Visiting Newcastle for the first time, Faye sat down with one of the UK’s premier pop-punk acts All Or Nothing, while on tour with A Loss For Words. They got talking about the band’s line-up changes, the possibility of touring America, recording their full-length, and a lot more!
Faye: Can you say your name and what you do?
Tom: I’m Tom Chong, and I sing and play guitar in All Or Nothing.
Rich: I’m Rich Murphy, and I play guitar and sing, too.
Faye: How are you today?
Tom: Good, actually. I’ve had a bad throat for a few days and now it seems to be getting better.
Rich: We both have, we’ve both been having really bad throats, so it’s been really annoying every night, hurting to sing and stuff like that.
Tom: Last night we got in a hot tub, so I think that helped.
Faye: Can you tell me a little bit about All Or Nothing?
Tom: I started when I was like 16/17 with my friend who’s not in the band anymore, we started playing local shows, which pretty much went on for a few years. Then line-up changes started to happen, Rich used to play in a band called Midriff.
Rich: [laughs] Why did you need to name-drop that?
Tom: ‘Cause it’s wicked, and he played drums with them and then he played drums with us. So, yeah, we’ve been going for 7/8 years around Birmingham and have started touring for about 3 or 4 now.
Faye: With the line-up changes, was there ever a point where you were uncertain about the band’s future?
Rich: The last one, yeah. I think it was the start of last year, when we kicked this guy out because the whole atmosphere was just horrible. To be fair to him, he knew it was him, he did say he was the one who was the problem, and then after that it was really like, “Are we really going to be able to find anyone?” Then Nick used to be in a band called Mike TV and we knew Nick for years, because he used to play in local bands in Birmingham and he filled in for us on tour, when he was still in Mike TV, then he was like, “I just want to be in this band now.” and it just worked out really well.
Faye: You’re on tour with A Loss For Words, how did that come about?
Rich: Maybe because of The Wonder Years connection, I think The Wonder Years went back and told them about us, and then they got in touch with us.
Tom: Yeah, because we’re friends with The Wonder Years and they toured with them loads over there, so I guess they told them to hook up with us.
Rich: Our bassist books all of our tours, so he said it was no problem.
Tom: It’s worked out pretty well, it’s been pretty fun.
Faye: Does having an agent to book tours for you not interest you?
Rich: If we had a sweet agent, then yeah, but at the moment we don’t really need to do any of that.
Tom: We’re pretty much self-sufficient.
Rich: Right now, we don’t need to be given anyone else any money when we can do it ourselves, but we’ll see.
Faye: How did LYU get involved with this tour? Are you friends with them?
Rich: Yeah, one of them went to school with me and stuff. They’re a couple of years younger, but they’ve been going for ages too. They’ve been going since they were like 13 or something, and they live literally around the corner from me, but we haven’t really played that many shows with them.
Tom: We used to play a lot when we started out, they were on a lot of the bills, because we used to play like every week, it was retarded, and they played all the time. Then after that, we hadn’t played with them for about four years, so it was the first time.
Rich: Yeah, it’s cool to hang out with them again.
Faye: So, how’s the tour been going so far?
Tom: Really good actually, every show has had a good turnout. I’ve had loads of fun on this tour actually, way more than any other tour so far.
Faye: I read on your Facebook that last night in Bridlington was the best show of the tour so far, but when I interviewed Matty from A Loss For Words, he said it was the worst show.
Rich: Yeah, it was weird.
Tom: We got a really good crowd reaction.
Rich: Something went down during their set, there was a chav in there, pushing the little kids around, and obviously no-one’s cool with that, it just bummed Matty out. The crowd for them was still alright, there was quite a lot of people there and they were getting into it, but it just put a downer on it and him, which is understandable.
Tom: They’ve had good reactions all through the tour.
Rich: Yeah, they’ve been doing really well.
Faye: You seem like party kinda dudes, have you been partying hard this tour?
Rich: I don’t think we’ve been as bad as normal.
Tom: I think we’ve been quite well behaved, we’ve only partied like properly two or three times. We’ve been drinking every day but that happens regardless, I guess. It’s the only way to deal with sleeping on someone’s floor and van. If you’re sober, you’re not going to do it, but if you’re drunk…
Faye: You’ve brought over A Loss For Words and The Wonder Years, can we expect them to return the favour, do you have plans to tour America?
Rich: Yeah, The Wonder Years are doing really well in the States now, so if we could do, ideally for us, The Wonder Years/A Loss For Words/All Or Nothing tour. Apparently, that kind of tour would be drawing a couple hundred kids a night over there, at least. I think most of our fanbase is in America, so it’s really annoying that we can’t actually go there and do it, so we need to make it happen.
Tom: We’re recording in America this year, so we if can tour while we’re over there, we’re trying to figure it out. It’s work permits as well, it’s bullshit.
Faye: Is All Or Nothing a full-time or part-time thing for you guys?
Tom: It’s more verging over to the full-time thing now. We’re trying to make it full-time, even if we’re not on tour, we’ll still try to do stuff, like rehearsing and writing songs, stuff like that, but we still have to have jobs to pay for rent and recording and stuff like that. Hopefully, once the album is out, we can just do it full-time, that’s the aim, anyway.
Faye: There’s a lot of bands trying to imitate this ‘popcore’ style of music, but you don’t seem as gimmicky with random breakdowns and such, do you agree?
Rich: We did a self-recorded full-length, that no-one’s really heard.
