Multi-platinum selling rockers The All-American Rejects are back with two brand new tracks and an innovative short film that combines the two songs together. ‘Sweat’ and ‘Close Your Eyes’ are connected through the video that tackles dealing with one’s identity for a powerful and moving method of showcasing music. We caught up with guitarist Mike Kennerty to talk about the new material, and how there are no longer boundaries or rules on how music is visually delivered to fans.
DP!: Hey! Thanks for talking to DEAD PRESS! It seems like The All-American Rejects have been gone for ages. What have you all been up to?
Mike: We spent ten years straight in a constant cycle of touring and recording that was incredible, but also left us a little tired after a decade. It was time for us to take a minute to be humans and sleep in our own beds. When that got old, we decided to make some music again.
DP!: The new songs ‘Sweat’ and ‘Close Your Eyes’ form a 2 song EP, what is thinking behind this release format?
Jules: These days there aren’t any rules to releasing music, so we decided to take advantage of that. We’ve recorded more songs, but ‘Sweat’ and ‘Close Your Eyes’ seemed to compliment each other in an interesting way. Especially once we started working out the ideas for the videos to accompany them, it seemed like the right move to present this concise, focused piece rather than weighing it down in the midst of a full album.
DP!: What are the plans for a new full-length record? Will we be hearing it this year?
Jules: We’re going to keep working in the coming months and see what materialises. We’ve always been a band that waits for the right songs to come rather than forcing things for the sake of meeting a deadline. Records live forever. You have to make sure you’re proud of that shit.
DP!: ‘Sweat’ was produced by Ido Zmishlany who recently found success working with pop starlets Shaun Mendes and The Chainsmokers. How did The All-American Rejects end up working with the producer? Is this a glimpse into the future of the band?
Jules: We’ve always made records by picking a producer and then hulling up in a studio for months until we go insane. To change things up this time, we’ve decided to work one song at a time with a different producer for each tune. It has kept things exciting. We don’t know what we’re walking into each time, and that keeps us on our toes. I think we’ll definitely continue with this method for a while.
DP!: The video for the two songs form a short film with the stories of ‘Sweat’ and ‘Close Your Eyes’ intertwining brilliantly. Was this always the plan when the songs were written?
Jules: It wasn’t the plan to connect the songs when they were written, but it when came time to make a video they became inseparable. ‘Sweat’ and ‘Close Your Eyes’ are a perfect encapsulation of the yin and yang of this band. We don’t ever want to feel pigeon-holed into one style, and there wasn’t any better way to tell that to people than to give them the whole spectrum in one shot.
DP!: How did the concept for the short film come to fruition with Jamie Thraves?
Jules: Jamie presented us with a three sentence treatment that intrigued the hell of us. We’ve learned from past experiences that the simplest, shortest treatment ends up making the best videos. I don’t know if it has to do with not overthinking things too early on… anyway, that mindset seemed to pay off again. Once Jamie and Tyson got their heads together and started fleshing out the characters, the pieces just fell together immediately.
DP!: The film is so powerful and compliments the music perfectly to make for a full experience when listening to the EP. Do you think that the concept of the music video is dying out, or do you think that the music industry will have to become more creative and inventive like you have for this release?
Jules: Videos as we knew them ten years ago are certainly dying, if not dead. To just make a traditional video is just throwing money away. To get anyone’s attention these days, you definitely have to think outside the box. It makes things harder, but it’s also kind of fun to force our brains to be more creative. Hopefully we can keep it up!
DP!: Would you have tried something this extravagant and different back in 2005?
Jules: We might have had the idea, but the label probably wouldn’t have gone for it when they could just pay for a normal video and things would work out. So, maybe the destruction of the music industry has some silver linings!
DP!: How much convincing did it take Tyson to get into that outfit?
Jules: None. He was on board from the first second, and he threw himself in full force! He’s been doing a lot of acting the past few years, and I think he relished the opportunity to put all he’s learned into this. He killed it. I couldn’t be prouder of him.
DP!: Any plans to come over and see us in the UK?
Jules: We’ll hopefully make it over to the UK soon. We always have a blast there.
The band’s new EP, ‘Sweat’, is out now via Interscope Records, and you can order it online via iTunes (here).
Interview by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)