Bringing pop-punk to the ears of fans for over fifteen years now, Alkaline Trio have a strong fan following of all ages. Their multiple albums and EP’s that include dark, angst, emotional songs about heartbreak tales and anti-cops rants have made this trio a success in the music community. We at Hit The Floor caught up with one third of the trio, bassist and singer Dan Andriano, to hear what he had to say about their up and coming Europe tour, how their music has changed over the years and the bands thoughts on their fans getting their logo tattooed on them.
HTF: You guys have been together over fifteen years now and you’re on your ninth album. Can you tell us what you think the biggest change is between how you were when you first started and now?
DA: I don’t know. I don’t think we’ve really changed much, except we’ve gotten a lot older. We still act like little kids and y’know we still have a lot of fun at the shows. That’s what really keeps us all going. The shows are still great, people keep coming. So I think we just tend to grow as musicians. I’ll always try to keep getting better, I still play guitar everyday and try and work on stuff. I think the song writing has probably changed a bit, but I think that’s just for the better.
HTF: Your sound has evolved massively over time, do you feel like you have reached your goal of having a really good pop punk record like you always wanted?
DA: Yeah absolutely. We kind of just write however we’re feeling at the time. A few years back that sounded a little different. Maybe a little slower or dynamic, with a little bit of experimentation. But that’s kind of just what we felt like doing at the time. It’s just the natural thing to do, y’know? We’ve made a couple more, I guess, stripped down records recently and that felt right.
HTF: This tour has more than 10 dates, is there any one in particular you’re looking forward to doing?
DA: You know, we always have such a great time in England, so the whole part of it is gonna be great. We’re pretty excited to get over to Scandinavia because we’ve only been there once and it was for a very short visit so I’m excited to play in Sweden, Norway and Finland. You know, it’s way overdue for us to get up there and do some proper club shows. It’ll be fun. It’s kind of a new territory.
HTF: It looks like this tour is a mixture of both the bigger and smaller venues. Do you have a preference? Ã¢â‚¬¨Ã¢â‚¬¨
DA: I like them both. I like to play in front of as many people as possible but as long as they all wanna be there. It can be hard sometimes if you’re playing in front of a big crowd, you can’t tell how you’re doing and that can get a little weird. I like a club show, y’know? Kind of a smaller place. I wanna make sure everyone gets in. Fortunately for us, people wanna keep coming. It’s unbelievable. It’s great. So I wanna make sure everyone that wants to come can get in. You know a small show can be a lot of fun, you know, when you’re right there, because that’s what it’s all about. And that’s what made us fall in love with doing this.
HTF: Is touring still as exciting for you guys as it was when you first started?
DA: Yeah, you know it never ceases to offer a lot of adventure. Some tours are more exciting than others but one of the good things about doing a tour is you’re always meeting new people, even in your own camp. Like our crew people have got to go work for someone else or have some time off so we have to get new people to help us with our shit on the road. And that’s always interesting. For the most part you’re always meeting someone new and making new friends. So that’s nice. And also, there’s still so many places we’d like to play. Like I was saying about Scandinavia, you look forward to playing in a new place.
HTF: Are there any personal favourites that you can’t wait to perform this tour?
DA: Yeah, I mean I really like the new record a lot. We’re not trying to over kill playing songs from the new record. But ‘She Lied To The FBI’ is a super fun song to play. It’s a fun song and it’s easy. It’s a high energy good song. Yeah there’s some different kind of stuff too. There’s a song that we put out on an EP that I really like playing, it’s a different kind of song. So hopefully we’ll pull that one out sometime. And we’ll see how it goes.
HTF: What do you think of your old albums Maybe I’ll Catch Fire and Goddamnit 15 years on? They are still many fan favourites.
DA: We still love all the records, so it’s great that people wanna hear the old stuff. It’s also great that they received the new stuff pretty well. You know, people are always gonna wanna hear the old stuff and fortunately for us we still love playing it.
HTF: Do you still to play your old stuff as much as you can at your shows?
DA: Oh yeah. We try and do a little bit of everything but it gets hard because we’ve got eight studio records. So right there if we wanna play two songs off each record, that’s already a lot of songs. So then we try and do a little bit of each record and then try mix in some other stuff. You know, some random songs. And aside from those studio records, there’s also a bunch of EP’s and whatever. So we try and touch a little bit of everything if we can.
HTF: How do you feel about the masses of fans that have your logo tattooed?
DA: It’s crazy.
HTF: Is that humbling? Or do you find that creepy?Ã¢â‚¬¨Ã¢â‚¬¨
DA: No it’s great! And it’s cool when people get really creative with it. And it’s cool when people just go straight forward with the heart and skull. It never stops being incredibly flattering, obviously, it’s a dedication. And you know, we, well we appreciate it on such a level.. It’s hard to even express. Like, it’s awkward. Because people come up to me all the time and show me and I don’t even know how to respond. It’s such a crazy thing., y’know? But great. And it’s weird, I hope no one’s ever felt like I didn’t care because I didn’t have any words.
HTF: Are there any bands you’re listening to at the moment and would suggest for your fans?
DA: Yeah, I mean the band Hold Steady put out a record last week which was pretty good. Oh, and this band from Ihio called Cloud Nothing. They’ve got a new record and it’s really good. It’s sort of like cool, garage-y.. like indie pop? I don’t know what to call it. I hate genres. But it’s really good. But yeah, there’s another band, that’s also from Ihio, that’s weird, called The Sidekicks. They’re one of my favourite bands. I just saw them open up for Against Me! It was the first time I’ve got to see them play and I was blown away. They were so good.
HTF: That’s really cool. So after this tour, is there another album on the horizon?
DA: We’re kind of starting to talk about our next record now. Yeah, I mean I’ve written a couple songs. And hopefully I’m gonna keep writing. I’m also working on a new record, by myself. And that’s been kind of taking up a lot of my time so it’s kind of difficult. I do everything alone. So yeah. I’m working on that and I’m always trying to write something. If I stop writing for any extended period of time, it gets extremely hard for me to get back into it. I’m not that prolific as a writer. I always need to be working on something.
HTF: I managed to catch your set at Reading last year. Any festivals lined up for this summer?
DA: Erm, no.. no. We kind of did that last summer. It’s really fun, but they don’t want you coming back every year. But yeah, we’ll be back. But Reading man, that’s one I wish I could have back, I think. I don’t know why. I always have fun at Reading but for whatever reason I felt kind of, I don’t know? Sometimes you just have a weird day and for me, personally, I felt a bit removed at that one. So it sticks out in my memory as a bit of a weird one, which sucks. It’s such a good show. And it’s such a cool festival, there was like a tent full of people. But.. next time.
HTF: So if you guys aren’t playing at any festivals, do you have any plans of attending any yourself?
DA: Yeah, I mean, I’m just gonna really look forward to spending the summer with my daughter. If anything comes up around the area maybe we’ll go see something. But I’m probably not going to be travelling. I live in a semi-remote part of the country down here in the South-East Coast so not a lot festival wise happens. Maybe a seafood festival, but that’s it.
Interview by: Chloe Ingram