Alan Day of Four Year Strong
For the fifth annual Rockstar Taste of Chaos tour the venues were a little smaller, the bands were a little more underground, and the energy was at an all time high.
In an effort to keep up with an economy that has us all counting our spare change the tour visited smaller venues this time around allowing for a more intimate setting. Headlining the tour this year is Thursday and along for the ride are Cancer Bats, Four Year Strong, Pierce the Veil and British band Bring Me The Horizon.
For Four Year Strong, playing The Palladium in Worcester, MA was more like a homecoming. Having been a fixture in the local scene for so long they are the success story that a lot of younger acts look up to in the local Worcester music scene, this is not lost on the band.
Currently working on a new album, guitarist Alan Day sat down with TWRY staffer Vicky to give the lowdown on TOC, the Worcester music scene and the future for FYS.
Interviewed by: Vicky Zeamer | March 2009
What can you note about your surroundings right now?
I am on our bus at The Palladium. We are about to play a show in our hometown, hanging out on my bus with friends and crew. I’ve been hanging around home. I’m stoked to play the show.
FYS is currently on the Taste of Chaos tour, how is it going?
It is going very well- been very fun. This is different for us because we really stick out on this tour. We are a lot different than the other bands [with our sound].
Would you prefer playing to a larger audience in an arena or a 100 person show in a basement?
That is really because both are really fun. Small intimate shows are probably my favorite except for one reason – I always chip my teeth. Kids always hit my microphone and it hits my teeth. I have chips all over my teeth. Other than that, small shows are the way to go. You are just in there with the crowd, hanging out with each other. At the same time, big shows have a lot of production, it is totally different, but both are really fun.
When you were all younger, I’m sure your first priority was getting out of dodge. After touring and expanding over the US, how has this feeling changed if at all?
My favorite place to be is at home. I love being home because we are so all over the place all of the time, when we finally do get to come home it is awesome. It is not at all like “God what am I going to do with myself. I need to get out of here.” There have been points where we were touring so constantly that we’d be home for more than a couple of days and I’d be stir crazy. It is not like that anymore.
Alan Day – Photo by: Vicky Zeamer
Was there a specific moment where it suddenly clicked in your head that music was the right fit for you?
I don’t even think there was a moment like that because this is what I’ve wanted my entire life. I know a lot of people probably say that, but I have home videos of me as a kid where I could barely speak but I’m holding a guitar pretending to sing. That was me in like every video. I got a piano for Christmas, and it has always been something I’ve wanted to do. There are a million things you can do with music, but so far this is more than I could have dreamed.
Can you describe the connection you feel with the hometown Massachusetts music scene? How do you feel this support system has helped out your band?
It had definitely been a big help. The scene around Boston, and Worcester, all over Massachusetts is a lot different from everywhere else. I can say that because I’ve been a lot of places. People around here support music differently. A lot of places, not to sound like other places aren’t good, there are a lot of awesome places, but other places the scene is more like kids trying to listen to what is cool, kids wearing that t shirt because they saw that kid wear it, going to a show because their friend is going, not because they really want to support the band or the scene. Around here, its gone through its ups and downs but for the most part it is just kids supporting music because they want to continue to go to shows.
Besides music, what are some of your other interests?
Well, I really love movies. Not acting, not filming them, but just watching them. I love watching romantic comedies and chick flicks.
Do you have a favorite one?
My favorite movie I saw quite recently was without a doubt “He’s Just Not That Into You.” It is so good. Me and our merch guy Josh went on a date in Arizona. We had an off day and we just went to the movies and it was FAN-tastic. We saw “Yes Man,” which was fantastic as well.
After FYS got signed to a label, did everything end up working out as you thought it would? Do you feel like you had to make any sacrifices when signing?
Signing was definitely a huge step because I feel like every unsigned band is just waiting for that moment to get signed. When that moment comes you except that all of the sudden you are the biggest band in the world- it doesn’t really work out like that. It is almost a good thing that doesn’t work out I think. We got signed and we still played shows with no one at them. As much as I am making it sound like it isn’t as big of a deal as you want it to be, it legitimizes your band and it can take you that extra step. Then you have that extra person working on your team, talking to people you never knew existed, making connections, it definitely took us a step further.
FYS playing Taste of Chaos 2009
While you’ve managed to keep a lot of your fans intact, there are always a few kids that feel betrayed when their hometown band becomes everyone’s band. Do you feel like this really happens, and if so, how do you feel about it?
I expected that completely, but the cool thing about our hometown is, and I was discussing the scene around here earlier, there is not stingy like that. We have become a national band, I’m not going to say we have become ‘everyone’s band,’ but we have been international too [since we’ve toured in other countries]. We’ve played everywhere, and every time we come home the shows are still crazy. Really every time we come here the shows almost get better. We played a Christmas show here like we do every year, but this year it sold out as opposed to last year when it did not. The shows just keep on getting better. Luckily in our case, I don’t think we’ve had much of a problem with that.
What are some influences for your music besides other bands?
Ooh, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that question. That is a good question, it makes think, get the wheels a’ turning. I don’t know. Like influence me like lyrically, musically?
Well, things that inspire you generally. Know how some people see something and it just clicks “ah that is beautiful?”
I don’t know. Just like friends and family, growing up where I did. That is definitely a hard question to answer. I’ve never had to answer that, which is a good thing. Maybe someday somebody else asks that question and I’ll have an answer. Usually I just get the same questions over and over and I’ll just have a list of things to say.
What is the current status of the new album?
There is definitely one in works. On this tour we have been writing, well trying to write, starting to make some headway. The plan is to go into the studio after this tour and release a record by fall hopefully. That is all tentative.
Is there a working title yet?
For the record? Not at all- nothing.
I don’t think you mentioned demoing it out yet, but if you have, is it too early to know if it will be different about this album from ‘Rise or Die Trying?’ What sort of growth can fans expect to hear in the new release?
I did not mention it, but we are demoing. There are a ton of bands that release a record that people end up liking then they want to experiment. Then they release their second record and everyone hates it. We don’t want to do that. There are a million ways we have grown as a band as well as individually that will show in our next record. But then again, there are a million of things we want to experiment with but we want to keep our sound the same as much as possible and keep those fans. There is a way we always like doing [our songs] and we want to do that, along with then taking it to the next level. Mature the sound a little bit, take a little bit more risks, just have fun.
FYS playing Taste of Chaos 2009
Many musicians are creative in more than one way. Do you have any other creative endeavors?
No (laughs). I don’t know; can you guys think of anything else (asks friends sitting across from him on the bus)?
Emily (friend): You can make a really good peanut butter and fluff sandwich.
I make good peanut butter and fluff sandwich. I’m a cook! No… I’m not very creative in another way. I got a thing for music and that is about it. Dan can draw. Joe can ride a bike.
Does Dan incorporate his drawings into anything related to the band?
Back in the day he would do a lot of t shirt designs. Our old demo he did the layout for, but not so much anymore.
Are there any summer plans for FYS?
Nothing solid, so I can’t really discuss it. We definitely are going to be recording the record for sure, and will tour. That is the plan laid out with no specifics.
Do you have any final words?
If anyone is reading this, seeing this, keep on going out to shows. Buy some merch from the bands. Support this whole ‘scene’ thing so people like me can keep on doing this. Without people listening to my band I wouldn’t be able to do anything and I’d be a bum.
Catch Four Year Strong currently out on the Taste of Chaos Tour.