POZ Interview: Forever The Sickest Kids

by Zack Zarrillo - Jun 18, 2012

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PropertyOfZack had the chance to chat with our friend Jonathan Cook from Forever The Sickest Kids a week or so ago for a great interview. Jonathan and I discussed the first half of 2012 for the band, when they’d like to release their new album, the possibilities of signing to a new label, future touring, and much more. Check it all out below!

So Forever The Sickest Kids have had a different kind of start to the year than you guys normally have, in terms of a lighter touring schedule. You guys did do Soundwave and South By Southwest and also just toured Slam Dunk. How were those festivals and touring that you’ve done so far?
I’ll tell you what. Going to the Philippines was the only time in our career when we played one city four times, back to back. And every night was sold out. The Philippines was kind of an experience this year, and then to go to Australia with as big of bands as we went with this time…. It’s been a really good year. It’s also allowed us to figure out the direction we want to go musically for our next album. We’ve got about ten songs done on the album man and it’s really cool how we’ve figured out how to write as a four piece band and not only that, but as a little bit older. We want to talk about different things than we wanted to talk about in 07 when we were writing Alma Mater. We’ve been able to kind of slow down a little bit and not rush out an album; really focus on making it say and sound exactly how we want it to. It’s been a good year man. We’ve managed to see, even though we haven’t toured much, hundreds of thousands of fans. Which has been really cool to branch out to new countries this year that we’ve never been to before. 

Has this restructuring as a band gone ideally so far? Fans might have been a little concerned last year with the label news and lineup changes. Would you say re-figuring Forever The Sickest Kids has gone smoothly?
Yeah man, it really has. It’s also been a trying time as us as friends. We’re friends before we’re band members and we really wanted to figure each other out. Like, “What’s important to you Caleb? What’s important to you Austin? And Kyle, what are you dealing with?” What’s going on in all of our lives without the pressure of “Oh crap! We’ve got to leave tomorrow for another seventy-five day tour!” It wasn’t easy getting rid of band members and our label in one year. It wasn’t easy. I’m not going to lie and say there weren’t moments where we had to figure out whether or not we wanted to continue. But last year we decided that this all happened for a reason. And we’re stronger because of it. We put out “Mistletoe is for Quitters” at Christmas time. We put out “Shut The Front Door” and we put out the “Crossroads” music video on our own and filmed it on our own. We produced these songs on our own and have got just as big of a response. We’ve got a number one record right now. That hasn’t happened for us since “Woah, Oh!” This week our song “Shut The Front Door” just went number one in Manila’s pop charts. We’re still seeing a lot of independent success that feels really good and it helps drive us to push forward throughout all these problems. I use that term “problem lightly” because it’s made us made a lot better of an album and made us realize that we can’t do this on our own. So the fans have stuck by us through all of this and we now have a larger fan base than I think we ever have had. It’s a really good place for us to be right now.

So there were those few songs that you guys released at the tail end of last year and you’ve been working on new music now. What is that new music sounding like?
It’s good. We always will be true to the one motto for our music: We want every lyric to come out of a situation that we went through. Every song we’ve ever written has been spurred from a situation that really happened to us. We feel that if we can relate to the music that we’re singing, it’ll be believable. We’ve actually drawn a lot of musical content from the stuff we’ve been through as a label the past year. 

Obviously fans don’t like the situation that you guys went through, but fans can often grasp on to that. Are you really excited to see how fans connect with this new music as well?
Yeah man. It’s going to be different, but not too different. It’s still going to be a lot of what the fans love from our first album. Underdog Alma Mater is what determined our sound. So we’re going back to a lot of that, but we’re also keeping in mind that what we listen to now is a little different than what we listened to five years ago. We don’t have a lot of the same influences between all four band members, but I would say each one of us is taking influences from different places than we did five years ago. 

How long do you guys plan on demoing and writing for?
I think our goal is to put out an album around February. Kind of record over the holidays. Write until Thanksgiving, record over the holidays, and put something out in February or March. 

One of you guys have a studio. Do you think you’ll work on this on your own?
Yeah all four of us have our own studio. We’ve self produced all of it so far. We’re talking with producers. We’ve talked with some different producers about doing the album this time. We’re going to have a lot of self production in it but we also have some producers that I can’t mention just yet, about maybe doing half of the album or a portion of the album.

So the next big thing that fans are looking forward to is the One Direction Tour that’s coming up next month. We’ve seen the first leg of dates for that so far. Are you excited to do your real first US tour of the year next?
Oh yeah. We’ve got a lot of thrifty things up our sleeves too for that tour. I think we’ve always been crazy and we’ve always kept people on their toes, but without a label, we’re really going to pull some stops out this time. 

So that’s only six or seven dates right now, but we’ll see another leg added to it?
Yes. Yep, we’re actually working on booking the second leg of it now. We’re focused really hard on the July leg of it. We’re going to switch a couple of the bands up for the August tour. Some will stay and some will change. We’re equally if not more excited for a couple of the bands that we’re going to put on the August tour, that we’re finalizing now. 

Pushing past these two tour legs. Will we be seeing more full touring? Since you won’t be hitting the studio until the winter. We know you’re going back to the Philippines as well in September.
Yeah we’re headed to Manila again in September. In August we have that US run. Each of those will be the biggest things we’ve done besides the NFL half time show and Conan O’Brian. Probably in a week or a week and a half we’re going to have some pretty big news if some of this stuff comes through that we’ve been asked to do. 

You just mentioned that without being tied to a label that you guys have way more options. Do you think you’ll keep exploring that as a band to stay fresh for your fans and to do things that other bands might not be able to because of label constraints?
That’s certainly an option. But we’re starting to get more and more interest from labels. We have interest from four labels right now. We’re kind of weighing our options. Every label that has made us an offer so far has had a different way of offering it to us. If we sign with label A we’re going to have a certain career ahead of us, if we sign with label B, we’ll have a different career path. Like you said, if we don’t sign at all and put this record out independently, we’ll have another career path. We’re pretty excited about the offers and pretty flattered as well, with what has come through since March. Like I said we’re just weighing our options. Every label we sign with will mean different producers and we kind of have two or three in mind that we want to work with. So we’ll see how flexible the labels are that are offering us deals right now and kind of go from there. 

So the plan is to tour for the next few months and then hopefully have the album out next spring?
Yeah. The only reason we’re taking it slow is so we can put out the best album possible. We haven’t forgot about our US fans, although they feel like all we’ve done is world tours over the past twelve months. We’ve got a band member getting married in September and I just bought my first house. So there’s a couple of things that we’re taking care of in our personal lives before we head back out on the road. 

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  10. jmmoorephotography said: biggest guilty pleasure is this band
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