Interview // Taking Back Sunday

It is hard to believe that Taking Back Sunday are celebrating their twentieth anniversary! They are a band that have came out of the emo scene champions and continue to prove why they are a band that everyone has to check out. It is hard to find a band that can compare to Taking Back Sunday, particularly when it comes to a live show.

It was great to have a chat with the band’s drummer Mark O’Connell on Tuesday to talk about their upcoming UK tour, their twentieth anniversary and what other plans the band have in store.

Keep reading to see what Mark had to say!

1. Taking Back Sunday have been celebrating their 20-year anniversary, what has it been like revisiting all these songs? And releasing the new compilation album ‘Twenty’?

It’s been really cool, I don’t know, when you think about it, when you’re like, “Oh wow, I’m a dude that’s been in a band that has been successful for twenty years and think the people like the music.” You know, once you really think about it, I realise how lucky we are. It’s a really beautiful thing to be able to do what we do for as long as we have done it.

MBU: What a huge career it’s been. It must be so hard narrowing down the tracks, there’s been so many amazing songs.

Mark: The way that we did it, is kinda like, we kind of just took the songs that people go the craziest for live.

2. There were two new tracks released on ‘Twenty’, were they written long before or were they written fully intended for this album?

They were written, not long before, Shaun and I live in Long Island, New York, we had some ideas and went to a studio here. Did our parts and made a song, then Adam and John they live in Charlotte, North Carolina, so when we were done with what we had, we sent it over to them and they put their thing on it, put lyrics to it. They did what they had to do to make everything fit and that’s kind of how the songs got together.

MBU: Will you be playing them on the upcoming tour?

Mark: You know, one of them is pretty slow and soft so we’re probably not going to play that one. “Ready To Go”, we’ve been playing it live ever since we recorded it.

3. Do the two new songs indicate more new music in the near future?

Yeah! I think so, I hope so.

4. Taking Back Sunday are a band that have come from a scene with no great longevity, what do you think has made TBS see everyone else out? I think, one of the big things for us is that everything that we do comes organically, nothings ever thought out. When we go into writing a song, we never think, “will this be a song that will be a big hit for us?” That was never really a thought, we just write and however it comes out, it comes out. People can see through bullshit, you know, so we try to be who we are and as real as possible.

5. I have seen TBS both in Glasgow and at Warped Tour in Toronto back in 2012, each time has been incredible, what still keeps you guys motivated to go out each night and kill it?

We love it, we still love it. What’s the point in doing something if you’re not going to be all in.

MBU: You guys really are all in, you can just see the energy just oozing from you guys.

Mark: 100%, we’re there to do something and what to make sure people have fun.

6. If there was one thing you would hope the people listening to Taking Back Sunday can take away from the band and music, what do you hope that would be?

Just whatever you want it to, if it’s impacted your life in a positive way. Speaking for all of us, that would make us all happy. Enjoying the live show, our fanbase is older now, they’ve grown up with us. There’s married couples come out, they’ve got babysitters for the kids, they drop them off at grandmas and grandpas. You can see it’s like a night out, people are coming to have fun and I think that’s what’s important. That’s what keeps people fans of a band, you go and see them, and they kill it, you want to go again.

MBU: I’m 30 now and I’ve been listening to you guys since I was around 12. The music you had back then is still so relevant now, even 18 years later. Think that speaks a lot for the band

Mark: You know, we never expected that to happen. When we recorded Tell All Your Friends, I remember having a conversation in the van on the way to a show or something that maybe we could sell 20000 albums, 30000 albums and even go on a couple of tours. All these years later, it’s pretty cool.

7. What can we all expect next from Taking Back Sunday?

Well, as you know were going to be doing this twenty-year anniversary, we’re going to the UK, were going to Europe then just doing this for a little while. You know, we have plans for tours maybe in 2020/2021 but we don’t know if it’s definitely going to happen. Everybody has been writing music, that’s kind of how we do it, we write music by ourselves, everybody has their own song and then once we meet up together, everybody puts their thing on top of it and they get the Taking Back Sunday song.

MBU: It’s quite unusual to hear that each person does their own little thing and then it becomes one big thing. You expect it to be more of a collective thing.

Mark: We kind of found out that that’s not a normal thing. That’s one of the things that’s added to the longevity of the band, everybody having equal say. It’s very democratic, everyone gets a vote. It’s really worked well for us.

8. To wrap up, is there anything you’d like to say to those reading?

I would say thank you, you know, thank you for caring about our band and thanks for the support.

MBU: Thanks very much, Mark! Hopefully see you in Glasgow!

Mark: Well if you do, come say hi!

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