Taking Back Sunday’s Adam Lazzara talks Slam Dunk festival appearance and new music

Slam Dunk will run from May 26-28 in 2018

Taking Back Sunday return to the UK in 2018 for next year’s Slam Dunk festival, speaking to NME this week surrounding the news.

Slam Dunk 2018 will take place at three locations around England, running from May 26-28. It will be held at Leeds City Centre (May 26), Hatfield Park (May 27) and Birmingham NEC (May 28). Tickets will be available here on Friday (November 17) at 9am.

Taking Back Sunday are joined on the bill by headliners Jimmy Eat World, as well as Four Year Strong, Sleeping With Sirens, State Champs and Trash Boat. More acts will be announced shortly.


After releasing their seventh album ‘Tidal Wave’ last September, Taking Back Sunday talk to NME about heading back to the UK and the possibility of new music being played at Slam Dunk.

Read NME‘s Q&A with Taking Back Sunday below.

What can fans expect from your set at Slam Dunk next year?

“Since we’ve been out there last, we released our new album, ‘Tidal Wave’, which we’re all real stoked about. In the US, we did a tour [playing] only that record front to back, and then the last tour we did, we knew that now we were 7 albums in, that making a set list is a bit more difficult then it used to be. For us, we don’t want to overlook any [songs] that we really want to play, and we also don’t want to overlook anything that someone might be looking forward to hearing us coming to see us. So what we’ve been doing is pretty much going through the entire catalogue and revisiting everything, so that way when we get to soundcheck, we really kind of nail down the set list.

And of course with the internet, there’s been times, especially on the last tour, that someone would be like ‘I really hope you play this song on this night’, so that way we have that to look at like ‘oh someone wants to hear this, let’s run through it real quick so we can add it to the set’. That’s a real roundabout way of saying that everyone can expect a real great mix of everything.”


Do you feel obliged to play your older songs or do you still feel enjoyment revisiting your back catalogue?

“I think that anyone doing any kind of art, whether that be painting or writing or anything, the most recent thing they’ve worked on is gonna be their most favourite. Nine times out of 10. So for us, those songs are still real fresh to us so they’re more exciting to play, you never know what’s going to happen.

But also though, I think that there’s this thing, and I’ve especially noticed it more in the last few years than ever before, is just that the older songs be it from ‘Louder Now’ or ‘Where You Want To Be’ or ‘Tell All Your Friends’ kinda start to take on this life of their own to where it feels less like we’re the band playing them for people. It almost feels like that the whole place is doing it together, does that make sense? With those songs, the line from the edge of the stage to the crowd gets completely blurred and it’s just more, the whole room ignites and show.

With that said, we love playing those songs. You know, obviously when we’re rehearsing, let’s say we’re rehearsing for a tour and we come up, like okay let’s go over ‘Cute Without the E’, and everyone looks at each other like ‘I think we got that one, we’re pretty good’. So we’ll skip over them in rehearsals and things but another thing that’s cool about bringing those older songs into the set is that being in that we play them so many times it does need a little wiggle room for some experimentation. Like Mark [O’Connell] on the drums, he’ll do things that aren’t on the record that I’ll think “holy sh*t that was amazing. I wish we had recorded it that way”.

Will there be any additional UK or European dates surrounding the Slam Dunk date?

“We’re still getting all that solidified now but hopefully yeh, we can spend some time over there rather than just flying over and going straight home.”

Taking Back Sunday
Taking Back Sunday

Are you going to be playing any new, unreleased material during the Slam Dunk set? Are you working on a new record at the moment?

“The kinda funny thing about how the band works is that we all live in different areas. John [Nolan] and I live really close to one another, and Mark and Shaun [Cooper] really close to one another. So we’ve been emailing ideas back and forth – the wonder of technology! So there’s stuff ticking around but we haven’t all got together in the same room and bring them to life yet.”

Was is it like working remotely?

“It takes a lot off the pressure off. You don’t have to come up with an awesome idea and do it then and there. Whereas, we used to carry round cassette recorders, now we just always have our phones on us. We always have our phones on us to get an idea down that you can listen to later. Now since we’re all living in separate places we wouldn’t be able to do that and still write the songs that we write if it wasn’t for that technology.

It used to be this thing of on Tuesday at seven o’clock we’re all going to come down to the rehearsal stage and hash some things out and then we set up a date two weeks from now but leading up to that does anyone have any ideas. It gives everyone a chance to sit and get familiar with the parts and hash ideas out on our own so then once we get in a room together everyone’s on the same page which makes for a kind of smoother working environment – although it’s pretty hard pressed to call it work.”

Do you have any plans to work further on that new material in the next few months?

“Yeah, that’s actually something we’ve been going back and forth with, deciding a time that works for everybody”.

How does this new material compare to your previous records?

“It’s too early to tell, that stuff doesn’t start to poke it’s head out until we’re all working together as a unit all at the same time, so it’s hard to answer that question with any kind of confidence”.

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