Your last delivery, Arrivals & Departures, wasn’t very well-received by critics. Did you feel like you had a lot of pressure with this new record?
We just wanted to do something different with this record. I think the Arrivals & Departures record, I don’t know, people didn’t like it. And we didn’t have a very good time making it. It was kind of an awful experience recording it and working the way we did, and maybe people can kind of feel that when they listen to it.
I don’t think it’s a bad record but a lot of people were just not into it, and this time around we recorded it at home so we had a lot more time to do it. We worked with a producer that’s an old friend of ours, and really just enjoyed the writing process a lot more.
When you say you didn’t have a good time and it wasn’t enjoyable, in what way?
I had just broken off a seven-year relationship with a girl and it was a hard time for me, dealing with that and working with a producer who also was going through a long-term relationship ending. I think he wasn’t really as focused as he should have been as a producer, and I think I wasn’t either, and the combination of that really just took a toll on the record. We wasted a lot of time on that record. We started late in the day, and we didn’t work till that late and there were a lot of distractions—living in L.A., we partied every night. We ran out of time on that record and it’s still a little bit unfinished. I think if we had another two weeks to do on that record it would have come out a little better, but whatever. That’s water under the bridge. We’ve been there, done that. Now we’re focusing on this new record which we’re really happy with.
Why did you guys decide to go down the concept album path?
It’s our fourth record and we’d done the first three records pretty much exactly the same way—which was get in a room, write the songs, record them and worry about the track order and everything later. And to be honest, we just didn’t want to do that again. We wanted to do something different, something more creative. And I came up with the concept record idea, and wrote a story, and we wrote the music as one big long album rather than 10 or 12 songs.
Does writing a concept album change your song writing a lot?
Yeah it does. With this record we were less concerned about structure, in terms of pop structure. When you’re writing songs for a concept record, you’re not as worried about the songs. I mean, you are up to a point—you want the songs to make sense and stand on their own—but at the same time it’s kind of okay if they don’t, in a way. It’s like, one song flows into another song. You kind of go more on feeling than, ‘Okay, first chorus, first chorus, bridge, chorus,’ that typical song structure. We kind of abandoned that a little bit more and we just went with what felt right.