Taking Back Sunday are no longer the poster boys of emo
US alternative rockers Taking Back Sunday aren't sticklers for labels
American alternative rockers Taking Back Sunday built a huge and passionate teenage fan base with their cathartic, angst-ridden tunes in the early 2000s.
Back then, the Long Island quintet were hailed as emo poster boys and their hard-hitting songs - MakeDamnSure, A Decade Under The Influence, Cute Without The 'E', and Error: Operator - spoke to betrayed, bitter hearts around the world.
Fast forward 15 years.
Today, frontman Adam Lazzara, guitarists John Nolan and Eddie Reyes, bassist Shaun Cooper and drummer Mark O'Connell, aged between 34 and 44, are new fathers, and moving towards a sunnier, more upbeat musical direction.
As M finds out from Nolan in an e-mail interview ahead of their performance at next month's Rockaway Fest 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, the band's reputation as emo heroes seems to be long gone.
Congratulations on the recent release of Taking Back Sunday's seventh studio album, Tidal Wave. It strikes us as being very different from your old material. Was it a deliberate move to break new ground?
Going into the recording of this album, we made a definite decision to challenge ourselves. We didn't want to fall back on doing something just because it worked in the past. The songs are all inspired by our life experiences and music that we love.
A lot of your long-time fans have remarked that with Tidal Wave, you guys have dropped your trademark emo and post-hardcore sound. How do you feel about this sentiment? Have you been feeling pigeonholed and stifled by the "emo" label for a long time?
We never really considered ourselves an emo band. There are so many bands with so many different sounds that have all been called emo. We never fully understood what made a band emo. We've just continued to do what we do and let people call it whatever they want.
Some fans have lamented that your new songs no longer bring out the youthful angst that your old stuff used to. Do you feel it's part and parcel of maturing?
I think it would be almost impossible to keep writing songs that sound the same and are about the same things. No one's life stays the same so I don't see how songs could.
That said, I do think there are still elements of what we did in our early albums in Tidal Wave, because we still carry those influences with us.
Do you ever get tired of playing your classics like A Decade Under The Influence, and Cute Without the 'E' at concerts? How do you keep things fresh?
Those songs take on a life of their own when we perform them live. At this point, they belong to our fans and they're the ones who keep them exciting for us. Every time we perform them live, the excitement level is so high that I don't think we would ever get tired of them.
Craziest fans you've encountered during your gigs?
Generally, our fans are very respectful. We have occasionally had girls throw bras on stage, and when we play at smaller clubs, people will crowd-surf onto the stage and then dive back into the crowd. It's never been a problem for us though.
You're heading to Malaysia next month to play at Rockaway Fest 2016's Rockaway The Saga Continues, along with fellow American bands Third Eye Blind and The Get Up Kids. What can fans in KL look forward to? Will you guys come to Singapore again?
They can look forward to a fun, high energy rock show at Rockaway Fest 2016!
In Singapore, I remember we visited Gardens by the Bay and it was beautiful. We also ate barbecue sting ray and it was delicious. I hope we get back there soon!
ROCKAWAY FEST 2016 - ROCKAWAY THE SAGA CONTINUES
WHERE: Bukit Jalil Extreme Park, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
WHEN: Nov 19, 3pm
TICKETS: S$51 from Sistic (6348-5555 or www.sistic.com.sg)