Faye: It’s on Spotify.
Both: Is it?!
Tom: Dead Money?
Rich: Oh my God, oh no…
Tom: It’s really horrible.
Rich: I don’t want that on Spotify, but if you do listen to that, we did that four years ago or something.
Tom: Yeah, it was before Set Your Goals and all that.
Rich: Yeah, and we were doing gang vocals and stuff like that. I’m not trying to say that we set it off, but there’s a lot of bands doing it now and, hopefully, people don’t think that we’ve just started playing that music because it’s cool.
Tom: I think when we write songs, we try not to do gang vocals and chuggy breakdowns anymore, anyway.
Rich: Yeah, we’re kind of shying away from it now, exactly for that reason.
Tom: I think we can write better songs than that, anyway. We try to be less gimmicky and different, at least, but at the same time we’re a pop-punk band, not anything more, hardcore or anything like that, we’re just pop-punk. We’ve always been like that.
Rich: Sometimes that breakdown stuff…
Tom: It’s just a breakdown for the sake of it.
Rich: Yeah, musically, it’s not very interesting. For the sake of it, it’s just like, let’s just go [imitates a breakdown] So, yeah, we’re going away from that now.
Faye: What do you think about the current UK pop-punk scene?
Tom: There’s loads of good English bands around, but there’s a lot of really, really terrible bands around. I just think a lot of it is really same-y, but at the same time, there’s a lot of really cool bands.
Rich: It’s good that there’s so many bands, but it’s also bad, because everyone is doing the same kind of sing and it’s just a bit boring. The upside of that, though, is that there’s a lot of bands around, I think kids are starting to go to shows a bit more now, the last few years hasn’t really been that good.
Tom: Yeah, I think it’s getting a little bit better, there’s English bands getting bigger and stuff like that, which always helps, so in that sense it’s really cool. It’s just when people start bands for the wrong reasons, you end up playing shows with people like that and it’s just like, “Stop being a douche.”
Tom: Yeah, there you go.
Faye: You mentioned before that you’re going over to America to record a full-length, can you tell us a bit more about that?
Rich: Yeah, in September, we’ve been talking to this guy, based in Chicago, he’s got a really cool studio in downtown Chicago, he did The Swellers’ new album. The Swellers recommended him to us, so we started talking to him. It works out cheaper to get there, even with flights and to live there for a month, than going somewhere here, because here they just rip you off completely.
Tom: I think if we’re living there as well, the record will have that whole vibe about it as well, because we’ll be really excited about being there and that’ll come across.
Rich: Yeah, rather than being like Reading or whatever.
Tom: If we were going to record it anywhere here, it’d probably be with Pete Miles and it’d just be in Devon or something, so it’d be really laid back, but because we’ll be in Chicago, it’ll be like, “Woah!”
Rich: Hopefully, it’ll come across in the recording.
Faye: Have you written much for it yet?
Rich: Yeah, we’ve written about 8-songs so far and we’ve got a bunch of new ideas. We’re getting better at simply writing songs, like structure-wise and lyrically, we’ve been working a lot more on harmonies and vocal hooks, and stuff like that. I think it’ll have a decent mix of different kinds of songs, like it’s all going to be really high energy, but then there’s going to be a few songs, where you hear us do something different, like you’ll think, “Oh, I didn’t think they’d do something like that.” It’ll only be slightly different, though.
Tom: We’re not going to do something that alienates people who like us already.
Rich: It’s still going to be a pop-punk album.
Tom: It’s still going to be aggressive and all that sort of stuff, but just better written.
Rich: There won’t really be any beatdowns.
Faye: And you’ve got a tour coming up with The Swellers, are you excited?
Tom: Yeah, The Swellers are one of our favourite bands.
Rich: We’ve been talking to them for ages about coming over, and we were trying to do the same deal that we did with this tour and The Wonder Years for them, but it never really worked out. Now they got signed by Fueled By Ramen and they got the opportunity to come over, it’s going to be rad. I’m going around Europe with them too, being their tech, before they come back here, so I can’t wait for that, all the festivals, Groezrock, Give It A Name. I’ve never been to Groezrock, so I’m excited about that.
Faye: So, in between The Swellers tour and going to America, do you have any other plans?
Tom: Yeah, we’re recording two or three songs in April, and we’re going on tour with… We can’t really say who yet, a couple of American bands, and we’re going to do England and Europe.
Rich: It’s not that much of a big deal, they’re just cool bands.
Tom: I really like one of them.
Rich: [laughs] Why don’t you just say? It’s not a big deal, you probably haven’t even heard of the bands. It’s a band called Man Overboard and a band called Transit.
Tom: We’re going to do like five dates here and Ireland, then we’re going to go to mainland Europe.
Faye: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Rich: Those two, Man Overboard and Transit. I don’t know, Basement?
Tom: Yeah, we like Basement. I was going to say Chaos Days, but you can still listen to Chaos Days, they’re still really good.
Rich: Maycomb, our friends from Wolverhampton.
Tom: They’ve got a new EP out, actually.
Rich: I don’t know, I don’t really like that much music, at the moment, so I’m the worst person to ask about this. [laughs]
Tom: I really like Ship To Shore, we played a couple times with them, and really liked them. They’re just starting out, I think, but they’re really good.
– Faye Turnbull.
Many thanks to All Or Nothing for the interview, for more information on the band and tour dates, visit: www.myspace.com/allornothing