Fourteen years and six albums in, All Time Low are showing no signs of slowing down. Their seventh album, Last Young Renegade, will be released on June 2 and the band bring their world tour to Tokyo on May 24. Frontman Alex Gaskarth talks to Weekender about his memories of the city, stocking up on sweet treats and taking over the planet.
Your show reaches Tokyo Akasaka BLITZ on May 24. What can we expect?
Well it’s been a little while since we’ve played over in Japan – we were last there in 2015 for Summer Sonic! It’s exciting because this time we’re coming back to play some smaller rooms and it’s more intimate. These shows are usually much more energetic – you get people crowd surfing, coming up on stage, doing high fives…stuff like that. I think it’ll be a really good time and I’m excited to share that with everybody.
How do the Japanese All Time Low fans compare to rest?
They’re just as dedicated. We have a lot of amazing fans that will come and meet us at the airport and we actually get a lot of gifts in Japan. We get a lot of Hi-Chew which is important to stock up on because it’s hard to find those in the States, and a lot of green tea Kit-Kats which are also not easy to find here … those gifts are a nice perk!
Do you get any weird gifts from your fans?
Umm, sometimes we get weird anime gifts and I like, don’t know what they are, as they don’t exist in the States and I’m trying to figure out who the character is or what’s going on in the manga they give me … but it’s always pretty fun though!
You’re signed to “Fueled By Ramen.” If you could eat one Japanese dish for the rest of your life what would it be?
Oh man, probably ramen! There’s a spot not far from the Shibuya Crossing that we always go to and it’s a little hole in the wall but the noodles and gyoza are SO GOOD. Every time we’re in Tokyo we all walk to this tiny little place and there’s about 14 of us so we fill the whole place up.
Do you know what it’s called?
Ahh I don’t, the sign is in Japanese … I need to ask someone …
Let’s talk about Last Young Renegade, your seventh album. Would you say it’s your best work so far?
I hope so! We’re really proud of the album and poured a lot into this one. We’ve tried some new things and wanted to make a record that still felt like All Time Low, but going down some new roads and introducing some new ideas. We’re growing and changing and keeping it interesting.
Is there a Japanese influence to your new album artwork? It looks quite ninja!
One of the big things we wanted to emphasize in the artwork were cultural influences from around the world. It was meant to pay homage to a bunch of different places that we’ve been to as a band and as I said, Japan is one of the places that we’ve been to that always leaves a lasting impression on us, so that was one of the things that I communicated when the designer did the artwork. There are definitely nods to the cities that we’ve visited.
You turn 30 this year; do you think this will mark a turning point in your life and music?
That’s a really good question. I think as we all grow up we change, things change and obviously we go through more and more experiences. Every 10 years it feels like there is some kind of turning point but the record we’ve made sort of defines us and where we’re at right now, and I think it will speak to where we are for the next few years. It’s pretty crazy actually – I can’t believe that I’m already almost 30!
How about moving abroad or starting a family?
No immediate plans to start a family, I mean my wife and I are a little family already; we have a couple of dogs which is a lot of work as it is, so I don’t know if we’ll jump in and have babies right away. We’re going to enjoy some time together and aside from that it’s all busy and seeing what’s next for All Time Low.
Having done so much, what is there left for you to achieve as a band and do you think you might try releasing some solo material at some point?
Well, I don’t know about solo material quite yet … maybe one day! I think the biggest thing we want to achieve is to continue to grow. A lot of bands out there put their focus on one market and with All Time Low we’ve always paid attention to being a global band and trying to build a career all around the world. There are still plenty of places we haven’t been and there’s plenty of places we need to grow and reach people. I still think we have a long way to go in Japan where it keeps getting bigger and bigger each time we come.
Finally, what is your karaoke song of choice?
I’m a big karaoke fan! I always find myself singing stuff from the 80s; “Don’t You Want Me Baby” goes a long way! And you can’t go wrong with Bon Jovi.
All Time Low perform at Tokyo Akasaka BLITZ on May 24. Last Young Renegade (Japanese Edition) is released on June 2. www.alltimelow.com