The Get Up Kids were a part of the first movement of the emo genre. As much as they dislike the label, there’s no denying that if it weren’t for them there wouldn’t be bands such as My Chemical Romance and the like. The band decided to break up in 2005 after their 10th anniversary but have recently reunited. They’ve just released their first album since reuniting and will be in Australia later this year. Tone Deaf’s Brett Schewitz caught up with lead vocalist, Matt Pryor, about the new album, auto tune, the ultimate punk rocker and horror movie killers.
What’s your favourite horror movie killer get up?
Geez, I dunno. I’m not a big horror movie guy, so I mean, let’s go with the classics. Jason? Mike Myers?
You’re on your way to Australia later this year and you’ve just launched your first full length album since the reunion in 2008. Does being back together with all the original members feel the same as it did 10 years ago? How different is the band now?
It’s different in that we only tend to emphasise the positive aspects of it. In the past we would have good times and bad times. Now we try to minimise the bad times and just try to enjoy ourselves and each other. It’s pretty similar except with less fighting.
How’s it been going so far?
Good! Very good! We’re on hiatus right now, so that’s been kinda nice.
Considering you’ve all been involved in different projects, do you think these projects have influenced the sound on the new record in any way?
I don’t think the projects have really influenced the sound of the record. I certainly think that doing other projects makes us more well-rounded songwriters. The more people you work with, the more ideas you have. This record was written very organically. It was just the five of us in a room. No one person brought in a completed song so it really doesn’t sound like any of the other projects. It sounds like what all five of us can agree on at any one time.
Just as The Foo Fighters recently did, “There Are Rules” was recorded only using traditional analogue equipment. Do you think ProTools cheats the fans?
No, I don’t. I think generally, if you did a blind taste test between ProTools and tape, you wouldn’t really be able to tell the difference. For us, it’s more about firstly getting back to our roots and secondly tying one hand behind our backs and not having all the conveniences of ProTools. Sometimes you have to kind of make things challenging in order to come up with something creative.
Did you find it challenging recording with the tape?
No, not really. I think it may have been for Ed, our producer, as he’s used to using ProTools, but actually the more I think about it, The Get Up Kids have done very little on ProTools. We actually recorded almost everything, if not all, to tape, so it’s very normal for us.
What goes through your mind when you hear a song with auto tune?
I like the way people in which Hip Hop and RnB musicians are using it now more than the original intended purpose which is to actually lift the vocals of somebody who is slightly flat. I think using it as an instrument is more interesting than its original intention. I don’t hate it as much as some people.
You wrote the lyrics after the music was pretty much done. Did you feel that this challenged you as a songwriter?
Yeah, it was difficult to write so many sets of lyrics all at once but it was cool; it was a fun exercise. It was like a songwriting experiment.
What was the process?
We would get together and try to write a song a day and we’d basically come up with a rough sketch of a song. When we got to between three and five songs, we’d book studio time and then we’d go in and flesh out the arrangement. First we’d lay down drums and bass and then we’d spend a really long time doing all the guitars and keyboards. So we’d have a rough outline and then we’d lay the foundation down on it and then we’d go nuts on decorating, if you will.