Tommy2: Hey, it’s Tommy2 and right now we’re with Jenna from Tonight Alive who just walked off stage from her Warped Tour performance in Minneapolis. So how are you doing?
Jenna McDougall: I’m feeling really, really good. It’s nice, we’re kind of on a hill on the Warped Tour grounds but we’re in the sun. We’re chilling out in the grass, it’s really nice.
Tommy2: Now first I wanted to say great show and I wanted to mention that I think you’re the only act here that had the audience doing spirit fingers.
Jenna McDougall: Yes, I have them throw their spirit fingers up in the air and horns and claps and all that stuff. I like getting them involved.
Tommy2: And definitely got the mosh pit going right?
Jenna McDougall: Yeah, they’re pretty receptive. I get a circle pit every time I ask for one, that’s nice and rewarding.
Tommy2: Yes, well sometimes all you have to do is ask. Sometimes artists forget that.
Jenna McDougall: I know exactly, they get disappointed when they don’t get what they want but all you have to do is ask.
Tommy2: Now one thing you mentioned on stage tonight was that you actually have a new sponsor, and I know at your point in your career having someone to help with the bills and that kind of stuff is very important. Why don’t you talk about your sponsor.
Jenna McDougall: Sure, Arnette is a sort of eyewear kind of brand, and they’re sponsoring us on the tour and we sign at their tent every single day, and the guys on the team are really, really lovely. So it’s good to have them backing us.
Tommy2: Is that a good fit for you guys, cause you guys are pretty much into sports and stuff?
Jenna McDougall: Yeah… well we’re all outside people I guess. Well, mostly the guys are anyway. They love sports and being outdoors and surfing and skating and stuff. So, oh yeah it’s helpful for us.
Tommy2: Now with this being your third tour in the U.S. are you starting to recognize some faces in the crowds day to day?
Jenna McDougall: I have, people come up and I remember meeting them months ago or maybe a year ago. It’s nice, this is our third tour here so, we’re starting to build a fan base and start to see people coming back from those shows that we were just a support act on so it’s really nice.
Tommy2: Growing up in Australia was The Warped Tour an event you were familiar with?
Jenna McDougall: Yeah, actually it was. I think the first time I heard of it was in “The Rock Show” by Blink 182 – their song, and I used to dance around on my bed to that song, so… and it says “couldn’t wait for the summer at the Warped Tour” and I was like what is this thing that they’re talking about? And I kept hearing the word, from like all of my favorite bands would play on it and I was like what is this thing? Then when I joined this band, I was like – that’s all I wanted to do, because all of my favorite bands have done it and yeah. It’s really respected and looked up to and all of that kind of stuff.
Tommy2: So it’s lived up to the hype.
Jenna McDougall: Exactly, and more than that. Like, when you’re actually a band working and living on it, it’s so different from being a fan attending it. So, not that I would know, I’ve never attended it myself but being a band that’s playing on the Warped Tour just feels like a lifestyle. It’s really, really cool.
Tommy2: And now you’re next album is going to have a song that mentions the Warped Tour?
Jenna McDougall: Maybe, I don’t know? I don’t want to be to direct cause I’ve really done it once. Whereas, I think New Found (Glory), this is their seventh time. So, if they did it, it wouldn’t be dorky but, I might wait and see if we get to do it again.
Tommy2: Kind of like Yellowcard, this is 10 years since their first (Warped Tour).
Jenna McDougall: That’s right, I heard them say that today – 2002. That’s crazy!
Tommy2: You’re about at the halfway point now and have probably racked up thousands of miles on the road. At this point are you looking forward to the end or would you be willing to go another month?
Jenna McDougall: Yeah, I’m definitely willing to go another month, and that’s exactly how long we’ve gone I think. We’re not even half way through yet and I don’t want it to be half way through because I can tell I’m going to miss this. I’m really enjoying this, it’s nice to have a routine because at home we don’t have routine anymore. We don’t have jobs, we don’t go to school, we don’t do the same thing every day. This is nice, it’s exciting to find out your schedule every morning. It feels good.
Tommy2: Now of course with The Warped Tour, a huge component of that is getting out in front of new faces, how has this Warped Tour audience been responding to you guys?
Jenna McDougall: I’m actually blown away by the amount of kids that come. Not only that but how many people know our lyrics and sing along and actually physically get into it. So I think the response so far has been… I don’t know what the word is cause I’m honestly, I’m just absolutely blown away. Like, we have a big crowd every day and they’re always energetic and ready to go. It just blows my mind that we’re not in Australia and we’re experiencing that.
Tommy2: And what do you think of the other female fronted bands this year on the Warped Tour – like Dead Sara and Cherri Bomb?
Jenna McDougall: Yeah, I haven’t got to see Cherri Bomb yet. I haven’t had a chance…
Tommy2: They join next week.
Jenna McDougall: That must be why, I thought so. People keep saying, no they’re on it and I say, no I haven’t seen them. Anyway, Dead Sara – killer! I love them, I was in the catering line for lunch one day and I heard her voice and was like who is that? And I had to go and watch and she’s just, she was great. She’s mesmerizing.
Tommy2: Aside from them, what are some of the other bands on this tour that you’ve enjoyed seeing?
Jenna McDougall: Senses Fail and The Used. They’re two of my sort of High School favorites. So like it’s good to see them play again. And New Found Glory of course has been a massive influence to our band and a surprise was Falling In Reverse cause I’ve never listened to them before. But seeing them live is real exciting, they’re all really talented. It’s not like the Ronnie Radke show, it’s like every person in that band is talented, and yeah, I really enjoy watching them.
