PropertyOfZack Interview : : Four Year Strong

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 26, 2011

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PropertyOfZack had the chance to chat with Dan and Joe from Four Year Strong just a few weeks ago for a great interview. Dan, Joe, and I discussed how it’s been adjusting to The AP Tour compared to a spring tour with Rise Against and Bad Religion, the recording process for their new album, fan reaction to the new songs, and more. Read up and enjoy!

This is only the third date of the AP Tour, but how were the first two shows?
Dan: The show yesterday was really good. Allentown was cool, but the problem with that is that it was the first show of the tour. First shows are always weird.
Joe: Especially when we haven’t been on tour in four months.
Dan: You just have to get back into the swing of things. Yesterday was better and today will probably be even better than that. It’s all uphill from here.

The opening lineup for you guys is pretty stacked. Do you think it will be great just to have this lineup of bands with you every night?
Dan: I think it’s just the fact that all the bands on this tour are good bands. Wade said it the other day. He said, “This is probably the ugliest AP Tour ever,” which is awesome. When you’re ugly and you’re in a band and you have a slight success, that means that you’re probably alright at playing music, which is important.
Joe: We do have incredibly chiseled physiques.
Dan: This isn’t an accident. It’s cool though because all the bands on the tour are making good music, and that can only help the draw.

How have the new songs been going over live?
Dan: It’s been pretty good. Especially for the new songs that we’ve already released like “Just Drive” and “Stuck In The Middle.” The reactions have been better than we thought. Kids already know the words and they’ve been singing along. It’s been awesome.
POZ: Could you add more songs as the album comes out?
Joe: As the album comes out, definitely. Now we’re switching some out here and there to test the waters.

The last tour Four Year really did was the massive Rise Against/Bad Religion spring run. Is it nice to get back to headlining?
Dan: I’m a fan of both. Tours where you’re headlining are a lot more work and a lot more stressful because it all falls on you. Kids show up, and it’s either your fault or it’s like, “Way to go.” It’s a little harder that way. The Rise Against tour was sweet. We got two play in the same place two days in a row with nothing to do.
Joe: We had no responsibility whatsoever.
Dan: We played mini golf in Philly and stuff. It was a fun tour.
Joe: Bad Religion was fucking sick too.

Four Year hasn’t been shy with saying that it wants to get bigger and bigger and bigger in terms of the amount of people you guys have the opportunity to play in front of. Is it difficult picking the right tours at this point because of that?
Dan: We’ve been really lucky to be offered really awesome tours. We don’t really have to turn many tours down. We really never have. We’ve been lucky to get our pick of awesome tours. We always are on a tour and say, “We don’t know what we’re going to do next.” Then Rise Against is like, “Do you guys want to go on tour?”
Joe: “We certainly do.”
Dan: Same thing with New Found Glory. We’ve been a really lucky band.

In Some Way, Shape, Or Form, was originally supposed to come out this past Tuesday, but was obviously delayed until November 8th. Was that a tough decision to make considering the tour has already kicked off?
Joe: There were label deadline issues.
Dan: The problem was that we had to either choose between getting the album out sooner or putting the album out that we wanted. We wanted to put it out in the perfect way if we were putting it out at all.
Joe: Once it’s done, it’s done and that’s it.
Dan: We could’ve had it out then, but we couldn’t have done vinyl or a few of the songs. After the album has been out for six months, nobody is going to remember that it got delayed.
Joe: If people are really that upset about it, I guess fuck us [Laughs]. I don’t really know what to say.
POZ: Do you think fans are stoked for another song or two on the release now though?
Joe: Yeah, and we were too. It would’ve felt like a jip because we have even more than that recorded.
Dan: We recorded a dickload of songs.
Joe: It felt like a cheap way out to do a ten song record.
Dan: There are so many records, and they all pretty much cost the same. So why wouldn’t you want to put more songs on there? Kids will be stoked on more songs for the same price.

