Interview With Matt Skiba From Alkaline Trio - 6th July 2008
Photo Of Alkaline TrioWe caught up with Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio for a chat about the bands brand new album 'Agony And Irony' and a few other things on the eve of the album release.

Hello and thank you for taking time out to do this interview.
N o thank you.

The last time we interviewed you was in November 2005, a lot has happened since then; you took a break, a number of side projects were formed, a couple of Alkaline Trio Cd’s were released and now you are back with a brand new album, how would you say the past 2 and a half years have been for you?
They've been great. its been awesome having time off to write and work on other projects but those things also help in getting the creative juices flowing for alkaline trio songs.

You recently released a three track EP on itunes as a teaser for the new album, but to the disappointment of the UK fans it was only available to download in America, how come?
Im not quite sure. if it was up to us we wouldve released it worldwide. we're on 2 different labels in the US and the UK so apparently there was some miscommunication between the two entities. sorry about that.

Your new album 'Agony And Irony' is being released on the 7th July, how did you come up with this album title and what themes are covered on the album this time around?
T he title is a play on Ebony and Ivory because the album has a theme of duality, of light and dark. it deals with good and evil, light and dark, hope and despair.

How did you go about writing and recording 'Agony And Irony'?
We spent the better half of 2 years writing the songs but only 6 weeks recording and mixing the album. i think going into the studio with a ton of songs and narrowing them down to a baker's dozen was of great advantage creatively. we took a more live approach this time to recording the record.

What route have you decided to go down sound wise with 'Agony And Irony'?
Big and simple.

The artwork for 'Agony And Irony' is very basic yet has a good Alkaline Trio feel about it, who came up with the design?
It was an idea we came up with based on a 1966 TIME MAGAZINE cover. our manager thought we should incorporate the logo and john yates (our designer) put it all together.

'Agony And Irony' only has 11 tracks, many of your fans on your blood-pact website were hoping for more tracks or a re-recording of 'Fire Down Below' as a bonus track, what made you choose to feature just 11 tracks on the album?
We originally only put 10 on there. a record shouldnt be longer than 45 minutes but no shorter than a half hour.

The main single release from 'Agony And Irony' is 'Help Me', what made you choose to release this as a single over the other 10 songs on the album?
The label and our management pick the single. we dont write singles, we write albums. we dont pick it because its too hard for us. we know nothing about how radio works.

The long term fans prefer 'In Vein', the new fans prefer 'Help Me', but do you have a favourite track from 'Agony And Irony'?
I Found Away is my fave.

'Agony And Irony' is being released on Epic Records, how did things differ this time around working with Epic instead of Vagrant?
The major difference we feel more in the states. it seems like this record is getting a stronger reaction than previous efforts.

You are really loyal to all your previous record labels with 'Remains' being released on Vagrant not so long ago, and 'Goddamnit' being re-released on Asian Man Records recently, is it important to you to keep a good working relationship with everyone you have worked with?
Yes, its important to us to leave on friendly terms. it would be a shame to work so closely with someone to just sever ties one day due to insignificant reasons.

You are currently running a competition for your fans to write how they think your new song 'Love Love Kiss Kiss' should be preformed before they hear the song, have you had many entries and have any been spot on?
The contest was a lot of fun. it was great to see what people came up with. some of the entries were downright amazing

You were the special guests for the Give It A Name Festival, were you confirmed to be playing the festival months before you were officially announced to the public?
No. we jumped on just before they advertised it as far as i know

You played the Give It A Name Festival in both Sheffield and London, which show did you enjoy the most?
Both were really fun in their own way. it was definately a treat playing earls court though.

You only had a thirty minute set at the Give It A Name Festival, how did you go about picking your set list when you have so many songs to choose from?
A magic 8 ball.

I was at the Give It A Name Festival in London and the sound was quite bad during most bands sets, including the start of your set, was this due to the venue being so big and only half sold out or was there a more technical fault running throughout the day?
Its because the venue is so cavernous. its hard to sound good in a place like that.

Are you glad to finally be getting back on the road after such a long break from touring as Alkaline Trio?
Yes. its great to be back out travelling again.

You have a pretty hectic tour schedule from the end of May right up until the end of August, are there any shows you are looking forward to the most?
Leeds and Reading.

How do you cope when you are on the road for such a long time?

You are doing a one off show in England, Ireland and Scotland,which country are you looking forward to playing in the most?
We love being in the UK period. we love it all.

The London show is at London Koko, What made you choose an over 18's only venue?
It's red and black.

You are playing the Lock Up Stage at the Reading and Leeds Festivals, you have played this festival a few times now, what makes Reading and Leeds so appealing to you?
Warm carling in a paper cup.

The whole festival has an awesome lineup, will you be checking out many of the bands playing?
Yes. one of the best parts of those things is checking out the other bands. i like the killers a lot.

When can we expect a full Alkaline Trio UK tour in support of 'Agony And Irony'?
Before the end of the year.

You have always supported the West Memphis Three and their day in court is soon upon us, do you think justice will finally be served and the West Memphis Three will finally be free?
Yes. i truly believe that justice will prevail.

What are your opinions on the current state of the mainstream British media blaming emo and alternative music for teenage suicide and self-harm?
It's ignorant. its blind and ignorant.

Your merchandise is always quite exciting, especially your new teeth family t-shirt, who comes up with the ideas and designs for your merchandise?
Heather Gabel.

You have just wroked with Nike to produce some exclusive Alkaline Trio heart and sole air zoom crush trainers, how did this come about and are you happy with the finished product?
We are really happy. we have friends that work at NIKE and have been hooking us up with gear for years. they came up with the idea to do a trio dunk and we couldnt be more excited.

Will the trainers be released in the UK? if not how will the UK fans be able to get hold of a pair?
Im not sure. i certainly hope so.

When we last interviewed you we asked if you could live in someone else’s shoes (dead or alive) for one day only, who would it be and why? Dan, you said Michael Jordan but also said you might change your mind and to ask you at a later date, so is your decision still the same
Yes. aside from the murdered dad thing.

Your Bloodpact website hasn’t been updated fully in a long time, now you are back with a new album will the updates come more regular?
yes. derek is a busy boy.

This is a bit of a random question but we ask every band it, if you had a choice what animal would you be out of a Zebra and a Giraffe?
A giraffe. there's too many jokes about zebras.

Thanks for your time, is there a message you would like to add for your fans?
Thanks to you all! we cant wait to see you guys and gals in the fall/winter. much love, the trio

Interview By Trigger
 Band Members

Dan Andriano (Bass, Vocals)
Derek Grant (Drums)
Matt Skiba (Guitar, Vocals)
 Latest Releases
Alkaline Trio - Agony And Irony
Release Date - 7th July 2008
1. Calling All Skeletons
2. Help Me
3. In Vein
4. Over And Out
5. I Found Away
6. Do You Wanna You
7. Live Young Die Fast
8. Love Love Kiss Kiss
9 . Lost And Rendered
10. Ruin It
11. Into The Night
 Band Related Links
Alkaline Trio Myspace
Alkaline Trio Official Site