We were lucky enough to get to sit down with Dan, Alan and Jake from Four Year Strong at Slam Dunk Festival 2016, here’s how it went down.
How are the festivals going for you guys so far this year?
Dan – Good, we just did a small Euro run, we did a couple rock festivals and those went really well and then this is the first day of this. We just got in yesterday morning so we’re pretty jet-lagged and tired, but so far so good.
So it’s Slam Dunk Festival’s 10th anniversary, how are you feeling about being here?
Dan, Alan, Jake – Yeah!
Dan – We’ve actually gotten to play a good amount of them, what is this our third?
Jake – It’s our third I think yeah.
Alan – I think it could be our fourth, but I don’t know.
Dan – We’re just excited to be invited back and this one’s definitely awesome, the line up’s super cool and we’ve got a lot of friends on it. So we’re excited.
Something we’ve been wondering, why did you make the decision to self-title the last album?
Alan – Laziness (laughs) no it wasn’t laziness.
Dan – I think it really comes down when we did that record, I think, that was really the time that we’d put all of the knowledge that we had accumulated over our entire careers worth of making records into making a record that we knew our fans would like, we knew that we would like, well we hoped our fans would like. Four Years Strong just made sense ‘cause it felt like it was everything that we are right now. It was a good combination of everything that we’ve learned.
Alan – ‘Cause we had always talked about it. We’d talked about it on a couple of other records but it just didn’t feel quite right and obviously it came up again when it was time to make this one. It felt like it was a cop out, we thought we could come up with better names, but then the more we thought about it, the more right it felt. So we just went with it.
That’s a really good reason. Okay, so where did the name ‘Four Year Strong’ come from?
Dan – (Laughs) We were actually talking about this today. It’s a really terrible story.
Alan – It’s not really a story. There was a band called ‘The Get Up Kids’ and they had a lyric that was ‘five year strong’ and we changed it to four.
Jake – We were kids.
Alan – Yeah we were 13 years old.
You’ve done a lot in your careers since then, what is there left to do? What does the future hold?
Dan – Well we’re definitely a band that have home lives, we have families, we have things going on at home but we still love playing together and kids still love coming to our shows so there’s really no reason for us to stop. We’re not gonna go as hard as we have in the past and tour like 270 days a year or something but y’know, if people want to come out to the shows, we’ll keep playing shows and if people want to keep listening to the songs, we’ll keep making records.
That’s the answer we all wanted to hear. So, what’s your favourite thing about playing festivals?
Alan – There’s more opportunities to make fans of people that maybe wouldn’t have gone to see you at another show. Because they’re there to see another band and they’ve never heard you before and they happen to check you out.
Dan – That and the fact that there’s the opportunity for us to meet up with a lot of old friends that you haven’t seen in a long time and a lot of other bands that we’ve toured with.
Jake – Yeah, like Set Your Goals.
Dan – This time around, we’ve done a ton of shows with Set Your Goals and The Starting Line earlier on in our career and we haven’t seen those guys so it’s good to see them again.
Okay, so one other band apart from you guys who people should definitely go see?
Dan – I would definitely go see Set Your Goals yeah. I think these are some of their very first shows back in a long time and I’m really excited to finally be able to catch them. They did a couple shows on the west coast and I haven’t seen them play since about 2010.
Alan – Every Time I Die.
Dan – Yeah you should always see them.
Jake – The Starting Line for sure, I’m very excited to see them.
So a serious question now, how do you all maintain your beards?
Jake – Don’t do anything! It’s quite easy, you just let it happen.
Dan – Shampoo.
Alan – I do shampoo, I don’t condition though.
Dan – Oh no, I don’t condition.
Alan – Oh, actually I might, it might be a 2 in 1.
Dan – I use a one soap for everything soap, I don’t know what’s in it.
Jake – Coconut Oil.
They are fantastic beards.
Dan – Thank you. Other than that, just cut them sometimes, take the split ends off.
Jake – When you start looking homeless, control the sides.
So what can we expect from your set tonight?
Dan – Hopefully a lot of energy as long as my jet-lag doesn’t come back and bite me in the ass. I think we just put on as higher energy show as we can and we like to fuel off the crowd and get them going as hard as we can. There’s a lot of power songs.
How did you decide which songs you’re going to play tonight?
Dan – It’s getting harder!
Jake – It used to be easy.
Dan – When we play shows like this, it’s like these are the shows that HAVE to be in the set. Then we just kind of fill the other spots with the songs that we want to play or songs that we think people want to hear or that we haven’t played in a while.
Do you each have individual favourites that you want to play?
Alan – My favourites, and I think I can speak for most of us, are the ones that the crowd really like. For me, that’s what’s the most fun. It’s not whether I like it or not, it’s whether the crowd gets into it and it makes the interaction a lot more fun. So a lot of the time it works out being like, ‘Find My Way Back’ is really fun.
Dan – ‘Stuck in the Middle’ is super fun to play because of those reasons.
Alan – And the new songs, ‘We All Float Down Here’.
Jake – And because we haven’t played them a bajillion times. They haven’t lost their spontaneity.
Out of all the ones you’ve done, what is your favourite festival to play
Alan – Slam Dunk’s pretty good.
Dan – Yeah, Slam Dunk’s definitely up there.
Alan – Warped Tour in the States for me. A lot of people have a love hate relationship with Warped Tour, ‘cause it’s like Slam Dunk but there’s more of them with all the same bands every day for two months. It’s not just a few days, so for the bands doing it, it can get taxing.
Dan – It’s basically this 48 times. (Starts waving out of the window)
Alan – What are you doing?
Dan – There’s a fan who’s spotted us waving.
It must be the unmissable beards! Thanks for chatting with us guys.
Dan – You’re welcome, thank you.