Friends Like These: All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth and Pale Waves’ Heather Baron-Gracie

The artists discuss their recent single ‘PMA’, go-to karaoke songs, and their shared love for Taylor Swift

All Time Low’s latest is another pop-punk belter – having teamed up with alternative hitmakers Pale Waves, their latest single ‘PMA’ (short for Post Modern Anxiety) is a kinetic, guitar-laden collaboration.

Beginning as a project between All Time Low frontman Alex Gaskarth and the band’s long-time producer Zakk Cervini (Blink-182, Halsey), they later reached out to Pale Waves’ Heather Baron-Gracie to feature on the song.

In the latest instalment of NME’s Friends Like These video series, Gaskarth opens up about the meaning behind the single. “‘PMA’ was born from sitting around during lockdown,” he explains. “It was born out of all the self-reflection I found myself doing during all of the quiet moments during last year.”

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“[There’s] not a whole lot going on and not much to distract you from your own thoughts and feelings and internalising all of those things,” he continues. “Post Modern Anxiety in the context of this song… is a reflection of all of the places I went mentally during lockdown. [I was] feeling bored, feeling sheltered, feeling trapped and feeling anxious about the future, anxious about the world. The chorus of it, to me, is [saying] ‘I know I’m gonna be okay and I’m comfortable in my own skin’.”

“I love the song and I love your band too,” Baron-Gracie adds, going on to explain how she ended up on the track. “I was in Nashville and you were in LA. We spoke about our love for music and then [Alex] sent me the track and it said ‘Post Modern Anxiety rough’. I was like ‘how is this rough? — it already sounds so amazing!’”. The Pale Waves lead also reveals they’ve been working on further collaborations. “It was so fun and we actually started another song too. We have to finish that!”.

The collaborators connected over an appreciation for each other’s art. Baron-Gracie reveals to Gaskarth: “My favourite song by All Time Low is ‘Break Your Little Heart’. I literally texted Alex yesterday a screenshot of it and was like ‘This is still such a tune!’. It is so good. I was listening to [‘Nothing Personal’] and that song is just timeless. I remember when it came out, that album, and ‘Break Your Little Heart’ stood out to me.”

Gaskarth responded, sharing praise for Pale Waves’ last two albums: “She’s My Religion is just an unbelievably well-written and good song. I love it so much. It’s one of those songs where I won’t have listened to you guys for a while and then I’ll wake up one morning and I’m just singing it to myself all day.”

You can watch the full Friends Like These video featuring Gaskarth and Baron-Gracie above.

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All Time Low’s ‘PMA’ featuring Pale Waves is out now

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