Taking Back Sunday had a massive 2016 with the release of their seventh studio album Tidal Wave which has done really well right around the world. The band is in Australia for their own headline tour showcasing the album and Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to Shaun Cooper ahead of their Adelaide show at The Gov.
How has 2017 been so far for Taking Back Sunday?
It has been great, I can’t complain. My partner had a baby girl at the end of 2016 and we’ve got back from a great tour in the UK and Europe. It was a really great time!
With everything that is going on does 2016 feel like a bit of a blur now?
2016 was great for the band and we are looking forward to a lot more international travel this year. This year will be one of touring and shows and it will be a very full year for us so it is full steam ahead for sure.
Does being a dad make it a bit trickier being away from home for extended periods?
Fortunately, this is my second baby and I kind of know what I’m getting in to but it sucks being away from my family because I love them so much but I love working to. There is more incentive to work and work harder to earn more for them and to provide a nice life. It is hard every time I leave and it is the worst so when I get out there and start playing I do love it and my wife understands that.
My three year old boy understands to and he knows that when I come home though I can stay home and be dad. He has me all of the time, a lot of dads have to go to work and might only get to see them for a couple of hours on the weekend. I could be home for six weeks straight so it is kind of the best and the worst. Are lives are certainly different than most people’s but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Tidal Wave is a great album and it must be pleasing to see how far and wide the album reached and how it was embraced by fans?
It has been incredibly rewarding and when we were in the studio working on it we thought we had something pretty special. A lot of times we think we have some kind of magic going and then the audience doesn’t necessarily respond which can be a bummer. It was very different with Tidal Wave and it does take time. We are so used to crowds going nuts for songs that have been in our arsenal for a long time it does take time for the new songs to grow on people. We have seen that happen with Tidal Wave and we are really lucky.
Some of the references cited for this album such as The Ramones, Springsteen, Mellencamp, Tom Petty and those sorts are impressive. Did you think they would have such a big influence on the direction of Tidal Wave?
It is interesting! When the song Tidal Wave was coming together, when a song like that would be coming out of us we would change the direction of it particularly if we thought it was coming to easy or maybe if we were wearing our influences on our sleeve a bit too much we would pull back. We would change the direction and it make it something more of our own. With that song in particular it feels good, it feels right so let’s go there and not be afraid to do that. I think embracing that was important and a big hurdle we had to overcome and I think we did it which made for something very powerful. I think going forward we broke down a lot of walls and barriers we put up ourselves so now we are embracing our influences. We’re not afraid to wear our influences on our sleeve.
Given what you did with Tidal Wave does that get the band excited about what you might do with the next album?
No, we never really go in with any preconceived ideas of which direction we want to go with our songs. When we get in a room with the four or five of us Mark our drummer works on a lot parts and sampling. He creates a lot of beats on his iPhone using ideas that comes naturally. None of us are classically trained musicians, none of us really know how to read music and we trust our gut instincts a lot. Moving forward it is about trusting our gut when we start writing. Everyone has parts here and there and possibly next year we’ll get in the studio and start writing but is a long way off for us right now.
Do songs that didn’t make Tidal Wave get revisited for the next album?
A lot of times we have to start afresh because there were a couple of songs on this record we kind of banged our heads against the wall working on it day after day maybe we can turn it in to something else but a lot of times it’s just not worth it. Sometimes you just have to throw it away and be done with the idea because for whatever reason it wasn’t going anywhere. There is a guitar riff that John has from 2006 or 2007 that we could never work in to a song and tried to make a song with it which never worked. He is an amazing guitarist but we could not turn that riff in to a song and that is the most frustrating things because it is so great but we can’t make a song out of it. I think the riff is that big you can’t write a chorus around it. When things like that keep coming up we’ll just have to throw the idea away.
Do you think you strip back the album even further and do something more acoustic?
It is not an idea we really kicked around at all but myself I wouldn’t be adverse to anything like that. I don’t think we would do that and it’s not on the cards right now but you never know what the future holds. I hope we have a lot life left in this band and there are still a lot of stones unturned.
What are Adelaide fans in for tonight at The Gov? Is there a strong leaning towards Tidal Wave?
We like to showcase the record as much as we can but we also know that we get to Australian once every two years so we like to give everyone a little bit of everything. The set list will cover something from each of our records and we know what people want to hear so we’ll play a whole heap off Tidal Wave and play a whole lot of other stuff as well covering all the bases for sure.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Catch Taking Back Sunday at The Gov tonight and tickets are through OzTix. Check the tour poster for remaining dates on the tour.