The Ramones and The Clash pioneered pop-punk. The Descendents gave it a harder edge. Green Day brought it to the mainstream. New Found Glory took all this and re-wrote the book on it. Scene Point Blank corresponded with New Found Glory drummer Cyrus Bolooki via email about all things Coming Home.
Scene Point Blank: New Found Glory is bout to embark on your first tour in a while, how excited are you to be performing for your fans again? What kind of set lists can we expect from you guys in terms of coverage of albums?
Cyrus Bolooki: I am very excited to go back on the road. It's been over a year since we've been out on tour. Touring is what New Found Glory is all about; it's where we came from and what we enjoy the most. Our set list is going to be great for any fan of our music. We are definitely going to play all of the hits, material from every record as well as a few new songs. We're not going to overload the set with all new songs so that we can play a bit of everything.
Scene Point Blank: You have released three songs to the public from the upcoming album, Coming Home, and they are a lot more pop driven as opposed to punk. Are these three songs an accurate representation of the rest of the album? Can we except a bit of the old New Found Glory style as well?
Cyrus Bolooki: I don't think you can ever really take a few songs and tell the whole story of a record, that's why there are more than three songs on the CD. Coming Home is diverse because there are songs that can appeal to anyone on this record. The difference in music and songs on this CD really reflect what we've been going through and it reflects how we're still the same band at the same time. The record has a lot of the elements of who where and who we are. Our music has definitely grown but there are still poppy melodies, catchy songs, slower rhythms- good music that any of our fans, pretty much anyone, can take home and enjoy.
Scene Point Blank: The new songs have an increased dependency on the use of keyboards in the band's songwriting. Did the popularity of the single "Failure's Not Flattering" have anything to do with this? Will the band be bringing anyone on tour to help with the performance of these types of songs in a live setting?
Cyrus Bolooki: First off we're not a band to ever really purposely write music because of what is going on in music today or because of one song that got big or something like that. The use of keyboards has been going on for a long time just in the background of a lot of our songs. Since we've started to add keyboards it has just opened another outlet for melodies and that kind of dynamic on our records. We do have more songs with keyboards and piano melodies but not every song has that and we're still a band that has going on. We will have a keyboard player with us on tour and he will be helping us out with not only the new songs but our older songs as well.
Scene Point Blank: Numerous press releases have described Coming Home as "a more mature New Found Glory." Do you feel that you guys have matured as a band? Is this "maturity" going to be across the board or just limited to the music/lyrics?
Cyrus Bolooki: It's cliche to say but we have matured as a band. This can probably be found across the board. Yes we've grown up and yes we do look a little older. We're not super old, we just started this band when we were young. As far as the music goes, the maturity is reflective of the closeness of our band. We have a bond that just grew closer writing the record. We've known each other for a while and that just allows us to write the best music ever.
Scene Point Blank: What was it like working with Thom Panunzio? He's pretty well known for his work with rock artists like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, was it weird to be working with a producer that doesn't normally work with punk bands? Do you feel that his lack of familiarity with punk gave him a more objective view of the sound you wanted with the new album?
Cyrus Bolooki: Just because Thom doesn't work with "punk" doesn't' mean he hasn't worked with good bands and good music. His experience in the recording industry is very vital to this record and how it turned out. He knows the importance of a good song and how to spot one even if it's not written all the way through. He believed in our music from an early stage and emphasized that it's all about the vibe of the song translating to the listener. It's not about getting every take perfect but it's about making sure the vibe translates all the way through the record. That's what he's been bringing to records since his Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen days. People want to question whether our music will sound like that. It's not the case. He just brought the work ethic and kind of a vibe to our recording.
Scene Point Blank: The artwork of Catalyst wasn't the most well received aspect of the album. Did you take its criticism into consideration when developing the concept for the new album? What can we expect in terms of the artwork and layout of Coming Home?
Cyrus Bolooki: We're proud of every record we release and we believe Catalyst was a great record with great songs. Every record is a snapshot of what was going on at the time in our lives. At the time Catalyst was written and recorded it was a darker time in our lives. We were dealing with the effects of being on tour and being in a band for so long-without taking the time to live life. On this new record, Coming Home, a lot of the songs are more uplifting or more positive just in general and that reflects what is going on in our lives. Families are starting; people are having relationships; just dealing with being away from home but taking the time to appreciate what we have when coming back. The artwork just reinforces the Coming Home vibe and feel of the record.
Scene Point Blank: Fifteen tracks were recorded for Coming Home, but only thirteen will appear on the album. What are the band's plans for the other two songs?
Cyrus Bolooki: All of those tracks plus some others which are demos will appear on various releases in various countries in the form of B-sides. We know the importance of having extras recorded and there's plenty. You just have to search. Be on the lookout for more unreleased material from this record to surface.
