Interview: Four Year Strong [Slam Dunk Festival]

By Tamsyn Wilce

Slam Dunk Festival is renowned for bringing over some of the best pop-punk bands from the States and this year was no different, we caught up with Alan and Dan from Four Year Strong to talk about the Festival, the new wave of pop-punk bands and…. whale semen…

What do you like about playing Slam Dunk in particular?

D: This year specifically I like all the bands that are on it, I think it’s a really really great line-up.

A: A lot of friends.

D: There’s tons of friends here that we’ve toured with a million times and we get to hang out with, and actually a lot of the bands are on Warped Tour this summer so it’s a good like, “Hey I’ll see you in a couple weeks!” thing.

It’s a nice little warm up for you!

D: Yeah, and the shows have been awesome. Yesterday in Birmingham was huge, tons of kids, it was like the biggest Slam Dunk ever.

A: Yesterday was crazy.

D: Leeds was great too, so no complaints whatsoever about the Festival.

Good! We’re glad it’s treated you well. Slam Dunk is a great Festival to catch both pop-punk veterans such as yourselves and the newcomers as well, is there anyone you would recommend?

A: Ummm, I don’t know who’s considered new anymore? Because to me The Story So Far is new, but they’re huge.

D: They’re awesome!

They’re a few albums deep now…

D: Trash Boat sounded pretty cool.

A: Roam as well, Roam were great. I only know who is playing our stage.

Well those are some great picks! Now, you released your self-titled album last year, how has life been treating you since? What have you been up to?

D: Everything’s been great, we’ve done some touring on the new record. We did a bunch of stuff in the States and a little Euro run not long ago.

A: Yeah like, a week ago.

D: The album cycle has been great, whenever you put out a record you’re always a little hesitant on how it’s going to be received and it was received really great and we’re super stoked on it. Everybody really liked it, we couldn’t ask for more than that.

That was your first full-length record in four years, did you find it necessary to take that time out in order to put it all together?

A: We didn’t take ALL that time to do just that, we took the time to do the opposite.

D: Like sit at home and have families.

A: We’ve toured so much over our career that we were starting to hate each other and we need some time away.

Did you feel a larger sense of pride and achievement once you had finally got the record out?

D: Yeah! I was really happy with the band being able to come back together after taking a long break like that.

A: Which was very necessary because we probably wouldn’t have ever made the record if we didn’t take the time off.

D: And just the fact that Alan and I were able to get together and write songs and have them come out like cool Four Year Strong songs again was really awesome to know that we can still do.

That time off was very important then! You’ve also recently been live streaming some of your shows, what made you decide to start doing that?

D: I just think it’s fun! Kids at home wanna know what a Four Year Strong show in the UK looks like and there are all sorts of fun little things that happen every day on stage that people get to miss.

A: It’s because my dad wanted to watch us play.

D: The kids seem to like it so we just keep on doing it.

A: Why not y’know?

You’ve been a band for around fifteen years now, so what would you say are the most important factors in keeping a band alive for that long?

A: Knowing when to stop. [Laughs]

D: It’s different now than when we were younger and the band was going well. I’d say now as being adults, the secret to keeping a band going is balance, being able to balance our home lives and our personal lives with our touring lives.

A: Which isn’t always easy.

D: We don’t over do it and make it stale, we keep everything fresh and it keeps us excited to go on tour and put on good shows and try to write great music. I think that’s really what it comes down to, keeping everything fresh.

Finally then, if you could ‘Go Down In History’ for one thing, what would it be?

A: Most handsome man alive, or richest man alive.

D: Richest man… or the biggest penis!

A: The biggest penis of all the mammals.

D: I saw a picture of a Blue Whale’s penis recently, it’s insane! You know when they ejaculate, it’s like 40 something gallons of semen.

Isn’t that why the sea is so salty? It’s just full of whale semen?

D: Yup! That’s what it is.

A: Niiiiiiiice.

Haha! As a band though, what would you like to be remembered for?

A: Going down in history for knowing the most facts about whale semen.

D: Yes, haha! Um, I just want to be remembered as a band who gave a shit when it mattered and didn’t give a shit when it didn’t matter.


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]