"When music comes from a real place, you can't take that away"

On the final night of New Found Glory’s recent tour, we caught up with frontman Jordan Pundik and guitarist Chad Gilbert to discuss the band’s latest album Resurrection, how Dimebag Darrell influenced the songwriting process and 5 Seconds Of Summer’s place in the pop punk genre…

Did you guys have an idea of what you wanted to do with Resurrection early on?

Chad: “Yeah, [we were] down a member [guitarist Steve Klein was sacked last year after he warned them he was facing charges of lewd conduct with a minor and possessing child pornography]. I thought it was a cool challenge to come up with two parts, given that I’ve always written a rhythm track and a lead track on guitar. This time around, it was like, ‘Alright, I’m now going to write guitar riffs that don’t need a rhythm, that are catchy within themselves, that I can track by itself and it sounds big’. I learnt that from old records like the first Rage Against The Machine record, a bunch of old Pantera, look at Nirvana, just one guitar. There’s all these old bands that have these really big, memorable riffs. I just wanted to come up with those riffs.”

Resurrection is a very powerful title. Why did you call it that?

Jordan: “I think when you’re dealing with a lot of crappy things in your life, when you’re down in the dumps and you don’t think you can come out of that, we took that and because of that we became a tighter band and a stronger unit. I feel like we named it that because it encompasses everything we wrote and everything we were going through.”

Chad: “Also, the resurrection in historical terms is acknowledging that something’s changed. It’s not acknowledging that it’s a bad change, it’s actually a good change, it’s a rise up from a hard time, that’s what we wanted to say. We know that being in a band, especially with social media and the internet, there’s nothing that you can really hide any way. We knew that we weren’t going to hide that there was a change in our band, but instead use it for people to learn from. This album is where a change happened and from here forward things are going to be different, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to be bad, because different can actually be better.”

Although you guys have tried different things, that pop punk sound has always been an integral part of what you do, is that important to you guys?

Jordan: “I definitely think so, the reason why we are where we are is because of how people react to our music. We always try to make our records better than the last one, and try and do different things, but it’s always pop punk at the core.”

Chad: “I think people forget certain things, with our band, our style we created. The music we play, we were the first in the genre because we wanted to combine West Coast punk with New York hardcore, and post-hardcore and do our own thing. We have favourite bands, but we never wanted to sound like them, we always wanted to start our own band. So I think with that said, because that music is inside of us and came from us, it’s always going to be there, it’s unavoidable. Look at It’s Not Your Fault, which is a pop rock song, it still sounds like New Found Glory because it still has those elements. When the music comes from a real place, inside of us, you can’t take that away.”

Back in the day, pop-punk was almost seen as a bit of a fad, do you guys feel like you played an important part in getting it taken more seriously as a genre?

Chad: “I think so, I feel like a lot of bands get popular for a style of music and then they get embarrassed by it and then they want to change their style, and be all like arty and weird. That happens all the time, I think we don’t have to do that because we created our own sub-genre ourselves. I think one thing that’s cool with us is, even though the heart of our band is a pop punk band, we’ve toured with so many bands, we’ve played so many festivals, we’ve played with metal bands, with radio bands, and we’ve been doing that for the past 17 years. So we have a fan-base that is our own, there are kids out there that have never heard another punk band, but they like us. I’m proud of that, where we have been that gateway band. Back in the day when we were on [MTV show Total Request Live] TRL, you could be a kid who liked Britney Spears, and then see a New Found Glory video after Britney Spears, then check out New Found Glory and then all of a sudden you learn about a whole new world.”

How did the first Pop Punk’s Not Dead tour come about?

Chad: “There are these weird perspectives of our band. I’ll go on Twitter and type ‘New Found Glory’, and read a comment from a kid that’ll go, ‘Hey, remember that band New Found Glory’ and ‘Yeah, where have they been? Haven’t heard about them in years’. I think it’s funny because then I’ll read from a fan that’s like, ‘I’ve bought every album, this record is my favourite.’ You get these people who say they haven’t heard about us in years, but that just means they’re not into music. If you’re into music, you know we’ve released an album every two years. There are fans that only know us through the radio, and if we’re not on the radio it’s, ‘What happened to them?’ So it’s sort of a sarcastic reply to them, pop punk’s not dead, you might not see it on MTV, you might not hear it on the radio, but it was never intended for the radio and MTV any way. It got popular enough where it got played on there, but this is going to exist one way or another. In the States, we would take out bands like The Wonder Years, and Set Your Goals because those bands are really popular, they’re selling out 500 capacity rooms, so it’s a little sarcastic jab.”

Jordan: “We wanted to showcase bands, in terms of who we take on the road we choose everything. Are there any younger pop punk bands we’d like to play with but haven’t had a chance to yet? Neck Deep haven’t played with us and those dudes are nice.”

Did you expect it to become this big event, where people would start pestering you to bring it over to the UK?

Jordan: “Yes and no, I feel like people noticed it wasn’t just a normal run of the mill show with a couple of opening bands, it was a whole event. Bands that everybody knew playing together – I think that caused people to want it to come over. I don’t think it was intentionally like if we do this tour are people are going to freak.”

Finally, there’s been a fair bit of debate on whether 5 Seconds of Summer are a pop punk band, so what do you think of them? Is it right to assume the video for Ready and Willing is a parody of that band?

Chad: “The Ready And Willing video was actually more about ourselves. A lot of interviews start by saying, ‘You guys are the elder statesmen’, but dude, I’m barely 30! It makes us sound like these old men, the Blink-182 guys are like twelve years older than us. People say that so much and it’s so funny because I wonder if they go up to Metallica and say ‘how does it feel being old?’ So we made this video as a joke, people think we’re old so let’s get a bunch of good looking kids to be the young pop version of us. Then we released it, and everybody said that we were making fun of 5 Seconds of Summer. I don’t know enough about 5 Seconds of Summer to make a video making fun of them. I know that there are a lot of young pop bands that are very focused on their looks, and less about music. It was just based on newer pop groups and that’s it, it wasn’t deliberately about anyone. They’re touring with One Direction so they’re obviously a pop group. They’re obviously into young pop punk bands which is really cool, but they like playing with pop bands. It’s totally their prerogative, I don’t think they’re trying to figure out their fans, so I don’t see why everyone else is.”

Resurrection is out now via Hopeless.