Interview: Sum 41Written by Timo Claes
Sum 41 took a few years off how was it going back on tour?
M: Getting back on tour was nice. We were off for about 3 years, so you really get into home life again. But getting back in, all it takes is just a couple of practices, couple of shows and you’re right back into the circle of touring again. And now it feels like we never took the time off. It feels like we’re always on tour, playing shows so it feels good and the shows are going good and that’s all we can ask for really.
How Was the Response of the audience when you announced you were getting back together?
M: We started touring again last year, so 2016. We did some show in 2015. We came back together in 2015 but did only a few shows. It seems like the fans were really into it when we announced cause we were of so long. And there was uncertainty whether the band was ever going to play again and if the band was going to play again. So I guess when we announced that we were going to play again, it’s seems like there was a good response.
You left the band for a long time, Dave.
B: Yeah I left the band for about nine years and I was home, did my own thing and got back to collecting my head, gathering my thoughts together. I rejoined in 2015.
Did you miss being with the band, being on stage?
B: Yeah absolutely, for a good part of my twenties and my late teens this was what I was conditioned to be a part of. And of course I missed the people most of all but there’s a hole, which is kind of a voice inside of me that didn’t get filled until I like got back in the band.
What convinced you to come back?
B: Basically just Deryck and I talking. Cone and I got together for lunch and we all got to chat and talk about things we haven’t talked about in the past nine years. And it was really important for me. Then Tom and I got on the phone and it was just a good vibe. And I was like ok, let’s do it. I was a little bit hesitating at first because I didn’t know how the dynamic between everybody was but once I got to chat with everybody it was like yeah this is stronger than it’s ever been.
You have a new album out but you went on tour before it was released. Did you feel the need to go on tour before releasing new music to let the people know that you’re back?
B: Yeah that’s pretty much exactly it. We got a chance to do the entire world tour.
M: I guess it’s just one of those things that we haven’t played for a long time so that we just wanted to tour but it’s more about awareness, like hey we’re back. A lot of people do social media and a lot of people follow us on Facebook and stuff like that but not everyone does so it’s just the awareness that the band is back, come and see us play for an hour on tour and have some fun with us. It’s good just to do that kind of stuff, being with the band. Not just promoting a record but promoting your band like hey we’re back.
Is there a big difference between the festivals in the US and in Europe?
C: Yes because in the US you do like a festival one day or two days maybe but no one really stays over, the don’t camp out. Here it’s a camping thing so it’s a whole week, four or five days full of just like camping and probably meeting a ton of new people and I can’t even imagine. I’ve never done that but when you see it in Europe it just blows your mind.
B: There is the custom to it; Europe has been doing this for like 30+ years right, in the states maybe 15+.
M: Yeah and I don’t think people, maybe only on Coachella, that’s like the only one where people do some sort of camping. But even then people go get hotels and stuff.
What is the story behind your nicknames?
M: They’re just nicknames from high school really, we all went to high school together so it was just a stupid high school nicknames and some of them stuck.
B: Well yours and Deryck’s stuck, and then mine., I remember that I got during half hour power it was like oh you need a nickname and we just couldn’t come up with one. At one point it was going to be Black Magic but that could be interpreted wrong.
M: Yeah I’m glad that one didn’t come through.
What are the highlights that you’ve had with Sum 41 over the past years?
B: There have been a couple of things.
M: We did a Metallica Icon, an MTV thing so we had to play some Metallica songs in front of Metallica. We did a song with Tenacious D, which is really cool.
How are those guys?
M: They’re hilarious.
B: They’re just as funny in person like they are on stage.
M: That’s just the way they are, they don’t put on an act. They are funny just downtime, just writing lyrics, walking around the studio, writing lyrics and just fucking hilarious.
B: Well if they didn’t put on a show for us, but I think they weren’t, that’s just how they are.
M: I remember watching on TV, we had this channel Much Music, which is like MTV but from the US. I remember one of the hosts going to Reading Festival and we were thinking wow that would be so cool to play something like that one day and then we actually got to play it. So that was a big highlight. We played it with Metallica, which was awesome.
The new album is called 13 Voices, why did you choose that name?
B: It’s kind of like Deryck recovering.
M: Yes you’ve have to have him really explaining it but it was just about when he was getting in the hospital I guess. He was trying to recover and become sober, he had always voices in his head like people talking. Or just people in general telling him what to do and how to do it. He had always had people basically telling you what is best for you and I think eventually he came up with this title, 13 Voices. The first single, “War”, was also one of the most personal songs on the record. When you have an album you have always songs that you like and you should like them because it’s your album. It’s hard just to pick a single so you kind of like with your record company and your management and everyone else surrounding your band. It’s a kind of an open committee, you ask everybody “ok guys what do you think the single should be?” “War” was decided from everyone collectively so that was the strongest single to go with.
B: These days it’s nice because we’ve been a band for 2 decades now and it’s like as far as choosing a single we get to choose a song that means the most to us now. Which is a big thing and a big advantage as far as like really putting the album out there and letting people know what the record is about.
M: And sometimes when you’re in the band you can’t have a decision. It’s hard to have a perspective what the single should be, what the song on the radio should be. You can have your favorite song like I have a favorite song on the record but maybe it’s not good enough for the radio. So it’s good to have these outside opinions because they’re very close to the album, they helped recording it.
What is the next big thing for you then?
M: We’re touring, yes. The US tour with Peirce The Veil, some Canadian shows which we co-headline with Papa Roach. Then we’re going to do some festivals here and then we’re going to take some time off after the summer for a couple of weeks. Then we still have to go to Asia and Australia and probably come back to Europe again at some point.
Let’s close down with something you want to tell us, something aimed at starting bands, photographers, journalists, …
B: If you’re starting out and you’re working on something that you’ve dreamt about. It’s important to focus on that and not try to multitask. A Lot of people are telling that they can do these days. We’ve focused on Sum 41 and for me personally when my focus started straying into 2 bands I lost my way a little bit. So then being back in Sum 41 and focusing on 1 thing is really important. Put your time and your energy fully into something and it will, as long as it is your passion I will be something that is very rewarding.