Alter The Press!


Interview: Saves The Day

Just weeks before heading to record their new album 'Daybreak', Alter The Press! were fortunate enough to sit down with one of the most influential bands of our time, Saves The Day.

The guys spoke to ATP about 'Daybreak', Rodrigo Palmer and Spencer Peterson recently joining the band, being back on tour with New Found Glory after ten years, their six year absence from playing the UK, Louis Pasteur and more.

Alter The Press: How has the New Found Glory tour been going so far?
Chris Conley (vocals/guitar): It's been really fun; it's been really neat, being back with them after so many years. It's been ten years since we've actually toured together, and it's neat seeing people who were at the shows back then, still coming, and a bunch of new fans, which is cool.

ATP: Rodrigo (Palmer - bass) and Spencer (Peterson - drums/percussion) have recently joined the band. How are they settling in so far?
Chris: Going great. I like playing with them a lot, and they really appreciate being in the group, which means a lot to me.

Rodrigo Palmer (bass): There's a kinship that seems very natural between me and Chris. There's a vibe which is just easy and natural. I'm just stoked to play these songs.

Spencer Peterson (drums/percussion): We've been settling in pretty well. It's been fun.

ATP: How did you (Chris) meet these guys?
Chris: Arun (Bali - guitar) and Rodrigo have been playing in bands since they were fifteen, and when Manny (Carerro - ex bassist) and Durijah (Lang - ex drummer) went back to Glassjaw, Rodrigo was the first person that came to mind.

Arun Bali (guitar): We've been playing in a lot of bands together, we grew up playing music, and learning how to play music, amongst one another.

Rodrigo: I met Durijah before, when I lived in a punk rock house, and his old band, The Stryder, had played my basement.

Chris: With Spencer, I asked around and said, 'Who's the best around?'

Arun: They weren't available, so we got Spencer!

Spencer: I would have said we met on Chatroulette (website that pairs random strangers for webcam-based conversations.)

ATP: What was your first response, (Chris) when Manny and Durijah said they wanted to focus on Glassjaw full time?
Chris: I totally understood right away, that's the band they were with years and years before we even met. Now that Glassjaw is fully back in action, it kind of makes sense.

Arun: We kind of prepared ourselves, and knew it was going to happen, we prepared ourselves and moved on.

ATP: The forthcoming album, 'Daybreak'. How does it feel doing a record without Dave Soloway, (ex guitarist) for the first time since 1999?
Chris: It's the same as every other album. The songs start as these little chord progressions, melodies and maybe a couple lyric ideas. I then bring it to the band members, and then it gets pushed from there. The majority of songs are born in my heart, so it's still the same process. One thing that I'll say, is that it's incredible working with Arun over the last year, he seems to envision the song the same way I hear it in my head; even though it might not sound put together when I go to the guys. I used to have to do demos to construct the songs, to say: 'Here it sounds in my head', but showing these songs to Arun on an acoustic guitar, he can tell how cool it's going to be, and it's been a relief, because I feel like I don't have to do as much convincing like, 'Trust me, it's going to be cool! Trust me!' He just knew it was going to be cool, so we were on the same wavelength right away. That's been awesome.

Arun: We just vibe off each other really well; if one thing is not working, we'll try out different ways, but with the basic ideas and chord structure, we can make a full song out of it. It's just a matter of how to dress it up.

Chris: This group of guys has much more of the same vision that I have, which is awesome. It doesn't feel like a struggle/fight to be on the same page, we are all excited about the new stuff.

ATP: Is the album complete?
Chris: It's written, it just needs to be recorded. April 1st we start.

ATP: Who is on board to produce it?
Chris: Marc Hudson, our front of house engineer, is going to be producing it. He produced the last Saves The Day album, and the Two Tongues record, which I did with Max Bemis from Say Anything. Marc has done a lot of other recordings, I think, most notably; he did the first Chiodos album. We are going to his studio, in the woods, in Michigan.

