Let’s talk about Artwork. Where were your heads when you started writing?
We were done with bending over backwards for our manager at the time. We were doing Taste Of Chaos, which was a tour we paid for as a band. But the money that went into it went to our management. That sort of kicked us down a bit. We were out there touring, doing all this work. But then it was for someone else’s benefit. As soon as that came to surface, this is all during 2008, we rented a house and we just worked and tried to write as much as we could. We just focused on going into the studio with as many of the songs written beforehand as we could, you know. Just go in there and do it. We got really picky and took our time and did exactly what we wanted. We always wanted just like a messy, big and heavy pop sound. And I think we got it.
You made changes in the studio this time around. You worked with producer Matt Squire instead of John Feldman who produced your last three albums. What did Matt bring to the record that was different?
He had a little bit more of a laid-back, pop approach. He’s worked with a lot of pop bands so he understands that world. It’s not something we were really looking for. I mean none of us have even listened to the bands that he produced—so it wasn’t really based on anything that he’d done. We just heard that he was really easy to work with. He was laid back and cool. And that was exactly what he ended up being. You could see in the studio that we had a game plan. He just let us take all that stuff that we learned with John and compound it and let us just do our own thing. And totally trusted us. At first we were talking about ‘gross pop,’ the sound that we wanted the record to be, and how we’ve always wanted it. And he was like, ‘I get that. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be yet, but I get what you mean.’ And we were like, ‘OK cool. That’s what we want.’ He wasn’t trying to run everything and do it a certain way. John likes to hear things his way. And you go, ‘OK.’ and you try and you’re like, ‘I don’t know.’ And he’ll say, ‘Just trust me. If you don’t like it tomorrow, we can change it.’
Were there any unexpected moments that made their way to the album?
Yeah. Some songs, ‘Empty With You,’ and ‘Blood On My Hands,’ just came out. Those were written in like two days. It was pretty crazy. I brought an idea in. We did the scratch drums. Scratch guitar. Scratch bass. Did some keyboards. Bert was in the other room writing lyrics. ‘Empty With You,’ the same thing. It was pretty cool. The songs just came out of nowhere. They were the last two songs we wrote for the record.
What track do you personally think is going to be the most fun to play?
‘Men Are All The Same’ is going to be fun. We jam that one. It’s a lot heavier live than it sounds on the record. ‘Born To Quit’ is really fun. ‘On The Cross’ is cool. ‘Watered Down.’ I don’t know. It will be a surprise to see which ones work out.
What does it feel like to share your songs for the first time?
I don’t really think about it too much. Generally if I’m happy with it then people accept it. It’s like drawing a picture and hoping it goes in the Guggenheim or the Louvre or something like that. And is appreciated. You can never have those kinds of intentions. It’s cool because when your efforts are sincere, people can see that.