Following the Feb. 24 release of “Happiness Is: The Complete Recordings,” which includes three b-sides and three acoustic versions, Shaun Cooper, bassist of Taking Back Sunday, spoke with WSN about the re-release and general band life.
WSN: “Happiness Is” was released over a year ago, and you’ve just re-released it with rare and unreleased tracks. What is it like to revisit the album and how do you think it’s changed with these new tracks?
SC: Adam and John went in and recorded a couple of the songs acoustically. I think they’re interesting takes, it’s like the original way the songs were written. It usually starts with the acoustic guitar and stuff like that, so I think it’s really interesting to hear things in that setting. We had a couple of other tracks that we really liked and it’s a good opportunity to get all those things out and kind of showcase them in a different light. We worked on getting the packaging just right. We’re fans of vinyl, so we packaged individual 7-inch with two songs on each record and had different artwork on each which are all sold out but still available digitally.
WSN: Taking Back Sunday has been around for quite some time — going into its sixteenth year — how would you say band life and touring has changed over the years since you first started?
SC: Back in the old days, we’d tour in Eddie’s soccer mom van. It was just the five of in very cramped quarters, pretty uncomfortable, lugging all our gear around ourselves. Now, we have a crew that does it for us and are privileged enough to ride on a big bus and there’s people that actually come out to the shows. Back then, we would play for whoever was there, we’d run around town and flyer the shows, trying to get whoever to come out. It’s nice to have that audience built that we can see every night.
WSN: Do you have any words of advice for fans trying to pursue music?
SC: I think persistence pays off, you have to be passionate about what you do, you have to want it more than anything because it’s not easy. There’s a whole lot of luck involved, a whole lot of timing… so there’s so many moving parts that we were fortunate enough to somehow figure out, I still don’t know really how we got here after all this time — I just know I feel very lucky every day. I think the whole key to it is persistence, really.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 23 print edition. Email Allison Stubblebine at [email protected]