New Found Glory’s Cyrus Bolooki on the new album, untouchable covers and more
A stalwart in the pop punk scene, New Found Glory have been responsible for some of the biggest anthems for over twenty years. Now, with Forever + Ever x Infinity on the horizon, we catch up with Cyrus Bolooki to chat about what to expect from the new album, how fan interaction has changed over the past few months and we sneak a peek at his album collection.
Words: Renette van der Merwe
Photo: Paris Visone
You’ve recently released ‘Himalaya’ and noted that it’s the heaviest song off the upcoming album. Are there any other songs that you feel are outside the realm of what New Found Glory fans are used to listening to?
I think our upcoming album offers a nice variety of songs, albeit leaning towards the pop-punk side mostly. There’s no real surprises here, although the last song on the album, ‘Slipping Away’, is more of a slower-tempo song that we feel still fit the vibe of the album and was a great choice to end the record, but other than that, there’s heavy songs, fast songs, even faster songs, and so on…
Speaking of Forever + Ever x Infinity, it’s your tenth album. How do you feel about hitting double digits? Is it like turning 30 and 40 and expecting for it to feel different, but it really doesn’t or is there something extra special about it?
I feel old! Hahaha, just kidding.
It’s very humbling, although of course there’s a lot of unprecedented events happening right now, so I almost feel bummed that we weren’t able to celebrate and experience this milestone release in the way that we were ‘supposed’ to enjoy it. I honestly think that the best part of all of this is that, besides the fact that we’re still here releasing new records, that it still feels new, we still get excited to write and record songs, and we still very much look forward to traveling around the world and playing those songs for fans.
I think we’re very confident in who we are as musicians and people, and that definitely shows in our overall sound and live shows. But even at this point in our career, we’re able to sit down to write music and have 15 songs come out that really feel like they’re taking us back to more of the earlier style of our band, just straight pop-punk jams, without us feeling like we’re forcing ourselves to do anything uncomfortable or, on the other hand, feel like we’re just phoning it in at this point.
The release date has been pushed to next week, but with live gigs likely not being an option for a while still, will it force you to promote the album in a different way to what would traditionally be a tour cycle?
Totally. It’s very unfortunate what’s happening all around us, and almost just as important to remember how hard this is for the live music scene and all of the people that are involved in it. We are fortunate to live in a time where social media is everywhere, and so of course we’re using as much of that as possible to promote our album, but the truth is that we do best while being on the road – almost every one of our albums has been released either during or right before a tour of ours, just like this one was setup to do – so, without touring, it will be much more difficult to promote the record in our ‘usual’ fashion.
But, we’ll still make the best of it, and I know our fans are out there anxiously awaiting this release and then the return of live shows, so they’ll help spread the word as well. In the meantime, we’ve been stepping up some of our streaming game, doing things like releasing a bunch of content on our YouTube channel (both the band’s and even our own, like my personal page), and we’re planning to do some special things around the album release. Again, unprecedented times, so there’s no template for what to do, but in the meantime we’ll do what we can to stay involved and keep pushing the NFG name out there!
You guys have been great at keeping fans engaged by posting tour updates, your #NFGRoadToInfinity project, games night as well as a ton of other fun stuff. Do you think isolation has forced you to interact with fans differently and will there be things you continue doing in the future?
Exactly. Very much like the last question, but it seems as though, at least for now, this is the new norm – doing as much as you can from home. It’s the closest thing to ‘working from home’ that we have to offer people. I think we’ve all stepped up our virtual interaction with fans in all different fashions, and we’ve even stepped out of our comfort zone in some situations to try to stay involved, like doing live Facebook and Instagram streams.
The only limiting factor for us versus some other bands is that there is physical distance between us. Since we’ve been doing this for over 20 years now, we’ve all settled into different home lives in different areas of the country, so it’s very tough for us all to be in the same room (even if we were to follow the social distancing guidelines!), and so that’s made it a little tougher to actually ‘play’ our music like other groups have been doing. But, we’re working on that as well, and yes, I think we’ll continue to do this, even as things hopefully return to normal, because it is a great way to keep engaged with your audience in general.
We love a good cover and you clearly do too! Having released four cover albums, what’s been your favourite track and do you think there any songs that are best left alone?
Such a hard question to answer…
I think I’ll take it all the way back and say ‘Glory Of Love’ from our first cover album, From The Screen To Your Stereo. Why, you say? Because I pushed for us to do that cover, so there’s a personal connection with that song for me!
And, we’ve had plenty of covers that have been ideas that we’ve decided to not pursue, for many reasons. For instance, we mentioned many times that it would be great to cover the song ‘Time of my Life’ from Dirty Dancing, but always decide against it, because it would be very weird for Jordan to be singing both roles in that song – both male and female – and basically be singing to himself the whole time. He’s crazy sometimes, but that’s like multiple personalities right there!
What’s the first album you owned?
Nirvana – Nevermind
What’s the last album you purchased / streamed?
(Besides the new New Found Glory album!) The Used – Heartwork
What’s the best album to drive to?
MxPx – Life In Genera
An album that never gets old
Metallica – Metallica
An album that reminds you of summer?
Goldfinger – Hang Ups
Settle the argument
Vinyl or Spotify?
Spotify. Why? Two reasons:
1) Takes up less space, and is a lot easier (and faster) to access tons of music… plus you can shuffle songs without any work!
2) I have young children. Young children + vinyl = everybody thinking they’re the new master of scratching records on the turntable. Definitely not going to sacrifice vinyl for that!
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