The term “Brotherhood” signifies a special relationship, a friendship like no other, built out of respect and love, where friends will always have each other’s back. That is the bond described by Alex Gaskarth of pop-punk band All Time Low. Since the very beginning, starting as a garage band from Towson, MD—a Baltimore suburb—the four band members have stuck together for over a decade, living their dreams, making music and traveling the world.
In that time the Warped Tour veterans have accumulated 120 million combined views from their music videos and have hit No. 1 with multiple albums on Billboard’s Rock and Alternative Albums charts. Even with such accomplishments, the quartet isn’t looking to slow down, and have their sights set on adding to the list with their sixth studio album, Future Hearts.
Before he embarked on a tour of Europe, frontman Gaskarth spoke candidly with Music Connection. In the following interview he unravels the facts on the band’s hands-on approach to their career and unapologetically reckless image, life on tour and their upcoming Hopeless Records album, due out April 7.
Music Connection: We still have a poster of All Time Low in our office from the Nothing Personal era. It’s inscribed to our Senior Editor Mark Nardone and it says, “Hey Mark, Fuck You! –Nothing Personal.” That was, shall we say, a unique tactic to try to ingratiate yourselves to a magazine staff and it depicts you guys perfectly: you’re fun and not afraid to express yourself. Do you work with a team to build your image that way?
Alex Gaskarth: No. [laughs] Absolutely not. We just have fun with what we do. The interpretation that we branded ourselves that way is happenstance. We kinda don’t take ourselves seriously. I think we’re very lucky to do what we do. We take full advantage of the fact that we get away with having a very interesting career. I think that’s a big part of what’s defined this band. We always try to keep it fun, keep it lighthearted.
MC: How do you utilize social media to spread the fun to your fans?
Gaskarth: Social media has been a big thing for us. We were one of the first bands on PureVolume and one of the first bands to have a music account on Myspace—years ago when that stuff first launched. From there, it’s obviously evolved into Facebook, Twitter, all those things. We really love Twitter because you get to choose what you put out there, and it’s sort of a direct line to the fans, which is amazing. I love the fact that we can share any aspect of our day, our tour or our lives, and you can interact back and forth. I think that’s helped our band grow and maintain a grassroots following throughout our career.
MC: Has social media been a key resource in your career?
Gaskarth: It’s certainly been one of our biggest forms for reaching out. Like I said, from the days of Myspace and PureVolume to Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and all those things we use now to communicate with our fanbase and followers—we rely on them. It’s how we promote our tours, promote our videos, promote our music. It’s how everybody finds out about us really.
MC: You guys are pretty good at doing everything yourselves!
Gaskarth: [laughs] We have an awesome team behind us. We have a really great partnership with our label. The cool thing about the way this band is developed is that we are very hands-on. We really have a lot of control over our brand and over our music and what we do. That has really helped us sustain our career for however long it’s been so far.
MC: Because you are so hands-on, how do you balance the artist life with normal life? Or do they blur together into one entity?
Gaskarth: It is sort of a blur. There are definitely aspects that are nice to step away from every now and then and not worry about or not think about. But for the most part, one isn’t super-invasive with another. Since we’ve grown up this way, it’s become so natural for us—this is our life. It’s not like having these two ideologies competing with each other: being in a band or trying to be normal. Being in a band is normal for us.