ATP: Have you decided who's going to release 'Daybreak'?
Chris: No, labels want to hear finish products nowadays, rather than invest in something that they aren't sure of. They want to hear what you're actually going to do and, because we are label-less right now, we have to wait and record the album, then see who is interested.

ATP: Did you ever think of releasing it yourself?
Chris: I think that is definitely an idea that we have been kicking around, and I think it's feasible that that can happen. If we go with a label, they will have to show us a better scenario than we can create on our own. The label will either be really good, or we'll already be doing great by ourselves.

ATP: You posted the album track listing last year. What made you want to split the opening track, 'Daybreak,' into five parts?
Chris: It's a five part song, eleven minutes long, and each part hands off to the next song. There is a theme, which comes back at the end. It was a weird moment of inspiration, a bunch of different pieces for songs were kicking around in my head. I was on the couch one night, and it all just came together. It was really neat.

ATP: How would you describe 'Daybreak,' in comparison to previous Saves The Day material?
Chris: Lyrically, it's way different. The theme is sort of, accepting the struggles of life, rather then fighting against them. Saves The Day has been sort of morose, all this mourning and misery; but now all of that has led up to so much positive growth in my heart, so now it's flowering. These guys love it when I go into my weird hippy analogies.

Rodrigo: I just love the fact that, when you were saying the old stuff was morose; you were smiling as you were saying it.

Chris: The awesome thing is that the old songs were a way of venting and getting through stuff. I just happened to be at a point in my life, where it makes sense why I had to go through A, B, C and D, because I wouldn't be who I am today; and I really value who I am today, in my state of mind. 'Daybreak' is turning all that negativity in to some sort of positive change. The music, I think, is more like 'In Reverie,' but more upbeat and groovier then any other Saves The Day album, except for 'Under The Boards'.

ATP: Are there any tracks in particular you are looking forward to getting out there?
Chris: I can't wait to play the whole thing really. It feels like they are going to be really fun to play.

Rodrigo: Every song has a character about it, you know.

Spencer: I think, what's neat about recording it, is that we are doing it a week after the New Found Glory tour ends, and we became a band on this tour; just by playing live together. So, to go into the recording mode, after building our chops as a band for the last two months, is really beneficial. I don't think it'll be so sterile as we are all so super pumped, not that is was sterile before on other Saves The Day albums. It's going to be a lot of energy for sure.

ATP: Can you see yourselves playing the album in its entirety at all?
Chris: Definitely playing the album trilogy in its entirety, yeah. We could do it all in one night, it'll only take an hour and a half. It would be so cool.

ATP: Would you do an encore of the Saves The Day 'hits'?
Chris: Not if we billed it as the trilogy show. But every single show you play, you'll get someone coming up to you who says, 'Why didn't you do "Rocks Tonic Juice Magic", you didn't play enough of "In Reverie", where's "Daybreak"?' There's no winning really.

Spencer: Even if we played the entire discography, people would say, 'You guys played too long!’

Chris: There’s always going to be endless disappointment. So, I've learnt more to enjoy what I'm actually doing, and remind myself why we are doing the show. Not everyone is going to love this, but it's so much fun.

Arun: The great thing is, now, when all four of us are on stage, all four of us love it. The vibe on stage is a lot more different now; it's a lot more upbeat up there.

Spencer: Made crazy-ish.

ATP: For you Chris, will there be another Two Tongues album?
Chris: I think so; we'd like to do that. We talk about it frequently, and it's just about finding the time, as we are primarily concerned with our own bands. If there’s a month here or there, where we are both free, we'll get together and do another one.

ATP: Now, looking forward, you are coming to the UK for the first time since 2004, to support Sunny Day Real Estate. When you were offered the opportunity to come back, what was your first response?
Chris: My first response was, 'Oh my god, we get to play with Sunny Day Real Estate,' and then my second response was, 'Whoa, we get to go back to the UK.' I'm purely excited. I love doing the UK, Europe, Japan and Australia; because it's such a different musical world, people actually appreciate musical innovation. If you have some chords that might be more complex, it's actual valued and if you have real melody, it's appreciated. That's neat, I like that because, in the US, it's really cookie cutter, you have to fit a certain formula; it's weird for a band like, Saves The Day, who continually evolves.

Rodrigo: I think it takes American audiences time to warm up to stuff. They get timid.

Chris: After 'In Reverie', I learned you’ve got to give every album five years. It's now been five years since it came out, and now I'm getting people come up to me saying, “Man, that was the best album ever. Why did you change afterwards?” And I'm like, “We've been changing the whole time, I don't understand.” When 'Through Being Cool' came out, it was like, “Why did you slow down? Why are you selling out now?” It seems every record has its fair share of critics, so you’ve just got to give them five years; then it's like, “Man, I remember When ‘Through Being Cool’ came out, it was so awesome, greatest album ever.” And of course, I just remember people saying the negative stuff, but I'm amazingly sensitive, and get wounded quite easy, I just learn to give myself a better outlook on it. It's also true that we are lucky to get to do this, maybe it's okay that I'm loving it; it doesn't matter that everyone one else isn't liking it.

Rodrigo: It has to come from an honest place, where we are liking what we are doing. It's fortunate that you, (to Chris) are still able to do this ten years down the line, and New Found Glory are doing their ten year anniversary thing, selling out shows and it's amazing. I feel so fortunate that we all get to be here, doing this.

Arun: I think the other cool aspect, about coming to the UK and stuff, is that the great thing about our job, is how we get to travel. We all love that aspect, getting to come to the UK again. I'm a big fan of the culture, fashion; just being over there is exciting alone.

Spencer: England is going to be great.

Chris: I want to keep coming back more often.

Arun: The funny thing is, the day before we found out, before the show, we were geeking out about how great Sunny Day Real Estate are, and how important that band were to us growing up.

Spencer: I'm late to the party about Sunny Day Real Estate.

Arun: We got an e-mail saying we might be able to come over to England and play with them. I'm 31 now, and I was transformed to a 17 year old, just feeling giddy.

Rodrigo: A 31 year old Indian man, transformed into a 17 year old female girl.

Spencer: Didn't Rob Schneider do a movie about that?

Rodrigo: Imagine how funny a Rob Schneider movie could have been if he wasn't actually in it. It could have been so funny, it had funny writers and started with a good premise.

Arun: Imagine 'The Hot Chick' played by The Rock.

Spencer: Let's start shit with everybody, in every interview. Fuck Twitter.

Rodrigo: Let's start beef with Kanye West.

Chris: The New York Yankees.

Rodrigo: Rob Schneider.

Spencer: The Rock and pasteurization.

Chris: I'm anti-pasteurization.

Spencer: Fuck Louis Pasteur! (French chemist/microbiologist). It's definitely been 49 shows, and it's showing. We're never playing France!

ATP: Why has it taken this long to bring Saves The Day back to the UK?
Chris: I guess we never had a proper booking agent over there, and never really received offers that would cover plane tickets; it costs so much to get over there. We've never had a label that gives us a bunch of tour support, it's just a loan anyway, you wind up paying it back. So, in favor in staying out of debt, that's the reality of it. We would love to come; it's not from lack of interest on our part, that’s for sure. Spread the word, we've love to come more often.

ATP: We sat down with Max Bemis (of Say Anything) last year and he said briefly about a possible Say Anything/Saves The Day UK tour. Have there been talks about this?
Chris: That would be awesome, but I haven't heard about that. Let's do that, it would be great.

Arun: It's the first we're hearing about it.

ATP: April 1st you are recording the new album, then coming over to the UK, doing Grozerock in Belgium. Between recording, and once you've wrapped that up, what's planned next?
Spencer: Take over the world.

Chris: 2010 is the year we make contact.

Rodrigo: Realistically, a lot of touring, make sure the record comes out.

Chris: We want to be touring all the time.

ATP: Anything else you would like to add?
Spencer: Fuck Louis Pasteur! Tell him he's never allowed to a Saves The Day show.

- Jon Ableson

Alter The Press!