Scene Point Blank: In the past there have always been a plethora of guest appearances on New Found Glory albums. Are there special guests on Coming Home that you can tell us about? Is there any artists that you would like to collaborate with that you have been unable to swoon as of yet?
Cyrus Bolooki: Yes there are guests. The most notable Benmont Tench- the keyboard/piano player from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. We also had guest vocals from the band Eisley as well as help from our team - Thom Panunzio and Paul Miner with percussion and background vocals.
As far as collaborations go I'd always love to see our band do some type of hip-hop. I think it's just me personally though. It doesn't matter who, I just think it would be cool to do.
Scene Point Blank: Pop-punk bands that incorporate hardcore influences are all the rage these days, a sound that New Found Glory helped popularize. And yet based on the three new songs you've released, it seems New Found Glory is moving away from this sound. Is this just a part of the more mature New Found Glory or just a coincidence?
Cyrus Bolooki: It's actually little of everything I think. We definitely have gotten older. We're not going to keep writing the same record over and over again. We haven't abandoned the style all together and there's still elements hidden within our new music. As a live band we will always play songs that have been written through time. In a world of CD's that could be interchanged with each other, I think it can be a fresh wake-up call for anyone in music.
Scene Point Blank: Which do you prefer, playing the big outdoor festivals or the club setting? Have you guys ever considered playing small clubs unannounced just for kicks?
Cyrus Bolooki: I love all shows that we play but I think if I had to pick a favorite I would say the bigger shows because the view from the stage is breathtaking and something you have to experience to know what I mean. Words cannot describe what it's like to be onstage in front of thousands of people.
We have done shows unannounced and tours in smaller clubs. We are a band that doesn't forget our roots and look for those opportunities. Those shows are really fun and sometimes more enjoyable than the bigger venues.
Scene Point Blank: What was the main goal of New Found Glory when you founded the band? Do you feel this is still the main goal of the band or has focus been shifted elsewhere?
Cyrus Bolooki: New Found Glory was founded by a group of guys who wanted to play music that they all enjoyed and wanted to take that music and bring it out to anyone and everyone they could and we're still doing that. We're still loving every second of it and still trying to get our music out to every person on this planet.
Scene Point Blank: You guys are all in your mid/late-twenties, but the bulk of your fan-base remains teenagers. Do you ever find it difficult to relate to your fan-base? Do you ever have trouble writing music geared towards them as there is such an age gap?
Cyrus Bolooki: Not really because we are all young at heart and we were just there a few years ago. It's not like there's a twenty-year gap. We write about what we went through so we're not making stuff up. A lot of the topics we write about can appeal to folks of all ages, not just teens. I think in some way everyone can relate to all of our music.
Scene Point Blank: One of your first releases was From the Screen to Your Stereo, which consisted of covers of music from various films. Have you guys ever considered releasing another covers album? Is there any song in particular that you'd like to cover that you know the other guys in New Found Glory just wouldn't do?
Cyrus Bolooki: We have considered a cover record and don't rule that out as a possibility because we have recorded other covers in the past that have had limited if any release.
I think actually the one song I want to do is that song at the end of the first "The Karate Kid." You know that song they play right after the famous crane king. The chorus goes "You're the best around... no one's ever going to keep you down." I don't know what the actual song is. [Editors note: The song is titled "You're the Best" and written by Joe "Bean" Esposito.]
Scene Point Blank: Other than changing out of drummers early on in the band's history, New Found Glory has kept a consistent lineup. What do you attribute this cohesive nature of the band to?
Cyrus Bolooki: After the changing of the drummers, which is what brought me into the band, I think everyone felt like that was New Found Glory and the lineup we had from that day was really the main and real lineup of NFG. I think all of us are united because we're all in this together for the same reasons. We love what we do and we're so amazed at that we can do this as a career. We have each other's backs, we're a band of bros and that's what keeps us so close.
Scene Point Blank: Being in a band that headlines shows, are there any smaller bands that you're fans of that you'd like to take out on the road with you?
Cyrus Bolooki: I'm a fan of Cartel who we are taking out on the road. I would like to take out Hellogoodbye. Everyone in NFG has random bands they would like to take out. We try to hook bands up that we are fans of because that's how we got our first big breaks.
Scene Point Blank: Following your tour with The Cartel and Early November, what are New Found Glory's touring plans?
Cyrus Bolooki: The tour we have with Cartel and the Early November is going to last us for the entire fall. We're going to Europe and Japan as well. In the New Year we have plans to go to Australia. We're working on another US tour in 2007, so we'll stay busy and continue to tour the world for the next year at least.
Scene Point Blank: Anything else you'd like to share with us before you go?
Cyrus Bolooki: Thank you to all of our fans for always being so great to us and coming out to our shows. We all look forward to seeing you on tour this fall. Remember to pick up a copy of Coming Home as well!
Images courtesy of New Found Glory and Geffen Records.