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Interview: Simple Plan

The wait is finally over. The Canadian pop-punk outfit, Simple Plan are back with their fourth studio release and the demand couldn't be higher. The band have already surprised fans with the recently debuted, 'Can't Keep My Hands Off You', featuring Weezer's own, Rivers Cuomo, which if it's anything to go off by, we could be looking at Simple Plan's best record to date.

With so many questions still yet to be answered, Alter The Press spoke to frontman, Pierre Bouvier about the band's yet-to-be-titled new album, gearing up to tour the world again, his recent song about having 90k followers on Twitter and more.

Alter The Press: How does it feel that the new album is finally coming out?
Pierre Bouvier (vocals): It's like waiting forever to get laid for the first time and then finding out the exact day it's finally going happen. The day couldn't arrive any sooner!

ATP: You just debuted, 'Can't Keep My Hands Off You' online. How has the response been so far?
Pierre: The response has been amazing! It's been almost 100% positive. I personally love the song and I'm really happy we decided to leak it first. It just feels good. The UK label even decided to go with it as the first single so that's a pretty awesome surprise considering that we were only planning on releasing it for a viral track.

ATP: It's very reminiscent of 'No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls' (Simple Plan’s debut album). Would you say the new album follows in the same direction?
Pierre: There's definitely an element of "fun" that was present on 'No Pads…' but the album is deep and is by far our best work in my opinion. It's got some 'pop-punk' tracks but also has some that sound like nothing we've done before. So yes, and more.

ATP: How would you describe the new record in comparison to the Simple Plan back catalogue?
Pierre: We've been together and making music for a long time and I feel that with every album we grow a little bit more as songwriters and as a band. With this album, I really feel we've surpassed ourselves in every way. The songs are great and I feel like there's a lot of sincerity on this album. I just love how it all came together. It's like all of our fans favorite things about Simple Plan all wrapped up into one. It’s like a blast from the past on some tracks and then a peak into the future on others without being cheesy and trying to sound "modern".

ATP: Do you have an album title yet?
Pierre: *sigh* No. Can’t find one! I'm kind of freaking out about it to tell you the truth.

ATP: How many tracks are on the album?
Pierre: Eleven plus b-sides for certain territories.

ATP: How did you end up collaborating with Rivers Cuomo on 'Can't Keep My Hands Off You'?
Pierre: It's something we wanted to do, so we reached out to his people and he said yes. It was quite simple really. We've always loved Weezer and Rivers has written some classics. We kind of did it just as a selfish thing. We didn't really care if we ended up with a great song or not. We figured it would just be an awesome experience to work with him. It was kind of funny because we were super nervous before he showed up so we prepared a bunch of ideas. When we started writing the song, we kept coming up with these "Weezer" type lines. I guess because we were trying to come up with stuff that we thought he would dig. So a lot of the lines that people may think he came up with were actually from us trying to get him stoked!

All jokes aside, it was a great experience and we're honored to have him sing on the track; he fucking rules.

ATP: Can we expect any other collaborations on the new record?
Pierre: There are more collaborations on the record but I'm not at liberty to talk about any of them yet. All I can say is that fans will be stoked.

ATP: Alex (Gaskarth) of All Time Low has mentioned about working with Simple Plan on new music. Is he featured/written any of the new record or vice versa on the new All Time Low record?
Pierre: Ok, well the cat is pretty much out of the bag on that one. I'll just leave it at what he said: "Alex does a little something on our record."

ATP: You recently shot two music videos for 'Can't Keep My Hands Off You' and 'Astronaut'. Will ‘Astronaut’ be the first single from the record?
Pierre: Actually I’m not even sure. I think it might be another one for which we're shooting a video next week in Canada. We're shooting three videos in total before the album even comes out which is pretty rad. At least they will be done and out of the way. I think it was a budget thing. Since budgets are getting smaller and smaller with all the illegal downloading, the label figured we should cut their costs and shoot them all together. It’s a new business plan. We're pretty happy about it because this way we have three guaranteed videos.

ATP: Back in February you released a snippet of a new song, 'You Suck At Love'. What made you want to debut this song first?
Pierre: It was one of the first songs that we all felt was awesome. It’s sort of the song that started it all. After we wrote we were like: "Ok, this feels good. We might have a record after all!" It sounds like SP version 4.0. It's fun and pop-punk, sort or reminiscent of 'No Pads..' with tons of energy and super melodic. We felt like our fans had been waiting for so long that we had to give them something they could look forward to and this song felt like the right one.

ATP: You've just announced a new batch of European tour dates before you spend this summer on Warped Tour. Are you looking forward to getting back overseas?
Pierre: We're looking forward to going everywhere again. There's this amazing vibe right now in the band. We've all had the time to realize how lucky we are and we just want to keep doing this for a long time. Everyone is ready to work, have fun and kick some ass on the road. This record is like a year and a half in the making and we're all chomping at the bit. We're ready and amped.

ATP: You couldn't have picked a better time to release a new record. 2011 has new releases from the likes of Yellowcard, Blink-182, All Time Low and more. Why do you think pop-punk has made such a comeback?
Pierre: Good question. I really don't know. It's just coincidence I guess. I still remember in 2001 before our first record came out, our record label was saying: "This record has to come out now! This pop-punk thing will be gone by next year!" I don't think that it's ever going to go away. I mean sure it evolves and changes a bit here and there but it's really just great music with awesome melodies with that punk rock energy. People will always love that.

ATP: What is your take on the current pop-punk scene?
Pierre: To be honest, I’m kind of out of it. I don't listen to a whole lot of music. I feel like I'm so busy with my own that when I'm not working I enjoy quiet time. Does that make me sound like an old guy? Haha. I do like 'Forever The Sickest Kids' and 'All Time Low'. I can't think of others right now.

ATP: You put out a song recently when you reached 90k followers on Twitter. What are you going to do when you hit the 100k mark?
Pierre: Ha! I was just f’ing around at home and put that together in an hour or so. I thought it was funny. I think I might reach 100k by tomorrow, so I better think of something soon! I guess I'll do like a Twitcam or something like that or maybe another song. We'll see how I feel like. It's got to be spontaneous.

ATP: When can fans expect to see the next 'Big Package For You' DVD?
Pierre: We definitely want to put out another DVD. My guess would be in 2012 when we have some footage from all these tours we're going to do. The great thing is that we have a whole bunch of really good songs left over from the seventy we wrote for the album, so we'll be able to package it with some new songs and stuff.

ATP: What's the plan for Simple Plan in 2011/12?
Pierre: It’s all about touring. Our schedule is already starting to stack up pretty crazy. We're going to be going everywhere including a lot more US this time around. I'm excited and a little scared. We're going to be going around the world a few times over the next 18 months.

Simple Plan's (yet-to-be-titled) new album is out June 20th (UK) / 21st (US/Canada).

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