| September 18, 2012 | Comments (1,451)

I got to meet Alex Rosamilia of The Gaslight Anthem prior to their show at The Bell Center last week to talk about their newest album Handwritten, and the new changes that they made before recording, among other things!!


Erin: Well, first of all, congratulations on the release of your newest album, Handwritten.  How do you think that’s been received by your fans?

Alex: Um, well.  Very well, I think.  Uh yeah.  We debuted top ten in a bunch of countries, so I would go with… yeah… very well.


Erin: Yeah, I would have to agree!  So, it seems for this album that you’ve done things a bit differently, I mean, the style and such to me sounds different, and of course you’ve been working with a new producer, signed with a new record label, that’s a lot of change.  What inspired the changes?

Alex: Well, we decided it was time to go with a new label, and we decided to take the step up to a major label, because we finished our previous contract.  And that kind of lead to the idea that you know, we could use a new producer.  And aside from the two records we did with Ted Hutt, and Brian also did the Horrible Crowes record with Ted Hutt, so I think it was just time for something a little new, and you know, nothing against Ted.  But yeah, Brendan O’Brien was what I think was the perfect match for what we were tryin’ to do.


Erin: Fair.  How did the process work with making all those changes?

Alex: Well, uh, we had a lot of meetings with a lot of labels, we picked the label that we thought was going to help us out the best.  And then, as far as Brendan, he contacted us about producing our next record, and I mean, we were tryin’ to go to Nashville anyway, that’s where he records out of and stuff.  And so all of that just kind of fell into place.


Erin:  Okay.  So, Brendan O’Brien.  Yeah.  That must have been exciting, he has definitely done a lot of great work.

Alex: Yeah.


Erin: How was that for you guys, do you think it had a big effect on the album?

Alex: Well yeah, it definitely had an effect.  I mean a producer’s got just as much of an idea about the songs as the band, or at least they should, ‘cause otherwise they’re just an engineer.  Yeah, like I said, for what we were doing, I think he was perfect.  We were open to other stuff, you know, but that was kind of the sound we were going for.  Why not get the guy who invented the sound?


Erin: Fair enough.

Alex: Yeah, between him and Butch Vig, that is grunge music.


Erin: Yeah, absolutely.  So uh, signing with Mercury.  Tell us about that, how has that been going so far?

Alex: Awesome!  It was great, it’s not as scary as everyone makes it sound, men and suits, and all that shit.  Actually, very few of them wear suits.


Erin: Yeah, I wouldn’t expect anyone in the rock music industry to be wearing suits.

Alex: Yeah, you’d be surprised.  There’s some fancy shmancy people around.


Erin: Yeah, fair enough!  So, listening to your music, it’s no secret that the band draws a lot of inspiration from The Boss.  Who else do you get your inspiration from?

Alex: Me, personally?  It’s a lot of 80’s… early 80’s kind of Brit pop stuff.  The Smiths, The Cure, Joy Division, that kind of stuff.  Then uh… early 90’s… kind of uhh… shoe gazer kind of thing.  Hum, Swervedriver, that kind of stuff.  And then the typical guitar gods that every kid has, you know, Clapton, Hendrix, Page….


Erin: Have you seen the countdown on the Led Zeppelin Facebook page? 

Alex: No?


Erin: On Saturday, it was FIVE, Sunday it was FOUR, Monday was THREE, yesterday was TWO, today it says ONE and tomorrow there’s supposed to be an announcement. 

Alex: Led Zeppelin.  Is making an announcement.    


Erin: Yup.  What do you think?

Alex: Woah, well, they’re probably going to go on tour with fuckin’ John Bonham’s shitty drummer kid.  He’s not even a kid… he’s a fifty year old man.  But yeah.  It’s probably going to be three of them with… I mean it would be awesome if it was someone like Dave Grohl, but I mean Foo Fighters haven’t even really been doing anything lately, so uh…I dunno!  I didn’t even know that was happening.


Erin: Yeah, I wouldn’t have known if someone didn’t tell me to keep an eye on it, but yeah…

Alex: David Gilmour, as well, speaking of your shirt, as another guitar god as well, I mean I know that it’s Roger Waters, but…


Erin: Totally fair!

Alex: Yeah I love the shit out of that guy.


