Talkin' with Tyson of All-American Rejects
Who doesn't know the songs "Swing Swing", "Paper Heart", or "Dirty, Little Secret" just to name of few of All-American Rejects' tracks. "Move Along" was a mega-hit and a certified double-platinum seller. They were getting constant airplay and we all sang along and played them at our parties, but it's been a while since we heard some new tunes from these guys. It's only been a few years really, but might as well have been forever!
Well, their new album is no longer a dirty, little secret. It's about to drop on December 16th and TeenMusic.com got some hot one-on-one time with the band's oh-so-crushable lead singer Tyson Ritter!
TeenMusic.com: So the new album is "When The World Comes Down" and the first single will be "Gives You Hell", right?
Tyson Ritter: Yup!
TeenMusic.com: How do you guys go about picking which songs will be the singles, especially the first single? Do you have a lot of input with that?
Tyson Ritter: We leave it up to "the man" at the label. We give them our babies and they tell us which ones have the prettiest face.
TeenMusic.com: I've heard the new single online and it sounds pretty good. I like it. Have you been getting good buzz about it?
Tyson Ritter: Yeah. It's really happening man. It's pretty cool. The All-American Rejects have always had a sort of slow build, but we always get up there and nose on up in there.
TeenMusic.com: Pending the December 16th release, I haven't heard a lot of the CD. Is there a good mix on this album?
Tyson Ritter: I think it's our greatest work. As far as other contemporary records go where every song sort of has a similar sound and all the tones are the same and the drum kits are the same, you know it doesn't really make for an eclectic-sounding record so we took every song on this album as a baby and nursed it to "where they be" as far as tones and everything.
TeenMusic.com: Very cool.
Tyson Ritter: We took about six months to write and record this record where our last one we did in six weeks so you can understand the difference in scale. I think it's an experience. Like, you sit down and the whole thing has a cohesive sort of flow where most contemporary records, all the sounds sound the same and you get kind of tired of it after a while.
TeenMusic.com: I read that you were mixing up the formula this time and that you were challenging yourselves and challenging the fans to follow you. So how exactly do you change the formula, but still have the AAR sound?
Tyson Ritter: I think the fans will really be into the sound. I think the sound is sorta just us where we need to be. I think it's an original sound. I'm excited about it.
TeenMusic.com: What is it that you think the fans are going to dig about it?
Tyson Ritter: I think the people that fall in love with this record are gonna keep it on them for the rest of their lives and that's good. It's the one where we make our benchmark statement saying, "this is what they sounded like and this is how they changed music".
TeenMusic.com: Any love songs in the mix or romantic ballads?
Tyson Ritter: Yeah. Most of the victims of my songs are women. They might not always be about women because it's easy to point your finger at the source of all hate and past trauma, you know? Like, "Gives You Hell" isn't about a girl, but I kinda wrote it in the context that it was about a girl so it's kind of just easier.
TeenMusic.com: Except that I did notice that in the lyrics of "Gives You Hell" it says, "You be the queen and I'll be the clown" so there's no specific queen then? It's just to girls in general?
Tyson Ritter: Oh no. (the song) "Mona Lisa"' is about my lady. That song has this loud, apocalyptic sentiment where it's like, "If the world ends tomorrow there's nothing we can do about it tonight, right now" so as long as you've got someone to share with then you are better off than the guy next door.
TeenMusic.com: In your opinion, is that what makes a good love song?
Tyson Ritter: What do I think makes a good love song? Honesty. That's all that matters.
TeenMusic.com: I know administrators normally handle them, but how much input do you have into your MySpace and Facebook pages and all of that? Are the fan's comments and messages getting to you?
Tyson Ritter: What's really cool is that we are the first band to team up with a company called Kyte. If you go to www.allamericanrejects.com we have live video blogs every day. It's really kick-a**. It's a crazy way of getting in touch with the fans.
TeenMusic.com: I notice you guys have a free show coming up here in Hollywood and there's a book signing too. What else is going on out there? What about the fans that aren't in Hollywood? How can they get their AAR fix?
Tyson Ritter: Well they can always check out our website. We update it all the time and we are always adding new stuff. We are also doing a Yahoo Exclusive where we are gonna be covering Britney Spears' "Womanizer".
TeenMusic.com: That's cool. I remember Mandy Moore doing Rhianna's song "Umbrella" on there. It's fun to mix it up and hear other artists' takes on each other's songs.
Tyson Ritter: Exactly man! We are gonna do a very dirge-y version of "Womanizer".
TeenMusic.com: Did you say "dirty" or "dirge-y"?
Tyson Ritter: Dirge-y! Ha ha. It's gonna sound like a scary, pirate song!
TeenMusic.com: I know you said you are just trying to do your thing and make the new album about where you are at now, but with the last albums being such huge successes is there a lot of pressure from "the powers that be" to follow-up that past success?
Tyson Ritter: No. You know what's great is the last time we were writing it never seemed to be good enough, but this time it seemed like we didn't write a bad song. At least according to everybody. They were telling us we were ready and we were telling them that we weren't so I feel like this record was just the destiny record, the one that just came together with blood, sweat, tears, not a f**king doubt. You throw that in the blender and you get a recipe for success. I think the only truly good art that has come about has come with a great struggle.
TeenMusic.com: So far as putting it all together, is it truly a group effort between all the members of the band?
Tyson Ritter: I mean, Nick and I are the songwriters and I think the best thing I can say about Mike and Chris is that they kept us on track. They weren't bugging out on these songs that we have been scrutinizing and holding under a microscope. I think one thing on this record is that we really did come together as a band when we came to record this record.
TeenMusic.com: I've talked to other artists about waiting for an album to drop and more than one has compared it to what it's like when you are a kid waiting for Christmas. Here it is almost Christmas for real. Would you say the same thing?
Tyson Ritter: No. It's not like Christmas for me. It's like a funeral. Because this is the moment you have been waiting for, for two-and-a-half years so by the time it comes you are kind of sad and depressed leading up to it because you doubt it so much and I think it's more like a wedding that you don't support or a funeral. It's a very fragile moment.
TeenMusic.com: Do you have any personal favorite tracks off of the new album?
Tyson Ritter: My favorite track of this album is the song called "Fallin' Apart".
TeenMusic.com: What's it about? What does it mean to you?
Tyson Ritter: The song "Fallin' Apart" has a "primo" choir on the chorus and this catchy, catchy vibe and it just killed it! (In a good way, we guess!) It's got this kind of Dexy's Midnight Runners kind of feel to it.
Tyson Ritter: It's like this really confused disco-rock song, but I love it! There's another song called "Another Heart Falls" that we recorded with The Pierces (an Alabama band featuring two sisters).
TeenMusic.com: I was going to ask you about them. I was reading great things about them and that track. Are they up-and-coming or still a local band or what?
Tyson Ritter: They had a song on (T.V.'s) "Dexter", on the first season and yeah they are still really up-and-coming, but I am really just stoked about it.
TeenMusic.com: You think they have a good sound and that your fans would also like them?
Tyson Ritter: Yeah. I think they'd like them, but I think they are gonna love what we did with them.
TeenMusic.com: If you had something to say to your fans about buying the record and why they should pick it up when it drops, what would you say?
Tyson Ritter: It's a record you are never gonna grow out of. I think this is the record to buy. This is our best work so if I die tomorrow I'd die with a big grin on my face.