Today, Tuesday 4 October, Los Angeles punk rock band New Found Glory released their new album Radiosurgery. NFG drummer Cyrus Bolooki spoke to Music Vice about the new record, explaining how it was inspired by the classic Green Day albums Dookie and Kerplunk while also trying to bridge the gap between old and new pop punk…
The full transcript is below, but as a bonus you can also listen here to the recording of the phone conversation (use your headphones to make it easier to hear…):
Jackee Pollard, Music Vice: I’ve heard the new album – it sounds really good, and more heavier and upbeat compared to your previous albums – so I wanted to know what you thought of the new record?
Cyrus: I think it’s some of our best work, I know that sounds rather cliche but I do think it’s some of our best work. First off, we worked with Neal Avron again who we’ve worked with in the past on some of our records and it was really fun to be in the studio with him again. We call him the unofficial sixth member of New Found Glory. He has great ideas when it comes to mixing and things like that. Neal really pushed us this time around to just bring the best out of ourselves, so even before we got in the recording process Neal was there and he wasn’t afraid to tell us that maybe we can try something different. Even when we gave him the first demos he was like “this is great but I think you can maybe write even better songs”. He was pushing us from day one and I think this helped to make this record a great record.
On top of that, as with a lot of NFG records, we’ve managed to make this record it’s own thing, a unique thing. I think it’s going to really stand the test of time when people look back at it. I think on this record we give a little nod to some of our past influences, some of the bands that got us started, the record’s that we grew up on like Green Day’s Dookie or Kerplunk, or the Descendents, and even the Ramones. These are the bands that started pop punk, and what you hear nowadays, with the modern pop punk sound, we are able to bridge that gap sonically on this record.
I love the new album, I was dancing to it in my room. It’s more upbeat compared to the old stuff and I guess it’s a lot more energetic, you could say.
It’s music that will make you move, and it’s true like you said, it’ll get you dancing right away. It’s lyric that are very identifiable to a lot people because that’s what we go through and we’re not trying to talk about something that we don’t know about.
How are things going with Epitaph?
This is our second release with them. Everything is going great with Epitaph, even from day one and we have been on other labels for a long time, we have been on major labels for a long time. Even though we did go away and look at other options, we came back to Epitaph because they understand it and they are a real record label. They are not worried about the bottom line. I mean of course, they are going to try and make money but they just know that when you’re a record label you put out a band’s record and help them promote it and in turn they sell some records. You release records, you go on tour, and that’s how you make money. Epitaph gets that. And they approached us in that sense. It’s not about “oh let’s sign this crazy contract and we’re going to give you a bunch of money and take a percentage of everything” it was just, “hey, we’ll put out your record, and we’ll put out a record after that and we’ll just do it record by record.” So in that sense Epitaph is being a classic record label and we really needed that and we didn’t see enough of that when we were with the other labels.
Those are the kind of labels you want…
We’ve done this stuff for too long to just go for a record label because of some gimmick or because of who they are, like a name or something. Epitaph is an amazing example of a record label that can continue to thrive regardless of what’s going on in the music world or economy that surrounds it.
We grew up listening to a lot of bands that were released by Epitaph. They’ve released so many historic records in the rock world. Some of us we’re wishing or dreaming that one day we would have an Epitaph release, well now we’re on their label so it’s pretty awesome.
So we touched a little bit on Neal. Is the relationship still the same as where you left off before?
Yeah, for sure. I think all of us are definitely older and Neal’s kids aren’t kids any more, they are all in college. But the same old jokes are still funny and in a lot of ways that’s what made it even better for us on this record because we didn’t have to sit their for a couple of weeks and figure out who this producer is and what kind of person they were going to be. We were able to just get in there and focus on what is important, which is the music and the songs. We were very happy to work with Neal again and in someways we’ve been wanting to for a while, almost ever since we had stopped working too. Looking back, we just needed to do a couple of records on our own and figure out what’s good for us, what’s not good for us. I think Neal, like I said before, is the unofficial 6th member and he really does bring a great mindset to our band which nobody else could.
