DS Exclusive Interview: Cyrus Bolooki (New Found Glory) discusses new album, record labels, and the secret to longevity

DS Exclusive Interview: Cyrus Bolooki (New Found Glory) discusses new album, record labels, and the secret to longevity

Fans of New Found Glory have been eagerly awaiting the release of New Found Glory’s seventh studio album, “Radiosurgery,” for months now and the wait is over, it’s finally out.  In honour of this great occasion, New Found Glory’s drummer Cyrus Bolooki sat down with me for a quick chat about the new album, their upcoming milestone anniversary, and record labels. You can read the whole interview here.

What inspired you guys to name the album Radiosurgery?

It actually happened like right before we started to really track the record, or right as we were starting to track the record. It was something where (New Found Glory guitarist) Chad Gilbert was thinking about ideas . I forgot to ask him why he started searching online for this brain surgery, but he stumbled upon the term radiosurgery, which is an actual surgical procedure that involves radio waves. We ended up taking this radiosurgery name, and spinning the definition a little bit, and make it seem like the kind of thing you would have to do when all else fails to get something out of your head. In this case, we’re referring to the memory of a relationship, and it kind of works in with the meaning of all of the rest of the songs on the record. Like a lot of our records, this one is about relationships, but more specifically this records talks about all of the different stages that you go through when a relationship ends. It can go anywhere from being angry at somebody to trying to get revenge and things like that. It’s just something that was so much a part of your life that you just can’t get it out of your head. And it almost seems like you need radiosurgery.

For an album that talks a lot about relationships and focuses specifically on the end of relationships, it’s still very upbeat sounding.

Well, thanks. That’s something that we’ve done in our ten plus years. We’re not doing anything crazy, it’s not rocket science or any of that stuff, but it’s something general that everybody goes through, even if you’re young or old, or big or small. We talk about things that everybody goes through. Yes, we are talking about relationships and yes, we are focusing on the breakup side of it, but at the same time, there’s a lot of energy in our songs, and positive energy in the way that we present ourselves, and usually that translates a lot better live.

And at the same time, for someone who is getting over a relationship, it probably helps them to be listening to something more positive.

That’s true. We’re not trying to lead people down to their demise or anything like that. It’s just “get on with it,” and at the same time, our music tends to bring a lot of people together, whether it’s specifically at a concert or just in general. We can be the remedy for a lot of people.

Was this a very cathartic album?

C: This record was kind of the same as the other records. There’s a lot of things that go on when we go to record, and a lot of it is introspective. Our guitarist Steve likes to say that our records are a snapshot of what’s going on in our lives, and there’s always some experiences that we draw from at the time that we go in to the studio. There’s a lot of just us making the best music that we can, working with the producer, and trying to group together the best songs. This record was kind of the same as our other ones, but  we always feel like our newest stuff is better than the rest, and we feel like with this record we really pushed ourselves to create the best product that we could.

Would you say this is your most ambitious album yet?

Yes and no. Yes, it’s ambitious in the sense that we never really try to make the same record twice, and in small ways we’re trying to push the envelope. It’s ambitious in the way that we took a lot of time to write these songs and we threw out a lot of early ideas and demos, just trying to get to other songs that ended up on the record. So, in some sense it’s ambitious because we didn’t really settle on anything, but at the same time, no, it’s not really ambitious, because it’s New Found and it’s not really going out on a limb and trying to create this new genre of music or any of that stuff. We’re just trying to champion the genre of music that we represent the best.

Next year is going to be your fifteenth anniversary. Any big plans to celebrate?

No, you know, we’ll probably end up doing what we’ve done for each of these other fifteen years, which is just, we’ll be on the road most of the year, we’ll be promoting this new CD, Radiosurgery. As of now, I don’t think there’s anything extra-special planned, like we did for our tenth anniversary, but I’m sure people will get their fair chance to see us.

In the time that New Found Glory have been around, you’ve seen a lot of bands come and go. What is your secret to longevity?

We say it’s our good looks, but I won’t dwell on that one. I think the biggest thing is that you’re looking at five of the same guy. I was the only lineup change in that band, and that happened fourteen years and nine months ago. A lot of these bands, you see lineup changes and you see things that prevent the group as a whole from sharing experiences. Let’s say that one day I get in to an argument with someone else in the band, which does happen. But it’s over say, somebody ate my French fries that I ordered, and I really wanted those. As opposed to some other bands where their arguments just escalate and talk about what else they did to piss you off that day, with us it’s different because we know each other. We know what buttons to push, and we know when there’s a problem that’s going to get out of hand. Things like that we’re able to squash before things get too crazy. And the reason why is that we think  about the last fifteen years and how amazing this stuff is and how awesome it is that we’re wherever we are, probably doing something that we never expected too do. We can draw on these experiences together, and experience everything as a group, that is what keeps us together. We’re just real with each other.  No one is going to blow up after ten years of holding something back.

You guys signed to Epitaph after a short bout of not knowing if you would sign to a label at all. Is there anything you can enjoy with Epitaph that you weren’t necessarily able to enjoy with other labels?

Actually, as a side note, when we first found out that we were not going to be on Geffen Records, our major label, Epitaph was actually the first label to call us.  It was almost scary because it was within hours. We got a phone call from Brett at Epitaph, who was like, “Listen, I know that this is all new for you guys, and I’m not trying to force myself down you, but I just want you guys to know that we’re here and we’re interested.” And we just took that and put it on the back burner and went and looked for other labels, but everything just kind of kept on pushing us back towards Epitaph. They understand the music business, and they understand what’s changed in it because they’ve been here this whole time, and so in the time where a lot of bands just sign the record deal and the record labels treat them like a business and not as a band, the companies basically just buy a portion of your business, and in times like that Epitaph doesn’t even worry about that stuff, or at least with us they didn’t. Instead of trying to take a cut and throw all these numbers around, Epitaph just called and said, “Okay, we’re putting out your next CD.” We said, “Okay,” and waited for the fine print. That’s it. They just wanted to put out our CD and treat it like a normal record. It’s one of the biggest differences, in my opinion, between Epitaph and a lot of record labels these days, and that’s what we need these days. We don’t need a label that’s going to talk about what percentage they’re going to make off of t-shirts and this and that, no, just make our CD, and we’ll do our part. I think that’s why our relationship works so well with them.

So you’ve travelled the world quite extensively as a band. What is one of your standout memories of tour?

I get asked this question a lot and I’m always semi-unprepared for it, which is unfortunate because we have so many great memories. A couple of weeks ago we played the Reading Festival in Leeds, and we’ve played it before, but this time, we were on the main stage, but when you play a huge festival like that, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, you just walk out on the stage and look at the crowd. I actually had someone take a picture of me from behind, and you literally cannot see the end of the crowd. It just goes on until the horizon. At the time, my mind can’t really comprehend what’s going on, but after the fact, seeing the picture, that’s just unfathomable how many people were out there, watching us. Then you go past that, to the fact that we all started in our parent’s garage, and that it’s not some band that I grew up listening to, but it’s my own band, so I’m able to blow my mind with just random things that New Found does. I like those pictures.

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