When Alex Gaskarth, vocalist and rhythm guitarist for All Time Low, answers the phone and tells me where he’s doing this interview, I’m a little surprised.
“I’m at home in Maryland,” says the 25-year-old. Given the pop punkers’ heavy touring schedule, I wasn’t expecting to catch Gaskarth anywhere near home. By the end of September, All Time Low will have performed in nine countries over three months, including Brazil, China and Australia, and across five different continents. Sounding relaxed and refreshed, Gaskarth is completely upfront about how important this intense globetrotting is to the band. “To be completely honest, I think that’s what keeps this band going. It’s the primary way [of] spreading the word. It’s what we do, and we do it as best we can.”
Ultimately, for Gaskarth and All Time Low, who’ve been together since 2003 but first emerged in 2005 with their debut full-length The Party Scene, touring has become a necessity for their survival. “We haven’t had a tonne of support from mainstream radio,” he says, “so the best way we can go about things with this band is by travelling to these places and playing these concerts and making sure people leave having had a good time.”
The band’s jet-setting pace has become a way of life for its four members. Not many groups are able to count three Australian tours in their first ten years of existence. The members of All Time Low, who’ve performed at Soundwave twice, consider it one of the better festivals they’ve played.
“I give Australia a lot of props for that festival,” Gaskarth says. “It’s one of the best run and most comfortable festivals to be a part of. They do a great job of taking care of all the bands, especially those who aren’t from Australia and who’ve travelled a long way to be there. It can be a bit rattling when everyone travels together, all the bands. But there ends up being a great sense of camaraderie between everyone, despite the long distances we have to travel. I’ve always had a really good time.”
Each successive time All Time Low visit a country, it seems they’re playing bigger venues. Consider their most recent performance in London, at which the band opened for Green Day at the massive 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium. Gaskarth says they’re starting to adapt to such massive venues.
“It’s less intimidation and more excitement. We’ve never had an experience where we’ve been booed off stage, or where we’ve been too worried to go tour a new place. We really just get excited when we have the opportunity to go to a new place; for us that means making new fans.”
If anything, finding a comfort zone within a lifestyle that requires constant change has remained the easiest part of the job. On camera and onstage, the band members allude to a closeness in friendship that can often become strained over long periods of travelling. Yet as Gaskarth tells it, the band wouldn’t be able to see the world if it weren’t for that very closeness. “We grew up together; we met in high school. Now, more than ever, we’re having more fun on the road because it feels like family. It’s very easy to tolerate people when they’re as close to you as they are. It’s important to have that dynamic.”
BY JOSHUA KLOKE