An Interview with All Time Low: Challenge Accepted

Heading into their 10-year anniversary, All Time Low has plenty to be excited about: a new album, huge tour, and wedding bells. Wait—wedding bells? You’ve got it. These rockers aren’t the youngsters we fell in love with 10 years ago. Does anyone else feel old yet? But, if it helps, All Time Low doesn’t seem to be slowing down whatsoever. After all, their newest album, Future Hearts, has sent them running head-first into yet another lengthy tour.

Of course, they’re usually out and about playing somewhere in the world. They’re now known for playing a handful of performances one week, chill the next, and then set out again for another round. According to All Time Low’s lead singer, Alex Gaskarth, he prefers it that way, which is understandable—who really wants to be cooped up in a tour bus for months on end?

As they prepare for yet another bunch of performances in our neck of the woods, Alex had some time to talk about the group, their newest album, and what we should expect from this pop punk band later this year and spilling into 2016. Oh—and provided a little inside scoop about the process of filming their newest music video for “Something’s Gotta Give.”

When on tour, what’s the hour before going on like?

            You know, we don’t really do anything that crazy. Like, we don’t have any cool rituals. So, I guess the biggest thing we do is warm up. We’ll start warming up my voice and stuff, but aside from that, we’ll listen to music, get loose, but nothing too wild. We wanna put on an energetic show, so it would be unfortunate to burn out before we play.

You’re on tour now, traveling through Canada; will you guys keep the current setlist, or are you planning to switch things up?

            Yeah! When we get into the Back To The Future tour, I think it’s gonna be a new set. I don’t wanna give anything away, but, we put a lot of emphasis on playing stuff off the new record and this record has had the best reaction that any of our records have ever had. So, we really want to put a lot of emphasis on those songs. But it’s really, really fun and we have a lot of tricks up our sleeves.

Hey, that’s good! Why do you think this record is getting so much more attention?

            I don’t know! (Laughs) I think the big part is that we’ve gained some new fans, which is a lot of it, but I also think that this band has finally figured out what it’s supposed to be. And so, I think that’s really played a factor in our music. We were trying to figure out the point of All Time Low, and I think that the quality of the music has gotten a little better. It’s pretty cool for us. It’s been a growing experience for us and this band. We started as kids and with practice, good things happen.

You have so many records and so much material to choose from, how on earth do you guys pick songs to play?

            It’s pretty f***ing hard! (Laughs) We have a lot of songs and we’re in this place now where we have plenty of songs from our past that have been kind of career-defining for us, I guess. So, we obviously try to play those. But I think it’s cool that our fanbase has grown with us and we can play new songs and people are familiar with them. It’s not like those situations where people just wanna hear the first record or whatever, so it’s nice to be able to plan a tour—like the Back To The Future tour where we’re focusing on new material and have the response be really positive. So it’s really cool for us to be able to grow as a band and have others support that. But we can’t really play all of our songs, which is a bummer, because it’d be a three-hour show.

As the band grew, did you guys notice your audiences grow with you?

            Yeah! It’s kinda interesting but strange for us because we have those younger, newer fans and then we have those fans who’ve been coming to the shows for years. It kind of depends on the city. Some places, there’ll be a younger audience, and then others, I’ll look into the crowd and they’ll be a little bit older, but I like to see the wide range.

It must be nice. Do you have any memorable shows, or venues?

            Aw, man. We’ve played so many shows at this point! But actually, more recently, we just played a show in Reading in the UK and that was the best feeling we’ve had at those festivals. That was a pretty amazing experience. We played later in the day, and there were a lot of people there. But yeah, it was pretty special.

Wait. You were just in the UK. Now you’re in Canada, heading for the U.S., and then you’re going back to the UK?

            Uh, yeah! Yeah, later this year. Or, in February, actually. But, the funny thing about the UK is that it’s not a giant country. So, it’s not like doing the U.S. tours where we would do, like, 30, so it’s a very short tour.

But you guys tour year-round; don’t you get tired?

