Since its humble beginnings in 2006, Slam Dunk has become one of the largest independent festivals in the country, and is a must for lovers of all things pop-punk, emo, metalcore and alternative. As Slam Dunk approaches, GIGSoup’s Tom Forrester is catching up with bands and artists, to find out what it means to them to be playing the UK’s premier pop-punk fest. Next up, is Cyrus Bolooki-drummer for veteran pop-punkers New Found Glory.

New Found Glory has been a mainstay of the pop-punk scene, since forming back in 1997. Their debut record ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ was an underground smash, and soon caught the attention of the sorely missed home of pop-punk; former indie label Drive-Thru Records.

Since then, the band has never looked back. During their 20 years of service to the seen, they’ve toured the world, played hundreds of festival dates, and shared stages with some colossal acts, including Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Paramore.

Despite playing some of the biggest festivals in the world; the band remain firm-friends of Slam Dunk, and are excited to return for this year’s dates. Drummer, Cyrus Bolooki, gives GIGSoup an insight into what makes the Festival so special.

Last time you were on these shores, you were celebrating 20 years of New Found Glory, with a series of shows where albums were played in full. What can fans expect from your set at Slam Dunk? How do you select which songs to add to your set?

Selecting songs for our set is not an easy task, believe me. And it gets harder and harder each year and with each successive album. However, for shows like Slam Dunk, I feel like we always want to try and play a variety of songs, a lot of the hits, but you can definitely expect to hear some of our new cover songs, with maybe a few surprises here and there. As with all of our performances, I think most important is to keep the energy going the entire time, and to try and get the crowds involved as much as possible. There won’t be any full albums this time around, but just straight rocking from beginning to end. It’ll for sure be a great time for anyone that’s there to experience it.

What do you guys think of this year’s lineup? What other bands are you looking forward to seeing?

Honestly, I think Slam Dunk has almost ALWAYS had the sickest lineups of practically any festival there is, and this year is no exception! To me, it’s pretty amazing to see how the Slam Dunk organizers are able to get so many massive acts on one bill. You know it’s gonna be a great festival if it seems practically impossible to see all of the bands you want to see, because there are just too many of them playing on multiple stages at the same time!

Personally, I’ll probably spend a bunch of time at the Punk In Drublic stage, trying to see Less Than Jake, Millencolin, and Lagwagon before we play, and hopefully catch a few songs of NOFX after our set. Of course, on our stage you’ve got great bands like All Time Low, Neck Deep, Simple Plan, etc., and then one of the two days I’d love to venture out to the Dickies stage to see our good friends in Saves The Day and The Get Up Kids. Oh yeah, there’s also the Marshall stage with William Ryan Key opening and awesome bands like Hellogoodbye, Real Friends, Seaway, and more…you see what I mean…there’s just too many good bands at the festival, making it impossible to see them all!

You’ve played Slam Dunk in the past-what are your favourite memories of playing this festival?

Like I said above, I think Slam Dunk has always had great line-ups, so any time we’re confirmed for the festival I know I’m going to be seeing a lot of bands that I’m friends with or that we’ve toured with in the past. It’ll be like a huge reunion of sorts, which always makes for tons of fun and nice surprises throughout the festival. We’ve also had some very memorable shows at Slam Dunk, starting from our first experience headlining the festival in 2010, to our last appearance at the festival back in 2016 when they celebrated their 10th anniversary. I remember the 2016 festival in Birmingham having one of our best UK performances to date — the big room of the NEC was filled to capacity and the entire crowd was into our performance. I even personally have a great memory of the following year, 2017, when I was able to return to Slam Dunk drumming for Goldfinger, and got to hang on the Fireball stage with some great friends of mine…Fenix TX, Zebrahead, Reel Big Fish, and Less Than Jake!

How important do you think a festival like Slam Dunk is to the modern alternative scene?

I’m sure it’s been said before, but with Warped Tour in the US not being a tour anymore, festivals like Slam Dunk, in my opinion, have become even more essential to our scene. Make no mistake — this isn’t some random promoter trying to put together a huge line-up — this is a tried-and-true successful festival that for 13 years now has been able to showcase the best in our scene, from veteran acts to up-and-coming bands, and united them all on one bill for crowds in the UK to see. Now that’s not an easy thing to do, and I applaud not only the Slam Dunk Festival and promoters, but more importantly the crowds, the people that buy the tickets and merchandise, for supporting this idea and keeping it alive year after year.

When Slam Dunk rolls around, ‘From the Screen to Your Stereo Part III’ will have just been released. Do you guys intend to tour this album? What plans do you have for the rest of 2019?

We’re literally flying over for Slam Dunk and then returning to the US to start a tour with Real Friends, The Early November, and Doll Skin just a few days later. We will be touring in support of ‘From the Screen to Your Stereo Part 3’ for the rest of the year and then some, and I’m hoping to see more dates in the UK and beyond announced in the near future! Anyone that’s a NFG fan knows that we never stop touring, so you can be sure that you’ll hear of more shows/tours from us soon!

‘From the Screen to Your Stereo Part III’ is out May 3 2019, via Hopeless Records

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