Four Year Strong have been making waves in the pop punk scene for last decade, having formed in 2001. Since then they’ve gone from supporting acts such as New Found Glory and Good Charlotte to becoming a well established headlining act in their own right. They recently released their third full length album In Some Way, Shape or Form to high acclaim. I met up with them before they went on stage in Portsmouth, apart of their biggest UK tour to date. (Dan answered the questions!)
You played here (Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms) almost a year ago, a lot has happened since then, how do you think you’ve progressed since your last visit?
Well we just released a new record and since then we’ve noticed from this tour we have gained a lot of new fans in the UK. It’s pretty to cool to see how it’s compared from that tour to now it’s insane. The shows have just been wild, so many kids just going nuts.
At the end of last year you released your new album in some shape or form, the fans have had a few months to digest it now, what do you make of their reaction so far?
So far, especially here, it seems on this tour a lot of the kids have really embraced it. Some of the new songs have got better reactions than a lot of the songs from our first record, it’s really cool because it’s nice to see kids dig the new songs as much as the old songs, it makes the whole set flow really well and makes it a lot of fun.
Are you happy with what you achieved with the album?
Yeah, every time we put out a record we always feel lucky in the fact we get to put one out, so even just the reaction when the kids sings along to the new songs it’s everything I ever hoped to achieve with the record anyway. So we’re totally stoked with it.
We never set out to make a concept record or figure what the album will be about before we finished it, but every record we do resolves around personal experiences. This record is definitely a lot darker, a lot of the time between enemy of the world and this record there’s obviously a lot of different things that happened with the band and other stuff, I guess there were a lot of daemons we wanted exercise on the record so there were a lot of things we wanted to speak our mind about. As far as main themes of the record there’s a lot of different things, we have a song in which we talk about ourselves in third person, which takes a story narrative form, which was a first for us. Every song has its own thing going on.
Is there a favorite song on the album you like to play live?
I really like Stuck in the middle that song has a lot of energy, it has a lot of riffing it’s a really fun song to play and sing, the kids here really seam to love it so it’s a really fun to play live.
How do the UK fans compare to other nationalities?
There’s definitely a difference, on this trip for sure some of these shows are rivaling some of the shows back home in the states. The kids here are just insane. All of the shows are similar in the sense there all high energy everyone loves to get crazy, we feed off the crowd they feed off us, if their sleepy we’re not going to go for it as much but if they set off we set off, it’s the way shows have always been for us so it’s not that different being on tour over here.
You recently announced that your supporting Blink 182 on 4 dates of their UK tour, how does it feel to finally get to support them?
It’s awesome, to be able to get to play with a band we all loved to listen to when we were younger growing up and a band that paved the way for a lot of younger rock bands, it’s really cool especially to get to play with them in some of the venues they get to play, like the 02 area it’s going to be insane the biggest indoor venue that we get to play, so we’re supper stoked, it’s definitely going be a lot of fun.
I can’t help but notice that you’re only playing one of their London dates any chance you could be appearing at a certain music festival on that weekend?
We’re talking to our agent with the possibility on getting on a festival like Download, we’re not too sure right now but we would love to play it if possible.
It appears year on year you get given the opportunity to share the stage with bigger acts and play bigger headlining shows. Do you set yourself with goals and targets in terms of growing as a band in the future?
No not really, we’re headlining a show on Warped tour this year, which is really cool we’ve never played on the main stage before so to headline is awesome. We never set ourselves with goals we’ve just been lucky with the shows we get to play, but it’s true you do make your own luck for sure.
Is there an act you really want to share a stage with?
Foo fighters would be really cool, it’s really crazy that we get to play with bands like Blink 182, Rise Against, Bad Religion and New Found Glory, we’re always open to tour with anyone really.
You’re a band that has always used strong visuals in your music videos; do you have big say in what goes in them?
We definitely try to have a bigger hand in music videos and stuff like that, we try to stay involved in everything but all the ideas for music vides have come from us for sure.
For the just drive video we were into the X Files and stuff like that, so we thought it would be really fun to make a music video based around that type of thing and we managed to find a director who wanted to do a video like that for a while so that worked out.
Four Year Strong will continue to tour in support of their third album ‘In Some Way, Shape or Form’ across 2012 and will return to our shores in June supporting Blink 182 on four of their UK tour dates (Birmingham NIA, June 7th, London O2, June 8th, Dublin 02, June 12th , Belfast odyssey arena, June 13th). Festival appearances are also likely having headlined Heavy and appearing at Sonisphere in 2011.
Words: Dale Davies