Pop-punk band All Time Low has been around for a decade, and although a lot can change in 10 years the foursome – made up of lead singer Alex Gaskarth, bassist Zachary Merrick, rhythm guitarist Jack Barakat and drummer Rian Dawson – remain as easygoing and loyal to their music and fans as they were when the band started in 2003. Although the pressure to rise to fame in the music industry can often influence artists to change their originality to please a larger audience with generic mainstream sounds, that pressure has failed to affect All Time Low. Knowing exactly the band they want to be, creating music that they genuinely love and succeeding to attract and please their fans instead of pushing them away, the guys in All Time Low have stayed true to themselves – keeping them at an all-time high in the pop-punk scene.
The new album, Don’t Panic is a mix of sounds and styles that are inspired from a few of their earlier albums, creating a record that is purely All Time Low. Youthink had the opportunity to talk with Barakat (pictured second from right) about Don’t Panic, how they manage to stay true to their sound and the band’s goals for the next few years.
YT: Don’t Panic was the band’s third top 10 debut in a row. How important is that consistency for the band’s success?
JB: It’s kind of a big deal to achieve something like that; it’s so hard to sell records these days. We don’t ever really judge our band on record sales, we’ve never gotten gold – we’ve never sold that many albums. We kind of judge our band on how the shows go as far as touring. It’s cool, it’s definitely cool, but we won’t get too bummed if we slip off the charts really quickly.
YT: You said, “Don’t Panic is a mix of So Wrong, It’s Right, Nothing Personal and Dirty Work.” What elements from your past albums did you incorporate into Don’t Panic?
JB: There’s definitely good elements of everything. I think it’s the kind of album where each song is unique in the sense that you can be like, “Hey, this song could have been on So Wrong, It’s Right!” Like how, “Somewhere in Neverland” could have been on So Wrong, It’s Right, whereas something like “Live and Let Go” could have been on Dirty Work. I think every song you could put onto one of our old records. We just really wanted to come up with a compilation of all our albums, to kind of make everyone happy in a way.
YT: What inspired the song “Somewhere in Neverland”?
JB: We’re the kind of band that likes to have a good time and we’re all pretty goofy. We do get serious at times but we’re definitely a lighthearted band and I think it’s just – it’s kind of about all of us growing up together and starting off in the basement, having our lives change drastically and kind of doing it all together. A lot of people can relate when they’re growing up and going to college and everything.
YT: You’ve stayed true to the pop-punk sound. What do you guys like about the genre?
JB: I just think it’s us. The cool thing about pop-punk is that it’s what we love, it’s what we listen to and it’s easy to write music that you love and your fans love.
YT: Do you have any advice for teen bands?
JB: Yeah! I mean, really give it all right now. I mean we definitely gave it all we had when we were young and it kind of helped us in the end. And if you want to do it, make sure you practise every day and you try and play as many shows as possible. I mean it has definitely worked out for us.
YT: What are some of the goals the band would like to reach in the next few years?
JB: The next few years? I think we’re just going to keep on doing what we’re doing to a ridiculous amount. This sets us apart from the other bands, we tour literally all year. We’ll probably end up releasing a DVD before another CD just because we’ve had two CDs out since our last oneand it’s a good plan to do it.