Yellowcard – March 4th 2011
For those who take their pop-punk with a generous helping of strings, the news that Yellowcard were back touring and releasing a new album definitely got 2011 off to a rocking start. We caught up with Sean Mackin before the band’s set in Birmingham to find out what to else to expect from the band this year.
So! Since you’ve been back together as a band you’ve been to Russia and the Philippines -
And Japan! Any reason for those places in particular?
Well, Japan is a great place for Yellowcard, we have great fans there, and my mom was born there! And the Philippines; there’s a great market down in South East Asia for a lot of American bands so a lot of people do really well down there. We played for nearly three thousand people. It was crazy. And then I actually didn’t know about the market in Russia…it was scary. And cold. But the shows in Moscow and St. Petersburg, those shows were amazing. And Finland, I guess, was really just on our way over here. So, it worked out like that. We need to tour Europe proper as well but it was really important for us to get to the UK ‘cause we’ve kinda neglected you guys and felt bad about it and ask for forgiveness!
So how are we doing in comparison to those shows?
Amazing, oh my God, it’s wonderful. We’re on tour with All Time Low right now and they’re great guys; a phenomenal band and we’re so humbled by the opportunity to play for their audience and also say hello to our fans who have not forgotten us. It’s really cool.
Are the fans at the show All Time Low fans or are you seeing a lot who’ve followed you guys here from before?
We’re seeing both. It’s definitely All Time Low shows. They tour over here a lot and they didn’t just come off a two year break, they came off a huge record and they have a new album coming out and they’re like a pop juggernaut right now but their fans are great, y’know, very kind to us and they’re enjoying the songs – a lot of people are singing along and it’s very cool to hear.
Awesome. And you also have a new album coming out! Tell us a bit about that.
It’s awesome. The new Yellowcard record is awesome. It’s called When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes and it’s out March 21st. And we’re really proud of this one. I was just talking to a guy and he’s like, “oh, everyone always says it’s the best, y’know?” but I think when you have five full length albums that a band has out out you really have an idea of exactly what is good for the band and what’s important and I think that comes through. I think it has both vintage Yellowcard sounds as well as a new, mature, edgier thing. Lyrically, Ryan – of course, I’m speaking for him – he’s a great narrater. We always talk about music from our personal experiences so it’s very easy to get to know us. We’re very accessible. You get all of that on the record and I’m really excited. I think because the timeline was condensed and we were so rejuvenated from taking a year and a half/two years off that all the energy was captured in the music. I dunno. We’re just pumped.
Feels like it was so much longer than two years! I don’t know about for you, but definitely for me…
Well, it was a long time. especially for our fans in the UK, y’know, coming out of 2006 – or 2005, even – Ryan had to have vocal chord surgery. We had to cancel two tours over here and we just never got momentum back. It’s tough when you have a close friend, and singer, and the doctor looks at him and says, “hey, he may never be able to sing again…” it’s really scary. So, that was tough. And then the label and the global economic climate really stunted our growth with Paper Walls and we’re just really looking forward to getting everything back that we had and touring over here. It’s absolutely necessary for us to be here twice this year.
I think so too.
We’re looking forward to that. Right now we’re just moving the puzzle pieces around for this year, we’d hoped to be playing some festivals but I don’t know. I haven’t talked to our booking agent in a while. I don’t know exactly how that’s going but we have to be back. We’re planning on it.
Good! Headline tour, maybe?
Maybe, I don’t know. We’ll have to see what the record is like and what we can afford, obviously it is expensive to do overseas and so that’s really most important. If the album does well and we get some festivals and everything is great then we’d love to headline. Y’know, thirty or forty minutes of a support set and playing people the hits is a lot of fun. But we have so much music! And just yesterday – the glory of Twitter, right, and social networking, we’re pretty accessible – people are saying, “can you play this song and this song…” and we don’t really have time in thirty minutes to play that! All Time Low are great guys but it’s their show. So, enjoy their music. That’s kinda what we’re doing. We’d love to play longer and share those songs that we haven’t been able to the last couple of years.
You mentioned just now about how the new record has got a bit of a vintage Yellowcard sound – was that an intentional thing?
No, no, it was pretty organic. When Longineu called Ryan and said, “hey, I think it’s time to do a Yellowcard record, we can try to figure this out, talk to some labels…” and Ryan started emailing me ideas. I think it was more a feeling that we had inside. We did a big sound change for Lights And Sounds and I think everyone does that when you get to a point in your life and think, “hey, this is awesome!” and you have an opportunity to do something different and exciting I think everyone would take advantage of it. It’s just human nature to wanna push forward and try something a little different and it was, I mean, it’s one of my favourite albums. But right now; we looked back at, like, this is what we’ve done and this is really exciting and got caught up more in the energy of it than the opportunity to do something different and what was captured was a little more spontaneity. And it really just is the Yellowcard band. And it was really cool. Looking back at a body of work and seeing us try things that we’ve never tried and giving the old listeners something and giving the new listeners a taste if what old Yellowcard was like – I think that’s really important. And hopefully we got that.
From the songs you’ve put out so far -
Yeah, we’re two weeks a way, you have a little bit!
It definitely doesn’t sound contrived. So, that’s a good thing.
Yeah, we try not to do that.
After this you’ve got the US leg of the tour, with All Time Low, still.
We’re with them for ten weeks, this is longest tour we’ve ever done with a band. We’ve done a couple of six week tours before. We’re really excited.
Did you know each other before this?
Briefly! We’d met them on Warped tour and it’s so wonderful to see a band like that. They’re great guys, so down to earth, they talk to everyone. They’re hilarious. And they’re still peaking! It’s great. Our new record was mixed and produced by Neal Avron and they’re new record was mixed and produced by Neal Avron and so there’s a lot of ties there. And they’re great guys. We’re really excited, we’re three days in to the tour and we’ve already gone out and y’know…messed up Dublin and we messed up Nottingham last night.
After this tour run what are the plans? Going to keep touring?
Absolutely! We’re and all-go-no-stop band. We’ll probably tour through, hopefully – if things go well and the record is well received – we’ll be able to tour through next year, 2012. We have always done two year touring cycles. I think, also, with the amount of international touring we have to fit in it’d be very important for us to spend a little long…we have to revisit South America and Australia and New Zealand as well as coming back to Europe and the UK. It’s almost two different places – you have Europe but there are so many wonderful places to play in England so it’s almost its own tour.
We spoke earlier about Twitter and bands being more accessible – has it changed a lot from before to this album release? Because obviously Twitter as we know it wasn’t really around then.
Absolutely. There’s always different outlets for media and social interaction. When Yellowcard first started out we were doing basic email, AOL, instant messaging and then came MySpace. We missed Facebook but we’re like…it’s always changing. It’s funny, we talk about the mystique of bands before in the 80s and 90s and, like, Pear Jam…and you never really met them and you never really knew them but you saw their videos and that’s why they always did music videos. But now you go on YouTube and you have all these outlets. We WANT to be accessible to our fans. So, we embrace the changes. Not to say that we can’t change it but we’re not gonna change it. So we wanna make sure everyone knows how thankful we are, how happy we are, how blessed we are to do this. And also let them know that we really appreciate what they give us. We couldn’t play music for a living – I mean, I’m a violinist! So I definitely know that I’m the sore thumb here.
I don’t wanna keep you because I know you’re very busy right now so are there any last things you wanna just put out there?
Yeah, just…Yellowcard always wants to thank our fans and our friends for supporting us. We wanna remind everyone that we hadn’t forgotten about the UK and it’s very important for us to come over here. It’s just a mixture of bad luck and bad timing but we’re gonna fix that in 2011!