Throughout their latest uplifting single, “Sailors,” the Monterrey, Nuevo León pop-punk trio of Adrian Garth (vocals, guitar), Eduardo Guajardo (guitar) and Pablo Gonzalez (drums) energetically chronicles encountering rough waters en route to uncovering a buried musical treasure outside Mexico.
“The chorus says, ‘We are the sailors who don’t leave this ship.’ Well, the ship is the band and our dreams. I know for every band it’s super difficult to make it and have success, but I find it extremely more difficult to be in another country and try to make it in a scene that’s not in your country or in your hometown,” said Garth, who wrote “Sailors” in February and co-produced it with Mauricio Colunga.
“We were talking about that right before we got on the plane to LA for the music video for ‘Break Me.’ We were like, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter if it’s difficult, and it’s not going to get easier anytime soon, but it doesn’t matter because we want what we want, and we’re gonna get it no matter what.”
All At Once’s admirable determination surges throughout “Sailors” as reverby, crunchy electric guitars swirl amid echoey background vocals, exuberant bass, humming synths and pounding electronic drums. About 20 seconds into the track, the trio erupts into a Blink 182-esque, sea-faring fury as driving electric guitars, rhythmic bass and thumping drums bounce listeners from one sonic wave to another.
While moving full-speed ahead, Garth enthusiastically sings akin to Owl City, “The warmest lights are here right now/We’re shining bright up in the sky/Together we can touch the clouds/We’ll sail this boat until the end/We are the captains once again/Roller-coasting our way.”
“The ‘captains’ part is about us handling ourselves and not letting anyone else interfere with us, but I really like the lyric that says ‘Roller-coasting our way.’ I love roller coasters, and this was something that took me a long time to figure out – everything you do no matter what it is has its ups and downs, so that’s what I meant about it. It’s gonna be good, it’s gonna be sad, and I’m gonna be angry sometimes, and I’m gonna be super happy, but I’m going to be crying sometimes,” Garth said.
All At Once beautifully captures their optimistic outlook through a “Sailors” companion lyric video, which features an 18th century-inspired ship coasting along a pink turbulent ocean in a pastel neon dreamscape.
“We decided to include the lyrics on the screen with these really cool movements from side to side that mimic a ship on the water. My bandmates really liked it, and we couldn’t wait to release it,” said Garth, who created the lyric video.
Chartering the ‘We Got This’ Course
This isn’t the band’s first go-round at creating inspirational, energetic anthems for international pop-punk aficionados. In 2019, All At Once dropped their propulsive, turbocharged seven-track debut EP, We Got This, which encourages fans to stay the course, embrace their authenticity and persevere in any situation.
“I want them to feel all the feelings as much as they can have and handle. In our live shows and with the EP, again, it’s like a roller coaster. I want them to feel like they have a choice in everything they do, and if we can help them believe in themselves and make the correct choices for themselves, it means the world to us. That’s our biggest goal,” Garth said.
All At Once beautifully opens We Got This on an animated, nocturnal note with “We Own the Night,” an instant alt-rock adrenaline rush with light, scratchy electronic drums, vivacious percussion, wailing sirens and lingering electric guitars that beckon listeners to embark on a spontaneous midnight journey. That adventure quickly shifts direction as booming drums, accelerated heavy-metal guitars and frantic bass assume control.
In response, Garth energetically cries, “I know you’re sick of trying to fit in/And we are wasting away for something we don’t believe/We’ll take the anchor from the ground/Let’s start a riot and let the fire rise/Cross your fingers and hold ‘em up high/Whisper a secret that makes you feel alive/Wish to be reckless and don’t ever look back.”
The track’s video magically captures the bustling LA nightlife essence as All At Once performs a dynamic live set in a gothic rock club and hookah lounge. A vampiric audience of red and blue couples romantically embraces the night (and each other) throughout the band’s “Buffy-Angel” cinematic crossover for the “We Own the Night” video directed by Sean Morris.
“Yeah, it was a fun day, and we filmed that in one day. We were really tired, but working with them was amazing because our manager, Chris Cardenas, is from Alaska, and when we told him we wanted to do a music video, he said, ‘You gotta do it with Sean.’ I started talking with Sean, and he immediately got what we were trying to do,” Garth said.
All At Once also collaborated with Morris on the anti-corporate drudgery-themed video for the emo relationship banger, “Break Me,” which blends charging electric guitars, whistling synths, thumping drums and light bass into a hard-hitting sonic push for something more.
In tandem, Garth adamantly sings akin to Billie Joe Armstrong meets Joel Madden, “When I’m alone I think and think/About what’s left at home/And I try to find a new horizon/To change where I came from.”
“‘Break Me’ was easier because Eddie and I had this idea for a long time. Actually, we made this song thinking about the music video, and it was like in reverse mode. It was really easy to adapt it, and Sean got it immediately, too. Our manager has another friend named Chris Cook, who has an energy drink company called Unique Life-Boost, and the guy was incredibly kind enough to lend us his office,” he said.
Hoisting the Pop-Punk Sail
Garth started his initial pop-punk journey at age four while watching Blink 182’s “All The Small Things” and “What’s My Age Again?” videos on MTV. By 2004, Good Charlotte’s video for “I Just Wanna Live” also struck a lingering chord with Garth, who started playing guitar at age 7.
“I instantly fell in love with that genre and started to look up more bands. Actually, my first show was Good Charlotte here in Monterrey when I was 9 years old,” he said.
After discovering more pop-punk bands and attempting guitar, Garth switched to bass and graduated to drums by age 11. His parents also introduced him to an eclectic mix of heavy metal, glam rock, pop rock and yacht rock music throughout his childhood.
For Garth, listening to My Chemical Romance, Waterparks, All Time Love, Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, The Outfield and Air Supply served as the ideal creative soundtrack. In February 2012, Garth met Guajardo at an All Time Low tribute show in Monterrey while drumming for another band.
“I remember two or three bands later Eddie played, and I said, ‘Wow, he’s good; I’ve got to talk to him.’ I approached him like you approach someone in a bar for something, and I started talking to him, I got his phone number, and we started talking and hanging out,” Garth said.
Seven years later, Garth and Guajardo formed All At Once with Gonzalez joining shortly thereafter. The band’s first gig included opening for My Chemical Romance’s Frank Iero and his side project, The Future Violents, in Monterrey. It was a dream come true and the chance of a lifetime for the newly created pop-punk band.
“We applied, and the promoters were like, ‘We just need to let the artist know,’ and then two weeks later, the promoters called me, and they said, ‘Hey, he liked you.’ I was so nervous, and before that, I had never played guitar and sang in front of anyone. There were a lot of people, but it was a great show,” Garth said.
With live shows currently on hold, All At Once continues to write and record new material and plans to release a follow-up single to “Sailors” soon.
“We have two or three songs that we’ve been keeping to release at the perfect moment. We believe they’re great songs. Right now, I really like ‘Sailors’ because it’s my favorite song that we’ve released, but it’s a great transition to what we want to release later this year or at the beginning of next year,” he said.