Erin: Totally!  Yeah, I got this when I went to go see The Wall a few weeks ago. 

Alex: Oh nice!  This was the last time that he’s doing it, right?


Erin: Yeah, I saw the last one in Quebec City!  It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.  It was amazing and crazy and beautiful and I could go forever.  But that’s another story for another time, ha ha.  So I guess speaking of great classic music that is awesome, everyone has an album, or a couple of albums that have shaped their life and/or the music that they make, tell us about some of yours?

Alex: Disintegration by The Cure.


Erin: That’s a solid album, for sure.

Alex:  It’s been like that for a really long time, like half my life.  It’s been the only record, too, that I’ve never stopped listening to.  Other things have been like… kinda going in and out, like phases and that, but this I can put on at any time at all, and it’s awesome.


Erin: I definitely know what you mean, I definitely have some albums like that, myself.  So, I guess you guys are from New Brunswick, New Jersey, which is pretty much one of the punk rock centers of North America.

Alex: Yes.


Erin: How has being in the middle of all of that affected your music?

Alex: It definitely changes your idea of what a band is, or like, what a show is.  Cause like…. When most of your shows are playing to fifty kids in somebody’s house or like… a basement, you know, you can do a full US tour like that, as opposed to, you know, like pop music…. Like Katy Perry will not play in somebody’s basement.


Erin: Ha!  I wish…

Alex:  You know what I mean?  It gives you a different idea of what music can be.  It makes it seem like it’s way more obtainable… not like for pop star icons.  And that’s kind of because it’s a college town, and the influx of kids is always changing, every year, and you know, people are always moving into houses, so when one house gets shut down, another one would open up, and it’s just people from all over the country coming to make records… well it’s really more so the east coast, but you know, from all over the country, getting together, and not knowing anybody, being like “hey I play drums!” and “I play guitar! Let’s start a band”!  That’s how a lot of that stuff starts, too.  Like Thursday – they are all from New Jersey, but I don’t think any of them knew each other before moving to New Brunswick.  Same thing with us, you know, I didn’t know the guys before the band.


Erin: Oh wow, that’s awesome!  I guess starting out, you did a lot of house show tours?

Alex: Oh yeah!


Erin: Was it awesome?

Alex: I mean yeah… well sometimes it’s awesome, other times, it’s not so awesome.


Erin: Fair enough!  I guess that environment did have an effect for sure. 

Alex: Yeah!  I mean, Benny has been booking shows since he was 14 years old… like big shows… or well, decent sized shows, I should say, like more than one hundred kids.  Like… At the Drive In, Converge… like… ‘real’ bands.


Erin: Oh wow, that’s impressive.  So the tour that you’re on currently – how has that been?

Alex: Day two – very good.


Erin: Oh you’ve only just started, my bad, I must have read the dates wrong!

Alex: That’s ok!  Yes, day two, we just started yesterday.  They (Rise Against) have been playing, maybe a show, prior to us joining up.


Erin: Oh, ok!  Where are you headed for the tour?

Alex: Basically, back to Ottawa, down through the United States, Texas, California, then back up to Canada, and end in Edmonton.


Erin: Very good!  Well, back to Handwritten for a moment, um, what are the highlights of the album?  What are your personal favorite parts?

Alex:  Well all of it, really, I think the sound is really good, I love the way it sounds, beginning to end, I love the way the guitars sound, the drums sound, tonally, I think it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.  It’s also the most expensive thing we’ve ever done, as far as production costs go, which is probably why it sounds so good.  But yeah, I think the sound is really good, I love the songs, it’s my favorite album, but I’ve said that for every record we put out, so…


Erin: Ha!  Maybe you just enjoy everything you guys are putting out, and really, there’s no shame in that, either!  But that’s all the questions that I have right now, do you have any words of wisdom for our readers?

Alex: Um… Stay in school.  Um, no, not really.  My mantra is kind of just… wear what you dig.  And I don’t mean that literally, I mean, metaphorically.  Do you, and don’t worry about anyone else.


Erin: Pretty solid words! 

Alex: Thanks.


Erin: Well, thanks so much for your time!

Alex: No worries, thank you.


Find out more about The Gaslight Anthem here!:

Official Site

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Category: Interviews