All-American Rejects Talk Music, ‘Kids in the Street’ and Staying Relevant

It’s no wonder why the All-American Rejects are one of the most successful bands working today. Their dedication and attitude are top notch and their approach to each album does not allow for complacency. The band is set to release their fourth album, “Kids In The Street,” this Spring 2012. Guitarist Mike Kennerty recently stopped by to talk about the new album, the band’s increasing popularity and their new teaser single, “Someday’s Gone.”

Q – The All-American Rejects is a household name in music. Since the band arrived in 2003 you guys have sold more than 10 million albums worldwide. For those, however, that have yet to hear music from the band, how would you describe your sound in comparison to the rock acts that are prevalent today?

A – Are there many rock acts prevalent today? That’s a joke, but it really does feel like rock has become the bastard child of popular music these days. Comparisons are in the eye of the beholder. We’re just a band that still believes in melody, energy, and using instruments that you have to put a microphone in front of.

Q – The band has had major success with each album released thus far. It seems everything you guys touch turns to gold. The fourth album is slated to come out Spring 2012. How different will this album be versus past ones in terms of sound?

A – Each of our records has had its own distinct personality and “Kids In The Street” is no different. Our last record, “When The World Come Down,” toyed with a lot of stylistic experiments. We learned a lot making that record and that experience became a great stepping stone for us to improve; it expanded even further on “Kids In The Street.” This record is probably our most varied (which is saying something after “When The World Comes Down”), but I think it cohesively navigates and juggles different styles in a way none of our records have before.

Q – How was the writing and recording process different on this album versus past ones?

A – “Kids In The Street” brought us a fun, live energy we’d never had recording before. We tracked several of the songs live and took a much more laid back approach to capturing the performances. Feel took precedence over perfection. The benefit is the vibe. This record exudes moods in a way we’ve never captured before. It also helps that we’ve yet to work with the same producer or in the same studio twice, so we’re always faced with a fresh approach when we walk in to make a record. No two people work the same, so we’re never able to work the same. It helps us avoid stagnation.

Q – The first track from the upcoming album, “Someday’s Gone,” was just released for download. I’ve noticed a lot of bands going the digital route when singles and entire albums. When you guys came out people were still buying physical music. How have the internet and sites like iTunes affected a band like All-American Rejects?

A – The whole game has changed since we started. It’s funny, “Someday’s Gone” is just a teaser track (the single will be a song called “Beekeeper’s Daughter”), but people burn through content so fast these days that you have to do things like a pre-single teaser song. And we even made a video for it! That would have been a silly concept when we first started out. But it’s the lay of the land now, and we’re honestly happy to abide. You can’t deny the benefits the internet provides when it comes to connecting with fans and exposing the band to new folks. Of course, we’ve also been witness to how it has shifted the way people buy music. We’ve watched the digital single take dominance over the full-length CD, which can be a shame when you put so much work into an album. But people listening to a slice is better than them not listening at all, I suppose.

Q – With the musical landscape as cyclical as it is, how has the band managed to stay quote unquote relevant?

A – We just put all of our focus into making good songs. You could be the least cool motherfucker in the world, but if you write a good song people will respond. We never put all of our eggs into some style basket like some bands do. We wanted to be known for our music more than anything. That may keep us from being the biggest band in the world, but the tortoise wins the race, right?

Q – When the album drops, will there be a corresponding tour to support it?

A – Of course! We’ve always been road dogs. If we didn’t tour our asses off and get it out of our system, I don’t know how we’d be able to settle down to make records.

Q – If I were to turn on your iPod, what guilty pleasure would be on there that fans may be surprised to hear?

A – Dolly, Carpenters, Bonnie Tyler, the Mac… I guess a lot of female singers from times past, now that I look at it. Though of course I’m not a damn bit guilty about any of that.

Fan questions:

Q – How did the band come together?

A – Nick and Tyson formed the band in Stillwater, OK in 1999. It sounded pretty different than what was to come. A couple years and a few line-up changes later, Chris and I joined on. We’ve been stapled at the waist ever since.

Q – Were you guys friends before?

A – Separately. Chris and I were from the same town and played in bands together in high school. The same goes for Nick and Tyson. It wasn’t until our bands began crossing paths at shows in Oklahoma that we all became friends.

Q – What’s the best way to get a signed photo of the band?

A – Come to a show and get us to sign one!

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