The Word Alive spent the Summer of 2012 on the All Stars Tour, presenting a show in support of their recently unleashed Life Cycles album. Sharing the stage with the likes of Suicide Silence, Dance Gavin Dance, I See Stars, and a host of other bands, The Word Alive would deliver a super intensive set that definitely secured one of the very best responses of the night. Prior their set at the House Of Blues on the Sunset Strip, we caught up with front man Telle Smith to find out more the All Stars Tour vs Warped Tour, the themes behind Life Cycles, their song on Pop Goes Punk 5, a possible solo album, and many other topics of interest. Check it all out here…
How has the All Stars Tour been going so far and what have been some of the highlights for you?
It’s been great! The highlights would have to be the first night we headlined in Arizona – in our home state – it was sold out and it was just insane! It was the best home crowd we’ve ever had. And then last night in Sacramento playing Ace Of Spades was the second best show. It was sold out again and it was the best Sacramento show that we’ve ever had – maybe the best California show we’ve ever had. We’ve had some pretty great experiences so far – we’re playing a lot of new songs and kids seem to love that – so that makes us feel a lot better about things.
How does All Stars Tour compare to the two summers you spent on Warped?
It’s a lot different! The first Warped Tour – we came, we didn’t really know what to expect – and it was a lot of work but it was fun. The next summer was just crazy – it was a lot more exposure – there were a lot more interviews and press and we were busy all day long. But its outdoors and it’s blazing hot out there – but the crowds are massive – and you’re playing for a lot of people who don’t know who you band are potentially. Whereas the All Stars Tour, I feel like that pretty much every person who’s here has at least heard of our band before. But I think it’s a way of showcasing to the other band’s fans where we are at now. Maybe they have not seen us live before – maybe they’ve not seen us live in a couple of years – and so it’s good. It’s great for our fans because it’s a little bit more intimate than Warped Tour – we get to have a light show and do some production stuff that we love doing. I think it’s like the perfect mix between Warped Tour and a normal club tour, because you’re playing for new fans and you’re playing for fans who haven’t checked out your band in a while – but you’re also able to get the intimacy. It’s dark – the lights are off – you have the light show and you can go and get water whenever you want. I think it’s a cool way to spend the summer off from Warped doing this tour.
Is there any story or concept behind the Life Cycles title?
It’s kind of more like a collection of stories. It’s supposed to represent different points of people’s lives – going through the good – going through the bad. Life isn’t always bad and it’s not always good. But trying to make relatable songs for different situations. One of the songs is about me losing my grandfather. One of the songs is about growing up. One of the songs is about that feeling mostly when you’re younger – but even as you grow older – of wanting to belong to something – wanting to feel important or useful. It’s a lot of different subjects that collectively make up the Life Cycles. You have, when you’re young and you’re growing, that point where you feel invincible – and then the point when you realize that you’re not. So it’s kind of a collection of different circumstances and it collectively makes up Life Cycles.
What song will you be doing on Pop Goes Punk 5 – or can you announce that yet?
Not allowed. Fearless told us not to announce it yet. But we’re going to be on it and it’s a really badass song. We’re about to get a new mix of it either today or tomorrow and it’s crazy! There’s like four solos in it or something like that. We took the opportunity to showcase what we could do musically and just go balls to the wall. I think people are going to be surprised, but really like it. It think it’s going to be – just like with Heartless – we took it and it sounded nothing like Heartless. We went even more so with this song. I think people will be really interested in hearing how we’ve transformed it.
What decade did it come out originally?
It came out this year. It’s a new song. It came out in 2012, I will say that. (Editor’s Note: It was recently announced that The Word Alive would be covering Mercy by Kanye West on Pop Goes Punk 5.)
Are you still doing your side project? I know you have at least one song recorded.
I actually am working on a solo song now – it’s being mixed – that I recorded one week before the All Stars Tour started. I write music in my free time. It’s more of like just a thing I can do when I have the time. I want it to become something that I could put out an actual CD on at some point, but The Word Alive is so busy and I run my clothing line – which is actually one of the sponsors of this tour. I’ve been pretty busy with those two things. So one song every six to twelve months has kind of been the pace I’ve been going at right now. We’ll see what happens with it though.
So we’ll see the debut album in like ten years or so.
How has Luke Holland been working out and what was it like when he first played in Vegas with you guys? Were you nervous at that first show at all?
I was a little nervous. I had only practiced with him once. The guys had maybe two or three times. So not very much at all. I saw a video of his on Youtube and I hit him up on Facebook and I asked him if he wanted to try out – and he said, “Yes of course.” And he came, tried out – and we said let’s do these next couple of tours and see how things are going. Shortly after the end of the first tour, we talked to him and we were like everything is going great – as long as this is what you want to do, we want to keep you on. And he was like of course, he wanted to do it, and so he’s a full member now. It’s been great! It’s weird, because it feels like he’s been with us a lot longer than he has, but it’s awesome.
Do you still keep in touch with the other drummer Justin?
Yeah, I talk to him almost every week and at least one of us talks to him every week. He’s still one of our best friends. He just wanted to start a new chapter in his life, and we support him in that. Dusty also as well – he came out to the hometown show we just had the first day of All Stars. We stay close with all of our past members, except our first drummer – he’s the only one that none of us talk too. But we talk to every single other member on a regular basis. Just cuz they’re gone – we all appreciate what they did when they were in the band and we’re all friends. So it’s really cool to have.
What’s up next for you guys after All Stars Tour?
We have two of the shows with Chiodos for their reunion tour. Then we do a short headlining run – mostly Canada dates with Upon A Burning Body and Like Moths To Flames. We have those shows and then we have a headlining tour that we’re about to announce that’s going to be full US. Then after we that go to Europe with Parkway Drive and Emmure. And then we will have a couple of shows in December just to finalize the year. Then we’ll start all over fresh in 2013, and we already have stuff lined up for the beginning of that year too. So were’ going to be busy all over again.
And do you have any messages for you fans out here in the Los Angeles area?
Just thank you in advance – we’re shooting a live music video tonight, so I hope everyone has fun. And just everyone who’s picked up Life Cycles – thank you! The reaction has been awesome, so thank you!
(Interview by Kenneth Morton – Photos by Adam Gendler)
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