Still holding it together, Taking Back Sunday are far from done. Considering how long the band have existed since their formation in the early 2000s, it’s hard not to appreciate what they’ve offered in the beginning where young budding musicians like themselves were still finding their feet in music. Being part of the ’emo’ scene and known for such banger tracks like “Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team)” and “Make Damn Sure”, the five-piece have tied up some loose ends, naturally progressing year after year despite being associated as a nostalgia outfit.
Speaking to lead guitarist John Nolan, he began to express his excitement for the release of their seventh record Tidal Wave and shared his insights on working together with the original line-up which made their first record Tell All Your Friends a huge success. Considering how they approached things a little differently this time round, Tidal Wave was a cleanse of the past; an open door of new beginnings.
“I think that what happened with this album is that it’s the third consecutive record with the same group of people,” he says. “Being the same group of people who made the first Taking Back Sunday album, I think what we had in the self-titled album was sort of reconnecting with each other; trying to figure out how to work together again. With the second one, Happiness Is, it was us pushing boundaries and seeing how far we could take things and kind of test the waters. With this one, there was a new sense of confidence and purpose.”
“We’re not really here to play songs from twenty years ago and you know, be this nostalgia act.”
Although longevity seemed to be in the cards for the Long Island band, Taking Back Sunday have had their fair share of challenges throughout the first few years of their career. With frequent lineup changes while also experiencing some creative differences among members, arguments began to surface and setting some compromises seemed impossible back then. Despite this, Tidal Wave reignited something good for the band; a change that was necessary for them to work together harmoniously. Discussing with Nolan about the first two records Tell All Your Friends and Where You Want To Be, he pointed out what really made the creative process for their seventh record much smoother.
“I would say that there’s nothing on the album that stylistically sounds anything like the first two albums. But what I think is that there’s an energy similar to that,” Nolan continues. “I think with this album, what’s changed is that we’re able to embrace that kind of energy that we had at the beginning, and be a little more natural on how we develop songs; how we let things happen and let ourselves be who we are in a certain way. We are kind of returning to something we had at the beginning. We had to go through a whole process where we had to learn a lot of things and we had to push a lot of boundaries and to work a lot to get there, you know.”
One thing you’ll notice from Tidal Wave is the way it flows so effortlessly, and you could tell how genuine the collaboration is among the members. It was almost as if we were presented with a renewed version of Taking Back Sunday, encompassing all those elements in their music that we originally loved about the band.
“Since Shaun [Cooper, bass] and I have rejoined the band, it’s been the line up from the Tell All Your Friends album – everything we’ve done is extremely collaborative,” he says. “I think there were phases with the other guys where there was less collaboration and more people taking charge of things. I think with this one, the collaboration has always been there with the five of us – it’s just a matter of finding the balance and playing everyone’s strengths within that collaboration. I think that’s a big thing that happened with this album because there was as much collaboration as the last two [records] but there’s a better understanding within the band.”
With ’emo’ being a subculture existing in the early 2000s, it’s hard to shake off the impact Taking Back Sunday have brought on fans discovering the band in their teen years. Despite this association, Nolan didn’t seem to mind that this was the case. Although it was a little frustrating, he knew in his head that they wouldn’t be the band today if it weren’t for the people who supported them from the very beginning.
“It’s one of those things I think that we’ve learnt to accept that people have this connection to our first record, and you always appreciate that because we wouldn’t be here without that first record, and a lot of our fans wouldn’t be here without that first album,” Nolan continues. “It’s also something that get’s frustrating because you have the presence of that album and people’s opinion of it and their comparisons are always gonna be there, and then the nostalgia thing as well.
“For some reason, there’s this renewed interest in emo or whatever and I think that’s bringing people around to revisit our band. I think there’s also this thing that we’re very conscious of is that we’re doing something right now that we’re very excited about and very interested in. We’re not really here to play songs from twenty years ago and you know, be this nostalgia act. We’re trying to find this constant balance between appreciating the past and people’s enjoyment of it, and also trying to bring people along with us into the future.”
Tidal Wave will be available for release September 16 via Hopeless Records / UNFD
Catch Taking Back Sunday next year as they embark on an Australian Tour with Acceptance. Check them out on the dates below!
Taking Back Sunday Australian Tour 2017
Friday, 17th March
Enmore Theatre, Sydney (Lic/AA)
Saturday, 18th March
The Triffid, Brisbane (18+)
Sunday, 19th March
170 Russell, Melbourne (18+)
Wednesday, 22nd March
The Gov, Adelaide (Lic/AA)
Thursday, 23rd March
Metro City, Perth (18+)
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Tickets can be purchased HERE