Eight years ago Taking Back Sunday took the rock world by storm as they burst onto the scene with their debut Tell All Your Friends, but two of the original members left just as they really tasted the big time. Now back with his Taking Back Sunday bandmates along with guitarist John Nolan, bassist Shaun Cooper says it like he’s never been away.
“It’s really strange,” admits Shaun. “The most shocking thing about reuniting was that after the first hour of awkwardness and after we had a couple of drinks, it was like no time had passed at all.”
“We started talking just like we had when we were kids seven years before. Then it was so easy and natural for us to write together – and we had never had that when Taking Back Sunday had other incarnations.”
He continued: “Things always went easily but never this easily and naturally. There’s a certain energy that can only be found when the five of us get together.”
Eight years is a long time, and it would be fair to assume that even tight-knit friends could drift apart. But Shaun says he felt nothing but admiration when the band went on to achieve greatness without him.
“I was incredibly proud of them,” he says. “I never held a grudge and left of my own accord – it wasn’t like I was fired or anything.”
“I knew what I had to do at that time, which was leave the band. I had to break the hectic touring schedule because the amount of success that we had at such a young age was not something that the five of us handled very well. It was a very challenging thing and I couldn’t get my head around it. I needed to take a step back.”
Shaun went on: “I remember when Where You Want To Be came out, they had a great first opening week and I was so proud of them because I knew that they’d worked so hard for that.”
Now, four albums into their career and despite the international acclaim and legions of dedicated fans, Shaun says that the energy they shared when they first formed is back.
“Whatever it is that the five of us have when we start writing songs together, it’s clearly present on Tell All Your Friends and you can hear it on this record too, even though they are completely different,” he says.
“This is the sound of an evolved group of five people over seven years. You can almost hear how happy we are to be together in these songs – as weird and silly as that sounds!”
Their next album, due on the end of June, will be self-titled. Will this be the record that defines Taking Back Sunday?
“We all feel that this is the definitive Taking Back Sunday record and this is what we are supposed to sound like at this point in time,” responds Shaun.
“We are so proud of who we are and John and I are so proud to be back in the band and hopefully the others are happy to have us back as well that this record is just a statement of who Taking Back Sunday are.”
He adds: “We don’t want to do anything else, we aren’t going to quit and I have aspirations other than to be the best bass player in Taking Back Sunday.”
Sadly, fans in the UK never got the chance to see the original line up live before they split, but Shaun promises an altogether different beast to the one they’re used to when they take to the road this month.
“When you see us live, you’ll see nothing but five of the happiest guys who want nothing but to be up on that stage playing music together,” he smiles.
“The entire vibe of the band is different. I didn’t see Taking Back Sunday too many times when I wasn’t in the band so I don’t know how to describe the differences, but I know that when I’m up there playing live I couldn’t be happier to be there.”
Shaun adds: “To me, there’s nothing better than that. I think Mark, Adam, Eddie and John all feel the same.”
Taking Back Sunday play Rock City, Nottingham on Saturday 14th May.
Their new album, Taking Back Sunday, will be released on 27th June.