Australian Pop-Punk Rockers Tonight Alive! Invade America

Categories: Interviews
Pop Punk is not dead! Aussie five-piece Tonight Alive! are readying themselves to storm Fort Lauderdale when they open for Pierce the Veil this week.

Lead singer Jenna McDougall and guitarist Whakaio Taahi recently took a few minutes to chat with us between gigs in the UK about the inspiration behind some of their songs, the incredible (and slightly unusual) responses fans have had to their music, and what it was like working with Blink-182's Mark Hoppus.

New Times: What Are You Sacred Of? was released about a year ago, right?

Whakaio Taahi: Yeah. It released in Australia last October, and in the States it got released in February and it just got released on October 2 in the UK, so there's been kind of a delay getting it out everywhere but it's finally out there.

So how have people been responding to it?

WT: Better than we'd hoped (laughs). It was one of those things where before the album came out in the States we knew it would be difficult to do a lot of touring because not too many people knew about us. And then the album came out and we were able to do the Warped Tour and were able to slowly grow our audience. It's been cool to play shows and have people singing with you in the crowd and getting into us, especially in some of the shows we've done in America. It's been really humbling. It's been awesome and amazing.

What was the inspiration for "Let it Land

Jenna McDougall:
Ha! Well, I wrote a lot of the lyrics months and months before that song even came together, and it kind of came from my habit of staying up really late into the early hours of the morning because my mind wouldn't shut down. That's the concept of the song -- holding on to things and letting them trip you out and keep you up at night -- so when we play it live we say that you can't hold onto everything forever.

How did you guys come up with "Starlight?" That's a killer song.

WT: I guess we kind of love anthem-y songs from bands like Good Charlotte and other bands we grew up listening to. We were kind of going for something similar, especially with the chorus. And this actually was a song we did acoustically when we were writing for this record, and it came together really quickly.

JM: Yeah, it took less than a day, I think. It's a song about enjoying little things and not being burdened by financial situations. Just enjoying what you have and making the best of it, which is kind of a theme that is common throughout a lot of the album, just appreciating what you have.

So how were you able to get Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 to guest on "Thank You and Goodnight?"

WT: In the studio we were deliberating about who we kind of wanted to add to that song, because we definitely wanted to have someone on it. Our producer, Mark, heard the conversation and thought of Mark Hoppus. So when we were tracking drums he said, "What do you think about Mark Hoppus joining in?" I think we just looked at him and, I don't know...

JM: We were like, "Is this a joke?" (everybody laughs) "Are you kidding?"

WT: And then Mark Hoppus seemed to be really into it, so we went into his studio in L.A. and it was amazing. It was absolutely surreal. He was the nicest dude, and it was a great experience. We all listen to Blink-182, so to have him play on that song was like the ultimate fangirl moment right there. (Jenna laughs.)

- Brian Palmer

Tonight Alive! with Pierce the Veil at 7 p.m., October 24 at Culture Room, 3040 North Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Visit

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