Interview: All Time Low's Alex Gaskarth Talks Touring, Spying On Fans, And His Current Netflix Obsession
19 July 2018, 15:17
We caught up with Alex Gaskarth to talk touring, surprising fans with birthday cakes, and, of course, what he's bingeing on Netflix these days.
After nearly 15 years in the business and 7 studio albums under their belts, All Time Low are fully fledged veterans in their genre.
A year after dropping their latest album, Last Young Renegade, All Time Low are preparing to hit the road with Dashboard Confessional for the Summer Ever After tour. Dashboard Confessional and All Time Low have been fan favourites of the Fueled By Ramen crowd for years (though Dashboard did take a 4 year hiatus and ATL only signed with the label in 2017). You may even remember a certain iconic FBR group photo that took the fandom by storm.
Just a few weeks after playing what will more than likely be the last ever true Warped Tour, All Time Low are preparing to hit 28 cities on a co-headlining ticket that will kick off in Minnesota and end in the Bay Area. ATL fans are a blessed bunch. Along with the huge tour news, All Time Low dropped music this past June, officially ushering in summer with two bright and sunny singles, "Birthday" and "Everything Is Fine".
We caught up with ATL frontman Alex Gaskarth to talk touring, surprising fans with birthday cakes, and, of course, what he's bingeing on Netflix these days (we just couldn't resist).
PopBuzz: How are you today?
Alex Gaskarth: I’m doing really well, thank you. Just playing catch up. I feel like I have 100 emails.
PB: I know that feeling. Are you in LA at the moment?
AG: Yeah. Yeah, we're in California and it's very hot.
PB:I wanted to start by asking about the tour with Dashboard Confessional. How did that come about? I know you guys are on the same label but was it a conversation where you guys had been wanting to link up for a while?
AG: Yeah, I think it was something that we’d sort of tossed around in the past. Obviously, Dashboard wasn’t active for a while. I knew they were working on a record when we were working on ours because our producer Colin was also producing their album at the same time. Basically, as soon as I knew that they were set to make a return, we were kind of interested in the idea.
We thought it was kind of an amazing way to collide two fan bases in two worlds that really hadn't been brought together before. We'd never really played any shows with Dashboard and it was just kind of an exciting way to kind of bring together the old school and the new school of this fandom [...] Obviously Dashboard has been doing it since before All Time Low was even a band. So, I think it'll be a really cool mix of early 2000s maybe like emo nostalgia [...] It’s exciting and it's going to be a really good time.
PB: What's your personal pre-tour ritual? Do you have to clean your house spotless? Do you take a spa day? How do you get yourself in the mood to go on tour?
AG: Um, I don't really have a ritual for going on tour mostly just mostly just making sure I don't forget anything. I tell you what I always forget is my headphones and then I get out three days into tour and I can't listen to music in my bunk when I go to bed. I hate it. So remembering my headphone is super important.
Pre-tour rituals, not so much. Pre-show rituals, I always brush my teeth before we play. I don't know why really. I just hate the idea that like there's something stuck in my teeth while I'm out on stage and like everybody's laughing at me.
PB: Your European fans are missing All Time Low at the moment. Any chance we'll see you guys soon?
AG: Hopefully. We are definitely thinking about when and how we can come back. Obviously when we do, we want it to be something special so we didn't just want to rush it and throw together something that didn't feel super purposeful, but we hear the calls.
PB: How did it feel to take the Warped stage for the last time versus the first time?
AG: It was a really sweet and bittersweet moment for us because. We all knew it was kind of the last time we were going to get to do it, at least in that forum. It's probably not going to be a cross country tour anymore. I think it was pretty emotional for all of us.
PB: Do you ever see fans that you saw like a decade ago and they're still familiar faces? Like, how fans tell Rihanna they’ve seen her 37 times and she remembers them?
AG: 100 percent. I mean that happens to us quite a lot. We have some fans from all over the place that have been coming to shows for years and it would be impossible not to remember them because those are the fans that are always in the front row or they're coming to the meet and greets.
Probably my favorite thing is when we’ll play a show in New York or London or something and then we have fans coming in that come to shows from like Spain or Italy or Brazil or Germany, whatever it may be. People traveling in from all over the world is definitely something that we don't take lightly, you know, that that's kind of like the ultimate in fan dedication.
PB: So, ‘Birthday’ is a proper bop. Are songs like that as fun to write as they are to listen to?
AG: Yes. Hell yeah. That one was a blast through and through and when we came up with that song. There was not a dull moment. We wrote it quickly, we put it together quickly and we were like, all right, like how fast can we get this out?
PB: Whose idea was it to send out the cakes to fans?
AG: It was kind of my idea, but it was it was a little bit of a collaborative thing. We just thought what's a clever way to release this song that doesn't feel, I guess, typical. Because we have such a really cool connected fan base we were like, it'll be no problem for us to figure out some birthdays that are happening this week and send them some cakes. It was just something different, off the wall. And it was a fun way to get a song out. We'd never done anything like that before.
PB: Speaking of birthdays, what is the wildest gift you've ever received for your birthday?
AG: Last year for my 30th birthday my roommates got me a custom telecaster from Fender and it's got the Dave Grohl blue paint, which was like a big favour they had the pull because it's like a very difficult colour to replicate and it's just a beautiful guitar. To this day I record everything with that guitar in my studio because it's the best thing ever.
PB: You guys interact with fans a lot. When you drop a new song, are you immediately looking online to see what the fan reactions are or is that just way too nerve wracking?
AG: It's pretty nerve wracking, but I do it anyway. They tell you not to look, but it's hard not to. I want to know what people think and it's exciting to see people's reactions. So, yeah, I mean I usually do a little bit of creepin’ for sure. I'm always spying on people. I wanna know.
PB: Big brother Alex is always watching.
AG: Yeah, for sure. Everybody needs to be aware.
PB: What's one person or thing that you are totally fanatical about right now?
AG: We play a lot of Fortnite in our household. I will say that there's like a problem, there's probably a bit of an addiction happening at this point. It's dangerous. We can't stop.
PB: What is the last thing you binged on Netflix?
AG: I started bingeing Peaky Blinders because I hadn't watched that yet and it's so rad.
PB: So how many episodes will you watch in a row?
AG: I mean, if it's like a lazy day, I'll go through like, I don't know. I think my record was seven, which is arguably too many because it's like an hour long. I don't think I left the couch that day.
Fans can catch All Time Low and Dashboard Confessional on the Summer Ever After tour from August 3 to October 10. Tickets are on sale now.