Tommy2: Are there any things here in the U.S. that you’ve fallen in love with, like specific foods, cities of venues?
Jenna McDougall: Oh man, it’s really bad but I love Wal-Mart. Like we don’t have anything like it in Australia. You either have like a clothes store, or a homewares store or grocery, but it’s so cool that they have everything in one, I love that. I’m terrible, I just like shopping even if it’s for food so. I love your Oreos, you have so many different flavors.
Tommy2: And you’re lucky when you role into a city where they have a 24-hour Wal-Mart… being the rock star you know, you’re up at 2am.
Jenna McDougall: Exactly, we leave a show, we drive for a couple of hours, stop at Wal-Mart and stock up on everything we need. Ummm… venues, I can’t think of right now. I mean I love the House of Blues. We’ve played on two or three of those so far in the past year and I’m excited to play those again if we ever have the chance.
Tommy2: And those always have crazy food in catering.
Jenna McDougall: Yeah, their catering is beautiful but the stages are big, and the PA’s are good and the whole thing.
Tommy2: And on the flip side, what things in Australia are you missing the most right now?
Jenna McDougall: Oh, my puppy! She’s not a puppy, but she’s my dog… my golden retriever Maggie. I miss her cause she sleeps on my bed every day and she loves me even though I go away for so long, and my sisters as well.
Tommy2: Back in February, you’re album What Are You So Scare Of? was released in the U.S.? Why don’t you give the backstory on when that was recorded and who you worked with.
Jenna McDougall: Sure, we recorded it over the end of 2010 beginning of 2011 with Mark Trombino who produced Dude Ranch by Blink 182. He did The Starting Line and a bunch of other bands, Jimmy Eat World, and a lot of bands that we love and looked up to growing up. So, working with him was an absolute honor and pleasure and we were happy with how the album turned out. We had been writing it for a year prior to that, so we feel like that material has been around for awhile for us, but we’ve been writing for a really long time and we’re ready to keep moving forward. I just wish we could release an album every year.
Tommy2: I agree! Now one thing that I really enjoy about your music is the themes in your lyrics and specifically. Today – surprise, cause on stage you actually mentioned that and you reminded the audience to not let their lives go to waste. Do you get a lot of feedback about that?
Jenna McDougall: Actually we do, and the best thing that anyone has ever said to me is that we saved their life, or that we turned their life around and that means the world to me because those songs, that’s what they did for me. Writing them was like a therapy and it was like speaking to myself in a way, but also speaking to our listeners and saying… reinforcing the idea of not letting your life go to waste and working for the things you want and not waiting for good things to happen to you. You have to work for them and… I just, I think we came from a scene where, it’s very competitive in Australia and a lot of bands will support all the local bands until they get bigger, and then their like well what did they do? Why? Don’t we deserve that? Like, they didn’t earn it. But, at the same time, seeing our fans and they tell us about their struggles, all I want to do is make them happy and make them better. So, when they say that their lyrics did that for them it means the world to me because I know what it feels like as a fan of music myself to know what it is for a band to change your life.
Tommy2: And the role that music plays in your life as well.
Jenna McDougall: Exactly! And I don’t know, just to be that band for other people is exactly our goal.
Tommy2: And that’s something else I could also notice like on stage. When you’re singing, you can tell that your… those weren’t lyrics that somebody else wrote, but actually something that you belileve in and feel strong about.
Jenna McDougall: Thank you, I’m glad that that comes through. So, yeah I feel it every time I say those words.
Tommy2: Last week you announced your first headlining tour to the United Kingdom is coming up this October. Obviously, you must have a good following over there.
Jenna McDougall: Yeah, it’s really weird. It grew really fast and it kind of sparked a wildfire I guess. We’ve toured their once… once or twice… I think maybe just once. We did a run with the Young Guns from England and they’re great. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and we’re putting out the album their close to when we go on tour so I’m really stoked and… sorry I’m babbling a little bit, I’m just really excited. I’m genuinely excited to go back and headline. I can’t believe that time has come already. It took a look time to headline in Australia, so yeah.
Tommy2: Yeah, it’ seems like everything is starting to pick up. Kind of like what you talked about – how big the Warped Tour was to you when you first started. When you look back then, did you ever imagine yourself having the International success you’ve had so far?
Jenna McDougall: It’s hard to say, I was so young, like I’m still young. I probably will look back at me being 20 and laugh at things I did and said and think I was such an idiot. But back then, all I wanted to these things and I knew that I was going to stop at anything. I guess I didn’t put myself in this position and imagine the picture of it. But I always wanted it, I knew I was going to fight for it was well. I knew I wasn’t going to let it slip.
Tommy2: We got a crazy last question for you. Currently there are a lot of foreign acts doing very well in the states. If you would have to pick a favorite between One Direction and The Wanted, who would it be?
Jenna McDougall: I don’t know who The Wanted are, but I’d probably pick One Direction anyway cause I actually really like them. I want to say I like their new album, I don’t care if they didn’t write their songs cause they’re good songs and I think they’re cute. They got good voices and they got good faces so I like it, I’m into it.
Tommy2: Alright, well thanks so much for your time today. It’s been fun sitting in the sun here.
Jenna McDougall: It’s really nice – beautiful.
Tommy2: And I just want to remind everyone that this month, you can download Tonight Alive’s full-length release What Are You So Scared Of at Amazon.com for only $6.49. Definitely in my Top 10 of 2012. Thanks so much!
Jenna McDougall: Thank you, thanks Tommy. This is awesome.
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