Get Up Kids singer Matt Pryor on reuniting, touring and Lawrence

The Get Up Kids didn’t plan for their 2004 tour with Dashboard Confessional to be their last, but that’s what happened after tensions grew between band members. Fifteen years later, the band will share a stage with their emo contemporaries once more, having reunited in fall 2008 and released two more albums, including 2019’s Problems. Their first full-length in eight years is straightforward and victorious power pop, building on the momentum of their 2018 four-song EP Kicker.

Talking to Kansas City from his home in Lawrence after finishing a twenty-two-date fall headlining tour, frontman Matt Pryor says he wants to take things one day at a time: do his laundry, catch up on sleep, spend time with his children. After releasing a new album, he thinks about the future of The Get Up Kids, but he doesn’t want to set any terms to it. As Pryor puts it, “The band broke up at one point, and I’ve learned never to say never.”

How did the band develop the sound of Problems?

The big thing was to not get in our own way and to do the thing that we do best, which is upbeat, anthemic pop songs, and not to overthink it too much. And we felt like we didn’t overthink it on the EP and people seemed to like that, and we liked it as well. So let’s just take that and expand upon it. The album is a lot more diverse, I think. It has more dynamics to it.

How much convincing did it take for the band to record a full album after eight years?

Not much. We’ve always been a band that [makes] albums. If anything, now we’re kind of rethinking that model. You know how at Thanksgiving, you’ve spent all day making food, and then everybody eats the food in like fifteen minutes? So we’re entertaining other ideas like putting out smaller things more often, as opposed to one big thing every two years or longer.

After opening for Dashboard Confessional before, what’s it like to get to go back on the road with them — and kick off this leg of the tour in Kansas City?

I’ve never even been to The Truman, so I’m kind of intrigued by that. We’re friends with all those guys. We just hung out with them at Riot Fest in September. It was like, “See you next year!” I think it’ll be a very pleasant experience.

With what you know now, what would you tell yourself back in 2004?

[That year is] a bad example because I was in a pretty dark place then, and that’s when I quit the band, so I will go back [to] 2002. The first and foremost thing would be save your money. It doesn’t last forever. I was going to say to appreciate the success that we’ve had, but I don’t know that you can necessarily appreciate that until you’ve come out of it a little bit and have the ability to reflect on it, thinking back. I would probably also say take breaks. Touring is strenuous. You don’t sleep much, and it’s hard on your mental health. Do things for yourself.

GO: The Get Up Kids, Feb. 23. Dashboard Confessional headlines. The Truman, 601 Truman Road, KCMO. 8 pm. $35.

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