Blink-182 Talk ‘California’ Album, Matt Skiba’s Arrival + Summer 2016 Tour
Blink-182 are back! The band just released the new single "Bored to Death," have announced that their new album California will come out July 1 and have booked a summer tour package with support from A Day to Remember, All-American Rejects and All Time Low. We recently had a few minutes to catch up with the guys at their karaoke bash in Los Angeles in honor of the upcoming trek and we spoke about the John Feldmann-produced album, the addition of Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba to their lineup and got their thoughts on their tour mates. Check out the chat below.
You've been on quite the journey to this album. Can you talk about what was the first thing that led to Matt joining this band?
Travis Barker: I think it was like two years ago when Tom [DeLonge] unexpectedly took some time away. We had shows booked and I was talking to Mark on the phone and I was like, 'F--k, what do we do? Do we just cancel everything and call it a wash?' He said, 'I wanna play' and I said, 'I wanna play too,' and honestly, I thought about it for a minute and he thought about it for a minute and we reconvened the next day and I said, 'Man, the only person who can do this is Matt Skiba.' I don't know. For whatever reason he just kind of fit the mold and I had kind of exhausted every other option and once we played together and got through the MusInk show, fans were really, really happy about it. We were happy about it, and the next evolution of that was if we should try to get in the studio and try to write songs. We did and it's a wrap. I think collectively with the stuff we did and didn't use and the stuff we did with John [Feldmann], it was like 50 songs or something.
Matt, what was it like at that MusInk show and getting up there to play for the Blink audience?
Matt Skiba: It was amazing. It was mildly terrifying but at the same time in a good way. I had a lot of adrenaline, a lot of excitement and I wasn't fearful at all. You can't be. It was just surreal and luckily we were very well prepared and these guys were really patient with me teaching me the songs and we rehearsed every chance we had, so by the time we got up there it was borderline muscle memory. It was just a matter of pausing to take it all in.
It was amazing. It happened really quickly, especially the first show went by before I even realized it. It was incredible and I had a really good time. I really love what I do and I've always had a great time onstage and at this point in my life to be doing something like this is incredible.
Mark, after all these years of working with Travis and Tom, you have Matt in the studio. Is the approach any different or were there changes knowing you were writing to a new voice and different skills?
Mark Hoppus: It wasn't necessarily a new mindset, but it was a new experience. Matt has such an incredible, unique, emotive voice and his voice has such an awesome characteristic to it that it was awesome to have him in the studio to play off of. Matt's vocal occupies a different space than mine does, but I think our voices combine really well and writing with Matt has just come like second nature. It's like Travis was saying, we had already written about 30 songs before we got in the studio with John, so at that point it felt like we'd already written three albums worth of material together. It was really, really great to jump into the studio with Feldmann and it was really enthusiastic and really open to ideas and we're really excited.
Loving what we're hearing from "Bored to Death" and a common response from fans is that it feels like classic Blink. Can you tell me about the song and where it was in the process of putting the album together?
Mark Hoppus: "Bored to Death" was the very first song that we did on the very first day we walked in to work with John. We walked into his studio and we had this basic idea and we just put it together. Everything was there the first day. We did that whole thing in just a matter of hours. It just seemed to fall into place. And John's a great producer. He just kept pushing us to make a great Blink record. He kept pushing us asking what is Blink about, what do you really do and it just felt really very easy.
The album is called 'California.' If you want to speak to how that became the title?
Mark Hoppus: It was very difficult to come up with the album title. We had probably eight different album titles at different points, but all the songs had some reference or a California theme in it. We have a song called 'Los Angeles,' we have a song called 'California,' we have a song that's called 'San Diego,' we reference punk rock bands from L.A. and California in a bunch of the songs and it was just that kind of mindset. It was a perfect California winter where it was hot and sunny every single day while we were writing it and I think it just bled into the music and that's what it felt like.
Matt, you've been with Alkaline Trio for years and then you get the call to work with these guys. For you coming in, were there differences in the approach and what did you learn from the experience?
Matt Skiba: One thing I will say is that one of the big similarities and it's one that I would think is really rare is that with Alkaline Trio, I play in a band with my brothers and my best friends. We all came up together. But I've known Mark and Travis for probably about 15 years touring together. And in a very short period of time I feel very much like part of a family. Shocking is not the right word, but I was pleasantly surprised at how similar the level of gratitude and patience and support that we give each other is. It's a very similar vibe, but Blink is next level and here I am coming into this big huge thing, but it still feels very much like home.
As for the process, I think that it's safe to say that none of us are happy until all three of us are happy. It's a beautiful and rare thing. I've only been in two bands, but just from friends I hear the horror stories and the good stories from other bands and I just think I've been really lucky to work with good people that I respect and look up to and feel that those feelings are mutual.
With this tour, it's a great bill -- A Day to Remember, All-American Rejects and All Time Low joining you. Can you talk about putting this tour together and your relationships with all the bands on the bill?
Mark Hoppus: Travis is really close with all the A Day to Remember guys. I've been friends with All Time Low for a number of years and we've toured with All-American Rejects a whole bunch. They've been on a bunch of Blink tours. So really it's kind of like summer vacation with all of our friends.
And Mark, you've done a few collaborations with All Time Low on record. Any chance we'll see a pairing onstage this summer?
Mark Hoppus: I don't know. We'll have to see. Tonight's really the first time we've been in the same place at the same time. It's been since last year when we played with A Day to Remember since I've seen them, but we keep up with each other on Twitter, but this is the first time we've all hung out in a while.
And Travis, Mark was saying that A Day to Remember was one of your picks for this trek. Can you talk about the history there?
Travis Barker: A Day to Remember is like family to us. I've worked with Kevin [Skaff] with my clothing company Famous Stars and Straps and you know he's a music lover and we have a lot of things in common. We love and adore the Descendents and we grew up skateboarding. There's so much. And I love their music. When they recorded their album, Kevin sent it to me and I got to listen to it and it was great. He's someone that I like and respect and I really love their band. They're really powerful and they're a great band.
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