The band was really in the studio with David Bendeth on and off for the better part of six months right? How was it taking that long to craft the songs?
Dan: It was definitely weird. We were in and out and in and out. We’d be there for two weeks, we’d go home, then we’d go back, then we’d go on the Rise Against tour.
Joe: Then we went to England for one night and then we came back.
Dan: We weren’t doing a lot of touring, but we were constantly moving and writing and recording. We played in England, and then I took an earlier flight back so I could get a jump on guitar stuff. It was hectic and crazy, but we got to do the record we wanted to do.
POZ: Would you be interested in doing that again in the future?
Dan: I’m not sure. I think we were really lucky with David because he was willing to give us the time to do it. We also wanted to go into the studio much earlier than most bands would do after a record just because we took so much time between Rise Or Die and Enemy. We didn’t have as much written. Next time, I think we’ll go in with more finished songs so it won’t take as long. We probably won’t put a tour right in the middle of recording too.
Joe: We say that, but that is one of the problems with getting sweet tours if you want to call it a problem. We always say that we’re going to take some time and hangout, and then the next day we get an offer for a tour that we can’t turn down.
Dan: You just have to roll with it.

Fans seemed to be really stoked on the change at first…but I think it’s definitely safe to say the reaction has been pretty polar to all the songs that have been released. Were you guys surprised with the amount of both strong positive and strong negative feedback?
Dan: We knew that some kids would be bummed. Some of my favorite bands of all time all did this. They wrote two fucking awesome records and changed it up a little bit. New Found Glory put out Coming Home, and that’s my favorite New Found Glory record. Saves The Day put out Stay What You Are, and that’s my favorite of theirs. Brand New with Deja, that’s my favorite fucking record. At the end of the day, we’re in a band and we tour, but we love to write songs. We felt trapped about writing pop-punk in a certain way. We just wanted to write a record.
Joe: All this stuff still has heavy Four Year Strong elements. It’s aggressive and still has energy.
Dan: We’d never written a mid-tempo song though, so we gave that a shot.
POZ: Has it been weird seeing the backlash?
Dan: Not really. We’re definitely a guilt pleasure for a lot of kids. I don’t know if they don’t have to feel guilty anymore, but at some point you can’t keep everybody happy. We knew that. A lot of kids don’t like change. The band that they like isn’t changing; we’re just putting out a different record. That doesn’t mean that we don’t play our old song and that our next record is going to sound like Hoobastank. We’re the same band, we just wrote twelve different songs.
Joe: Another thing I will say about the backlash is that I think it partly had to do with the fact that we brought up beforehand that it was different. “Wasting Time” on Enemy would have come nowhere close to fitting on Rise Or Die, but if we said that, people would have said it was fucking ridiculous. We should have let people make up their own minds.
 
Enemy Of The World took the band to such a next level, and you obviously want to do that again. Is there some added pressure to be able to make the same kind of jump?
Dan: I’m not going to be disappointed if it doesn’t do the same thing. We just wanted to tour and play shows when we released Rise Or Die Trying. Where our band is right now far surpasses where we ever thought we’d be. If we put out this record and nobody likes it, I’m still proud as shit. This is the record we wanted to make.

What about touring? Do you want to do more support or headlining?
Joe: I’d love to go support Weezer or something like that. This is shooting high, but I love to tour with Foo Fighters or blink. We got offered blink and it didn’t work out.
Dan: We always want to keep evolving and pushing ourselves. We want to play to new people, like you said. There’s something cool about coming to a place like this where everybody knows your band and then going to The Electric Factory two nights in a row and nobody there has no fucking clue who you are. There’s something cool about that. It’s just a fun thing.

Are there any plans for more US dates?
Dan: We don’t have any plans right now. We’re trying to figure out something for the spring. We might have something lined up for the summer.

You mentioned that were are a lot of songs that weren’t put on the record. Could we see those too?
Dan: We’ll put out b-sides for sure. We always do.

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