Monday 23 December 2013

2013 Favourites // Slam Dunk Festival North FEAT. All Time Low

We take a look back at some of the best gigs, festivals and bands of 2013. First up, a look back at Slam Dunk Festival in Leeds this May. ALL TIME LOW flew in to play at Slam Dunk Festival over May bank holiday weekend. And more than just playing the festival for the first time, they are headlining it; their first UK headline festival slot ever [and about time too].
We caught up with All Time Low ahead of the show to chat about loving the UK, amusement games and wearing Ron Jeremy’s old costume. To read the interview and live review and to check out some photo's from their set click below...

So, this is your first UK headline festival slot- and it’s your first time at Slam Dunk as well, right? Congrats! Are you looking forward to it?
RIAN [Dawson, drums]- Thanks very much. We’re really looking forward to it. Apart from the fact that we’re headlining it, and that’s amazing, but there are so many friends here and everyone’s already drinking and having fun, it’s like a big college party. We feel at home.

You’re obviously the last band on- are you going to have to behave yourselves all day and save the drinking for the after party?
Yeah, I gotta be smart. The rest of my band I won’t speak for them because they’ll be starting drinking any minute, but I have to pace it out [laughing]. I’m excited though; we don’t play for another eight hours, but there’s so many bands to watch that there won’t be a boring minute.

All Time Love, the perfect Slam Dunk headliners

Even though you’re headlining there will be people who haven’t seen you live before – do you relish taking on that challenge of winning new fans?
Yeah, that’s why playing festivals is such a unique experience for a band like us, especially because it gives us the opportunity, like you said, to play for people that necessarily aren’t there soley to see you, but it gives you that chance to win them over. And thankfully Alex [Gaskarth] and Jack [Barakat] on stage are so depreciating that the fans feel bad for them, and that’s the best way to get new fans I think [laughing].

You guys have a big fanbase over here and are here quite often- what do you like most and least about coming over?
I think most is the energy that these crowds have. For some reason playing in the UK from start to finish, no matter if we’re playing a support slot or headline, they’re energetic for every second. That’s the best thing, how much they love seeing us live. And the worst thing? There’s not many bad things about here. The weather maybe. Usually we’re here in August and it’s not that bad, but we stepped off the plane yesterday and it was raining and cold. But then we woke up today and it was a lot nicer. There’s not much bad about the UK, we love it here.

So your new video for “Backseat Serenade” sees you become part of a “Whac A Mole” game at an amusement arcade– we have to as what’s your favourite amusement game?
I think “Ski-ball”, where it’s like the mini bowling thing and you throw the ball up and try to land it in the holes, because it doesn’t take much talent or skill. Whac A Mole kind of takes skill; people are hovering over you like “there, there, there” whereas “Ski-ball” is like a retirement home game, my Grandmother might be playing it. And you always win, no matter what you’ll get a point; it’s great.

Were the extras in the video actors, or was their job actually to dress up in the furry outfits?
I think some of them were furry people for a living. There was one costume that was a raptor or lizard or something and the last person to wear it was Ron Jeremy in a porn movie he did, so luckily that wasn’t us. And it’s so hot in there it’s horrible [laughing]. It was just made for cultivating bacteria.

You should definitely have brought those costumes out to wear on stage in the UK
No way, we had them on for like thirty minutes and I was dying [laughing].

All Time Low bring Slam Dunk 2013 to an almighty close
“Backseat Serenade” is taken from the 5th album “Don’t Panic”.  You’ve said it’s about dealing with change and taking everything in your stride. You recorded it when you were unsigned. Do you feel that having that past experience allowed you the freedom to do what you wanted and not stress about not having a label?
Fifth album, woah, I’m old. But yeah, absolutely. Coming off a major label it was the exact opposite of unsigned and putting it out on our own. Any given moment there were ten to fifteen different people in the room saying, “This is how you make it a smash” and it was awesome to have that reinforcement. But to go from that to just us four band members and our producer was such a great experience. Because it was our fifth record we had the confidence to be like, yeah, we know we can do this. And it turned out to be the greatest record we’ve done I think and the most “All Time Low” record that represents us. There wasn’t people saying “Yeah that’s great, but what if you added this”- it was just us and we were all on the same page.

You formed in 2003- ten years later you’re still going strong. What does the next 10 years hold?
God, you’re making me feel like an old guy; it doesn’t feel like ten years [laughing]. If the next ten years can hold even close to the success and just the amount we’ve been able to tour these past ten years, then I’d be so happy. I mean obviously I want us to be the biggest band in the world, but if we’re at this level and we’re touring and fans are listening to us, I can’t ask for any more. The industry is littered with bands like us that have tried to do what we’ve done and for some reason haven’t succeeded, bands that are much more talented than us. Somehow we’ve slipped through [laughing], so if we can do that for another ten years, squeezing by, then by all means. We’re the luckiest dudes in the world and we all know it.

All Time Low- Live Review// Kerrang! & Jagermeister Main Stage [Refectory]

They may come on stage a tad later than expected and whilst some of the crowd grow angsty for the majority it only builds the anticipation even more. And when the Maryland four-piece do make it to stage they more than make up for it.  It’s All Time Low’s first time headlining a UK festival and after tonight’s performance the first of many no doubt. Their live shows are renowned for being upbeat and energetic, and overflowing with the famous banter between Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat, and it wasn’t in short supply tonight either. “Coffee Shop Soundtrack”, “Stella” and “Lost In Stereo”, hit after hit All Time Low are on point and we wouldn’t expect anything less. The main stage is packed to bursting and every song a favourite. The roar from the crowd is deafening as they sing along and try to drown out Alex. For the few people who are seeing the band for the first time it is hard not to fall for their infectious pop-punk anthems, “For Baltimore” and “Somewhere In Neverland”. New single “Backseat Serenade” proves as much a hit as old classics. And as the quartet are called back for an encore, and Jack and Alex dive down into the crowd on finale “Dear Maria, Count Me In”, it is fair to say that All Time Low well and truly brought the house down; a perfect way to close out another successful year at the festival. Slam Dunk 2013, job well done. 10/10

Full Slam Dunk live report and interviews HERE

Photo credit: Danny Peart Photography