About All Time Low
While sizable chunks of high school graduates received their diplomas at the end of the school year unsure on what sort of career path they’ll embark, the members of Baltimore-area pop-punk quartet All Time Low have an exact idea of where they’ll be headed straight into the van and in the studio for a full-time career in music.
These class of 2006 high school graduates have spent most of their high school careers developing their sound, refining their live sets and gaining valuable recording experience through their years in All Time Low. And they’re exiting their senior years with the talent and knowledge in hand to take their craft seriously, primarily via the release of their Hopeless/Sub City debut, Put Up Or Shut Up. Kick-starting with the melody-drenched opener “Coffee Shop Soundtrack,” Put Up Or Shut Up winds the listener through the various hallways of All Time Low’s musical safe house, including the seamless, stuttered chorus accents of “Break Out! Break Out!,” the swaying, waltz-esque rhythms of “Lullabies” and the stunning vocal harmonies of “The Girl’s A Straight-Up Hustler.”
Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat launched All Time Low over three years ago after gaining some initial inspiration from bands like Blink-182 and Green Day. With the addition of drummer Rian Dawson and bassist Zack Merrick, All Time Low found itself further refining its early sound. “We always set out to play pop punk, as that’s always what we’ve wanted to play and write our music around,” says Gaskarth. “Though there hasn’t been a huge change in the style of the music, we’ve progressed and matured as musicians over the years.”
All Time Low’s Baltimore locale was instrumental in helping the act gain some quick recognition and experience in the clubs. “Baltimore has some really great venues and all the venues give young, new bands a chance to do their thing and play to as many people as they can,” says Gaskarth. Some of those acts have included Motion City Soundtrack, The Early November, The Academy Is.., Acceptance, Gym Class Heroes and Cartel.
Touring between their high school commitments, the members of All Time Low managed to cover both the East Coast and Southern states, gaining some valuable road lessons during spring breaks and summer vacations. In addition to the touring life, All Time Low also released a pair of independently produced discs via local label Emerald Moon, including a four-song EP in 2004 and a full-length, titled The Party Scene, in 2005.
One of the bands All Time Low happened to share a bill with was Amber Pacific. After becoming friends with the Hopeless act, Amber Pacific passed All Time Low’s music to Hopeless Records. The label immediately took interest and the band quickly became the newest addition to the roster. (All Time Low aim to start recording their next full-length in late 2006.)
Put Up Or Shut Up features new recordings of some older material, refined and updated to meet the band’s current standards. The EP was produced by the band and engineer Paul Leavitt (Over It, Cute Is What We Aim For, So They Say) and was mixed by Zach Odom and Kenneth Mount at Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta (Outkast, Cartel).
And there are plenty of people around All Time Low at their live shows, which Gaskarth likens to a party of sorts, where Silly string, beach balls and crowd surfing aren’t all that uncommon.
“We don’t like to replicate the CD exactly,” he says. “We make a thing out of being almost theatrical on stage. We try to turn the whole place into a party every time. We want to be everybody’s friend. I think we try to keep everything really positive and have a good time. We’ve come to party!”
As for the opportunity for these fresh high school graduates to graduate into the real world through a formidable music career filled with promise, says Gaskarth, “It’s just a dream that’s slowly coming true.