I hear you’re on your 10th studio album? That’s a huge run and success for a band how do you feel about that?
Umm, I feel old *laughs*, I’m just kidding. Umm no it’s good, I think it's great and we are very, very happy with it. We have been touring on it for a couple of months now and we have had good reception from the fans and stuff, it’s been really positive so I’m really excited about it and I’m really excited to come to Soundwave and play some of the songs and see what the Australian fans think.
Tell me a little about 'Call Your Friends', is there a concept behind this album?
You know what… yeah… our concept usually is ah… try not to suck *laughs*. We try to follow that pretty much for every album and I think on this one we didn’t suck and I’m happy with that. So I think we don’t really have a concept, we don’t go and sit down and have like a grand concept in mind. The way we work our albums is that we come up with a bunch of ideas and we pretty much start writing any idea that we have and make a song out of it. We end up with like over fifty songs in the writing process and then start kind of weaning them out to the ones we think are the strongest. We start focusing one those and then we put all of those down and then start pre-production on all of the songs and fix parts we think need to be a little bit better here and there. So by the time we get in the studio we have the twenty songs that we usually put down and we get with the producer and he will say ‘hey, you know this bridge here could be stronger or this here needs a little work'.
What was the recording process like? Were there any interesting stories?
To be honest with you, this album was the most prepared we have ever been. I think we pretty much had the songs done before we went into pre-production with our producer Cameron, so I think we had a pretty good foundation and went into pre-production with Cameron and he listened to the songs and with not having to worry about writing a song or structuring one he was able to say for example, 'this guitar riff is great, but what if we change it a little bit?, or he would say 'this is really good but what if you added this?', so it was more like fine touches at the very end. So I think it really helped that we were really prepared and I think we were really excited to write this album and I think it really came through in the songs, there’s like this energy in a lot of them that we are all really happy with.
How do you feel that your fans received this album?
You know, I think for me, I can always kind of tell, if it’s working playing shows live. Usually fans like you to play older songs so they request older songs, depending on what you grew up with. For this album I noticed a lot of the time when kids are screaming out songs to play, they are the newer ones. That’s always a good sign because that’s rare for the most part.
I also have to say I truly love your point of difference which is your mash ups with each member bringing your own individual personalities to the table. Does this ever get difficult to do?
To be honest with you that was the first thing that kind of set us apart with this band. So it’s always been something in the band that everybody has accepted and it’s never really been a point of contention between us, we always looked at it in more of a positive aspect and say I’m going to bring in this rap part or I’m going to bring in this pop/ punk hook… it’s been kind of our signature in that it makes us a little bit unique so we embrace it rather than have a hard time with it.
Now music videos, 'Call Your Friends', my guess would be that’s a real party right?
*Laughs* Let me just say this Shannen, Matty got so drunk by 7 o’clock at night that he…. this was nobody’s house, we didn’t know the house, he went up in one of the bedrooms, into the person’s bed, threw up and passed out. He couldn’t be in the video anymore because he was so sick, by like 8pm he was done. We had to do all of these different shots without him because he got so drunk.
What was it like filming that? Was much of it structured? And did you at all look back at the real footage and go 'oh god'?
*Laughs* We actually had to remove some of it, we had another version and we sent it to video stations and stuff and everybody wrote back telling us we had to take this out and this out… *laughs* So it’s a little bit more tamed than it used to be. I mean it was structured in that we knew we were going to get there by like 9am, we were going to shoot the scenes and by noon when everyone started drinking it just turned into its own thing. You know what I think it, turned out cool because everyone was having fun.
Whilst we are on the topic of music videos, 'Sirens', just brilliantly strange I’d love to call it. Where did the idea come from for this video clip?
Umm, you know what, I think a big concept of the video come from Ed our drummer. He goes camping a lot and he had this location where his family and friends go camping and he always told us about it. That’s kind of where it started and then someone said what do you think about us all getting weird costumes and having them in random shots, we thought, 'why not?' So again it was kind of us and a bunch of our friends. Ed and some of the guys ended up staying and camping for like three days after the clip was filmed. So it was kind of like everyone threw in ideas together, we filmed it and it turned out different. We hadn’t done anything like that before.
Umm, you know, it went really well and we were very lucky. I think the album again had pretty good reception and we just got home, the tour went so well that they actually added more shows and we are going back to England for a tour. It sounds like it went pretty well so we are really excited to get back there.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve heard about Australia?
You know what… I’ll tell you something, a friend of mine, she’s Australian, she was living out here and she made me a Vegemite sandwich and man that it something you really have to get used to, I couldn’t believe that, that was something you guys eat al of the time *laughs*.
Is there anything in your music career that you haven’t done yet that you’d like to?
I would like to have a dance off against Justin Bieber.
Oh good god!
I’m a really good dancer, Shannen.
I can believe that.
Are you a good dancer?
Ummmm…. Yeah. I actually do dance.
Why did you hesitate?
I really don’t know.. that was a bit weird *laughs*.
Are you coming to the Adelaide show?
Yeah, of course.
Well me and you are going to have a couple of beers and we are going to have a dance off.
That sounds like an idea and a half!
Out of all the wonderful people you have worked with in this industry, who has been a highlight?
You know as far a recording, I think our first couple of albums we did with Howard Benson, and he actually helped our band learn how to really write songs. When we first started out, we just kind of went at it and we didn’t really pay attention too much to the sound structure of songs or anything like that so going in with Howard at the time he really took the time to sit down and help us. That was really important for us and a really good learning experience for us. As far as bands and stuff I think … We had the chance to do a tour with Green Day and they were some of the nicest guys, they were down to earth and really cool. They gave us business advice and it was right when we were starting out and just little things like that where people don’t need to do that, they don’t need to go out of their way, you know be cool to you or look out for you in that way. Some people are just like that, we had a few time when we played shows with Dave Grohl and he is one of the nicest guys. It's stuff like that, it's unexpected and you get something out of it where you think this person doesn’t even care and they go out of their way to help you out… so we have been very fortunate with that.
Where do you guys see yourselves in the future?
Ahh, I see myself in the future in about two months in Australia having a dance off against you in Adelaide.
Ohh man you are going down *laughs*.
*Laughs* I’m going to start stretching now.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans in Adelaide?
In all sincerity we have been trying to come to Australia since we started the band and the fact that they took a chance with us on Soundwave two years ago and the fact that so many of our fans came out and now they ask us back to Soundwave again, none of this would have been possible without our fans coming to the shows. So I just want to thank all of our fans in Adelaide for being so cool and supporting us. So thank you.
Well thank you so much for doing this interview with me and I will see you in Adelaide.
Yeah, yeah *laughs* I’m going to come and find you.
Interview by Shannen Murphy