            (Laughs) Uhm… It can be [tiring], but we usually take pretty good care of ourselves and we’ve been doing this for a while now. So, not only are we used to it, but we know how to handle it. But we get rest when we can, and we go hard just when we need to, so that’s just sort of the way it is. But we love doing it. We love playing shows, so that keeps us fueled. It’s hard to burn out when you love what you do.

Yeah, I’ve noticed that no one’s left the band, so you must all love it.

            Yeah, it’s pretty wild. I mean, I love the guys in this band and we’re family. But I think the big thing is, that we’re all pretty close and we’re all doing this for the same reason. We’re all really passionate about our music and we love interacting with our fans… It’s pretty crazy to think about because a lot of bands come and go and a lot of others have member changes and stuff and it’s hard to keep a band together, so I’m very grateful that we’ve managed to keep it going all this time.

It’s a gift. Now, on this upcoming tour, you guys are playing with Sleeping With Sirens and a couple of other bands. Have you guys toured together before?

            Uhm, I think we played Warped Tour with them? Maybe? I don’t think we’ve played much with them. We’ve definitely been on shows together, or something like that, but no—we’ve never done a tour together, so this is a first. And I’m excited. It’s exciting! It’ll be nice to hang with those guys and they’re pretty interesting dudes.

It sounds like it’d be a great time! I was watching your music videos and was wondering—what’s the filming process like?

            We just kind of have fun with it. Music videos—we’ve never taken them too seriously. I think we just have a couple, but we just really use them to show off our personality and the songs are what they are. You hear the song first, and you’ll know what it’s about. But music videos are just something for entertainment. That’s the biggest thing.

Yeah! I love “Something’s Gotta Give”—especially the zombie part.

            (Laughs) Yeah, it’s got a funny twist to it. It was definitely something that caught our attention. Out of all of the ideas we were reading, that one really got our attention. It was fun, but after being in that costume for two days… I don’t know. But it was really worth it.

I saw somewhere that you prefer touring over recording; is that true?

            Uhm… I wouldn’t say that I “prefer” it… It’s hard to say because they’re two very different things. I love being on the road, but we have to record music so we can go on tour. There are some bands who live to be in the studio, and that’s where their focus is. But we write music and make records so that we can get out and tour. I think that’s what I mean when I say that; I don’t dislike being in the studio, because the creative process is incredible. I love making records. But, ultimately, like I said, we make records so that we can tour.

They go hand-in-hand. But, what’s a typical day on the road like?

            It depends. You know, some days we have band obligations where we go out and we do interviews like this, or something else. But other times, we have nothing really going on during the day, and it’s just like hurrying up and then waiting for the show, so on days like that, we try to find things to do because it’s really easy to fall into that habit of just sitting around and not doing anything. That feels like a waste, especially when you’re in different cities every day. But, even if it’s just as simple as going out and finding a local coffee spot, or finding a really rad burrito place, it’s just fun to get a feel for the city.

Yeah! If you’re there, may as well experience it all. Have you ever tried writing on the road?

            I seem to have a hard time doing it; I’ve been talking about lately wanting to put more of a focus on writing with some of that downtime that we have, but in the past, it’s been kind of tough. There are a lot of distractions, there’s a lot going on, so sometimes it’s hard to find a nice, quiet spot to get creative. But I’m gonna make more of an effort, so we’ll see how it goes.

Good luck! Now, once this tour is over, what do you have going on?

            At some point, we’ll be getting into new music. Future Hearts is still pretty fresh to us, so we’ll wanna play those songs some more, but yeah, there’s always new music on the horizon; we always have new ideas. So, we’ll have more music and with that, we’ll have more tricks up our sleeves. So yeah, there’ll be more touring, more writing, uh… I’m getting married, so that’s when I get rid of my life (laughs). But that’ll be happening next year. So lots of exciting stuff!


Don’t miss All Time Low as they make their rounds on Nov. 21 at Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Nov. 22 at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, and Nov. 24 at the Theater At Madison Square Garden in NYC. The band’s newest album, Future Hearts, is available now through Hopeless Records. For more information, go to