One of the most successful and popular pop-punk bands to come out of the pop-punk explosion of the early 2000’s, the Quebec based five piece Simple Plan are back with their fifth studio album Taking One For The Team, their first release since 2011’s Get Your Heart On! Featuring guest appearances by Jordan Pundik, R. City, Nelly and Juliet Simms, the band’s fifth album proves that even after all this time, the boys in Simple Plan still know how to have a good time and create a fun pop-punk record.
Earlier this month, in preparation for the album’s release (which came out this past Friday, the 19th of February), we sat down with guitarist Sebastian Lefebvre to discuss the upcoming tour, new music, and David Hasslehoff. Read what Sebastian said below.
[AltWire] Starting mid February, Simple Plan will be going on tour throughout multiple countries, starting in Canada and ending in France. Who will be accompanying you on this tour? What are you guys most looking forward to on this tour?
Sebastian Lefebvre [Simple Plan]: We have Ghost Town that’s going to be starting with us for the European part of the tour, and the bottom line as well. Honestly, it’s about time we go on tour. We’ve been working on this album for probably a couple years now. We’ve been writing and recording it and were excited for it to be released and to go out and play the new songs for people.
AW: Do you think you will be adding a US leg to the tour in the near future?
SL: We will. I think right now were just in the giant hurricane of putting the album out, so we just settled down on make sure the first tour was happening and that the album was actually coming out. I think a couple weeks from now everything is going to start rolling out, like tour dates for the rest of the summer and for the rest of the year. We want to go to the states, we also have South America and Asia and Australia and we’ve got like a year to do it all, so it’s all going to be coming together. As soon as we know, we post it on the website, so as soon as we do, everyone else knows too.
AW: Now you said that Ghost Town will be accompanying you for most of the tour. Has Simple Plan worked with these guys in the past?
SL: No, actually. We’re fans and I guess their fans so when we asked if they wanted to do a band tour with us, they said yes and we were stoked. Its interesting, you know, that people still love going to shows and there is a lot stuff to do. People can go to movies, they can buy video games everyday, but there’s always a couple bands that people want to see. So if one band is with another band, maybe people won’t get sick of going to the shows. If you’re touring with such a cool, and young band too, its different but it works. Some of the fans will be the same, and we’ll see ours, we’ll see theirs and when its all mixed together its going to be great.
AW: Simple Plan is about to release their fifth studio album, “Taking One For The Team”. Was there anything different in the recording or writing process for this album that maybe didn’t happen in the four before it?
SL: Yeah, I think every single album is a little bit different then the one before it. This is going to be very personal, but we always want it to be the best album we’ve ever made. What that means to someone can be different from person to person. Some people are always going to love ‘Still Not Getting Any’ because it was 2004 and they were in high school and that’s the album they were listening to then and nothing is ever going to beat that. For us, as songwriters and musicians, we always want the album to be the best possible. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, but at the same time we take the time to make sure we nail it. We wrote for a year, we wrote about 70-80 songs and it sounds like a lot, but it just because we actually finish stuff. We finish the songs, then we sort through them and record them.
I think what’s different this time around is that we had a lot of songs and we were in the studio. Simple Plan is kind of a band that has deep roots and we love pop songs and love to see what Simple Plan will be in the future and keep evolving as a band.We always try to find the balance between taking care of ourselves and our shows and core fans. We want the “typical Simple Plan songs”, but we also want the songs that are maybe going to bring us more fans, put us on the radio, things like that so we can keep touring. It’s a very hard balance to find, and half was through the recording process, we kept writing and 3 new songs came out. We could have been done with the album, but we had these new songs and we were like, you know what, these new songs are really going to help the album come together. So, we went back in the studio and recorded more songs and added them last December. We did that just to make sure the album sort of had a unity to it.
AW: You say you enjoy pop, and with this album I can definitely still hear the classic Simple Plan side, but I also hear a little bit more pop in the album also.
SL: It’s a very interesting thing for us. I think something that sort of happened on its own with this album is that the pop songs are poppier then ever, but the rock songs are rockier than ever.
AW: Simple Plan included Nelly in the track “I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed” off the upcoming album. How did the idea to include Nelly in this song come about?
