All Time Low on Touring, Songwriting and Social Media

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MC: Another way to connect with fans is through live shows. You guys have been touring since your last album, Don’t Panic, in 2012. How does touring play an important role in your career right now?
Gaskarth: Touring has probably been one of the bigger aspects of All Time Low. Pretty much since we started––officially as a signed band in 2003––we’ve been on the road a majority of the time. So touring has been 75 percent of what makes our band. We live on the road, we live on tour, and it’s really helped grow us because we haven’t always had television, radio or whatever it may be—those other markets that help you get into the mainstream. When we started, we used being on the road to promote ourselves through word of mouth—that’s what it’s really been all about––so touring has been a massive thing for us.

MC: You guys definitely get rowdy onstage. [Guitarist] Jack always has a mountain of bras hanging from his microphone stand, and you had pink hair at one point during Warped Tour. What makes a good live show?
Gaskarth: I’ve always been about performance and the aspect of interaction between band and audience. Some bands use theatricality, some bands just go out there and play their songs, but it’s always important to us to add to the experience. If I wanted to hear a band play their songs perfectly, I would just listen to the CD. A big thing for our mindset has always been, “Hey let’s play our songs, but we’re here in this room with all these people, let’s make it an experience.” It’s always been about interaction with the crowd and making it something more than just hearing a band play their music.

MC: Since you’re on tour a lot, do you work on music while you’re on the road?
Gaskarth: A little bit. I don’t do too much writing on the road. I find it’s very hard. There are a lot of distractions when you’re on the road. We always have a million things going on every day. Finding time to write and write well is hard. I’ll try to throw down ideas if they come up. Inspiration’s a weird thing like that––kinda pops out of nowhere. You have to be able to work whenever, but at the same time, we’ve always embraced our down time and the time off to work, to be our creative outlet.

MC: So you’re more of the type to buckle down and set aside time for writing.
Gaskarth: We prefer to do it that way, just to clear our heads of distractions and focus on being creative. We’ve always handled it that way.

MC: Where do you draw inspiration from?
Gaskarth: All over. Our songwriting is always very honest, very personal. Sometimes we draw inspiration from other things we’re seeing: books, movies, anything like that. But for the most part it all comes from our life experiences and stuff that’s going on in our lives all the time.

MC: You wrote for 5 Seconds of Summer’s album. Is the songwriting process different when working with or for another artist?
Gaskarth: Yeah, I’d say so. When I write for another artist, I get inside their head a little bit and try to write from their perspective. How would this person say “this?” Approach it from a little different angle.
It kinda depends. If I’ve written a song on the side and I didn’t get to be in the room with the artist or the band, that’s a little bit different—‘cause then I’m just guessing and hoping that it’s a good fit. But if I actually have the chance to sit down and work with another artist, then yeah, it’s a different approach ‘cause I try to embrace where they’re coming from and write with their voice.

MC: How do songwriting opportunities like those come about? Does the other band approach you or do you approach them? How do you get those gigs?
Gaskarth: With 5 Seconds of Summer, it was serendipitous almost. They were working with a friend of mine, John Feldman, who produced our newest record. He was working with them on their new album. While writing, he asked them who some of their favorite bands were, and they got into this style of music through All Time Low. So they asked John if we could work together, and John built the bridge that connected us. We sat down together and wrote a bunch of songs. It was awesome.

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