With a supersize party lined up for Slam Dunk Festival’s 10th anniversary, who better than New Found Glory to bring an explosive set of Pop-Punk to this years main stage?! We caught up with New Found Glory drummer Cyrus Bolooki to chat all things Slam Dunk Festival and find out what New Found Glory have in their locker!
Hi Cyrus! It’s been a mad couple of years for you guys off the back of your eighth studio album ‘Resurrection’, what’s been your highlights?
Well, releasing the record itself was a highlight, as we had gone through some pretty big changes before we wrote and recorded the album, and I think a lot of people didn’t expect us to be able to continue or to live up to the standards that we have set for ourselves. On top of that, we had some great tours off this album cycle with bands like Yellowcard, The Story So Far, and State Champs, and some memorable festival experiences like Reading and Leeds 2015 and even playing in some cities that we’ve never been to, like Alaska and South Korea! All in all, it has been a mad couple of years but very rewarding for us.
You guys only recently returned to land from your second run on the ‘Parahoy’ tour with Paramore and a few other rad bands, how was that this time around?
Parahoy! is nothing short of amazing…being on a boat with awesome bands and fans for a few days straight with nothing to do but play shows (and have all-you-can-eat soft serve ice cream) is pretty much anybody’s dream come true. This time was even better than the first, however, because we obviously knew a little more of what to expect, and I feel as though a lot of the passengers had gone to the first Parahoy! as well, so they were already NFG fans and remembered having great times with us the first time around.
It can’t be easy playing a show on a moving ship tho right?
I’m so glad you asked that…the first time we were on the ship a few years ago, our first show was in the Stardust Theater, which is located towards the front of the ship but also a quite a few floors below the top deck. When we arrived to setup and soundcheck, the boat was swaying like crazy, and all of the crew members that work on the ship were telling us that this specific venue is where you can feel the boat moving more than pretty much anywhere else on the ship. On top of that they informed us that for some reason at that time the seas were rougher than they had experienced all season long, and pretty much I had to try and keep myself from falling off my drum seat, all while trying to still use both arms and legs to play drums. It was interesting for sure, but surprisingly it was actually a pretty awesome show and a great start to that journey for us. This time around the seas were much calmer, and we didn’t play in the theater. Instead we played 3 separate times up on the top outside pool deck. However, I do remember that at our last show, which was on the final day of the voyage, it was extremely windy…so much so that I once again thought I would fall off my drum throne, and I found myself fighting those forces all while trying to play. But, again, like the first time, when in these interesting situations it seems as if magically our shows are even more awesome to make up for the obstacles, and as a matter of fact all three of our shows this time around were pretty awesome!
Festival season is on the horizon! You guys seem to love playing UK festivals; do they bring something different to the usual headline shows you play?
Festivals, and in particular UK festivals, are always fun shows for us to play. There’s something about UK crowds in general that make shows over there just special. Crowds seem to go off a little harder and sing a little louder than anywhere else in the world, and for NFG we realized that early on in our career, which is why we’ve come back to the UK often and try and participate in both festivals and headline dates as much as possible.
You’re heading back to Slam Dunk Festival this year to play for the first time since 2010! The festival has grown hugely since then, you must be pretty excited to be finally coming back?
You are correct, Slam Dunk was big back in 2010 but it’s grown even more since, expanding to a 3rd date and venue, with crowds seemingly growing exponentially. We’re super excited to be back on the bill, as this festival has always seemed to gather both established and up and coming bands, and puts together a stacked lineup every year. Plus, we’re on the main stage, which means the crowds should be pretty large for us, and that will make for an even better show!
You’re playing late on the main stage, what can the Slam Dunk crowd expect from your set? Any surprises?
Surprises are just that — surprises — so there’s no spoiling them here! Besides, a lot of times that stuff just seems to “happen” without much planning, because it’s more about the present situation and what’s happening at a certain moment. That being said, we always try to make our shows special, especially festival ones, whether it means special guests, random songs like cover songs, or maybe even just loads of crowd participation, and I’m sure we’ll be doing one (or more) of those this time around.
There are loads of awesome bands on this years line up! Who will you be catching throughout the day?
I’ll probably literally be running back and forth trying to catch all of the great bands on the festival this year. There’s too many for me to see, especially because we’ll play around the same time as some of them, but to name a few, I’ll be trying to watch bands like Yellowcard, The Story So Far, The Starting Line, Four Year Strong, Hit The Lights, and even Panic! At The Disco, Of Mice and Men, and Zebrahead…again, too many bands to see, but that’s a good problem to have!
Many bands we’ve spoken too are particularly looking forward to catching your set at Slam Dunk! It must be pretty rewarding to see so many bands who have been inspired by you in the past, to be playing big festivals along your side?
It is awesome to know that so many of the bands out there now have been influenced by us. It wasn’t something that we planned from the start of our career, but it’s a great thing to know that others have taken notice to what you’ve done and more importantly, look up to you not only musically but also possibly how you treat this as a career and as a lifestyle. I think we’re most proud of trying to pass on our approach to this whole industry, which is to stay true to yourself and your fans, and luckily there are quite a few younger bands that are successful yet still seem to abide by that ideology. We learned a lot ourselves from bands before us like Less Than Jake and Green Day on not only how to make a career in this industry last a long time, but also how to keep integrity while doing so, and I think we feel like it’s a responsibility for us to pass along the same lessons we’ve learned throughout the years.
You guys must have had some pretty interesting experiences at festivals, what’s the craziest thing you’ve seen?
Yeah, we’ve played countless festivals, in all different environments, and have seen some crazy things. Craziest for me, however, has probably been seeing some of the bad weather that has unfortunately taken place while we’re at an outdoor festival. A few instances come to mind, and they were all in the US during the summer months, but I remember being on Warped Tour years back and literally having lightening strike a metal bridge that was less than a quarter mile away from us just seconds before we were to start playing. Another year on Warped Tour I saw what seemed like a mini-tornado all of a sudden come through and the winds literally picked up a few merchandise tents and sent them flying in the air.
Have you guys been writing any new material? If so when can we expect to hear some?
We’re just now starting the process of writing and gathering new ideas for another album, so it’s still a little ways away. We’ll use the summer and the down time on Warped Tour to start writing demos and hashing out ideas, and then get ready to record another album in the fall, hopefully releasing it sometime in 2017.
Finally what do you have planned for the rest of 2016?
Like I said above, we have Slam Dunk, then Warped Tour for the summer, and then we’ll be entering a studio sometime in the fall to write and record our next album. Then next year we’ll release the record and go back out on the road and do what we do best!