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New Found Glory: Interview with Cyrus Bolooki
New Found Glory: Interview with Cyrus Bolooki

This year one of the most influential pop-punk bands celebrate their a 20-year anniversary. New Found Glory inspired millions of people around the world and had become an example for many groups. The bands drummer - Cyrus Bolooki told us about new album «Make Me Sick» and what unites members of New Found Glory and makes them stronger.


In this year you released new album «Makes Me Sick». Whether everything conceived was released on this album?

I’m very happy with the release of «Makes Me Sick». I think we’re all proud of this record as with all of our albums, but with this one we definitely focused on allowing the songs to take whatever shape they needed, not holding ourselves back in any way, and in turn there are a lot more «layers» of sounds on this album than on prior records. Although overall this still sounds very much like a classic NFG record, there are some new elements that help set this album apart from others.

What can you say about working on this record? Was it different than your previous albums?

Everything was different on this record, starting with where we recorded (Nashville, Tennessee), to who produced the record (Aaron Sprinkle), to the musical elements used on the album (more keyboards and guitar tracks than past albums). When we tracked our last album «Resurrection», we made an effort to make the sound very simple and straightforward to mimic our band at the time – we had just gone from two guitarists to one – and we wanted to make sure that the public heard us as such and realized that we were still a great sounding band even with those changes. However, this time around we didn’t have anything that was holding us back from making whatever musical choices we wanted to, and the result are songs that definitely expand on the NFG sound and push it in ways that we haven’t been to before.

Why did you decided to change producer and choose Aaron Sprinkle to work on the album?

Aaron Sprinkle is awesome. He’s a great producer and an even nicer human being in general. He’s got a great demeanor and worked very well with us, allowing us to throw out any ideas and helping to translate things that we were thinking or hearing into actual performances on the record. He’s one of the main reasons why we were able to put so many keyboard layers in these songs because he’s great with creating and playing keyboards/synths, and so all we really had to do was sit down and give him a little direction on what we were thinking and he would come up with awesome sounds and melodies for the songs.

New Found Glory: Interview with Cyrus Bolooki

What songs from this album have a special meaning for you? What could you single out?

One of my favorite songs is «Call Me Anti-Social». From the start, I knew this song was special because it features a keyboard part as a main melody, which we haven’t done in quite some time. In addition, it was the first song that we had mixed after tracking the album and to me it felt like the music literally jumped out of the speakers when I heard it. I got goosebumps the first time listening back to the song, and I know that a lot of people are saying it’s one of their favorite tracks as well.

How does the public perceive new compositions in live performance?

So far, the reaction to these new songs has been awesome! We’ve played both «Happy Being Miserable» and «Party On Apocalypse» on this tour and people are already singing along to every word of those songs. It’s cool because these songs seem to fit perfectly in the set no matter what other songs are played before or after them.

How the tour going in honor of the band's 20th anniversary?

This tour has been nothing short of amazing. Almost every show has been sold out, and it’s been very special for both the fans and us because we’ve been able to play some songs that we have literally never played in concert before and since the fans know which 2 albums we’re playing each night (over the course of this tour we’re playing our first 6 albums in full; 2 albums a night at each show), they’re able to come prepared to sing every single word of every song. The shows have been crazy and I think even we’re blown away by how successful this tour has been.

You've played in Moscow in 2013. What do you remember about this concert?

The one thing I will never forget about our Moscow show was how excited the Russian NFG fans were, and how after our show we went to meet everyone and they were all surrounding us taking pictures and getting autographs. I remember at one point the fans lifted Jordan up off the ground and starting throwing him up in the air…it was such an awesome experience, and one I’ll never forget.

Can you remember and tell us about the first concert of NFG? Where it was? How did you feel when you first came up on stage?

Well I actually didn’t play the first NFG concert, I became their drummer after they had played about 5 or 6 shows. But I remember my first show with them, way back in December of 1997. It was in South Florida at a super small bar called Club Q, and I know that I was very nervous to take the stage. The thing I was most scared about was that the original drummer of the band, the person I was there to replace, was at the show and waiting right in the front for us to start. I thought that he was going to fight me or something like that because I didn’t really know the details behind his departure at the time. But in actuality, the second we started playing he started singing along, and singing every word. It was pretty surreal, and of course, the rest is history.

New Found Glory: Interview with Cyrus Bolooki

What can you say about New Found Glory at the beginning of your career?

I know that we didn’t expect to ever accomplish as much as we have, nor be a band for 20 years. In the beginning, we were just happy to be playing music and we were doing what we loved – writing songs that we thought sounded great and were fun to play together – and then we set out to try and bring that music to as many people as we could. 20 years later, I think we did a pretty good job of that!

In announcements in honor of the 20th anniversary say that at the beginning you've been told: «You’ll never get anywhere», «It’s a trend that will pass», «Your ship will sink». What helped you not to pay attention to the opinions of others and continue to play?

Honestly, I think we weren’t worried about other peoples’ opinions because we were just enjoying playing our music and hanging out together and playing shows. That’s all we focused on, not how many people bought our records or played our music, but whether we enjoyed our music. By doing that the fans that we did make became lifelong fans because I think they could feel that we were genuine in what we were doing, and not just trying to make money or become famous. In some ways, we’re still doing that too, just making music that we love and then putting it out for everyone to hear.

What difficulties have you encountered at the beginning of your career?

