Alkaline Trio’s Dan Andriano Opens Up About His New Solo Album, ‘Party Adjacent’
Alkaline Trio bassist and vocalist Dan Andriano has a creative songwriting edge that flows not only through his main gig but also leaves trails of material only fitting for his own personal release. He unveiled his solo project dubbed Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room back in 2011 with the release of his debut (and primarily acoustic) album, Hurriance Season. It was a big hit among fans who only encouraged Andriano to do more.
He's been writing killer sing-along acoustic ballads since Alkaline Trio's conception, with songs like "Enjoy Your Day" dating as far back as their 1998 LP, Goddamnit. With Alkaline Trio now only playing sporadic shows since wrapping their recent Past Live Tour (during which they played their entire discography). And with bandmate Matt Skiba recently joining Blink-182, Andriano seized the opportunity to piece together a wonderfully electric new sophomore album called Party Adjacent, due out July 17 via Asian Man Records.
He'll embark on a full North America tour this summer in support of the new record with support from Jeff Rosenstock of Bomb the Music Industry! (who appears on the album), Spraynard, Pet Symmetry and High Dive. Andriano swears the new record is nothing like Alkaline Trio and, at times, it really claims its own stake. In this interview, Andriano talks about the new album and some of Alkaline Trio's upcoming plans.
How did you come up with your solo project's lengthy name?
It is kind of long, isn't it? [Laughs.] I came up with the name, Emergency Room, a long time ago when I was thinking about releasing some of my own stuff. Then I listened to management and Mike Park and some of the people around me when they said it would be foolish not to use my name in the title of my own solo project. It was a way to kind of point out that I was from Alkaline Trio but, at the same time, to say that this was my own personal material.
So I'm guessing that's why Matt [Skiba] did the same thing with Matt Skiba and the Sekrets?
[Laughs.] Yeah, exactly.
What can listeners expect to hear differently on Party Adjacent than your debut, Hurricane Season?
I had wanted to do the full band thing for a while now and finally had the means and people to do it. Also, 'Hurricane Season' had a constant recurring theme – kind of like a concept record. This album, I just kind of wrote and recorded songs and put them together, but there's no one particular theme. The songs are still very personal to me though, about my life and hardships and whatnot.
How crucial has the Asian Man Records team been to your career as a musician and did Mike Park play on the album?
Mike did not personally play on the album, but he basically found my entire backing band. He's been a huge part of my music career. He's the guy I call when I have any problems, whether musically or anything else. That's what happened before I put this record together – I was having a writer's block and I called him up and he made it happen. He also hooked me up with Jeff [Rosenstock] who was a huge part of the process musically when I was down in San Jose making the record. He did some backing vocals for songs like "Wait." Other songs, I kind of just did my own backup vocals. But for "Wait," at least, I'm pretty sure that was Jeff.
Alkaline Trio's sound has surely changed over the years. Why did you feel that these songs in particular wouldn't work for that band?
You know, most of the stuff – especially with the Emergency Room – I just write at home on acoustic guitar or an electric guitar that's not even plugged in or something. At this point, for me, it has a lot to do with the sentiment of it. Like, what the song's about? Or how do I envision it sounding? So all those songs – with the exception of one, I think – I knew I wanted them to be on this new Emergency Room record. I wanted them to be louder and a little more rocking than Hurricane Season and I thought that these were the perfect songs to help transition me into that. I've got a few new Alkaline Trio songs I've been working on and, you know, I can usually tell right away if I want something for Alkaline Trio or Emergency Room. In my head, at least, it makes perfect sense. I don't know if a lot of people are going to hear the new record and think it sounds like Alkaline Trio and I'll say they're crazy. I could understand why some people will think that just because it has electric guitars on it or something.
Is there anything new going on with Alkaline Trio? You guys have been updating your Facebook profile pictures lately.
We did? [Laughs.] I mean yeah, not really. We just finally finished up doing this Past Live tour where we played all eight of our records in four days in a bunch of different cities. So we probably had that up on the Facebook page for a long time and now that we're done with that, we probably just wanted to change up the look. We're getting ready to go to the U.K. with NOFX and we're doing some other stuff and festivals this fall. We need to make a new record, so we will get into that hopefully early next year.
Why was now the perfect time to celebrate the band's career?
Well, I don't know that we were necessarily looking at it like we were going out to celebrate our career or pat ourselves on the back. We just knew we had eight records and that was a nice round number. We've been wanting to go and do a thing where we could play some smaller rooms, you know, so we were kind of able to do that. We knew we didn't have a new record out or anything, but we wanted to get back out and play some shows, so we just figured why not.
What are your thoughts on Matt Skiba joining Blink-182?
I was super excited for him. We toured with Blink quite a while ago at this point, maybe 12 or so years ago. But, yeah, I'm stoked for him. Mark [Hoppus] and Travis [Barker] are totally nice dudes and I'm definitely a fan of a lot of the Blink stuff. You know, anything that makes Matt excited and happy makes me excited and happy. So I'm all about it. I was super-bummed that I couldn't go out and see them in March. I don't know when the next time they're ever going to play again is, but I definitely want to be there one of these days.