"We both were very much aware of the day jobs that are going to still have to come first." - Alex Gaskarth.
With the newest Simple Creatures EP, 'Everything Opposite', out in the world, we thought this was a great opportunity to catch up with co-frontman Alex Gaskarth about what it's like being in two bands, and what the future has in store for the dynamic duo.
How are you feeling about the release of 'Everything Opposite'?
Says Alex: “I'm very excited, this one's been a long time coming. Some of the songs have been kicking around since we wrote ‘Strange Love’ - they're the songs that we felt right from the get go define this thing and really make this thing what it is.”
Why the name ‘Everything Opposite’, after ‘Strange Love’?
"‘Everything Opposite’ was the ethos for this entire project - that line stemmed from us sitting down and conceptualising Simple Creatures and just saying, ‘We don't want to do anything that sounds like what we already do’. So I think that ‘Everything Opposite’ has just been a recurring sentiment throughout the entire process - it's Simple Creatures becoming what it is now.”
How was it working on the new EP since you’re both fairly busy?
“We've been practically juggling things with our day jobs. Blink-182 fired up and Mark’s been on tour, so a part of it was finding good times to actually release music, where it didn't feel like we were overwhelming people with too much stuff. But at the same time, the point of this project was to be nimble and do it when it feels good, and put music out when it feels right - that's been the approach and that's what we're sticking with. Outside of that, it was just we wrote so much music at the inception of this project we felt like we didn't want to overburden people with a full length right out of the gate. It's been a really nice way to kind of slow roll it, and continue to feed people over the course of the year.”
How does that all manifest itself in terms of getting the tracks laid out and done?
“Well, we actually wrote a lot of it before tour happened, so a lot of the music was written last year when we really started this project - then we’ve just been gradually tweaking and working on it ever since. The beauty of it was, at first, there was really no intention for any of it - we were just making music that felt fun and that we liked, there was really no sort of release plan or schedule, we just had a bit of freedom to continue to experiment as we went on. We’d get together either with our main producer Zakk [Cervini], or a couple of the songs were written and recorded with this guy Dylan [Bauld] from Flor, who is also great. We were either at Mark’s home studio or going into one of their studios, and it was just done when everybody was in the mood to make something cool.”
How has it been watching this new fan base grow organically, like it would have in the early days of your other bands?
“It's been really cool! We had no idea what to expect - there's a little bit of anticipation, and it's a reality check in a way because you're like, ‘Well, we know that we're going to have some people paying attention because of where we come from, and what we do already’, but on the other side of that we realise that the music we're making is not necessarily something that feeds that fan base.
“It's also been cool to see the people that have discovered it kind of out of nowhere - my favourite thing is the reactions of 'Oh, I don't really listen All Time Low, but I really love Simple Creatures’. That's a very interesting thing when I've been in alternative for over fifteen years now, so I'm used to one thing - we have our fan base.”
Is it hard to carve time out to tour together?
“Yeah, we're trying to make it work. Again, the nature of this project is a little bit tricky - when we conceptualised this whole thing, one of the big deals about it was, ‘Okay, well we both know, that Blink’s about to put music out, and All Time Low is probably not calling it quits quite yet’, so we both were very much aware of the day jobs that are going to still have to come first. And how do we fit Simple Creatures in around that, and have it be an established project? So we're being creative with the way that we service shows.”
What's it like planning these shows on a smaller scale than you're both used to?
“It's a fun experiment, because we're able to do things a little differently. When we talked about how Simple Creature shows would look, we wanted it to feel more like a weird underground party rather than a typical rock show, because we know how to do that. It's something that we've come become so accustomed to, so we wanted to flip it on its head and make it feel like something different. That first run of shows we did were these little sweaty basements and rooms that Mark and I really hadn’t performed in a in a long time. As we put more shows out there we'll probably continue to follow that philosophy of making it feel like a weird house party rather than the rock show that you might have come to know us for."
You mentioned you had a lot of music written, how’s that looking for a full-length album?
“There's some really cool ideas floating out there in the big folder of potential Simple Creatures music, but I think as we've continued to write, the ethos and the sound of Simple Creatures is becoming more defined. At first, we were just kind of swinging and trying a lot of different things, and part of that process was finding out the voice of Simple Creatures and what that is. Now we're a lot more familiar with the kind of music we want to make for this, I think when it comes time to making more music, I'm sure we'll go back and end up pulling from some of that stuff. But I think the idea of continuing to innovate and keep it new is what excites me most about this project, so I imagine that's where we'll go with it."
On a practical level is that being thought about at any point?
“Oh, yeah - what's fun and interesting about this project is a lot of the songs start with voice notes being texted to one another at like four in the morning, or Mark will send me a stem file of a track that he's been working on at home or in the dressing room from tour. There's a lot of back and forth when we could be thousands of miles away from each other, but we’re always thinking about it, which is another thing that I've really not experienced as much with a project. I think that's been a big part of how this next creative cycle is going to go; it’s really fun throwing each other paper aeroplanes with messages written on from across the room. I would say that's the metaphor for how we write right now.”
Pick up your world exclusive copy of Simple Creatures' EP 'Everything Opposite' on cassette below: