Taking Back Sunday’s not taking anything back
Taking Back Sunday’s gone through more lineup changes than the Cleveland Browns, and yet they continue to put out quality records. The band’s latest, “New Again,” takes the group into some new sonic territory, including mixing up time signatures.
Newest member Matthew Fazzi took some time to talk to Graffiti about the new record in advance of the group’s upcoming show in Morgantown with the All-American Rejects.
Graffiti: Tell us a little about what the band’s been up to.
Fazzi: We had a couple of weeks off after we finished the Blink (182)/Weezer tour, which was amazing.
We had a few days off, and played a show in Hawaii. Then we had a couple weeks off, then just yesterday we had our first show on our tour in Cincinnati, and now we’re in Columbus.
We have a tour coming up with the All-American Rejects. So for the first eight to 10 shows on this tour we have this amazing musician — we love Gavin Castleton.
I’m actually sitting in on guitar with him. So it’s kind of fun to do double duty with Gavin and get him exposed to more people because I think he’s one of the most amazing musicians, personally. Apparently no one’s caught on yet.
And then Anberlin is with us for the next seven weeks total.
Graffiti: The latest album’s a little different for you guys sonically. What made you decide to switch things up?
Fazzi: A lot of it has to do with not wanting to release the same record twice, and trying to keep moving forward all the time.
It’s also the product of when I came in the band everyone had some time off and everyone’s slate was kind of clean and everyone wanted to approach the record in a new way.
They gave me a place to come in as a new member, and I came from a progressive rock band with influences like Yes. I know as players they’re capable, and I thought it would push the band in a little bit of a new direction.
There’s a little bit of subtle time signature stuff, and my guitar playing style is a little different from Fred’s. It meshes well with Matt and we have a lot of melodic space together; we work really well together.
The vibe was good; it was super organic and everyone was contributing ideas. It all came together really quickly and famously. Everyone had a really good time doing it.
Graffiti: What was the song writing process like? I know you probably can’t compare it to previous records, but is the process still largely the same as it was before you joined? It sounds like it might have been pretty collaborative.
Fazzi: For this record it was certainly that way. I think in the past it leaned more heavily on (lead singer) Adam (Lazaara) and (guitarist) Fred (Reyes) for the most part.
For this record, it was fully collaborative, all the way around. If someone had a portion of a song everyone would jump in. It was a really collective effort for the whole band.
There’s a song called, “Swing,” on the record that was mostly contributed by (drummer) Mark (O’Connell) and he went and demoed the song — with no vocal, no melody. The arrangement was a little different the way it turned out on the record, but I thought that was a rad thing. With so many members contributing to the record, it gave us so much stuff to use.
Graffiti: How much of an influence did you have on some of the new sounds? Was it more you encouraging the band to go that direction, or were they kind of waiting to go there anyway.
Fazzi: I think a lot of it had to do with an exchange. It could have been like, “you’re going to play your part,” and that’s it. But they knew I wanted to contribute, and they gave me the voice.
I don’t think they necessarily planned on going on certain stylistic directions before I joined. It’s more like I opened them up to more things … like giving them the suggestions of time signatures or three part harmonies. It’s like, if they didn’t give me the opportunity, it would have turned out pretty different I think.
Graffiti: How’s the reaction been to the new music?
Fazzi: It’s been great for the most part. I notice in some towns people gravitate to the new music more or some people aren’t as pumped.
Even in some countries, like going into England, they embraced the record more than the United States. For some reason I feel like the excitement for certain new songs is way more insane.
Overall, it’s been a very positive reception for the new record, and that’s all we can ask for, especially with the band going through another lineup change. It’s definitely a difficult thing to stick with a band after they keep going through changes.
I’m just thankful people can stick with TBS and not be like, “it’s not Fred, it’s not John, it’s not, ‘Cute without the ‘E.’”
All we try to do is write good songs.
Graffiti: Have you started working on any new material?
Fazzi: Not especially. We’ve been talking about it here and there.
We’ve been talking about general ideas, but we really haven’t settled down to do anything like that because we’ve been touring nonstop since April.
It’s something that’s in the back of our heads but it’s just on the back burner till we can make some time and space to do that.
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