All Time Low knows how to write a monster hook and a shout-out-loud chorus, but that doesn't mean its members can't get a few tips from the master.
"Working with Rivers [Cuomo] was amazing," All Time Low frontman Alex Gaskarth tells Billboard.com. The outcome of that collaboration is "I Feel Like Dancin,'" the first single from the group's new record (out today), "Dirty Work," its fourth overall and first for Interscope.
Video: All Time Low, "I Feel Like Dancin'"
"We both come from that world of tongue-in-cheek lyrics and everything done with a smirk on your face kind of attitude," Gaskarth said of the Weezer frontman. "He definitely pushed me in a new direction with the song -- it's definitely not something we've really explored before, but at the same time, it was very much a natural process and was really fun to write."
The overall recording of "Dirty Work," however, wasn't as easy. Following 2009's "Nothing Personal," which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, the band spent the next two years touring the world and hitting the studio in short bursts. Hectic, yes, but the process seems to work well for All Time Low, as it allows the band the opportunity to step back and re-evaluate their work.
"This is definitely the most positive recording experience we've ever had," Gaskarth said. "I think as musicians and artists, we're all in a better place than we've ever been before creatively."
And this shows on "Dirty Work." Of course there are plenty of palm-muted power chords and anthemic choruses that defined the pop-punk of their youth -- the band started out covering blink-182 songs while still high-schoolers in the suburbs of Baltimore -- but "Dirty Work" also finds ATL trying to move beyond these conventions. The band teamed up with producers from Mike Green (Paramore) and Butch Walker (Pink, Dashboard Confessional), to R&B king The-Dream, who produced "No Idea," a solid, cohesive mix of pop-punk and R&B.
Other ostensibly left-field influences abound, ranging from the stadium rock of Queen and Def Leppard on the monstrous "Just The Way I'm Not" to jazz deity Ella Fitzgerald. Lyrically, "Under A Paper Moon," is both inspired by and a tribute to the First Lady of Song, as Gaskarth hoped to expand on the ideas presented in her "It's Only A Paper Moon."
"I think what a lot of people don't realize is that -- especially for some of our older fans who knew us as the guys who grew up on Blink and Green Day -- is that I have very eclectic tastes in music," Gaskarth said. "Especially on this record, those influences really came into play."
"Dirty Work" is a record about staying grounded: Its title a reference to the balancing act ATL members have had to perform as they try to stay in touch with their roots during constant touring and as their profile continues to grow. But in a way, it also seems to be about the band experimenting with their sound.
"The main goal with this record was less focused on 'Are we sticking within our genre, are we sticking with our boundaries?' and was more like, 'How can we write songs that we love and want to play, but that also appeal on a universal level?'" Gaskarth said. "I don't know if we accomplished it or not," he added with a laugh, "but we certainly feel like we did, and we certainly tried our best."