All Time Low: Basement Band to World Tours

If you are a fan or know anything about the pop/punk music scene, you most likely have heard of All Time Low, whether it was from your favorite band member you’re talking to who is best buds with Rian Dawson or from hearing Alex Gaskarth lend his vocals on a track from a cd you just purchased from a band member who begged you to buy their album. Either way, 86% of the tweenage population has heard of this band who have worked their tail-ends off to get to where they are now. In late March, I had the rare opportunity of interviewing the guitarist of All Time Low, Jack Barakat, via phone conference. Going into it, I thought we were all going to see the witty and completely random side of Jack that we all see at concerts and know him to be, but quickly learned we were going to get to see the rare side of him: the somewhat-serious side.

Being signed to a record label and releasing an album (“Put Up or Shut Up”) in midst of his senior year of high school taught Jack many things about life and the music industry. “One thing I’ve learned is that you always have to look out for yourself because no one will look after you. Well, trust your friends and everything, but you always have to look out for your interest and your best friends interest. Also, don’t get too torn up over relationships. You’ll forget about them next year”. Along with the life lessons, there were also a few set backs while being  such a young band. “We had to have our parents drive us everywhere. I remember opening up for bigger bands and the kids giving us crap for having our parents there….yeah that was a setback hahaha”.

There were a few moments where Jack let us see the goofy side of him while talking for the hour we had. While on the topic of touring at a young age, the question was brought up about what the band does when they have an off day. “You really have to entertain yourself. It gets interesting. You can really make a game out of anything, like, I invented Capri Sun golfing at a venue we were playing at that night. There’s actually a clip of me attacking Capri Sun pouches with a golf club in our dvd ‘Straight to DVD'”. Skipping to another topic quickly, the ever so popular question asked was, “Did you ever see yourself being in a band while you were growing up?” His answer? “No, I pictured myself doing something business-oriented, like being a janitor at a Fortune 500 company.”

Common sense issues the statement that you have to work hard in order to achieve what you want in life. It took a few years for All Time Low to receive recognition from tweens across the world for what they have done, but are completely grateful they had that period of playing for 25 kids. “The cool part about it for us is that it took a long time, so we definitely had that long transitional phase where it was 50 people, 200 people, 500 people, 1,000 people, you know what I mean? So it wasn’t an overnight thing. It feels good but it definitely is hard to remember what it’s like to play in front of 50 kids but that’s why we did the My Small Package tour last fall, where we played smaller venues and it was cool to go back to those clubs where we started.”

All Time Low is currently in London playing the Oxegen Festival, and will be hitting up Europe, Japan, Australia, and India until September 2011, with few stops in the United States. But in the meantime, check out their latest album, Dirty Work, in stores and on iTunes everywhere.