The Arcade talks emo revival, new tour with John Nolan of Taking Back Sunday

Avery Fiftal, Contributing Reporter

As Mardi Gras winds down, Taking Back Sunday is rolling into town to kick things up for one last day of craziness. They are touring with letlive. and The Menzingers for the next two months, and this is a show that will definitely round out the end of Carnival season.

The Arcade got to talk to John Nolan for a bit about the upcoming tour, the bands they’ve been playing with, and their role as mentors to younger bands. Check out the interview below, and don’t miss them playing at the Civil Theater on February 18th.

The Arcade: Why New Orleans as the first stop?

John Nolan: You know, to tell you the truth, I’m not sure why that was chosen. The booking agents make those positions and run the routing past us, but generally it seems like they know what they are doing with that so we let them do it. I’m glad they made that decision though, it’s a great place to start the tour.

The Arcade: Have you guys ever been down here?

JN: Yeah, yeah a whole bunch. We don’t come through there as much as I’d like to, but I would that we play a show there at least once a year and it’s been that way for like the past ten years.

The Arcade: How did you guys choose the bands for this upcoming tour?

JN: There had been some bands who we had played with here and there but had never done a proper tour with, and we wanted to take it happen for a while, especially with The Menzingers. We had been talking with them and had had the idea for a while so it really just all came together for all three bands at the right time.

The Arcade: You guys and letlive. are considered to have quite a different style of music. Do you think you’re going to have a similar fan base in your turn out for this tour?

JN: I think that we like to mix things up a bit when we take bands on tour. We don’t necessarily want to have three bands [that] sound exactly the same. And I think what we always hoped is that another band we are our tour with brings out a different audience which means that it’ll be mutually beneficial to all of us. They might bring out some people that might not have seen us before and our fans will see them. Hopefully both of our fans will get into each others’ bands.

The Arcade: Are you guys close friends with letlive.?

JN: No, not really. Like I said, we’ve done some shows here and there with them but we really don’t know them that well yet.

The Arcade: You guys recently had your holiday show with Modern Baseball. Do you think that developed in the wake of what the scene calls the “emo revival” that we have seen in recent years with lots of these bands springing up and blowing up out of nowhere or did it come from you guys just being friends?

JN: We got to know them a little bit playing that show with them, and I thought they were great. That was my first time really sitting down and watching them live and I really thought they were great. Generally the bands that I heard that people associate with the “emo revival” thing, I like. A lot of them remind me of stuff I listened to like in the late 90s. I don’t really know if there’s an actual “emo revival” of if it’s just kind of something someone made up and it caught on in the press. I don’t really care that much about that either way, I just think that they’re great bands and I’m glad that we got to do some shows with them.

The Arcade: I remember seeing Modern Baseball in a basement one summer and then like two months later they were touring as headliners and I was like, “How does that even happen?” I feel like a lot of that is attributed to internet now. Was it very different when you guys were trying to break into the scene? I mean, you didn’t have the extent of Facebook and all of that.

JN; Yeah, it was. I mean, we hit our own point where things really took off and we grew extremely quickly, but we worked at a pretty slow local level for a long time, and one thing that I think that’s different is when we did our first tour before we were signed and we booked it ourselves and the booked the tour at that point consisted of people in our van when we were on tour, just calling venues and bars and just kind of saying “Hey, can we play a show there?” and then also having no way to really promote yourself. You hope that maybe someone at the club puts up some flyers or something like that. So half the shows we did on that, it was literally nobody there, and I think now you can network with local bands in different areas a lot easier, you know? We probably put together something where we actually got in front of some cool people and connected with some other bands in other cities. It would have been much easier to do that now than it was back then. That’s got to be a great thing for bands touring now.

The Arcade: One last question: do you guys every think of yourselves as mentors for younger bands who come and tour with you. Kind of like a “young grasshopper” concept?

JN: I don’t think we think of ourselves that way. I don’t know if younger bands look at us that way. Some might. You can tell with some younger bands as you get to know them that a lot of times, they’ll be very nice but playing it cool. Then as you get to know them, there will always be this one night where you’re drinking with them and then they start telling you how much they loved your band and how they’ve been a fan since they were ten-years-old or something like that. I always think that’s so cool, and I don’t know if they learn anything from us or from teachings. And we definitely don’t sit around and dispense advice and wisdom to people. I think that we kind of just do what we do and I think that if anyone gets anything out of that, then that’s cool but, you know, we are not really sure the way we are perceived.  

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