It’s pretty rare to have grown up with a band, listened to and watched them mature, and still get as excited about them coming to town as the fans of New Found Glory do. Same, I think, goes for Alkaline Trio. On Friday November, 16th, Cincinnati fans of both bands can be found at Bogart’s singing and shouting along, toppling over fellow fans in an attempt grab the microphone, and getting more than a little hot and sweaty. I imagine neither band would have it any other way.
I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to send some questions over to New Found Glory drummer Cyrus Bolooki about the band’s current tour, the release of their new, and first, live album. He talks a little bit about their 15 year career, where they are now, and where they have yet to go. Sincere thanks to Cyrus for taking the time to answer these questions! Enjoy!
My first live experience with NFG was over 13 years ago, when you were tour with Less Than Jake supporting Nothing Gold Can Stay and the first From Your Screen To Your Stereo EP. Since that was your debut album and what I would consider a breakthrough EP, how strange was it jumping straight in to helping carry a tour and supporting your records in such a big way basically from the start of your career?
Well, we definitely had played shows before that tour. We never really had done "tours" per say, they were more like weekend runs from Florida up to the Northeast US or basically wherever we could get shows. But, going on tours with bands like Less Than Jake and MxPx was amazing for us; it was like a dream come true. We all grew up going to punk rock shows and to be able to finally play those shows was amazing. We were willing to play anywhere, anytime...
At over 15 years as a band, you’ve seen and done quite a bit. Can you talk about some of the strangest and funniest things you’ve had to do, or wanted to do, as well as some of your favorite moments in your career so far?
Wow, there's way too many to count here. But, strange and funny things have occurred, from meeting some very random (and famous) people at shows, or sharing the stage with bands you would never think you would get close to. I think it's pretty crazy that we had videos on MTV, have played the late night TV shows, have had live appearances on TV (especially one time when MTV literally shut down Times Square for us and Good Charlotte to promote our Honda Civic Tour and the cars that we had designed), and more. Some of my favorite moments have definitely been receiving gold records for album sales on 3 of our records, being on the Billboard Top 200 charts multiple times, and headlining shows to over 15,000 people, as well as playing festivals in front of 30,000+ people!
Your live album was just released last month, celebrating your entire career in a big way. For a band that has always had such an energetic, entertaining, and vital live show, Kill It Live seems like a no-brainer. When and how did you decide that it was time to put out a live album?
We've wanted to release a live record for a while now, but we never really felt like it was the right time or situation for us. However, recently, we decided that it was time to finally release the live CD, something we had never done before, and it was great because we were able to do it on our own terms, partner up with an awesome label in Bridge 9 to release it, and also had the added bonus of throwing brand new 3 original songs on the release. It was perfect timing for the CD too, as we weren't ready to record a new full-length CD yet we did have the 3 new songs that we wanted to record, so we were able to combine the new songs and live set and make for one amazing collection of songs!
Were there any live albums that you’ve listened to over the years that stood out and helped you realize it was something you wanted to do?
I think all of us will have different favorite live releases, but for me it would probably have to be the Metallica box set Live Sh*t: Binge & Purge from the early 90's, since it was a few different live concerts and they all sounded so huge! Also, there was an official live bootleg of Silverchair that I came across that I loved because it was the opposite -- a small club and it felt like you were standing in the middle of the club when you listened to it, kinda like what we did with Kill It Live.
You’re out on tour with Alkaline Trio, another band with a similar story and career trajectory, though to a slightly different demographic. How do you think that’s translating to each show’s turnout? How have their fans responded to you, and vice/versa? What was is that made touring with a band like Alkaline Trio alluring? Have you seen more or less fan crossover than you anticipated?
I think one of the greatest things about touring with Alkaline Trio, besides the fact that we're all friends and have been for years, is that their fans are familiar with us and vice-versa. Although a lot of the fans probably have a favorite out of the two of us -- there's definitely die-hard NFG or AK3 fans out there -- for the most part, everyone is tolerable of all of the bands on the bill, and I think it makes for a great show! Whether we play before Alkaline Trio or close the show, it seems like everyone stays for the entire evening.
The last few years have been a bit more introspective for the band, as some of you have gone on to do some well-received side projects, and you’ve slowed down on releasing bigger pieces of new material. What’s it like to be at a place in your career where you can take the time to do these things, but still come back to NFG and have it be as significant as it is?
NFG is definitely not ending anytime soon -- we will continue to write music and go on tour as long as we can -- but it's great to be at a point where we are able to branch out and do different things at times. The music industry has changed over the years, and it seems like it's shifting away from releasing records all the time, yet luckily for us, we have amazing fans that want to support us in whatever way they can, whether it's getting new music or coming to shows or other projects/things we do. In addition, although there may be gaps in between full-lengths for us, we still try to find ways to stay active, whether it's things like releasing this live record, EPs, or other random things.
With that in mind, from your perspective(s), what are the most significant changes you’ve seen in both the music scene and industry since getting started? Do you feel like there have been more positive changes than negative? How have these changes impacted NFG?
