Like a snake that regenerates its tail after your cut it off. Now that all said is said and done, what has been the best thing about moving to a major?

It’s been great. The biggest change that we’ve seen so far is that we have freedom to record. When recording the record, we were able to spend as much time as we wanted on it. The first record was recorded for $10,000 in two weeks. The next record, we paid for it ourselves and we got paid back, but it was rushed. This time? We were told, ‘Go in, take your time and it’s done when you’re done with it.’ We were able to demo everything, twice, before we went and recorded. We demoed in our home studio and went into the studio to demo again. Everything was set, written and done: every drum fill and every note. When we recorded the actual record, we knew how it was going to come out. It was a thorough way to do it. We couldn’t have taken our time like that on any other label in the world.

You were the first band to go Gold (sell 500,000 copies) on Victory, a respectable label with a long history. That’s quite an achievement!

That was our proudest moment, really. It was a sense of accomplishment. It was a great day when that happened to us. There was a lot of challenging things going on for us at that time, because of the label change and we were not sure what was going to happen. And then we got our Gold plaques, so that was great. We were also able to give them to people who worked on our record and who have been with us for a long time.