All Time Low's Newest Album Rolls Out Today

Baltimore County Foursome Says Making 'Nothing Personal' Required Tough Choices

July 07, 2009|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa,sam.sessa@baltsun.com

With songs like "A Party Song (The Walk of Shame)" and "Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't)," you'd think life for pop rockers All Time Low is all booze and groupies.

Though the four guys from Baltimore County have sold hundreds of thousands of albums and done their share of partying, they still had to make some tough choices for their new album.

They wanted to work with an A-list producer at a high-end studio, but there just wasn't enough money to make that happen.

So they did the next best thing: Hire five teams of well-known producers, and record a track or two with each one. They bounced back and forth from studio to studio, spending time in New York City, Malibu, Calif., and New Jersey - until they had collected enough tracks to release a full-length. The result, a buzz-worthy album called Nothing Personal, hits the shelves today.

"It's hard to get in with a big-name producer for a long period of time on an indie label budget," lead singer and guitarist Alex Gaskarth said.

"It's much easier to get a few of those producers to do a song here and there and just piece them together. It was just a big collaborative effort, and we got really lucky that it worked out."

The four guys in All Time Low came together several years ago, when they were all in high school. Instead of applying to college, they became full-time musicians and started touring relentlessly. Soon after, their hard work paid off: They signed to Hopeless Records in 2006 and released the EP Put Up or Shut Up, which went on to sell nearly 125,000 copies. Their second album, So Wrong, It's Right, almost cracked the 200,000 mark.

Gaskarth and the rest of the gang felt an enormous amount of stress to make So Wrong, It's Right better than Put Up or Shut Up. But Nothing Personal came much easier, he said.

"I didn't feel the pressure quite as much," Gaskarth said. "The expectation was there and so was the understanding that this record needed to top the last one. But the process of making this record was much less stressful, and it came together much more fluidly."

So far, they don't have much to stress about: "Weightless," the first single from Nothing Personal, has sold more than 60,000 copies.

When Nothing Personal was in its early stages, rumors spread of a track called "Alive," which featured Blink-182 bassist Mark Hoppus. But the band decided to shelve the track because it didn't fit in well with the rest of the album.

"It was written so early on, it was a different sound," Gaskarth said. "I think it would be one of those tracks that would come back - down the line."

From the start, All Time Low has built a grass-roots fan base through constant touring and social networking. They use Twitter and Facebook, and they blog and upload behind-the-scenes videos regularly. MTV has been a big supporter of the band for years. The music video request show TRL might be gone, but the network has still helped introduce All Time Low to new fans, Gaskarth said.

"TRL didn't make sense in this day and age," Gaskarth said. "[MTV] is coming up with new ways to get the music out there. Everybody over there loves music."

With a dedicated fan base, endless gigs and support from outlets like MTV, the only thing missing seems to be the chart-topping radio hit. But that doesn't worry Gaskarth. In a healthy career, radio should be the last piece of the puzzle, he said.

"Radio is fickle," he said. "If a band rushes straight to radio, they develop a fan base that only knows them for a couple songs. The band has no substance to stand on. When radio [play] disappears, generally the band disappears along with it."

Looking back, Gaskarth is glad he chose playing in a band over college.

"I still fully believe - we all do - that you get one shot at something like this," he said. "It's an opportunity that doesn't come along for many, many bands. We would have been foolish to let it pass by. So far, it's continued to be really successful for us."

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