SL: It was a special song from the get-go. It came about is probably the first batch of songs we wrote for the album. Let’s say it was in the first 20, and we decided wow, this is one of the really good ones, we have to keep it. It’s still one of the really good ones, and we love it! When we recorded it in the studio, it felt different. It also felt like it needed something to, not spice it up, but make it sit with itself, because the song is different so we needed something else that was different to put on it. We added Nelly because he’s not just a rapper, he has melodies for the way he sings and he’s pretty badass. Also, we both sort of came up together in the early 2000’s and we played video shows together. We were on the radio, he was on the radio, we were on TRL when he was on TRL, so we kind of just reached out and he loved the song and wanted to be on it.
“It’s fun to mix it up. We don’t want to just be the type of band that just recreates the same thing over and over again…”
AW: Listening to the song was like a little piece of history and it was great to see two artists I grew up with colab together. I’m sure many of your older you fans would agree.
SL: Yeah, because on different songs I can switch guitars no problem, but we barely switch singers. We did it on our first album, and it took into the fourth album to get some more. It’s really fun, it’s just different flavors here and there.
AW: I think the icing on the cake to that song was adding David Hasselhoff into the end of the music video!
SL: It’s crazy! Baywatch was such an iconic show, and this was before the internet, so if you wanted to see ladies in bikinis, you basically had to watch Baywatch. It may not be acceptable now, but it was a huge show and it’s kind of a spoof, but not really because we’re very serious. It’s just goofy stuff that happens in the video. Basically, Pierre is a young Hasselhoff and we did want we wanted to do and he was all for it. We actually shot it at his house, which is like a Hoff museum. He’s got his plaques and Baywatch stuff. It’s basically like a tribute to himself.
AW: Simple Plan has already released a few singles off the album, like ‘Boom!’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed’. How has the fan reaction been thus far to the new music?
SL: It’s been interesting because when we released ‘Boom’, not to sound too confident, but we knew people would get into it because ‘Boom’ is the type of song that usually connects well with our fan base and that connects when we play live. Ever since we released it we’ve been playing it at every single show. It’s one of those songs that has the sort of Simple Plan spirit in it and that reaches our fans. With ‘I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed’ we knew it would be kind of a curve ball for everyone, but we still wanted to do it and sometimes maybe they sort of think “ Oh My God, is our whole album like this?” Not that their worried, but they don’t know what to expect. We just keep telling them, wait for the album to come out, it’ll all make sense. We love to have those types of songs, and when those types of songs stand out they end up playing on the radio, which is fine. Then when you come to our show there’s going to be 3 or 4 of those songs in our set, then there’s going to be 15 other kinds of songs as well. It’s fun to mix it up. We don’t want to just be the type of band that just recreates the same thing over and over again. Some fans may be a bit worried, but most of them understand and know that they’re going to be happy when they hear the album.
AW: Personally, I think the album is great, and for a band to be around for so long there is bound to be a little change, and I think overall your fans are really going to enjoy this album.
SL: It’s a interesting position with us as a band with this album because we’re mid 30’s and most of us have families, were not 20 year olds anymore and there’s always pop songs that 20 year olds are coming out with, and they’re awesome. But it’s sort of like, where do we fit in now? Where’s our spot? We’ve always had one spot in the Warped Tour world, and one foot in the “Maybe we’ll play Kiss FM with JLo” world. We’ve always been in the middle of it all and we love both. It’s like were trying to create something that’s in the middle, we genuinely love both and I think people love that about us.
AW: We let some of our readers and followers on AltWire know that we would be doing an interview with you today, and gave them the opportunity to suggest some questions for us to ask you. One fan would like to know if you have any guilty pleasure while on the road?
SL: I do tend to go on Instagram and look at the “pictures of you” section. So I basically go on and look at all the picture people took and I like them. I recently starting reading a lot, but that not necessarily guilty though. Something I have been doing that is actually kind of funny, is I post something on Instagram and I geo-tag it, say like “Hey, I’m going to be here for the next half hour”, even though I have no idea what here is, but I’m there, and eventually someone shows up and we take pictures and chat and everything.
AW: That’s all I have for you, is there anything else you would like to add?
SL: Just that the album comes out on February 19th, it’s amazing so get it and come check us out live!