the AU interview: Eddie Reyes of Taking Back Sunday (New York)


Taking Back Sunday surprised many when last they announced the return of original guitarist Shaun and original vocalist John. The classic Taking Back Sunday line up was back together and they made a bee line to the studio to record their fifth, self titled album. For the man who started the band, Eddie Reyes, having his two old friends back in the fold meant Taking Back Sunday could start again, avoid the mistakes of the past and continue on making the music they love to make together.

On the back of one of the band’s best releases to date and knee deep in a tour that has taken the band around America and Europe and soon back to Australia, we spoke to Eddie about life in Taking Back Sunday. What I discovered was a man who loves his band and his band mates and is proud to be making music with them again.

How are the band dynamics now that who’ve got Shaun and John back in the fold?

It’s been great man. It’s been like a fresh breath of air. It was so stressful before and now it’s not. It’s like making up with your best friends and its great to have them back. It feels like it should’ve felt for a long time now you know?

Is this a more stable Taking Back Sunday?

Yeah now that we’ve got these boys back it truly is Taking Back Sunday. We’re not filling it in, you know?

Where you surprised at the reaction the reunion caused in the scene?

Yeah you know, we had something special. There was a special entity there, a life force, and when that all ended it felt like we were filling it in. I can understand why people are that excited because I’m that excited and people will definitely see that on stage because we are way more excited on stage now! [laughs]

I can’t wait for people to see us and notice the difference in us having your real buddies in the band instead of just having guys help out.

The self titled album seemed like a new beginning for the band, would that be fair statement make with John and Shaun returning?

Yeah it is a new beginning. Which is strange seeing our last record was called “New Again” and was supposed to be a new beginning but it definitely felt NOT a new beginning! [laughs]
It’s definitely a new beginning and it definitely feels good again. it’s sad now, when a tour ends with these guys and I go home, of course I’m happy to see my children, but it’s also kind of sad not seeing your dudes for a while. We keep in touch with each other a lot and thats what it’s all about. Thats why we’re all happy because we are genuine friends and want to be around each other.

Do you all still live in the same city or have all spread out across the country?

John and Adam live in North Carolina together. Like around the corner from each other. They purposely moved there to be together. I live all the way out in the wonderful state of Ohio and Mark and Shaun live in Long Island New York and they literally live a block away from each other. We’re pretty spread out but not to far.

Let’s talk about the last record. For me it felt like the first complete album from you guys. The songs were stronger and every track was a winner. Looking back now, how do you feel about the album’s end product?

I’m proud of it. I’m not going to sugar coat it and say I hated all the records in between the self titled and first record. I love “Louder Now” and “Where You Want To Be” I wasn’t really a big fan of “New Again”. I didn’t like how we had to constantly change producers and the songwriting didn’t turn out originally as it was, it just kind of bummed us out a bit so don’t play many songs of that album. Obviously the new record is my favourite since “Tell Your Friends”, it’s the old guys.

Have you had a chance to start thinking about the next record?

Yeah. Well we’re not going anywhere you know! Plus we’ve got kids to feed! And we still like writing music. We’re hoping by next year we’ll be working on our next record. As far as what it’ll sound like we don’t know yet. We’ll wait until we sit down and start writing. We don’t have a set goal on what we’re going to sound like. We never were that kind of band.

Are you the kind of band that will write out on road or do you wait until after the touring and bunker down for a few months to write songs?

We’ll come up with some ideas at soundcheck and then when the touring is done we’ll sit down, bring a couple of beers and start writing!

The one thing I’ve always like about Taking Back Sunday is the use of harmonies in vocals. When starting this band did you have any ideas of what you wanted to sound like or has it being a natural evolvement in sound?

It’s a natural thing. I think it’s because alot of bands I’d played with in the past had duel singers. And I think when I started Taking Back Sunday I wanted that to happen and both John and Adam are both strong vocalists and lyricists so I guess it just worked out. I think if we didn’t have that, we wouldn’t be what we are.

There’s obviously been times where things were falling apart with this band, what made you keep it all together when most others would’ve given up on it?

It was my baby when I started it you know. And I was watching it die slowly. We had to save it. It’s all I know. We could go on and start our other bands but it’s not really going to be the same you know?

It was just very important for us to keep going and not let one person decide our fate. It’s not over until I say so! [laughs]

You’re heading back down to Australia in a couple of months to tour with New Found Glory, who you’ve toured with before. What makes it so much fun to tour with those guys?

They’re old friends. They’re old guys who have been around just as long as we have. We have a mutual respect and admiration for each other. There was no doubt when we got the call - of course we’ll tour with you guys! It’s better to tour with people you know and gre up with than a bunch young shmucks who don’t know what the fuck they are doing and are embarrassing. Kind of happy I’m touring with a bunch of old guys.

In Taking Back Sunday live shows, have you mostly being playing the new album and tracks of ‘Tell All Your Friends’ or have the guys learnt some of the other tracks recorded during their absence?

Its a mix of everything. There’s probably fewer songs from “New Again” but it’s a mix. We do like 17-18 songs so it’s a good chunk off the first record, the second, third and new record.

Do you have a planned set list for every tour or do you make it up on the day of the show what to play?

Usually we make it up the day of the first show. But we practice all the songs. We know we have to do this, this and this song and then we have five on the side in case it get a little boring to mix it up.

If Taking Back Sunday could cover one album, in it’s entirety what would it be?
For me personally I would cover Quicksand “Slip”.

Why that one?

It’s just a great classic New York hardcore punk record. And it changed the way a lot of punk and hardcore bands sounded out of that. i think that's one of the biggest influential records of our time.