Sometimes, things come together perfectly, and that’s certainly been the case for All Time Low. Sounding like a hybrid of Blink-182 and Weezer, the Maryland punk-pop quartet has engaged a grassroots following with pulsing rhythms, life-size hooks and bright vocal melodies.
What began as simply “something to do” grew into a life choice. The band burst onto the scene straight out of high school, cracking the Billboard charts with 2007’s “So Wrong, It’s Right.” Two years later, the massive “Nothing’s Personal,” debuted at No. 4. That was enough to secure the interest of Interscope Records, which will release “Dirty Work” in May.
Despite going far in a relatively short time, the boys haven’t let success go to their heads. To hear them talk about their music, you’d think they were far older and more experienced.
“It started with us becoming one of the more popular local bands in the scene,” said front man Alex Gaskarth. “We were playing all the VFWs and stuff in the area, and by our senior year, we just kind of realized we could take it a little bit seriously.”
Unusual, then, that the breakout “Nothing Personal” is a paean to the trappings of teenage romance, from one-night stands to underage drinking.
“It was really a sarcastic release through and through,” Gaskarth said. “The themes on the record were supposed to be taken tongue-in-cheek, like, ‘So he really says this to people? He really parties 24-7?’ I think some people missed that.”
For the new disc, he explained, a more earnest approach was attempted.
“I wanted to explore just some more honest characteristics of my ability to write music,” he said. “We approached it with something that felt more genuine, and it really helped a lot with this album. It’s the most relatable record we’ve ever written and I think the most diverse.”
Gaskarth’s not concerned about the jump to a major label, because Interscope offered the group a hands-off approach. It wasn’t “we’re going to buy you off this label and you’re going to be our little love slave,” he said. “It was more about them saying, ‘Look, we love what you’re doing, and we don’t want you to stop doing it.’”