Unleash your inner emo and rejoice, for Taking Back Sunday have set foot upon Australian shores and begin a nationwide tour this Friday. Though they bring new album Tidal Wave to their set, 17 year-old me is ecstatic for the opportunity to relive some golden years of rock music with one of the most popular and thrilling live bands of that time.
Where so many other bands who were at their peak with you back in the naughties, they have essentially dissipated - what does it mean for you to still have that draw, that demand in countries such as ours?
I think we’re fortunate to be in the position we’re in - like you said, a lot of bands that we were coming up with, they’re not around or touring as much. With us, aside from being extremely lucky, this is all we’ve ever wanted to do and we’ve done everything we can to keep doing it.
One night in Germany we were sitting around after a show and talking about how we’re extremely lucky that we’ve been able to do this since we were kids, travel the world and play our songs for people – that’s kind of the biggest gift.
I remember back in the naughties, the scale of your popularity, the genre in general was absolutely massive and to try and put myself in your shoes, to see the faces of thousands and thousands of people, I can’t even imagine… Does that ever get…
It’s very surreal – it’s something you never get used to and that’s another reason why we’re still so hungry to do it [tour].
You were largely considered an emo band; how do you feel about that label? Is it something you’re proud of or do you feel you’ve grown past that tag?
Well I never considered us an emo band – in the beginning I figured people are gonna call you whatever they’re gonna call you and classify you however they choose and to me to this day, so long as they’re listening I don’t care what they call us – I’ve always just considered us a rock band. It kind of came out of nowhere, people started calling themselves emo but hopefully over time, people will call us a rock n’ roll band, because that’s what we are.
Tidal Wave, your seventh album. Naturally when you get to this point a lot has changed in your career – how was the process to writing this album different from the others?
We wrote in a studio so that helped a lot, makes it more of a streamline process. Any idea we had we could go in to the room and play it then immediately go back and listen to it, which kind of took away a lot of the time we spent talking about parts and that makes for an easier process.
Kind of what makes Tidal Wave different from the others, I mean we kind of dabbled a bit with this on Happiness [Is] but we realised that no matter what we do, so long as it’s the five of us, it’s always going to sound like Taking Back Sunday. Once we realised that it really freed us up to make something more true to the people we are.
Will you be playing Tidal Wave in its entirety on tour or dabble from the entire discography?
We talked about doing Tidal Wave front to back, something we did here in the States. It was actually a really great tour because we got to see the crowds get more and more in to the songs as the tour went on. Also, we don’t often get the chance to come to Australia so we figured we’re going to play a little bit of everything, try to cover all the bases so it’ll be a nice mix of our entire catalogue and then we’ll play as long as people want to listen.
In terms of your fans, naturally you’d have those fans, such as myself who’ve been with you since they were teenagers, who can reminisce with your tour, but what about the next generation? What does it feel like to see more teenagers in the crowd loving your music when you’ve been together for what, 20 years?
Well I joined the band in ’99 as the bass player so yeah [laughs], it’s crazy to think it was all those years ago because it doesn’t feel like it but when you look at it on paper [laughs].
One thing I’m really proud of within the band is when we [play live and] look out in the crowd it’s anyone from their early teen years to their early 40’s, and I feel like to be able to be in a place where there’s that diverse of a crowd, you know because you’re going through a different set of struggles when you’re a teenager than you are when you’re in your twenties and so on and so forth, but I feel like to be able to get all those people in the same place, singing along to the same thing and sharing that experience is something I’m really proud of.
Does it ever get stale for you? Do you ever feel like you want to be focussing on the new material but people say ‘play ‘Make Damn Sure’ or ‘Error: Operator’ and such like, do you ever think, no, you’re past that?
I think whenever we’re in a room rehearsing and playing that’s our time, that’s time we don’t spend playing older songs. But I feel like when we get to a live atmosphere and there’s people there to see you, there’s a certain responsibility to cover all the bases. Different things are gonna resonate with different people. When you get in to that live environment and you play those older songs, they start to take on a life of their own and there’s a certain energy involved with that. That’s what keeps it exciting – like playing ‘Cute Without The E’ or something like that, we were playing those for a long time but they’re not ones we rehearse at this point because we can play them in our sleep, we’ve played them so much.
After you’ve been riding a bike for so long you don’t think about how to ride it. When you get in front of a crowd and the energy comes back from them, the song becomes bigger than any of our takes on it.
Hey thanks for taking the time to talk to me, I’m really looking forward to the tour.
You’re thanking me? Are you kidding? I’m suppressing my inner fan girl so hard right now!
[Laughter] It’s an incredible thing for me to travel so far from home and have people want to talk to you, so [laughs] thanks!
Not at all – I guess from the other perspective, listening to your songs back in the day, I never thought more than ten years later I’d be sitting here interviewing you for a magazine, so thank you!
[Laughter] No problem!
March 2017 Tour Dates
WEDNESDAY MARCH 15TH – POWERSTATION, AUCKLAND (18+)*
FRIDAY MARCH 17TH – ENMORE THEATRE, SYDNEY (LIC/AA)
SATURDAY MARCH 18TH – THE TRIFFID, BRISBANE (18+)
SUNDAY MARCH 19TH – 170 RUSSELL, MELBOURNE (18+)
WEDNESDAY MARCH 22ND – THE GOV, ADELAIDE (LIC/AA)
THURSDAY MARCH 23RD – METRO CITY, PERTH (18+)