There were the usual problems, like finding places/shows to play, getting together enough money to record albums and go on tour, and then also trying to balance our music lives with real life things like school and jobs and stuff like that. But overall I think we’re pretty lucky that we didn’t really have any big difficulties in our early career, things just seemed to grow naturally and get bigger and bigger each day.

New Found Glory: Interview with Cyrus Bolooki

What can you say about your debut album? How would you describe this record now?
Funny you should ask that because we’re playing our first full-length «Nothing Gold Can Stay» at some of these shows on our current tour. Although the sound of the record isn’t the best because we were very young at the time and not that good at playing our instruments, looking back now I know the songs on that record are historic for us, as some of them we still end up playing almost every night, and most of those songs are the reason why a lot of people either originally found out who we were or eventually heard of us through their friends suggesting for them to listen to us.

What you listened at that time? Can you name the bands that influenced on you?

There are so many bands that influenced us, and each one of us has different tastes, so it’s pretty hard to name them all here. If I had to pick one band that I think we all listened to at some point in our lives, it would be Green Day. I know in some way or another Green Day influenced all of us. I myself remember learning how to play the guitar, bass, drums, and even trying to sing the songs off of «Dookie» when I was younger. There are lots of other pop-punk bands, punk bands, emo bands, hardcore bands, and even rock bands that we all grew up listening to, and I think we’ve taken a little influence from almost any music we’ve experienced in our lives.

You are one of the founders of the pop-punk genre. What do you think now about this style? How much he has changed?

I think pop-punk is alive and well, and although it might change slightly throughout the years, it’s here to stay. One of the reasons why it’s such a strong genre is that I feel like it was built and survives because of the fan base and the fact that bands in our genre put such a huge importance on playing live shows. Then, no matter how many records you sell or whether your music is played on the radio or TV you can still go out and play shows and attract fans that way, and those fans will stay with you for your career. There are lots of great up and coming pop-punk bands, and even well-established bands out now. I think it’s awesome that there are a whole bunch of bands out there that definitely credit us with helping them become a band whether through musical influence or even just being an example to them. Look at bands like All Time Low and The Story So Far; both of those bands got their names from lyrics in our songs, which is a huge compliment to us. I like a lot of the newer bands on the label we’re on, Hopeless Records. I think if you look through their catalog you can find lots of great young pop-punk bands to listen to!

New Found Glory: Interview with Cyrus Bolooki

In 20 years you have been through a lot. What was the most difficult period in the life of the band?

Luckily, we haven’t had to go through too many rough points in our career, but if I had to pick one, I would say it wasn’t easy to go through a lineup change. It was a very uncertain time in our band because there were moments when even we questioned if we would be able to go on as four members. But in the end, I think the fact that we stuck through this made us even stronger as a band and tighter as musicians, and it might end up being one of the best things that ever happened to us.

You have never changed the group and even after the departure of Steve Klein you did not take a new member and decided to stay the four of us. Can you talk about relationships within the group? How do you manage to maintain a friendly atmosphere within the group for so many years?

One of the biggest reasons why we are so strong as a band is because we've all been here from the beginning and can look back on how much we’ve accomplished to get to where we are today. Sure, we disagree and sometimes fight, but we fight like brothers do, never in a way to hurt one another, but always as creative differences to try and make everything we do in the band the best that it can be. The fact that we can always relate to the amount of effort we’ve put in to get to where we are now is a big reason why conflicts in this band never last longer than a few days at most.

You have a few golden records and a huge number of fans. But personally for you – what do you think is the main achievement of the New Found Glory for these 20 years?

I think besides the record sales and the touring achievements, our main achievement is creating a legacy, a legacy that people will talk about for years to come. We still have new fans come up to us at every show and tell us that it’s their first time ever seeing our band live. That’s the kind of stuff that will help our band continue to have a career for years to come, but also the kind of stuff that helps to reinforce what I was just saying. There are people out there that weren’t even born when we first started making music as NFG, but to them it’s important that they make the effort to come see us live, to become a fan, and hopefully stay a fan and pass along their experiences with NFG to others.

In Russia, among alternative music there is an opinion that after 10 years the band is still young. How do you think – how much age affects the status of the collective?

I think it really depends on how you feel inside, not how old you are. Age is just a number, but music is universal. There is no age limit on our music, and people both young and old are welcome to and do love our music. We all feel very much alive when we’re on stage and playing, and I feel like our energy in concert is just as much today as it was 20 years ago when we first started. That’s the most important thing when talking about age. I think as long as you’re enjoying what you do then you should be able to continue to do that for as long as you want!

What would you recommend to young musicians or people who want to create a group?

Most importantly I would say to make sure you really love what you do. It is not easy to make music as a career, and even if it’s not a career, if it’s something you want to take seriously then you certainly wouldn’t want it to be something you don’t enjoy. So, go out and write songs that you love, learn how to play your instrument, and PLAY SHOWS! Nothing can take away the live experience, no internet streaming site can mimic what it’s like to be at a concert in person, so make sure you go out play the music you love to as many people as possible! Use the internet to help promote yourself, but never forget that the best way to promote yourself is to do it yourself. Being genuine goes a long way in this industry, and the connections you make that way will be stronger and last longer than anything else. So, go have fun and good luck!

Photo by Paris Visone

New Found Glory: Interview with Cyrus Bolooki


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