Obviously the music industry has changed and shifted as far as how people get their music -- the internet has single-handedly changed everything. Although it seems negative as far as numbers are concerned, it has opened the doors for bands to be able to get their music out to people all over the world almost instantly, which has led to more music out there (some would say not as good of music), and more choices for all involved. With NFG, luckily we gained many of our fans right as the internet was exploding, and therefore we had to do it the "old" way -- we went out on the road and promoted ourselves. That led us to get real fans; people that aren't there just for a single or a radio hit, they're there for the long haul.
You started out on a smaller, independent label, moved on to a major, then have gone back to work with Bridge 9 and Epitaph, who are both independent labels but have large, loyal followings. How has it been getting back to more of the roots of the scene you helped jumpstart? And, in reference to changes you’ve seen in the industry, how do you think they have affected labels like Bridge 9 and Epitaph (who seem to be absolutely thriving)?
For us, I feel fortunate that we've been able to work with labels all across the board - both large and small...although being on a major was a great experience in the sense that you're doing something that you grew up dreaming about, being on an indie is what I would consider the "real" music industry. Indie labels seem to get it more, to understand the industry better, because they find bands that work hard and want to work hard, and in turn the labels do the same. And, although the industry has changed, especially as far as sales is concerned, I feel like the indies haven't been hurt too much, because they were never there just to sell a certain amount of records, they are here to help bands get their music out to the fans and they care about the music and the bands and not just some bottom line.
Coming up next year, you have Parahoy lined up for March. It seems like it’s going to be a really unique and positive experience. The lineup alone is one of the most interesting I’ve seen in years. Can you talk a little bit about it, and what you think fans can expect?
We're really excited for Parahoy! Obviously, first off it's a cruise, so it'll be nice and relaxing...but like you said, the lineup is pretty amazing, and we've shared the stage with most of the bands before, so it'll make for fun times. We've had friends in other bands that have done similar cruise tours and they've all loved it, so I think it'll be a great one for us! To be honest, as far as details I haven't even really looked into them...other than the fact that we'll be on the ship and playing a few shows, that's pretty much all I need to know!
I’m really excited for the show, as I’ve been listening to NFG since your first record, and I’ve managed to see you about a half dozen times in various venues in a few different states (Alkaline Trio, as well!). It’s always been a great experience. What do hope fans take away from your shows when they’re walking out the door? Have things changed for you in any big ways since you first started playing shows?
I think we've always taken pride in our live shows, as we feel like we're the type of band that really "brings it" live...or should I say we kill it live (pun intended!)...we always hope that fans walk out of our shows feeling satisfied because they've seen a good mix of our songs, and since we're a very energetic band, we hope that crowds are able to get into the shows in that sense and really feel the music and connect with us as we're on stage rocking out. I don't think much has changed as far as us playing shows except for the obvious like the size of the venues or the cities/countries we play. We've always had the same approach to shows, which is to go out there and put on the best performance we can because we're genuinely excited and appreciative of being there and we want to continue to do this for as long as we can!
If you have a spare couple of minutes, I was able to gather a few of questions from some fans who were excited about this interview, and had some questions they would love to ask you!
If you could tour with anyone, genre aside, who would it be?
This is another one of those questions where each one of us would have different answers. The Green Day tours were amazing for us and I think for any band they would love to tour with the people that many consider to be the top of their genre. But, as far as other types of music, I think I would personally love to tour with Metallica. I grew up on their music and would watch their live videos of them playing stadiums and arenas and always dream of playing concerts that huge.
What is like to still be a touring, active band and seeing a lot of your contemporaries either break up/quit, and how does it feel seeing the labels who grew up with, like Drive Thru, Vagrant, and Asian Man thriving in today's "scene?”
I think it's amazing that we've had a career that's lasted over 15 years now and still seems to be going strong. It's unfortunate that a lot of our peers have had to move on from their previous bands into other projects/careers, but I guess that's the reality side of the music industry. Labels have come and gone too, but luckily for us we've seem to navigate these changes well and have been able to work with a lot of amazing people and companies throughout the years. And, more than anything, it seems like nowadays we're in a great position to be able to pick and choose just exactly what we feel is best for our band and our music, and not be forced to do certain things because of a contract or label politics, etc. It's always great to see friends of your succeed, whether they be bands, labels, management, etc., and I think there's a mutual respect towards us and what we've been able to accomplish throughout the years. Hopefully there's no end in sight for any of us!
Is there anything else you would like to add or mention?
I'd just like to thank everyone out there for their continued support of NFG, and encourage people to either get our live record, Kill It Live, or go see us in person, or both! We'll be continuing to tour for a little bit and then sometime in 2014 I'm sure we'll get back in a studio and start working on a new full-length and the cycle will repeat from there!
Thanks again to Cyrus for taking the time to give such great answers. You can catch New Found Glory at Bogart’s on November 16th with Alkaline Trio and H20, and you can pick up their first (and super rad) live album, Kill It Live, at any of our fine local record stores.
There is still time to enter to win tics to the show HERE!