Interview: Tonight Alive Guitarist Whakaio Taahi Discusses New Album, 'What Are You So Scared Of?'

This past Tuesday, February 14, the Australian pop-punks in Tonight Alive released their debut full-length album, What Are You So Scared Of?, via Fearless Records.

The album was initially released in the band's hometown of Sydney back in October.

Due to a van accident during the 2011 Fearless Friends Tour, the band was forced to miss an initial sit-down with Guitar World to discuss the tour and new album.

But that's all behind them now, and the band is back, more enthusiastic than ever, expecting a great 2012.

Below, guitarist Whakaio Taahi responds to questions about the band's work ethic and the hype surrounding their new album.

GUITAR WORLD: Have you ever felt that being a female-fronted band affects how your music is received? How so?

In a way, yes. I think a lot of people take a look at a photo of the band and categorize us, and that's it. I must admit I used to do that [laughs]. I still don't listen to a lot of female-fronted bands.

What would you like to see more of from women in the music industry?

I think at the moment women are making a certain "stand" in the industry, and I think it's great. This life is no longer 100 percent male-dominated, and it's making things a lot more interesting.

What inspired your cover of "Little Lion Man" for Punk Goes Pop 4?

We got a list of a bunch of pop songs, and that one stood out to us the most. We didn't want to cover a song that already had female vocals, and we loved the original song, so it was a bit of an easy decision.

What has been the crowd response since the Australian release of What Are You So Scared Of? Do you anticipate an exciting U.S. tour?

The crowd response in Australia has been something of a dream come true. It's an amazing feeling to see the music you've created affect people so much, whether they relate to the lyrics or just love the music. I feel like releasing WAYYSO? was definitely a high point in a long period of touring and hard work, and it was amazing to see the crowd response. I hope once the record is out in the States more people will understand what we are about and our fan base will grow. Although I do think we have a lot more work to do in the states [laughs].

What do you love most about touring in the States?

I think the consecutive dates are it for me. Playing every day for six days in a row and doing that for five or six weeks at a time teaches you how to be in a band. It teaches you how to play shows and deal with anything that comes your way. It's hard and wearing, but it's the life that everyone wants, and you have to fight for it.

You had some transportation trouble on the Fearless Friends Tour. How did that affect your enthusiasm about being on the tour?

[Laughs] Yes, we did. I don't think it really affected us much at all. I think we were a bit upset that we missed the Denver show — and nearly died on the ice — but other than that, we just watched movies on our laptop and waited to be rescued by the tow truck. The tire also flew off the trailer on the way out of Detroit, which led us to stay there another day, which sucked a bit, but not a whole lot can upset us too much [laughs].

I know there must be lots of practical and inside jokes on the road. How is it having one of the few women on tour in your band? Does she play well with you boys or do you feel that there are times when the innuendo is excessive?

I think Jenna is one of the boys now. She definitely dishes out much more than she gets these days, and I’m proud of her for it [laughs].

If you knew the world would end tomorrow, whom would you want to do a last-minute collaboration with?

Thrice, for sure. They influence me with everything I do, so if I knew I was going to die, then they would be my choice for sure!

Catch Tonight Alive this spring on the Lucky Street Tour with Go Radio, Therefor Tomorrow, Tyler Carter (ex. Woe, Is Me) and others. Check out Tonight Alive’s official Facebook page for more info.

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