[Interview] The Get Up Kids talks being back in Malaysia, new album after “Problems” and more!
Earlier this month, The Get Up Kids touched down in Malaysia for their second round of show in the country. We were part of the crowd who got to witness their performance live that rocking evening at The Bee but that was not all we did.
Prior to the show, we sat down with Jim Suptic and Matt Pryor (we asked where the rest were, they said that they decided only the two of them would do the interviews because if everyone was there, it’d just be a bunch of guys talking over each other like bickering old housewives) and talked to them about their second visit to Malaysia, their upcoming album after “Problems” and James Dewees’ sudden departure from the band.
We also asked them if they were planning to visit other Southeast countries (they admitted that Malaysia is the only one they’ve been to so far), since fans have been asking them about this on social media. Both said that they’d love to but there’ve been no promoters from places like Singapore or Thailand or Indonesia approaching them for a show there. Fingers crossed they’ll get their wish to visit more of Southeast Asia fulfilled soon!
Matt was still jet-lagged from their 30-hour flight from Kansas City, Missouri, to this side of the world – Jim was okay, though, he said he even managed to throw in some sightseeing before their gig – but he powered through the interview and this is what we got from the duo:
Matt (L) and Jim (R) looking dead serious but then there’s Dustin Than Kinsey (yellow cap) and Rob Pope messing about behind Ryan Pope.
TheHive.Asia: Hi Jim, hi Matt, so this is your second time in Malaysia.
Jim: Yeah, we like it here.
Matt: The last time we were here was in 2016, for the Rockaway Festival.
Do you guys notice anything different since your last show here?
Jim: The last time we were here, there was political turmoil. There were all these protests and at the hotel, they told us, “Don’t go down there, you need to stay away from those areas.” So, of course, immediately we were like, “Oh, we’re going down there.” So we went down right in the heart of the protest, it was crazy.
We also heard that there was a big switch in government, but I can’t tell. Everyone was friendly the last time we were here and everyone’s friendly now.
Good to hear. So “Problems”, that’s your latest album. You mentioned that now that you guys are in your 40s, you’re not gonna be able to write songs like when you were 19. What inspires you now when you write songs?
Matt: I think it’s a similar kind of state of mind, just with a more – I don’t wanna say “mature”, mature sounds boring – like a little bit different perspective on love, relationship and lost, that kinda stuff when you’ve been through more of it. Sometimes when you’re younger, you’re writing about “What if’s”, when you’re older you’re kinda like maybe looking back on things that have already happened. But I think you can write a song that’s like, I don’t know, I think that there’s just a lot of introspection on this record that isn’t introspection of a 20-year-old.
Jim: When you’re young, everything’s kinda black and white in the world. Every emotion’s the biggest emotion you ever felt. Every breakup’s the saddest thing. I think when you get older, there’s a little more subtle nuance to life.
The Get Up Kids performed both old and new songs at their show at The Bee.
Your fans basically grew up with you guys since you’ve been around for a very long time. When you write your songs now, do you write with them in mind, something to entertain them?
Matt: No, I think we’ve always written for ourselves first. I think if we ever were calculated enough to be writing for other people, we would sound disingenuous, sound like you’re trying to chase what’s popular or something like that.
Jim: The only calculating we did in our last record was that we sort of tried to get back to what the essence of The Get Up Kids is as a band. Like find what are we best at.
Have you guys ever worried about competing with current artistes?
Jim: No, young people like what they like. We’re like old men now to kids. If you listen to alternative radio, in the States, it sounds like pop music. There’s no guitars. Like guitar music is not on the radio. Honest to God, I don’t listen to alternative radio because it doesn’t sound like alternative, it just sounds like pop music to me, which is fine, if that’s what young people are into. I like all types of music but my favourite is rock & roll… Now I sound like a grumpy old man.
Matt: *starts singing “Old Time Rock & Roll”*
Jim: My daughter loves Billie Eilish and she’s super talented. It’s just not bass, guitar, drums and keyboard. It’s all computer music.
But you do see your fans bringing their kids to your shows, so you still have fans even among the younger generations.
Jim: It’s not dead. Guitar music. It’s just not mainstream music anymore. Mainstream alternative music is not guitar right now, at least in the United States. It’s just few and far in between.
Alright, how long will fans have to wait for your next album, will it be another decade before you drop another album?
Jim: I don’t know. I guess I have some ideas, I don’t know.
Matt: I don’t think it’ll be that long.
Jim: But we don’t have plans. I think we owe [our record label] a couple of records. I don’t even remember. Contractually, we owe two more albums.
Matt: I think it’s three.
Though Jim’s not sure, fans can expect at least two albums from The Get Up Kids in the near future.
What are you guys up to next, aside from making a new album?
Matt: We’re gonna be touring for the next six months, off and on. Figure out what we wanna do next, which is probably writing. Because we had a good time writing the last record.
Jim: Re-evaluating life…(Matt: You sound so negative today!). Hopefully there’s a record somewhere in the next year. I think we need to have a long get-together and just map everything out.
Matt: It’s hard to think of the future when you’re jet-lagged and you’re in the middle of the tour. You’re just like, I don’t know nothing, I just wanna get to bed!
Jim: Things are crazy now, tours get booked eight months out now. Almost a year out. That’s crazy to me. You have to plan that far ahead already, you know. But it’s the world we live in.
Okay, there’s this one last question I want to ask, since fans have been asking about this ever since you guys announced his departure.
Matt: Oh, about James? Yeah, we’re not gonna talk about that. We’re not ready to talk about it yet.
Jim: Yeah, he’s not in the band anymore.
Matt: I still love the dude, he’s just not in our band.
Matt still loves you, James! (As seen here, Dustin stood in as the keyboardist during the recent show in KL).