The music industry (and the world at large) may be on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the music doesn’t stop for All Time Low.

Over the years, the pop-rock quartet have run their sound through the gauntlet, finally settling on a mixture of pop; arena-soaring rock; and clever, youthful lyrics. Their eighth full-length, Wake Up, Sunshine, out April 7 via Fueled By Ramen, is a magnum opus. Lead single “Some Kind of Disaster” set the wheels in motion with an anthemic rock sound powered by massive guitars, while the catchy “Sleeping In” showed just how quickly the band was able to revisit their pop-punk roots from yesteryear.

Lead vocalist Alex Gaskarth talked to PopCrush about self-isolating, new music and why it was important for All Time Low to stick to their release date.

First, how have you been doing the past few weeks?

Despite everything, we’re hanging in there and laying low. Spirits are high. We’re trying to stay away from people and be considerate to others. My wife and I have been keeping ourselves busy. Ironically, having nothing to do is a welcome gift because there’s so much to do around here all the time.

But I’m sad for everyone else and I’m sad for the people that are more heavily affected by this. It’s easier knowing that we’re all in this together

With so many artists delaying their release, what made you want to follow through on the LP’s street date?

It’s really frustrating that we can’t get out and play shows for people. That’s why we make music. But I’m not going to sit here be like, “Woe is me, COVID-19 messed up my record release...” That’s not how we’re going to approach this

The biggest realization we had was that this record still needs to come out. You’ve seen other artists delaying their schedules—and more power to them—but the more we thought about it, the more we thought that the music was going to be a nice, welcome release for people, especially our fans. It’s not about selling records, it’s about providing new music for our fans to hopefully help them feel better in a time where there’s a lot of uncertainty.

Have you found yourself writing more music now that you’re home much more?

To be honest, I haven’t been focused on it. Once we finish an album, it feels like … I don’t want to say a weight has lifted … but it’s like, “Ah, yes, I’m done with the creative process for now,” so I sort of step away from it after that. With everything going on, I actually have been inspired to hunker down and make something again. The itch is back earlier than I expected.

What differed during these album sessions that led to 15 songs?

We had a hard time narrowing it down. We had more than 15 that we loved, but more than 15 is excessive. This felt like the strongest representation of the body of work we were trying to make. You see more and more artists putting out longer records because people consume so quickly. It’s cool to put something out that has some weight to it.

On one hand, a longer album boosts streaming numbers, but a shorter one lets people go through it quickly.

I’ve never looked at that analytically. I always approach it as what feels like the best album. Maybe I’m a little old school. I like to listen to a record front-to-back—that to me is always an experience.

That’s how this one ended up being what it is. We locked ourselves away over the summer in Palm Desert and a lot of it was completed with us all there under one roof. It lent a really good energy to the whole album.

Last year, you released two EPs from Simple Creatures, your side project with Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus. Did any part of that experience creep its way into this record?

What was nice about getting to explore Simple Creatures was that it allowed me to dive into some weird ideas that probably wouldn’t have worked with All Time Low. In that regard, I came back to All Time Low with a really fresh perspective and a clear mind in what I wanted to do with the band.

The album has such a feel-good, summery feel. It’s a little bittersweet that it can’t be experienced in that way right now.

This was definitely intended to be a driving-with-the-windows-down kind of record. Now I think it’s more like a starting-a-mosh-pit-inside-your-bedroom kind of record. [Laughs]

Whatever it is, I just hope it brings people some happiness in these wild times. It’s a weird time to be putting anything out; I wrestle with, “Why are we making this about ourselves?” Hopefully, once we are allowed back outside and in our cars, it’ll turn from a mosh-pit-inside-your-bedroom album into that sun-shining, blasting-through-your-speakers album it was meant to be.

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