So you needed the time without him to grow?
Yeah in some ways. You know, you always don’t know what you had until you don’t have it. It was good for us to not do the same thing over and over but on the same token it’s great to be back with him. We had him mix our last record Not Without A Fight which was awesome. He didn’t produce it or anything but I think we were just looking forward to him being in the studio again for the entire process, being involved with every little thing from turning a knob on a guitar all the way up to song structure and stuff like that. And we were so comfortable going to him for those ideas.
So are there touring plans for the new album?
We kick off on the Pop Punk’s Not Dead tour in two days, literally two days after Radiosurgery drops, so that starts on Thursday 6 October. It’s a US tour. Unfortunately there are no plans right now for that exact tour to go all over the world. We’re bring along a lot of bands who are doing really well in our genre of pop punk, and a lot of newer bands too. We’re bringing out Set Your Goals, The Wonder Years, Man Overboard and This Time Next Year. Specifically for this tour, we’re tying to show that this style of music pop punk is not dead. Here’s a whole bubble group of bands who are doing well, some of them are younger, some of them have been around for a few years, but all of them represent our style of music. They all rally behind what they do and we all rally behind each other. We’re going out to have a good time, play shows, and bring a positive message and a positive vibe all over the world. Then on top of that, touring plans never stop, so we already have some international plans for next year.
We don’t have specific touring plans for Canada at this moment but you know we plan to go everywhere so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s on the near horizon. We have international touring plans starting early next year and that will probably go easily into next Fall.
Do you have a favourite song from the new album?
Can I pick two?
Yes, you can pick two!
I’m still kind of new to the new record but it would be a toss-up between “Drill It in My Brain”
Ah yes! “Drill It In My Brain”, I love that song!
That song is fun to play.
I almost know it word for word now, so.
Well it kind of goes along with what you we’re saying, the new record is fun and makes you dance and whatever. Playing that song “Drill It My Brain” is a lot of fun. The other song is called “I’m Not The One” – that song we’ve had for a little while but for me that song I will go down and say it’s classic New Found Glory. I feel a lot of people will identify with that song immediately. They may go and find other songs they like on the record but that song for me is the one that people are going to be drawn to right away.
Why did you name the album Radiosurgery?
That came about as we were finishing writing the album. We had most of the songs almost done, or at least lyrically, they were getting done. Chad was on the internet and he found the term Radiosurgery online and put that definition around. The procedure is to get something out of your head, like memories or thoughts of somebody, so it worked as a good word to some up this record. If you listen to the songs on this record, they are about break-ups and whatever and it kind of takes you through this journey, the stages that you go through when you have a break-up… everything from anger to revenge, to kind of dealing with it but still not getting out of your head. There is song on the record, the final track “Map Of The Body” that deals with the thing that it sort of will never go away. “Radiosurgery” is what you’ve got to do to get rid of it, and where you literally need a procedure to remove somebody from your head… obviously it’s not realistic but that’s a good summary of what’s going on with record and how you deal with relationships.
Can we expect to see any more from the NFG side project International Super Heroes of Hardcore? Are there any more assignments going on for that?
Well I don’t have any plans that I can talk about or know of. As of last I heard, and I could have the story wrong, there may have been a death in the Super Heroes. They may not be around any more… um, and I don’t want to say that in the sense that the band has gone but literally in the comic book sense there may have been a tragedy on that side. So you’ll just have to stay tuned to see what happens…
Finally, this is a standard Music Vice question; other than music, do you have any vices that you would like to admit to?
Vices, yeah! I definitely have one habit that I’d like to ditch and that’s soda pop. Back in the day it used to be regular Coca-Cola or something like that but I’ve since switched to Diet so at least I’m not getting all of the sugar but even anything like that without a ton of moderation is not good. So I think that’s something I maybe need to stop or substitute.
© Jackee Pollard, Music Vice
Links: New Found Glory